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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, June 27, 2012

Egg bound hen..VERY graphic so BEWARE

Hello to all my wonderful chicken friends!

Now those who have read my Blog know how much my 'kids' mean to me & how I will do everything possible to help them even if that means putting them down as gently as possible.

Before I go on I want you to know there is pictures here that may turn some tummys so if you have a tender tummy do not go on beyond this point.

Rosy is a brown leg horn hen I have had for at least 3+ years, she has been a great hen besides being a bit skiddish, she has always been a gentle hen who i have grown to love quite a bit.  Well this winter with our odd hot days & cold days she had a on going chest cold that I did steam treatments for, vicks, heating bottles & so on to try & help her through.  Well needless to say she has had a rough tome but seemed to be getting a bit better until about a week or so ago...

My Rosy girl


Her coughing got worst as did her breathing is she got stressed so I just watched her & tried to make sure she didn't have any sudden events happen to her...like getting out of the door so CeeCee could chase her.


I have noticed her weight was getting higher whenever I picked her up & her tummy area seemed to getting a big larger...so I watched that as well....She hasn't laid any eggs in quite awhile but since the winter I wasn't worried cause I know the chest ailments might have stopped that.


but yesterday morning when I went to put them in the outside pin I noticed she was doing the feathers down to the ground & legs spread bit which is a sure sign of egg bound.  So instead of putting her out I kept her in the house & did an oil treatment...for those of you who don't know this, I take a needle-less syringe & fill it with mineral oil & gently place it up in her vent & shoot it at an upward & to the right angle...this helps prevent it from being poo'ed out as quickly & will help oil the areas for her to hopefully lay the egg.



I put hot water bottles under her & sat her in my old rocking chair with a sheet over it so it would be quiet & private for her.  I also did up a dish of feed with some warm water in it for her & sat that in front of her so she would not have to move to eat.  I left her alone for a good 2 hours then checked on her.  she had poo'ed but no egg so redid the oil treatment. All this time her tummy is getting larger so decided when Thomas came home to put her in a warm bath with his help...didn't need him cause she did not fight me, I gently pushed on her sides to help open up the vent to get water inside her so maybe she would pop out the egg...  After a good 15 minutes decided she had been in there long enough so took her out & wrapped her in a towel, added the hot water bottles inside the towel & let her rest.
After about 30 minutes she started coughing again so I went down & got her & held her...by this time she was struggling to breathe so asked Thomas to get the Chroloform to end her suffering.  After she had passed I noticed her vent area had started to work its way outside her body.  So knew right then & there I had to do an autopsy the next day on her...being today

Now some of you would never do this but for me I have to know why or what happened so I can try later on to prevent it...its not pleasant & since I love my 'kids' I have to cover their heads when I do this.  I was shocked by the first cut, all this yellow nasty smelling stuff came out through her small cut...actually it poured out & I hadn't even gotten through the skin area yet.  Well by the time I gently & carefully cut her open I had a huge amount of light yellow mass like things that felt like boiled eggs or semi hard cheese in feel....


beware pictures are now coming up.




Vent area outside of body

last egg up inside her

this poor hen had so much inside her it tore open the lining that carries the eggs & the old eggs that never made it out  had spilled into her body.  these old eggs had turned into firm yellow masses & there was no way for any egg behind them to travel out.  I don't know why this happened but somehow these trapped eggs had locked themselves into the traveling tube & stayed there preventing her from moving the others as these masses blocked the areas.


I was gentle so not to tear up anything inside her so I could look to see if anything else might be wrong.  Her gizzard was healthy & the intestines were in good shape but I did notice a few air pockets that could have been caused by her struggling to breathe at times & may have swallowed too much air.  so even with all this inside her she was still able to eat & digest the food so that explains why she was not skin & bones  but I am surprised that with this much stuff inside her she could eat or want to eat...


Ok for what I have learned by this...If the tummy area is not a semi hard mass you can maybe save them but once it gets to this you should put them down....Her tummy area looked like what a duck looks like a flatter tummy area instead of the nice rounded area a hen should have....The mass I felt up inside her was the last egg pictured but there was no way I could have helped her work it out since she had torn the insides & had old rotten eggs all through her body...tell you how bad this was she had pushed some of the old eggs up over her back area trying to get them out.


For those who think you might still be able to eat the hen I wouldn't recommend it as this was all through the gut area & was spoiled/rotten which means it may have tainted the meat so better to bury/burn the chicken than eat it.  Thomas dug me a hole in the older chicken cematary so she has others around her & I feel better knowing I didn't just bury her anywhere.


I am very sad to have to put her down but am thankful I am strong enough to do it to end her suffering......I adore the leg horns that I have as they are good laying hens when they lay & have Xtra large white eggs & are fairly easy chickens to work with..from my experience that is.


Oh a nicer note, Bowzer is still laying on the 4 eggs I let her have from CeeCees hens & am hoping in another week or so to have at least one baby chick for her to mother.  She so wants to be broody I couldn't say no this time around for her...I think she will be a fine mother & can't wait to see how large the babies get since she is a tiny hen & they will be big chickens eventually.


Well I do hope you all have a wonderful chicken day & I have helped you in some way...Until next time...M'



.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

RIP Porgie

                                 Porgie 2011      passed June 9, 2012


Fair well my sweet little Porgie, may you fly high in the clouds & the sound of your crow reach the angels ears....You created a wonderful place for us with your sweet personality & gentleness....I & the hens will miss you greatly.

Its always so sad for me to lose one of my 'kids'...Little Porgie was so hard because it hit so fast but thankfully I was there & held him at the end..So he knew Momma was there with him & he didn't have to go alone.

I am finally over all the jet lag..ok well I think I am...still have days of being overly tired.  It has been so wonderful to be home with my kids & to have them around me when ever I am outside.  Bowzer, my rump less Americana is broody, so took all the eggs that were sterile & gave her 4 from CeeCee's hens, so maybe in a few weeks she can finally be a momma.  I have had her 4 yrs & she has only been broody once before years back so I think I will give her a chance....I don't need any more chickens but what a few more?

Lauria got a big bath a few days ago in lavender baby shampoo, does she smell so nice & is all fluffy & soft now.  She actually loves to get bathes cause I use the hose from the sink on her, so I can get under her wings which she seems to really enjoy.  Its hard to believe she is already nearly a year old when they all told me she would probably die within 6 months.  As I type she is laying near my feet looking up at me..I think she knows she is being written about...lol

Been a tad stressed this week cause today the town property tax man was coming & I worried about him getting upset over the chickens being here...funny thing is he fell in love with Lauria when she came up to him in the living room....he even bent down to pet her...so I am safe for now...big load off my shoulders & heart.

So anyway since I have been gone I have been working on cleaning up the house & still need to get out into the gardens, which look like a mini jungle.....I did get 6 tomato plants at Job Lots for a total of $5.98..have no idea what they will be, but that is alright with me...I will enjoy them no matter what they turn out to be.

Thomas also bought me a blackberry bush & a blueberry tree that we got planted yesterday late in the afternoon....I am sooo excited by these  as I have been wanting to expand my tiny orchard.  One of the grape vines looks like it may make it & we also found way in the back a few wild raspberry bushes we didn't know were there...So I plan to dig those up & move them to the one I planted so I can keep them in one place.  The mini apple tree i planted 3 years ago is doing well.....another 2 yrs & I should have some apples on it.  we have decided to quit buying starter fruit plants as they all seem to die before the 1st year is over....We have lost too much money trying this so from now on we will buy small established plants at a higher cost cause they seem to do better & live.

I have a huge list of things I want to get done this summer but I am sure I will get side tracked like I always do...I really do have good intentions but I am also one who gets an idea & has to go with it right then * there so it tends to push other things I need to do out of the way for a bit.  I did get the big shop coops cleaned this last week...took a full day as I did a big clean out & by the time I was done I was sore & worn out.  They now have better perches & fans set up when its hot, I also opened up the old run area for them so they could hang out in the chicken condo (greenhouse).  they have decided to make that their big dust bath area which is fine with me...but its funny to see these huge dust clouds coming out of the condo.  Waiting to see if any dust devils show up with all the wings going.

This next week I may be in court as a juror ...I find out Monday night if I have to go in....its not bad but if I am chosen it means time away from home & the kids....which you all know I am a big home body so that will drive me nuts...especially after being gone for 12 days to Kona Hawaii last month.

I also have my yearly check-up/medicine renewal with my doctor on Monday...sure he will find something I am doing he doesn't like...lol...I drive him nuts at times, but I am sure he does like the fact I am only in to see him maybe all of 2 times a year....I am not a wimp so I don't call him if I am sick or even hurt unless I really have to...like a broken bone...well ok I broke my collar bone & never went in...I mean really what can they do?...it didn't need set & I knew to be careful with it.....But he was not amused when he found out..only reason he knew was he saw my collarbone & realized it didn't look right...lol...too late for him to do anything.....but he did get a bit cranky with me...yeah...yeah.... in one ear out the other....

And no I am not a teenager, some would say I am old...baby boomer age but act like a 14 year old most of the time....:)

Well I am just checking in to let you all know I am alive & still kicking...have a great chicken day....M'



Saturday, June 9, 2012

A trip of a life time or how to avoid Lava kisses

                                    Kona Hawaii May 2012

This trip has been in the making for 22 years when my college friend made a statement she dreamed of some day going to Hawaii.....in my head the thought that I would make it happen for her.

At the time I had only know her for about a year or so but knew we would be friends for many years to come & I hoped that this was something I could give to her....fast forward to my hubby going to Afghanistan 2011 & me hoarding all the money I could while he was away...no new clothes, fancy shoes or even fancy meals...I saved every penny I got that didn't need to go for house payments, gas bills, electric bills & so on...

I did still spoil my chickens with the co-op buys of grains & oats but rarely did anything myself that might cost money...I made sure there was extra money saved so my hubby could go see his folks when he came back on a 2 week leave to see his folks in Vegas & then again when he returned for good.....I felt if I could do this after all these years without him getting upset he could go spend all the time he wanted with his parents.

                               black sand beach  Hawaii

I got all the tickets for this in February which included flying me to L.a. California from here, flying Anne' from Missouri to L.A. California, motel for the night...tickets to Kona Hawaii, hotel room with kitchen & rental car, then return tickets to L.A. California then more tickets to get us both back home....plus money to pay for all our luggage on the flights, food, gas & so on...

I also spent 8 hours on the web looking for foods I could cook & make for Anne's type 2 diabetes that would keep her healthy, bought a case of bottled water we kept in the trunk of the car for while out & even packed lunches & snacks for her each day.

I down loaded maps with directions also for areas we wanted to go & kept everything in a folder so it was with me at all times......ok so that was a great idea but still got lost a lot along the way but hey its not like we would end up in Texas or something...right?!


  large sea turtle who seemed to really like me at the Black Sand beach

   Another big sea turtle sunning itself at the Black sand beach


All that salt water air cleaned out my sinuses so I had very few allergy problems & loved how my skin felt after a day at the beaches or playing in the water.  yeah we got a tad sunburned but I put sun screen on us before me left the hotel room & made sure we didn't stay out all day in the sun but took breaks where it was shady or headed back to the room for rest or down time.

Our room was right across the street from the hotel beach area that had 2 gas BBQ grills & 2 charcoal grills plus nice picnic tables so I BBQ'd one night out there & brought a salad I made & a fruit dish as well so we could eat out there.  I decided though I prefer charcoal grills that the gas grill was nicer to the environment & quicker.  We watched the boys surf & waves come in at high tide...a very nice way to end the day.

I really tried to do as much as I could for Anne' to enjoy but it seemed at times I just mad her angry with all my getting lost & having to turn around...for me it was no big deal as everywhere we went it was beautiful...even dead end streets had cool houses & pretty trees & beautiful flowers to see.

We did get to go to some cool open air markets that had local fruits & veggies plus items like clothes, jewelry, sculptures ect...sure was fun to talk with everyone & see all the neat things they were selling...As you know since they are an Island most everything has to be brought in by ship so that raises the cost of any non-native item.....A lot of the prices were like it was up here in Massachusetts except for gas...that was $4.85 a gallon for regular gas...about $1,25 or so more than here but everything else balanced out when I spent most of the money on local grown foods/fruits/veggies.


                                           

                             Beautiful underwater life

I finally got to snorkel one day & actually went out into the open area of the sea with all its monster currents......took some pictures with an underwater camera that I have yet to develop but man talk about all the different types of coral...very cool...saw a few parrot fish (males) & a few other fish but they were so fast couldn't get good pictures of them before a wave sent me off in another direction.....Spent about 30 minutes doing this until a massive wave caught my snorkeling tube & took off with it...decided I needed to get out then as I kept getting hit & drinking more salt water than I needed to....but oh was it fun. Tried to teach Anne' in a shallow calm area away from the waves but she seems to have a water fear even though she can swim....

Sure made me wish I still scuba dived & still had my license cause I know I would have been in heaven if I could have done that....but the snorkeling was great so I couldn't complain about it.


  Really cool tree at one of the markets where little green lizards hung out.

All said & done I had a wonderful time & really enjoyed getting to meet new people, kind people & fun people...got tons of Hawaii hugs from woman which was pretty cool....came back with a few lava kisses...that's when you get thrown onto the lav from a wave & it cuts you open...painful but now have a reminder on my legs of the trip...got tons of shells to create a new line of jewelry with...beautiful coral that was every where on the beaches...one large piece will go in my Mothers memorial garden for her to enjoy...the others will be used & some carved for jewelry.....but brought home no sand, lava or rocks...big no-no as you will be cursed with bad luck if you do that...so I was a good girl & left that alone.

I have now decided to save money for a trip to the small more native non-commercial Island for my hubby & I to go to someday....you could say I am not a big shopper or have to go to all the popular places most go when they hit the islands...for me it was enjoying the beauty around me...taking my time & really seeing things like the boys surfing or a small boy with a small net catching shrimp to take home for supper.

One big thing happened my last night there...I was at the hotel beach area watching the sun set for the last time & had a family come by me.....they were spreading the ashes of the fathers daughter & throwing out flowers into the ocean...I will tell you I cried for them, it was such a painful but beautiful experience to witness...with all this beauty there could still be pain...it sure hit me hard to realize someone so young had passed & they came to Hawaii to send her to the ocean where she had been the happiest.
      they call this a ground dove...such a pretty little thing

Now to not end on a sad note I did get to hear Roosters, see a few hens & a big pretty boy while I was in Hawaii...this boy was at the Kona town market & let me get close to him to take his picture...he even fluffed up his feathers for me & groomed while I sat there with the camera....


I have a wall dedicated to my chickens with tons of their pictures plus artwork & needlework friends have given me...I plan to copy this picture & add it to the wall as he was such a sweet boy he needs to be remembered by me.

needless to say I was super tired by the time I got home...being in airports & planes for 2 days was super hard on my body...the company had screwed up my flight from L.A. California to home but after almost of 2 hours work by a girl in Kona we got me a flight home so I will always be thankful for her help & kindness....

I wished I could have done better for my best friend so she didn't get mad at me like she did, though I feel guilty about that I am glad I was able to keep a promise I had made 22 years ago to her.  I loved Hawaii & all that I got to see & do plus I got to eat spicy octopus again...yea!!!...love that stuff & they don't do it right here on the main land..

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day...M'