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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Three days ago, my other Rooster Cashmire, would not let one of my red sex-link hens into the coop. Poor little girl was out in the run cold & scared, with Cashmire blocking the way into the coop. She let me pick her up, which let me know immediately she was not her normal self. Into the ER playpen she went, after I checked her over. Besides white pasty poo, she seemed fine, but to be on the safe side I let her stay in the house with me so I could watch her. Nutmeg was not eating much or drinking water, so I finally found cream of wheat, oatmeal & strawberry Kefir that she showed much interest in.Two days of this, plus the syringes of baby vits & water, I had something crawl up my arm while I held her. WE had mites! Since it was very late, I was not about to go out in the rain to clean out the coop right then & there. But being a concerned Momma, I did make a kitty liter & wood ash tub for her. Well, did she use it like I had hoped to dust herself? No, she fell asleep in it. Ok, so the next day, after a trip to the vet for my cat, Frankie's rabies shot, it was time to strip & clean the coop. Now we had just had 24 hours of rain, but now it was nice enough with the sun out to not have to wear a coat. Oh by the way, I live in Massachusetts, bet you were wondering where this was all occurring . 20 feed bags full of old straw, poo & scattered feed came out & into the now visible gardens. I am a earth mother of sorts & hate chemicals if I can keep away from them. I have used herbs for years & knew that marigolds have many benefits besides looking nice & keeping bugs out of your veggie garden. I just so happen to have a bag of dried marigold heads, so I cooked them up on the stove to make a very strong tea. Not the prettiest smell by any mean,s but I hoped it would be a good wash for all the wood in the coop. My coop/s is a series of outdoor playhouses fixed together to create one large area plus its attached to a 3'x4' wood coop box all inside my shop. Needless to say, my shop is covered in tons of dust now until the spring when I redo the coop. Ok, now where was I...oh yes mites. I washed down all the walls, branch purch, & door leading out into the run with the marigold wash. Then because I have read they used to use old motor oil on the wood to deter mites, I grabbed a bunch of old marigold salve I had made a while back & coated the wood in the coop with this. In my mind, its safer & if the hens peck at it, it will not harm them. Its lard based so it will seal the wood some just like the motor oil did back when they used that. I also created a large wood ash & wood shavings dust bath for them, that I put out in the run while I was cleaning the coop. The girls were in it before I could walk away & Cashmire, being a gentleman, waited for them to bathe first before he got in. More on that boy in later blogs. So now I can just hear the old timers & experts saying 'Why in the world would she use marigolds?" Well, my reply is this- One of the chemical washes used to clean coops with has one of its main ingredients as Marigolds. This plant is a mild antisephic, antibacteral & many bugs hate it. So not only by washing the coop in it to 'scare' off the bug,s if the chickens do peck at the wood it can not hurt them. Plus by having their feet resting on the purch oiled in it, they are somewhat obsorbing small amounts, which is good for them & it heals any bottom of the feet wounds. Did you know a famous chicken company that advertises on TV, feeds their chickens marigold blooms? Marigolds have benefits for your chicken,s so if you have never thought about it, plant some & give them the heads fresh or dried. Ok, back to the mites, Nutmeg has improved since I put in the dust bath, the girls & cashmire are happy with their new clean home & I am wondering....if the mites left Nutmeg & my dining room has wood walls, do I need to wash my whole house in marigold tea because now they are at home in our house, instead of on the chicken?

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