I noticed him sitting a few feet from his girl and paused in my excitement and relief as he didn’t look quite right. I slipped my sandals on and went outside, finding that I could walk right up to him and pick him up. Previously you couldn’t get within ten foot of him, and if you did you’d risk having your arm broken by a lightning quick strike propelled by his powerful neck muscles.
He’s kind of the right colour but there’s no substance to him anymore – he’s lost about half his body mass, his feathers are tatty and there is a big bald patch in the back of his neck. He was also covered in some sort of dust and visibly shaking when I put him down in the spare chicken tractor with a pile of food, a bowl of water and a toboggan as a makeshift pond.
His girl is relieved to see him though, as the conjugal visit shows below.