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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.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The dangers of pesticides

Good Morning Everyone!
Back in June (2010) I had another bout of chicken mites, this time the tiny white ones that were running a muck throughout the hen house. Man, I just hate those things, they are creepy & the only way I know they are there is they end up all over me...brrrrrrr! Someone had recommended I use the pesticide '7 Dust' to kill them & that it could be used on the chickens with careful applying the last time we got mites. It worked wonderfully & quickly with only one dusting of it on the chickens & in the coop. Even though I hate chemicals of any kind, I couldn't stand the fact they were sucking the life out of my chickens...so I bit the bullet & gave in. This time I did the same thing, cleaned out the whole coop & using a bottle I put it in the cracks & everywhere there was wood. I had my husband help me again with the girls so we got it done quickly & carefully. Less than a week later one of my girls 'Miss Christie' looked very very pale even though she is a Buff Orpington, she also would just stand in one place & not move which really worried me. Anytime my chickens show any type of oddness, I bring them into the house where I can watch them & give them first aid. She was not eating or drinking water & was quickly losing weight. She fought me when I tried to feed her with a syringe & finally got out the turkey baster. By this time her crop area was very small, so I couldn't put a lot of food down her at once without her throwing a lot of it up. This went on for 3 weeks with the turkey baster because she would not eat. Well, one day I picked her up & she started pecking like she was looking for food. I got a small dish of food made up for her & put it in front of her. She couldn't find it even though I had it right next to her beak. Oh, I forgot to mention that her pupils were very small & had been for the entire time I had her in the house. Plus I noticed earlier that her eyes didn't move or follow things like they should. Now I can not prove the 7 Dust did this but before I put this on her & in the coop she could see & now she can't. I ended up ordering & shipping 150lbs of the food grade earth someone had told me about. Miss Christie is still skin & bones but I have her eating sometimes up to 8 oz or more of feed a day. I make it moist with baby food, yogurt or mashed fruits & put it right in front of her beak while I hold her. I can move it so she actually hits the food & can fill her little crop up, I also do this with water. Sometimes it's like feeding a fussy baby as her head goes everywhere & I wear a lot of the food, but she is eating & that is all that matters to me. I now get so excited when I have to clean out her cage more than once a day because she is actually giving me messes to clean up. In the beginning I was lucky to get 3 poop's a day from her. My house is a wreck, things that need to get done aren't, but you know what? I don't care. Not everyone has the time or ability to do what I am doing & I am very happy each day she lives. Pippi La'Roo (frizzle rooster) climbs up in my lap when I am feeding her & makes cooing noises which make her eat more. I have also learned that sometimes if I massage her crop gently she will eat more as well, I don't have to do that much anymore since she is doing well on her own. I tore down an old bent up ferret cage & made a nice large domed cage for her in the dining room. The other 2 girls in the house have not accepted her, so I keep her in there when I am not able to hold her. Each day I have to stop what i am doing to put her feed together but I sit in my nice comfortable rocking chair & talk to her while she eats. It's very relaxing & in a odd way comforting. When she is done, I wipe her face for her & she closes her eyes & sleeps on my chest while I rock. Often Pippi La'Roo will jump on the the back of the rocker & Madeline will jump up & sit in my lap as well. It's hard to want to get up when you have 3 chickens who want to just relax & maybe nap with you. I have only falling asleep once with all of them with me because Pippi La'Roo likes to poop on my neck, which isn't the greatest feeling.....that's one of the reasons I keep plenty of paper napkins right next to me at all times!
Until next time have a great chicken Day!

Babies!

Hello everyone!
Since my articles are never in order, by the time you read this it may already be winter, but that never stops me from writing. As you know from a past article, I had to get rid of my 2 roosters because of their aggression. The day before I had to give them up, one of my 2 year old girls, Ginger went brooding. So I put eggs from both roosters coops under her, hoping she would stay on them & not get bored after a few days. Out of the 6 eggs, I am happy to say 3 hatched & I got 2 beautiful Welsummer mix babies & 1 Buff Orpington mix baby. As of today they are about 3 weeks old & just the cutest little things you ever saw. Ginger has proved to be a wonderful protective Momma to them. Since it is now July (2010), the weather has gotten quite hot & humid, so about 2 weeks ago I took out the dividing wall out between the 2 coops & did the same with the fencing in the run so that all the girls could be together. I only had one few second fight between Cinnamon & Abigail, both the lowest of the pecking order on each side. My poor Abigail backed off, so she is now the lowest of them all, but I make sure to give her a bit of attention as well as make sure when there are treats she gets some personally from me without having to do without. I am so thankful I knew someday I would open up the 10 foot by 6 foot coop into one space & only put in a very thin wall between the two. But I should have paid attention to how I put in the nails! Some were on one side, some were on the other so it was a bit tricky to get the wall out. I have a beam in the wall I left so that I could keep both perches.
For some silly reason they are all crowded onto one but with the new babies the other will soon be used as well. I have a small fan in the coop that has two fans in it that you use for a window. It's not super powerful so it works perfect in there for them , no big time drafts are created by it, so I can keep it on at night for them. If its 90 degrees outside, the coop can be close to 100 degrees without the fan. On super hot days I go out to check on the girls in the run & end up finding them all in the coop wings spread enjoying the fan. Since I live in the upper part of Massachusetts near New Hampshire, we don't normally get a lot of humidity but this year we got a lot of rain, so the humidity is higher than normal. I have a neighbor who fed her chickens frozen cooked pumpkin when the temp rose so since she & I froze our pumpkin together I was glad to see her hens loved it & ended up giving mine what I had left in the freezer when it got to 97 degrees one day. I am down to 1 package but have found they also enjoy frozen brussel sprouts, frozen bagels & frozen mixed vegetables as well. I also freeze plastic containers of ice that I can pop out into their run water buckets. Yes, I may be overdoing it but its so pitiful to see all my girls panting with wings spread trying to cool off. Yesterday I opened Gingers big cage I had set in the coop so the new babies would be protected and Ginger was able to get all her kids out into the run. I was so surprised when I went out there to see her & the babies just playing up a storm in the dirt hunting for bugs. Ginger had a few scratches on her comb from probably protecting the kids, but by the time I got out there everyone was calm & going about their business not paying any attention to the new kids. So I took out the big cage from the coop & put in a small rabbit cage with the door open & food & water for them if they wanted to sleep there. When I closed up the run & coop last night Ginger & kids were in there sound asleep. I have gotten 2 more very small chickens, one's a silkie mix & the other is as tiny as a quail, who I might add started crowing yesterday! I gave them the names of 'Porgie & Bess'. I have them in the house in a large rabbit cage since I know they would have a very hard time in the coop. Pippi La'Roo, the frizzle I got a month or so ago is doing well, though Bowzer still chasing him around the dining room, but no longer pecks him now that he is crowing as well. At least with these 2 very small roosters I do not have to worry about the attacks, but Pippi has tried to peck me so I push him away & he gives up. I am also a dog foster mom & just adopted one of my fosters who is a Aust Cattle dog, mainly Dingo in breed. Rosey from day one never paid any attention the the in-house chickens & even follows me into the run & coop. Now the outside girls aren't too thrilled when Rosie shows up with me but they are slowly calming down if they see her. I think they see her as a big cat! Frankie, my 6 yr old cat has wondered into the coop & run since the girls were little. For some reason Frankie thinks she belongs out in the run with them sunning herself while the girls wonder around her. Hopefully that will happen with Rosey as well. I love the fact I have good pets who get along with each other whether they are a chicken, cat or dog....sure makes my life easier. For some reason I was not into my gardening this year like I normally am, but did plant bibb lettuce along with the tomatoes. I just took the last bit of lettuce from the garden for the hens. I tie it up on a piece of plastic clothesline for them to jump at to get the lettuce. I will tell you, it doesn't last long! Nor does the lambs quarter, I planted a few years back. When it gets too tall & tough for us to eat, I break it off & tie that up for the girls as well. Its like watching popcorn pop, especially when I first put it in for them, they get so excited they are falling all over themselves & each other to get to it. Since the hens can't free range here because of all the dogs, cats, hawks & turkey vultures in the area I have decided to extend their 9 foot by 20 ft run since it is now down to dirt. I think doing a rotating run idea where I can plant untreated grass & wheat seeds each fall would work well here. Each year they will have some fresh grass & wheat to eat on when its up high enough they have to work at it. This way one area gets to rest like the way farmers used to do their crops to insure they soil didn't go sterile. It will give me 2 areas for the hens & encourage bugs to come around their area again. Right now with just the one run, they have wiped out everything including bugs. Yeap, I am always thinkin' about what I can do to make sure my girls are happy & healthy. Well until next time ...have a happy Chicken day!
footnote: Porgie & Bess are now in the coop & run with the big girls & are doing fine. I thought with the new babies being small it might work getting Porgie & Bess our there so the 'big' girls would just think they were babies as well. I was surprised at how well it worked.

I had to say Goodbye

Hello Everyone!
Usually I like to keep things light & fun, but sometimes life gets in the way. All of you should be familiar with my 2 roosters; Chatty & Cashmire by now. For 17 months I have raised, loved & spoiled them daily. Chatty though, began to change when he got into the coop with his girls. This is normal as they become protectors instead of just the family pet. And Cashmire, as we all know has always been aggressive. Daily I have had to fight off one or the other when I go to let them & the girls out of the coop. I have been hurt so bad by the spurs that I have come close to passing out from the pain but being bull-headed I ignored it & continued on. Well in January, I started getting sick & found a lump in my armpit that I watched. By May, it hurt & got big enough I went to the doctor. Come to find out, I had a bacterial infection, probably caused from all the daily spur & nail attacks. My 51 yr old body couldn't handle the daily abuse & rebelled big time. Now most people won't think twice about getting rid of the cause, in this case 2 roosters, but for me it was very very hard just to even think about. Finally one day, Chatty hit me so hard & fast I had to kick him across the run just to get away from him & he still charged after me. I HAD to let them go. I have a wonderful food Co-op lady, who let me bring them to her so she could get them to another woman for me. Yes I cried the whole 30 minute drive there, with Chatty sitting next to me & Cashmire in a box in the backseat. It has been 4 days & I still cry over what I had to do because the woman she was giving them to was going to kill them & eat them. I tried Craigslist, but everyone wanted hens or roosters to kill. So I was in a hard place mentally but knew I had to give in & let it happen, though my heart was breaking. I would have not done it at all, but even separating Chatty from his girls to be in the house with me didn't stop his attacking. Whereas at one time he never attacked me away from them. Some of you will read this & think 'good grief the woman is being stupid over some roosters', but the ones who read my Blog know I raised these guys from day old chicks, spoiled them with treats & love. Chatty I had taught to walk on a lead, ride in the car with me & gave him his own chair in the dining room. so for me, they weren't 'just' roosters, they were my pets who i adored. Driving away & leaving them was very hard & all night I fought getting in the car & getting them back. But I also realize, I need to stay healthy for all my other pets who depend on me. I have 2 hens who live in the house because of deformitives. I have a 14 yr old blind dog & a diabetic cat who all need daily care by me & when I am sick its all I can do to get out of bed. So, yeah I had to make a grown up choice & I hated it ever step of the way. I don't see myself as someone who gives up or quits. When it comes to my animals, I will put up with a lot so they have a good safe life.
Until next time have a wonderful chicken day.

Madder than a WET hen

Hello Everyone!
You will notice in the title the words: Madder than a wet hen. By this I mean 'Crazy" on my part. My life is really not busy, I am a stay at home wife who does pretty much what she wants. I have great intentions that sometimes go beyond what they should. You know where logic seems to be missing? Unfortuntely I can not blame this on age as those who know me will say 'Oh yes, she does tend to forget what may happen'.
I got hit with a big outbreak of red & white mites the day before I was to leave to visit sisters in California. Though I hate any chemicals I was in a bind since I was trusting my husband to care for them the 10 days I was gone. So out came the 7 Dust & all 15 chickens got dusted along with the coops & the dust bath containers. I can tell you right now turning hens upside down, sideways & pulling feathers out of the way made them very very cranky. I had bloody legs to prove it! Prudence started it after I was done with her by pecking at my ankles, which of coarse the other girls had to do since it looked like fun watching my jump & yell. Since I create a special dust bath with wood ash, kitty clay litter & wood shavings, I decided to mix some of the 7 Dust into it as well. See, this all makes sense, doesn't it? Problem came about when I mixed the same dust bath for the 2 that are in the dining room & stupidly set the box down on the floor instead of taking it outside in their own run. You can see where this is going, can't you?, Bowzer had a gay ole time shooting this dust everywhere. And I had just spent 2 days cleaning that area! Plus the 7 Dust got into the bloody wounds & made me a tad bit wozzy which of coarse I didn't tell my husband. Now on with the story.....Everyone is dusted, I've showered & decide to give them all a treat for being fairly good at all the abuse. My neighbor had given me some plain kefir she couldn't use up for my chickens earlier in the day. I used 2 big long casarole dishes & poured it in so each side would get some. Prudence had forgiven me so they didn't peck me when I came in to their run. These girls are over 2 years old & treated the kefir like an English Tea Party. Each would slowly go over & get a drink, no mess, no fuss. But on Cashmires side it was like a college Keg party. I had them flying over my head before I could get the dish on the ground. Kefir went flying & landed all over the girls & Cashmire decided he was tired of waiting & dove head first into it. I was lucky to go grab the camera before he shook it all off.....all over the girls of course. So guess who got to go get the wet wash cloth & wash combs, waddles & backsides? Normally I use a french bread pan that is like a long trough so they can't get so messy, but it being one of those days where my brain was on vacation I choose to use something I KNEW would be a problem. Any farmer with animals will tell you some days its not worth getting up, well that was my day & yes, before you ask, I still have those days where I think to do something & then wonder who stole my brain that day. My husband, bless his heart was so worried he wouldn't feed the chickens enough while I was gone, gave them close to 50 lbs of feed & 25 lbs of oatmeal scratch in 10 days! I have 5 hens now who won't lay because I think they ate too much but the 2 year old girls are all laying which they have never done at the same time. Yes, I had the instructions written out for him but the weather got cold while I was away & he worried they would get hungry. All the feed in the coop tray under their food dishes is getting dumped in the runs so they will hopefully eat some of that. So you see, even us old timers can make crazy mistakes but at least find the humor in it & pass it on. I have been checking the chickens daily & have yet to see a mite so the 7 dust did work but man I hated using it. If it made me wozzy I can't image what the chickens went through inhaling or swallowing it. On a different note, tomorrow I am rescuing a 5 1/2 month old female pot belly pig from a guy who has it in her a2nd story apartment. Right now its aggressive but then if I only got to go outside once a day to do my business, I think I would be mad too. Once she has calmed down, had some exercise & a better diet will introduce her to the chickens, cats & dog. That may end up another crazy story you read from me! Until next time, have a great chicken day!
footnote: Lovey, the pot belly pig decided she hated being told what to do by a female & attacked me, bit me & knocked me down so after 5 weeks of this I found her a huge farm in New Hampshire where she has her own area, goats to boss around & a huge paddock to hang out in. At least I tried but sometimes things don't work out the way we want....but she is happy where she is so I did a good thing by taking her, just couldn't keep her.

My love of my 'Kids'

Hello everyone!
I just finished reading an article about how our 4 legged friends (Dogs/Cats) have such healing powers to those who are sick, mental ill, lonely or just needing the feel of being loved. Now, I have heard or read this sort of thing many times over my life & have found that yes, sometimes a dog/cat can help us. Well now I am here to tell you so can a chicken. Laugh all you want, but my Chatty, as you well know by now is not just any rooster. He is also my pet who comes & goes as he pleases in the house. He takes rides in the car with me to get my Co-op stuff, has his own kitchen chair & loves to follow me around the yard. When I decided to build the Fort Knox of coops to replace the one the fishercat had gotten into, I made sure there was a place for chatty in there. The reason being he is a big boy now & needs his own girls, not just his momma. The last day of my building he was out in the yard & started to crow from what sounded like far away. This worried me, so I took off & had forgotten I had just sat down a board that had an inch long nail in it. Running through the shop, I stepped down hard on the nail & it went through the shoe into the foot. Oh it hurt like the dickens, but I pulled it out & went & found Chatty. He hadn't been far, but had his back turned from the shop & his crow echoed through the wooded area. I got half way back to the shop when I couldn't stand it anymore & sat down, took off the shoe & started to cry. Now, I am a very tough woman who hardly if ever cries but after days of banging my fingers with hammers, hitting my face on 2x4 beams I forgot were there & just being tired. I let loose & cried. Chatty came up to me & climbed in my lap & just sat there while tears poured over his back. I held him while I cried & he did not move until I quit. Call me silly, but I honestly think he knew from the sounds coming from me that something was wrong & he needed to be there for me. In the 18 months I have had him, he has never heard me cry so this was something new for him. Because he was there I was able to calm down quicker because I didn't feel so alone. Bowzer, who if you remember, is my little hen who had awful seizures when she was young. For some reason she still wants to be with me even thought she is 14 months old now. When I am tired or just down, she will sit on my feet til I will pick her up & pet her. She likes it when I do the baby pats on her back & will fall asleep within seconds. Her feathers feel like rabbit fur & just touching her has a very positive effect on my mood. I find that, like with my cats or dogs just the petting, holding or talking to them can change how I feel. I spend a lot a time alone because my husband works a swing shift & is also in the Army Reserves, so he is not always there when I need a shoulder to lean on. I think in a weeks time, I have more conversations with my chickens than I do with him.....lol...Now you know why this is called 'The Old Batz Farm'! I know not all chicken farmers have this sort of bonding with their chickens but I love the fact that I do. To have a rooster sit in your lap while you cry is unbelievably wonderful, or to pat a hen so she feels safe enough to sleep. Now Chatty has 5 girls on his side of the coop who are 2 years old & big enough to handle him. When I let him out today into the yard he ran over to the run wanting to check on his girls. It was sweet & I had to put him back into the coop so he could go out & be with them. I may be his momma, but he now has a new job & life with the girls which I find wonderful & sad as well. I have a feeling he won't be running through the house much anymore or want to be free in the backyard if he can't be near his girls. But I accept that cause I know I can still pick him up & love on him if I need to. I just have to make sure he knows I am not taking him away from his new family. Ahhh when our 'kids' grow up.....sigh...Well until next time have a wonderful chicken day. M'

Building a coop, the hard but cheap way

Hello Everyone
If you have been reading my blog, you know about the Fishercat who got into the coop last fall (2009) & killed a hen, hurt Cashmire (Rooster) & also got into the bunny area & killed my 6 yr old baby girl. You also know that 4 hens & Cashmire were put in the basement in a tarp coop from Nov until now, which is the middle of May. I decided to build a 10 ft by 6 ft coop inside my shop that is divided so each rooster & his girls have a 5 ft by 6 ft area. Each side has a door cut out of the side of the shop to the run area, which is also divided. I have had enough of my 2 roosters accidently meeting! I drew out an idea of what I wanted so I could still have a lot of 'my' space in my shop. Ok, now I don't have a lot of free money so I headed to the shop attic & found an old door that needed 2 window panes (Which I replaced), antique wood guttering & some old boards that would need to be cut. I also have a neighbor who gutted out an old pantry area in her basement & let me have all the wood that I wanted. So far so good. Since the wood & guttering was very old, I had to assume they contained lead paint so that was something I had to make sure was never exposed to the chickens. Eight days of measuring & cutting old dry or wet wood was a lot more than I bargained for, but I did it. The hammering nearly did me in, I had wanted to use screws so it would be easier if I needed to take down a section. But no, the wood was so bad it striped nearly ever screw I used. I had said I wanted the 'Fort Knox' of coops well this one surpasses even that! The first 5ft by 6 ft area is all reclaimed, recycled wood but I finally ran out & had to break down & hit the hardware store. Nice thing about that was I got them to cut the plywood the sizes I needed, which by this time I was willing to pay the $1 per cut! I even used some old windows encased in wood frames, so they would get more light. And used a lever door cut in half for a extra vent area up near the ceiling area since the shop is a boiler in the summer. To make sure both sides got the air movement,I used plastic lattice with chicken wire over it as a window between the 2 sides in the dividing wall. It is high enough that the chickens can't climb or get to the window & pester each other. I will tell you right now that I am worn out! I enjoyed doing the work myself, but sometimes when I had to drill holes into 2 fingernails to release blood clots caused by hammer blows, I think just buying a ready made coop would have been much easier on my body. I knew I had to get this done no matter what happened since tomorrow I am getting 5 new 2 yr old girls that have to have a place...not inside my house! Today I got the second part of the run all done except for the door which will be done tomorrow along with building a few more laying boxes for them. I know age is part of the reason it took me so long to get this up, also doing over the head work by yourself can surely wear out the arms. I am a firm believer in making things easier for myself...Ha, Ok well most of the time anyway. So I used cheap tarps & covered the inside of both coop areas, floors & walls. this way it will help cut down on wood mites & can be dusted down with a broom when the kids are outside in the run, plus cover any lead paint on the old boards. The floors will be easy to care for as well. I learned this doing the tarps on the rabbit floor. Once the straw is swept up its easy to wash the floors in the fall & spring. Or any other time it is needed. My big fear also was the old paint on the boards, you all know how chickens will peck at anything & everything. Well if they contained lead paint I surely didn't want them eating it or us eating the lead filled eggs. Cashmire & his 4 girls have been in their side for 4 days & the girls are happy enough 3 gave me eggs today. Chatty & his 2 girls went in last night to their side & Rosy gave me an egg today. So I guess they approve of their new home as well. Tomorrow Rosy & Scarlette will go into a dog kennel in the coop while the 5 new girls come in. I don't need WW3 going on with all the new events, so its easier to crate the 2 girls than crate the 5. I am excited about the new girls cause they are hefty & can handle Chatty's weight when he mates with them. So I am down to 3 hens in the house right now, which is heavon & so much quieter. Even though it has been a mad house with all of them in the house or basement, its been a good lesson for me. I now know that I can handle it when there are emergences with the chickens. I have decided to set up a large dog crate & house with fencing in the basement so I can reclaim my laundry room. Voodoo Moon who is crippled, will always be in the house, but now I can put the others if needed into a safe comfortable space in the basement. I will still keep the ER playpen in the dining room for the hens who need me to check on them often. So the lesson of all this is: if you are doing it on your own & over the age 50, maybe a pre-made coop will be your better bet! I guess for all my time (8 days) my new coop cost me $2500 in labor time, $80 in material, not counting the free stuff. Oh by the way, I cut down a nice wood pallet to make a ladder from the run up to the door for the kids. They love it & don't slide down it like the other one I had built them. Now I think its time for me to climb into a nice hot bath & soak my weary bones. Until next time have a great Chicken day!

Love is in the air...oh crap!

Hello Everyone!
Spring is in the air & how do I know this? Mating attempts has picked up with my 2 very fine boys. Now, growing up on a farm I have witnessed this wonderful time when the animals were feeling the love. Well I am telling you right now, I am greatly disappointed in the roosters attempt to love their hens! Let me go back a ways & tell you about Cashmire. He, as you know is my very aggressive Welsummer which can be a good thing. But when he was just learning he was a male he was like a male dog out of control. Oh no, not with the girls, he decided my stuffed fuzzy teddy bear just had to be loved & loved a lot! When he felt he had done his job he would run over to the dogs bed & love on the corner of it. I must admit in some sick way it was the funniest thing I had ever seen, & he was so proud. He would prance around when he was done just singing like he was the 'Man'. Chatty on the other hand never found anything interesting unless it was breathing & looked like a hen. I got to witness his first attempts & I would say he just didn't seem to get what needed to be done. My hen would watch him as he did what we call the 'Happy Dance' around her, his head & body leaning in towards her. Once he got closer, she kneeled down like she should & he mounted. Good so far. Problem was he didn't know her tail needed to be up & out of the way. He sprayed my floor. Yeah go ahead & laugh, I sure did. After a few times of him doing this over the next few days he finally figured it out. We cheered for the boy & the hen ran away. Seems the 2 boys finally figured out what & who they were suppose to be mating with, so I was pleased. Chatty, being a Buff Orpington is a very big heavy boy & he loves his littlest girls. Poor Bowzer who is as small as a Silky caught his eye on day. She was smart & got down quick but as soon as he put one foot on her a egg shot out! It hadn't formed its hard shell so it exploded as it hit the ground. Bowzer was not a happy camper, I can tell you that. She ran over to the egg & put up quite a fuss. She learned when he does his 'Happy Dance' to run as far away as she can now. Well until yesterday. We finally went & did our taxes & the weather was so nice I put all the girls from the basement coop out into the run with Cashmire. Cashmire woudn't stop crowing so I had to bring him in & thought this would be a good time for Chatty to say 'Hi' to the girls again. While we were gone Bowzer must have forgotten to run. My poor little girl was limping & he had put so much pressure on her part of her vent lining was exposed. Normally I have Tucks for a an old dog but couldn't find them. But I have DMSO which is used on horses ect for muscle swelling or damage. I first washed her back area, then put a warm wet washcloth on her vent area while I held her. She enjoyed this so much she fell asleep. DMSO is very strong so you need very little & you do not want to touch it! Why you ask? Any that gets on your skin will make you taste a strong garlic like favor that takes forever to go away. I learned about this as a teen on our farm, we used it on our cows, sheep & dogs for sprains, muscle tension or swelling. This morning when I checked on Bowzer, her vent was back to normal, but to be on the safe side I fed her greek yogurt & very wet feed last night. I knew I could handle the diarrhea much easier than her having to strain & injure herself more. Now she is still limping, so will retreat the leg with the DMSO & keep her quiet in the bathroom. If you remember, Chatty did this to Mae-Belle also, not the vent injury but the leg injury so bad she could no longer use it. Mae-Belle was bigger but didn't know to get down as quick & suffered for it. Cashmire on the other hand, is still doing fine with his mating, no teddy bear for him now. Though he is very tall, he weighs next to nothing so the girls handle him well. Plus some of the bigger girls just peck at him to chase him off if they are not in the mood. His poor crown area is always scabbed up from the bossy girls in his bunch. I have decided now that Chatty, though a sweet boy, has got to have the heavier girls who can handle him. If you have ever heard the term 'Big Lug' that fits him to a T. So once Bowzer is better she will go back with Cashmire until I get my Silkie male & any other little girls I have or get will be with him. I know chickens really don't have expressions, but I swear Bowzer when that egg shot out of her was in shock & her little face got this distressed look of 'My baby!' You couldn't help laughing but I did pick her up & remove her from the area while I cleaned up the egg. She's had enough stress for one day. I never realized the roosters will mate with whatever size hen that gets in their way. There were 4 larger girls in there with Chatty, but he had to pick on Bowzer. Well I have learned another chicken lesson, fit the hens to the size or weight of the rooster! Even though its entertaining I hate the fact they end up with bad leg injuries. So its another day & I will be getting 5 new hens from my neighbor soon. These girls are about 2 yrs old & big enough to handle Chatty (I hope). But I am sure I will see more eggs fly across the run eventually. Too bad he doesn't understand 'Bad Boy!' Or is a tad bit pickier about who he mounts. Until next time have a great chicken day!
Footnote: I decided not to put Bowzer in with Cashmire as her vent never did go completely back to normal & I was worried with her small compact body he might her her leg again. As of date she has Pippi La'Roo a frizzle who along with Madeline are her companions.

another day with the kids

Good rainy afternoon!
Its a gray rainy day so thought I would work on the pictures I have taken of my 'kids' & realized it was a good day to write as well. Today I don't have anything really in mind that is important, just things running through my mind. Its sort of funny how much I have become attached to my 'kids'. I always thought I'd just get them, feed & house them & that would be it. It now seems I have favorites who have loving (?) personalities. OK, so I am going way beyond the realistic view of chickens, but you know the ones, who you can hold & look up at you with those cute chicken eyes then fall asleep in your arms? Those are the ones I seem to fall head over heels for & they make me realize just how important I am to their well being. I have some who are just chickens, they don't want to be near me except when I bring the feed, but others will come to me & jump up in my lap & talk to me. Bowzer, who had a stroke when she was young, still needs to come see me & tell me about her day. She is content to settle in my arms & just chat away. When she is finished, she will jump down & go on with her business most of the time. But sometimes, she follows me around as I work on the coop or run. May Belle, who never recovered the use of her leg after Chatty pounced on her too hard, is another that wants me to hold & talk to her. Even though she is over 6 months old, she will still worble to me when she is comfortable in my lap. I will sit & read while she sleeps or tells me she wants down. Voodoo Moon who is completely crippled by birth, has a little noise she makes when she is content, it almost sounds like a laugh. Even though she can eat on her own, she gets fed by me once a day with wet food so I know she is getting enough water. She lives in the ER playpen & has a big soft teddy bear she likes to be under. And yes, I make sure she has it over her when she wants to sleep! I have a new girl, Rosy, who came to me last week because she was getting all her tail feathers pulled out by the bigger girls. Now she is cute but very afraid of everything, which I don't blame her. Catching her takes 2 people but once I have her, she will relax & let me tend to her tail area. Last night was the first time she actually stayed in my lap without me holding her. She has never really been held so it will take time for her to become comfortable with me, I think. Well, it does seem I have a theme with all of this....if they have been injured or sick I get attached, guess its all the time spent with them. But I am the type of person who has to be involved or why do it? Sometimes I wish my rooster 'Cashmire' was nicer, but then I won't trust him to protect the girls, which I might add HE is very good at. But my poor 51 yr old legs are taking a beating with him, when he decides momma is too close. Now that Spring is in the air here, both boys have taken it upon themselves to be more aggressive with me at times. I am slowly (painfully) learning the signs from both of them when its time to back off. Even Chatty, my mild mannered boy, gets a little up in the feathers if I am near Scarlette. Can't wait to introduce him to the new girls I will be getting this weekend! I have a feeling I will need to stay clear for a bit until he calms down, if you get my meaning. My neighbor is getting a new batch of chicks & wants to thin out her older girls who don't lay as well anymore. They are all big enough that I think they will be good hens for Chatty to have. I am hoping to find a Silky male for Bowzer since she is so small. My 2 roosters are too big for her & the last Silky male I had for her was the perfect fit. Sadly he died last October so she has been in with Cashmire who leaves her alone since he has 4 big girls to play house with. but I really think she needs a mate again that won't hurt her. Its funny but Cashmire who is very aggressive with Chatty, will leave my male Silkies alone if they are with him. Plus I am smart enough to put the male in when he is small before he crows & that seems to help. I had this plan when I decided to raise chickens to only have maybe 3 to 6 hens & no roosters because I didn't want to hatch eggs. Well here I am 1 1/2 yrs later with 2 roosters, wanting another plus taking in any girls people don't want. The small hen house is now being re-designed from 4ft X 3ft to 7ft X 10ft with a wall down the middle so I can have both roosters on their own side. The 9ft X 12ft run is now also being extended & divided so they also have their own space without the fights. My wonderful art shop is now over run with chicken dust/dander, straw, feed & wood shavings. I keep thinking some day....I just might get to use it to create my stained glass & jewelry again, but for now the chickens get to have my wonderful space & I get to use the kitchen table.
Well until next time have a wonderful chicken day!

What bedding do you choose for your chickens?

Hello to my Chicken readers!
You know even though I grew up on a farm, I never thought about what bedding I was cleaning out or putting in. Dad said 'Do it' & I just did, hey kids don't care just as long as its fast & not too messy. Let me be VERY clear, I am not saying anything is better than the other in this article, this is just what I have dealt with by using the different beddings I am writing about. Straw is what I learned to use growing up so that's what I started with for my chickens. One bale runs about $10 here & is easy for me to get. I never had any problems with it if I was lazy & not on top of keeping the coop spotless. Yeah, like that's going to happen! I like the fact it settles down fast & with very little dust. Its light weight enough the girls can dig around in it to make nests & easy to add more if needed. Plus I like the fact they don't try to eat it once they realize it has no likable favor. It is so light that even bagging it up to put either in the garden, under bushes or in the compost pile is very easy on my back. When we had the animal attack the bunny & chickens this last fall, I had to make a tarp coop in the basement so I had to come up with a bedding that would be easy for me to haul out. I have a neighbor who loves her wood shaving, so I thought that might be a easy to sweep up bedding. I got the same pine shavings she uses & put it down, lots of dust but the girls loved the fact they could dust bathe in it. Problem was my little man, Cashmire has the awful habit of dumping the feed as soon as I put it down, so the girls were eating feed mixed with the very small bits of shavings. Milly ended up with so much in her tummy, it wasn't going through the gizzard & breaking down, so she pooped pure sawdust, It ended up like sandpaper to her insides & I lost her after a day even though I shot oil & water inside her vent to help ease it through. She was pooping white bloody water by the time she died. So I was heart broken, but knew this was something important that I needed to remember. Now I have straw on top of the wood shavings & that has seemed to help with that (so far). Another friend uses hay in her coop & has never had a problem, I tried that when I couldn't get the straw & the girls went nuts! Oh how they loved the hay to eat, but then again a problem.....Jiggerbug ate the long thin stems & not enough grit & became gizzard bound to the point I had to put her down. So now if I want them to have hay, I buy the herbal bags of hay from a herb company & know that it will not get bound up & cause problems. I also tried cut grass from mowing our lawn, I set it out in the sun to dry & put that in the nesting boxes thinking it would be very soft for them. Domino decided she preferred eating it while she nested & she too because gizzard bound, I had her in the house 2 weeks nursing her before I had to put her down. The grass would have been alright I think, if it had been cut shorter, but you know how you don't really think of these things at the time. Now any grass cut goes to my neighbors goats! I love my chickens, but sometimes the mistakes I make just kill my heart when I realize I have hurt my girls. Everyone has what works for them & I am learning as I go along that what works for me may not work for someone else. Part of the problem is most of my girls are raised in the house before going to a coop, so they have never experienced fresh grass or hay & then over eat to the point it kills them with the gizzard bound issues. When I created my run, I cut into the grass to remove it so I could put chicken wire down with weed netting. I also put in fresh dirt & put the old grass in my compost pile. I was so worried about animals getting into the coop I never let my girls experience fresh grass as it grew so they would get used to it. Now I have a mix of hens who were raised with grass & others who weren't so it is hard to allow them to have fresh cut grass. Thank goodness I am the type that will give fresh vegs, fruits, grains ect to suppliment their diets, so I don't feel too bad, but I do have to watch my girls when they find grass so they don't go nuts. The one thing I have found with the different beddings is what to do with them when you change/clean the coop. hay, grass & wood shaving break down so fast they are great for my gardens & compost piles, but the straw takes forever to break down & is not as easy to place. But I did use it for my gardens over the winter, where it still is until I remove it. I could till it in but there is too much of it for the small space. I do have a special chicken compost area but it too is completely full so had to think of what to do with all the straw. Well, I have tons of bushes & trees that line my yard & decided since they will grow very bushy the straw under them would be hidden & give the plants some needed benefits. Plus the small animals would have a great nesting area that is well protected & private. Plus, because the chicken poo straw is spread out under them there is no smells, which I had worried about. So my trash man doesn't have to deal with it, the neighbors don't have to smell it & I have recyced it quickly. The wood shavings/straw mix I like under my lilac trees, the straw settles to the bottom & the shavings on top so it makes the bed look nice & holds in any water/rain we get. needless to say, I will still battle these weird issues as I go along & hopefully you will learn something from my rabblings.
Update on some of my girls: May Belle, who Chatty was too rough mating with is now completely lame with one leg but has learned to hop around quite happily. She is now another in house pet along with Voodoo Moon who is completely crippled but healthy. Rosy came to me 2 days ago, she had been pecked at her tail area & needed some quiet time to heal. She is doing well & right now is down in the dining room hanging out. Once she has gotten some feathers she will be a new mate to Cashmire since she is small but tall. Poor Chatty is so big, I have to really be careful who I put in with him. He is a gentle soul but as a Buff Orpington he has the weight that crushes some of the girls. Spring is in the air here & both boys are getting a tad more aggressive which is normal but murder on my poor legs they like to attack.
Well until next time, Have a great chicken day!
Footnote: After many tries with everything I now use good ole bedding hay that seems to work just fine with the ones I have now. I think since I tend to give them everything food wise they no longer feel the need to try & eat what they nest in.

What not to wear around a Rooster with color issues

Cashmire, (who you meet each time you come to my site). Oh my beautiful second born 2-legged Welsummer boy, the protector of the girls, the one that crows until he should be horse, the bain of my existance....oops I mean...the joy of my life! Oh cut the soap opera music, if you have a rooster you know exactly what I will be talking about. We all know certain colors really ruffle the old feathers when it comes to our aggressive pig headed roosters. I wear so much red I have Chatty so used to it he ignores it. Now on the other hand, depending on the day, hour, mood of Cashmire, nothing I wear is safe....Peach colored pants...NO! Ok, lets try turq/teal pants....NO!...Purple Crocs....NO! Ok lets settle for the bland color of black pants, black shirt, black socks, black shoes...NO! It has become a sick little game of what I can get away with wearing. I can go in get the water container & he just looks at me, go back in with the same clothes on 3 minutes later & he is fighting me out the door. Now mind you, the girls are in such shock they have run to the far in of the coop in a mass pile of feathers & feet. All they want is their nice wonderful feed Momma brings, not a crazy stirred up rooster knocking over ever feed dish he can, running/charging at me. He doesn't even take the time to ruffle up the neck feathers anymore before he decides to come at me. Lord forbid I bend over anywhere near him when he gets this way. That's a big advertizing sign for him to let loose with claws & beak. I knew the spurs could be painful but deadly to a person...NO! Well, this last week in 2 different times I got nailed 9 times once & a good 6 times the next. His spurs are about 2 1/2 inchs long & pointy at the ends where Chattys are rounded. That makes a BIG difference when you get hit by them, let me tell you. Now, I understand motion pretty well, but how he jumps & can pull those legs sideways to drive those spurs in, is beyond me. During the 9 times event, he hit me just above the knee in the meaty area, drove that spur in like a nail. It hurt so bad, I just stood there trying to get the stars to go away from my eyes. Oh, and yes he is still attacking while I struggled not to pass out in front of him. Oh wouldn't I look like a big fat porcipine had its way with me. That day I was wearing peach colored pants, gray sweater & Nightmare before christmas socks....Hey it was early! The girls got their food & I held him like a football to get the rest of the work done. Next day, bruises the size of silver dollars on my legs, I go in again, he seems pretty calm, yes notice the word CALM in that. Made it maybe 2 feet in, when the spurs, feathers & hens fly. This time the front of my legs gets ripped, yes ripped open to the shin bone by my featherly little devil...angel. I was able to grab the water container & high tail it out with only 6 spur marks on me this time. Well, both legs are now so sore I just can't will myself to go in there alone. Yeap, called the husband, who is wearing black pants but does he attack him, Oh no. He approves of the husbands attire. I grab Cashmire & hand him over & finish what I need to be doing, like calming the girls, collecting the eggs while praising them for a job well done & placing the water container where it goes. Today I wore a forest green dress & he was fine with that, for today. I know you can remove the spurs or cut & burn them but to the pain of the rooster. I have a problem with that. The quick seems to follow almost down to the tip of his spurs & when I once trimmed them, they bleed for a very long time. I was able to get them to stop with white pepper & flesh color bandaids. So if you have a rooster like mine you can relate, if you are thinking of getting a rooster this could happen to you. Mother Earth News had a great article in March (2010) about how to gently scare away a aggressive rooster with soft toys & balls. Good idea but not for a make shift 4 foot by 10 feet basement tarp coop Out in the open I could do this without feeling guilty, but in their now coop, I would be terrorizing the already upset hens. BLess their little hearts, how they put up with him I don't know. Now me, I would be that mean old hen who doesn't take a kindly beak to his loud aggressive ways & would peck his head to drive some rooster sense into it. "You idiot!, drive away our food, treat & water source! What is the MATTER with you". Ok so I don't do chicken well, but you get my point. He is definitely not hen pecked yet but I am hoping to someday find that all special girl whose nasty attitude puts him in his place, if not I have some wonderful cow leather upstairs that can be made into chaps. Until next time, have a wonderful chicken day!

Chatty, My big beautiful boy



Hello my Chicken friends!
By now you have an idea of what type of animal person I am, so i thought i might go off the path of one issue & write about many. I love reading & found that I have pretty much gobbled up all the info I can on my chickens. I have found some great books, which have become the books I use the most when I am at a lose of what to do. The Chicken medical book is a must in this household, though I must admit some illnesses look like too many listed in the book & can get you real scared real fast. To make my life & mental state easier, I have highlighted the area of each illness in that book on the chickens poo. Ok laugh, but to be honest, that is one thing that changes & is noticed usually first. Now, if you remember Nutmeg who had the mites, she eventually showed signs of Marckes disease & died. Just so you know I never let them suffer, my husband the chemist brought me home chloriform which has been a blessing, they go to sleep fast & never know. Anyway what I am trying to say here is books, web, magazines are a big help when you have a problem with your chickens. Now lets talk about Chatty, my big beautiful pet rooster. I had said at one time I trained him on a harness & leash. When he was really small, maybe two months old, I bought the smallest rabbit harness I could find, I turned it upside down so the top rested under the breast area & pulled the harness straps up behind the wings so he couldn't get out of it. The 2nd set of straps went around his neck area very lose. Reason for this, is they literally flip out if something is up tight on their neck & will lower their head until they pass out. Yes, it is funny the first time to watch but since I am not into cruelty I fixed it. Now I would put this on him when he was running around the house to get used to it for quite a while. Once he outgrew that one I got another larger & put him in that one. Well by the time he was 6 months old & the weather was nice, I attached a very thin cat leash to it & carried him outside. At first he was mad he couldn't go far on it & fought to get out of it mildly. If he had freaked, I would have picked him up & just carried him for a bit. We did this for days until he got so used to it he forgot he was leashed. I could hook him to the dog run lead & off he would go checking out the grass. No the dog didn't care, she is 14 yrs old, blind & lays pretty much in one spot like a door stop. Now, my southern neighbor was quite amazed to see us out walking around the yard & told her husband who was in Iraq at the time. Of coarse he thought she was just pulling his leg, until he came home in May & saw this big yellow rooster being walked by me. By the end of summer Chatty no longer needed the leash/harness as he then would follow me. I still put him in it occasionally if I want to make sure he is safe, especially when the hawks are out & about. Otherwise he is lose to run around while I am outside playing. He has now decided when I sit at the picnic table he wants to come join me & hops up on the bench next to me & talks. We have had some wonderful conversations about the things he sees. I also decided to see how he would react to a car ride when I went to my Co-op 30 miles away. I didn't bring a cage or anything, lucky for me now that I think about it. I put puppy pads down on the front seat & back seats & put him in the back. Well he got so excited & started talking up a storm. he is tall enough he can see through the window & was running from one side to the other telling me about all the things he could see. I must admit you do have to adjust the way you drive. Yes I did stop a few times too fast & had him fly across the seat into the floorboard. He now wants to be up in the front seat or arm rest between the seats so he is next to me. If I do have to stop fast, its great cause I can do the mommy arm bit & keep him from doing a beak dive into the radio. I wish I had an old beat up pickup but I have a red toyota which makes people do triple takes, where I think if we were in a pickup they would not be a bit surprised by the rooster looking at them from across the lane. That's what I believe anyway. Now please do not put your chicken in the car thinking you will get the same results as I have had with Chatty. I do not want to be the one blamed for your fender bender. I was just very very lucky, but I do so enjoy having him as company. But I also found out he hates the radio on, I think it is the sound pitches & he will peak at the side of my head if its on, so we have a nice quiet ride with just the two of us talking. I try to remember to bring him a jar of water & feed but sometimes i forget & have to stop at a drive thur for him. Now he is not complaining when he gets a sub with lettuce, roast beef, wheat bread, hold the mayo & mustard & a cup of tap water, no ice. I tear it apart for him into small pieces & put it on the clean puppy pad for him to eat while we drive back home. The water goes into the cup holder, 1/2 poured out so not big spills, for him to drink after his big lunch. See, I keep telling you I am no normal pet owner, maybe you will learn not to be surprised by what I do! He also loves when we go to the feed stores because he is allowed in & just loves all the attention he gets. As long as I hold him you can pet him. Well, things here are fine, getting ready for the spring thaw to rebuild the chicken coop but the girls in the basement are doing great & laying 5 eggs a day now. I gave 3 doz eggs to my southern neighbor this week & still have 4 doz in the frig. Well I hope you have enjoyed this little bit of information & will come back to see me again. Until then have a great Chicken day.

Chicken diet, the batz way!

Before I go any farther, this is NOT about people eating the chickens....just so we are clear on that matter. Most chicken people I have talked to feed their their animals a mixture of chick feed, cracked corn & veg/fruit scraps. Do I do that? Oh like you have to ask that question if you have read the other articles by me. I am in a wonderful Co-Op where I can get bulk grains ect for a great price for my family. After much reading & research i decided to suppliment my chickens normal feed with various items which could benefit them, plus make them oh so happy. It started with store bought rolled oats that I heated up & added either milk or yogurt to, can you see where this is leading? Well they loved that so much, I started making the yogurt for them with raw milk I got from a dairy, then thought why not put some kefir in there. Well I can tell you they loved the new morning breakfast on the bitter cold days. They would run & meet me when I came in to get their pans & wait there til I returned with the warm feed for them. I loved the fact they all look up at me with a chicken look of "What ya got?' While baking I came across some wheat germ I had & thought that would make an excellent bonus in their morning feed so I mixed some of that in one morning. They liked it! My neighbor who introduced me to the Co-Op would buy 50lb bags of stone cut oats & I thought that was a great idea not for me but the chickens. Well by the time I put the order in,I had 50 lbs of stone rolled oats, 40 lbs of rolled oats, 25 lbs of wheat germ & 40 lbs of crushed 7 grain mix all for the chickens. Ok, I went overboard just a tad but hey, they really enjoy it & they seem so much happier now & not so many fights. I have also noticed the ones who are laying have eggs with beautiful sunflower yellow yolks that taste wonderful. It has also seemed Cashmire, my protector rooster has mellowed just a bit. Not for long but once he has eaten he seems to be quieter, maybe because he ate so much he needs a nap! I also went to the store & bought liquid baby vits to add to this feed, for 6-8 cups of cooked grains I add about 2 syring full of the vits & mix it in well. I have found they don't like the taste or smell of it, so if its mixed in really good they never notice. Though if they don't like it, my cat Frankie will chow down on it. So at least it does not go to waste. Because i deal with a few crippled or sick chickens I keep a supply of baby food meat & vegetables on hand that I can syring into any that are having a hard time eating. Most of you will never go to this extreme for your chickens & that is alright, as long as they get a good chicken feed they will be fine. I on the other hand, have a tendency to spoil all my animals, just not my husband, he knows where the frig is. The chickens also get cracked corn now that it is cold when I remember to give it to them, but I try to feed them at least a warm morning meal during the cold months, once it gets warmer I will use the wheat germ & rolled oats in with their normal feed & throw out the other stuff as a scratch into their run. Because I only have 12 chickens the extra items I buy last a long time so its not like I am raising a huge food bill for them. Plus when they are happy, I am happy which makes for a nice calm household. I also like to give them canned Veg-all when I have it, the reason for this is I have no vegetable food scraps since I don't peel my vegs before I eat them, its the same with the fruits I eat. So I do buy extra apples that I can share with them. My Chatty loves apples & expects some if I am eating one, he also fights me over cheese. Its like a tug of war to get him away from the cheese if its anywhere near him. Buff Orpingtons have a tendency to gain too much weight which can break their legs so I try to watch what I feed him as a precaution of this. Plus now he has to share with Scarlette, who rips items right out of his mouth, so he has to work hard to get any food around her. Man, those hens can be monsters when it comes to food time. No wonder the roosters are so bossy & angry all the time. Now, like I said before I did research all that I was doing for my chickens & know that the extra foods I give them should not be more than a certain amount per day, I also have the baby vits & regular chicken vits that I use on a regular bases to insure they are getting the proper minerals & so on. They are definitely eating healthier than my husband who thinks chips & salsa are grains & vegetables & should count as his daily health food. Just so you know, I have been known to make homemade soup just for my dog in the colder months & feed the cats salmon. Its not like we are rich or have alot of money, but I am very good at saving, shopping smart & doing without things i really don't need. I prefer to use the money on the animals who bring me joy & with the chickens great tasting eggs. Now if you do decide to feed your chickens anything besides chick feed & cracked corn, please do your research so you are not harming them. There is a percentage of what is healthy for them daily of these items. They really need the chick feed because it carries all the ingredients they require to stay healthy. I am not talking about food scraps but items like what I feed mine. Also beware certain foods like raw potato peels can actually kill your chickens, once cooked they are safe for them. Something to do with the potatoes belonging to the bellidonna family, same goes with the stocks of tomato plants, never feed them or let a chicken eat those, they are pure poison to them & any other animal. Well I hope you enjoyed this as much as I have writing about it. Until next time have a wonderful chicken day!

Voodoo Moon, My special little girl

I want to introduce you to a very special little hen named Voodoo Moon. She came to me by way of a friend when she was only a week old. She had one leg that was up so she hobbled on one leg & my friend did not want to put her down if I could help. So I took her home & started research & therapy on her. First let me say no one knew what to do for her. I contacted bird injury experts & looked on the web for anything that could tell me how to get her leg lowered without having major surgery done on her. I had seen an article of a vet who put a bird in a sling after correcting a damaged leg. He also recommending mild weights to be added so the leg would straighten & grow strong. Now mind you, this bird was big & mine is the size of a large dust-ball, so I had to rethink the idea a bit. I ended up wrapping the leg from toes to hip, then added 1 penny to the top of the foot area to cause pressure that might bring the leg down slowly without hurting the bird. Within days her leg started to come down but now I had another problem, her other leg had compensated so much it was now causing major stress on the knee joint. In a matter of hours her bones had moved in both legs to the point they were beside each other instead of one on top of the other. So now I have 2 big problems that have to be addressed. I am not expert, nor have I had to deal with this before so I did the best I could so, remember that as you read this. I was able to get one leg back to where it needed to be & bandaged it, the other was so tight I couldn't fix it without tearing tissue so I bandage it & put pennies on the top of the feet to help bring them back in line. Needless to say nothing I did worked & she became completely crippled with 2 legs that look & bend like a frogs. But don't worry, that little girl has figured out how to get around using her legs to kick back & her wings to move her forward. Because of all her moving & rubbing she has lost a lot of her feathers on her tummy, wings & legs. I keep her in the dining-room where she is warm & I can check on her often. I have her in 1/2 of the ER playpen where she has a huge teddy bear she likes to lean on or move under its arms to sleep. she can eat on her own, but I have to water her constantly during the day because she will sling her water dish ever which way & ends up taking a bath instead of getting a drink. She is now around 7 months old but looks like a 2 month old chick because of her size. I believe because of all the trouble she had she will probably never lay an egg. I think her body would not be able to handle it with her on her stomach all the time. I have a special sling I put her some days so she can be out & about with us when I am not holding her. She also gets baths because her tummy area gets poo on it when she moves around. I still bandage her legs but now for protection against scraps & rubbings. I also use almond oil on her exposed skin areas which she seems to really like, not sure if its the oil or me gently rubbing it on her. Everyone that sees her says I should put her down that she looks like she is in pain. Believe me, this little girl gets treated with kid gloves & is spoiled rotten. If I ever believe she is suffering I will put her down, but now she is healthy, eats like a horse & enjoys being held. She may be ugly as sin to some but to me she is beautiful & I am glad she is part of my life. When I am tired or not feeling well I go get her & hold her. She talks to me while I feed her warm oatmeal or cream of wheat. She makes me realize that even though she has no real legs she wants to survive & I am more than welling to see she does. I had to teach my husband how to care for her so when I am sick or gone he can care for her. He is still learning she has to be held a certain way so she doesn't spit up her water through her nose. But I think eventually he'll get comfortable with her & relax, then they will do good together. But she prefers momma's touch since she has been with me for so long. Now I know most people wouldn't take the time or energy to do this for a chicken but my friend was so upset over the baby chick & knew I would try. I know that there are things I could have done differently or paid to have the surgery done or just put her down, but I wanted to try & give her a life & that I did. She will always need help from me but I don't mind that, its not like I have 50 kids, a job outside the home or anything. I choose her & I will make sure til her end she has what she needs & wants. Plus to be honest, she is good for me, when I am down over something stupid I can pick her up & see how hard she fights & know that my life is easy compared to hers. That is one of the reasons I love my chickens, they give me a sense of peace & calmness that is different from any other animal I have owned. Until next time, have a happy chicken day!
Footnote: My little Voodoo Moon passed away one night in her sleep on her big teddy bear.