We found out what happened to deceased chicken Alana. I got a call this morning about the results of the necropsy (which is just another word for an autopsy that doesn't happen to a person).

There is good news. She didn't have anything infectious: not Marek's, not botulism, not worms, not bumblefoot or Newcastle or the flu.

She also didn't have heavy metal poisoning or any kind of digestive trouble. (My worst-case scenario: She'd somehow eaten a twist-tie or something from a bunch of spinach, which I'd let slip by.)

What she did have was kidney failure. No explanation. It falls under the umbrella of "metabolic disorder" that the vet had mentioned. Also, there was some inflammation around her heart, which was unexplained.

So no danger to the rest of the flock. Just a one-off thing that happens when you have chickens.

In an unrelated, but also related note: Farm City author and Oakland resident Novella Carpenter is hosting an open house of her urban Ghosttown Farm on Saturday, Aug. 29. Among the planned events are a chicken slaughter workshop, which is useful both for folks who plan to raise birds for meat, but also for suburban learners like ourselves who would like to know how to put a miserably sick chicken out of its misery. It's free.

by Elizabeth Jardina, Sunset researcher

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