Just yesterday I wished her a happy birthday in this space. I knew she was contrary, but this just takes the cake.
I found her stiffer than Richard Nixon in the hutch this morning. After the others had happily jumped over the carcass on their way to the feeder, a quick inspection showed the probable cause: she almost certainly had been egg-bound. If she had shown any signs before the ultimate one, we probably would have been able to get her through the problem, as we had with others before, but she didn't.
Condolences are not necessary. This was one mean chicken, also given to occasional episodes of gender confusion. Were we serious farmers, not dilettantes, she would have been Sunday dinner long ago.
Her most frequent victim in either mean or gender-confused mode was poor little Sugar, a meek and sweet-natured Araucana. When both of them were a few months old, Red lost a toe during a run-in with a wire fence. We put her in a cage in the potting shed for recuperation, a place where she couldn't get her bandage dirty or lose it. For company, we put Sugar in there with her until it became evident that Red was beating up the smaller bird. After recuperation, Red always had a thing for her former cellmate -- never quite enough for us to put a permanent end to things or even to separate them at night, but frequently causing "oh, jeez, Red, cut it out" moments.
Sugar's a beautiful bird when she has all of her feathers. At least now we can count on that being her standard condition.