Sunday, December 6, 2015

Chicken Cancer?!

My chicky chicks have been enjoying some mild weather lately. They still aren't laying with the exception of one of my Olive Eggers. I get a nice green egg every other day or so. I decided that I'm not going to be one of those people who put artificial light in their coop to make their chickens lay all year around. They need 12-14 hours per day to keep laying every day.

I was out at the coop yesterday and one of my Black Copper Marans was walking around like a penguin and she looked ill. I finished up my chores and went to examine her. She had massive ascites, which is fluid build up in the abdomen. She took horribly uncomfortable. When I saw how bad it was, I knew she needed to go to chicken heaven. Chickens don't get ascites for nothing- it's their bodies reacting to something that is seriously wrong with them. I was very curious as to what made her so sick.

I sent her to chicken heaven and then I put on my gloves, grabbed my knife and went to work. I was not going to pay $80 plus $75 shipping on a necropsy for a $15 bird.

She had A LOT of fluid. I kid you not- at least a quart of fluid came out of her. It would not stop coming out! She was SO skinny too. Poor, poor girl. All that fluid was so painful for her. It breaks my heart.

She had so much fluid build up that her gallbladder was a blown up little round ball. It was the weirdest thing. Upon further inspection, her intestinal walls were thickened....and then I found her reproductive tract. It looked like cauliflower! It was a clump of tumors. Hard little tumors. Some were really, really little and some were a little bigger, like half the size of a marble maybe.

I initially figured Marek's Disease was the cause, but after doing my research, I've read that ovarian cancer is thought to be very common in chickens. It is not a very well researched condition because most hens are butchered prior to two years of age. Most hens seem to get it after the age of two. My hen wasn't even a year old yet, which makes this even more unusual. I suspect this is what killed my Buff Orpington this summer. She developed ascites and died shortly thereafter.

I was sure to give my little Maran lots of kisses and told her I loved her before she died. I was sad that she had to go. She was a calm little bird. It was a shitty morning on Saturday, but a very interesting one at that.

Just a day in the life of a chicken lady.....









Friday, November 13, 2015

Bumblefoot Adventures

During the wonderful scaly leg mite adventure, I discovered that Henny Penny had bumblefoot, which is an infection that poultry can get from having a scratch or whatever on their tootsie. This is evident by a big round bubble on their foot and by a dark brown or black scab on the bottom. See her foot below.  

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A VET. I AM A CHICKEN LADY WHO IS DOING WHAT I CAN TO TAKE CARE OF MY OWN CHICKENS. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. TALK TO YOUR VETERINARIAN IF YOU THINK YOUR CHICKEN MAY BE SICK. COPYING WHAT I BLOG ABOUT MAY RESULT IN INJURY OR DEATH OR YOUR CHICKEN AND FOR THIS, I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE. 
I had picked up several surgical supplies earlier in the week in order to remove the infection. Per researching the internet, you will find that if nothing is done with bumblefoot, the infection will move to other tissues and could eventually kill Henny Penny. I can't let that happen! There are a few different routes one could take to treat bumblefoot. The first route is to contact an avian vet! We do not have any of those anywhere near where I live. I believe the closest is in the Twin Cities and I'll be darned if I am driving a chicken that far. You can also remove the infection yourself by soaking the foot, taking a scalpel to it and getting it out, or you can continually treat it with antibiotic ointment and re-bandage every few days- which only sometimes can be successful. 

I decided on route #2 first. I gathered my supplies and then gave Henny Penny a nice spa treatment by soaking her tootsies in warm water with epsom salts. And yes....my chicken came inside my house for this. SHHHHHH. Don't tell Eric!

Chicken selfie!

Soak soak soak!
 After she took her soak, I disinfected with iodine and went to work. The infection was way too deep in her foot and I couldn't get it out successfully, so I stopped what I was doing and put antibiotics on her owie and bandaged her up. I also gave her a shot of Tylan-50 for good measure, which I know was probably overkill. Tylan-50 is used for bad respiratory bacterial infections and such. Her little tootsie is all bandaged up and she is currently separated from the other girls. I checked in on her yesterday and she has been up moving around and scratching as usual. I will re-apply antibiotic and a new bandage this morning for her. 
All bandaged up!
On Monday, I traded Dylan the duck for 5 new hens and brought the lovely ladies home with me. I kept them separate for the night in the 6-foot tall dog kennel by the house and unfortunately two of the hens, Brunhilda and one of the Easter Eggers escaped and were escorted to chicken heaven by the neighbor's bulldog, Zeus. 
RIP, Easter Egger.

Ugh. I knew right away that next day that two had gone missing and was looking all over for them and had posted a missing chicken ad on FB (LOL. Don't judge me!). Last night, the neighbor came over and told my husband that his dog dragged some chickens home and that he believed he owed some money for them. I have a little faith restored in humanity. It's a nice feeling to know that there are some good, honest people still out there. I know there are several in these small communities, but it's nice for the confirmation. 

The other three new ones are working on establishing the pecking order. The Barred Rock is trying to be queen bee in the coop. She's a fighter and is trying to show everyone who is boss. I currently have a contest for naming one of my new Easter Eggers. Get over to my page and get your name idea submitted before Sunday night so voting can begin on Monday!

Kickin' some dust up. These are the three newbies.

I just love this one's feathers. She's a beauty.

New girls checking out the coop

NAME THIS GIRL FOR FREE EGGS!



This past week has been pretty shitty to say the least. My 28-year-old cousin Jeff died in a terrible accident, leaving behind a young wife, and baby girl, Quinn. My grandpa was admitted to the ICU last night for internal bleeding. My dear friend Jan's (the owner of Lucky's Place No-Kill Feline Rescue) pancreatic cancer is back. And on top of it, another friend of mine, Krista Robertson's son who has Congenital Heart Disease, has now been added to the waiting list for a heart transplant. This little guy is only TWO years old!  If you have some time, please spare a positive thought, prayer, vibe or even if you could, cash to help with medical bills. Information can be found below:

To help support my cousin Jeff's 8-month-old daughter:
https://www.gofundme.com/babyquinncollege

To support Lucky's Place No-Kill Feline Rescue:
http://luckysplace.org/donate/

To help support Colten's heart transplant medical bills:
https://www.gofundme.com/5a8rjquc


Thank you for reading and don't forget to get your name idea in for the free egg contest!!!!







Sunday, November 8, 2015

Scaly Leg Mites

A few of the ladies have really rough looking legs and their coop has been in horrendous need of cleaning. I did some internet research and all the signs point to scaly leg mites, so I treated the affected ladies with Ivermectin and rubbed their legs down with vaseline afterwards. THAT was an interesting task!

First of all, I cleaned the coop out and then dipped the girls in the pesticide/water mix. I put the girls who were treated in a separate side of the coop to dry off. After they dried off, I went in and they got a *fabulous* foot massage and moisturizing spa treatment with vaseline and then they were let loose back with the rest of the flock.

I put down some fluffy, fresh clean sawdust for them to run around in. They also got some brand new, fresh sand to dust bathe in to prevent more mites. Hopefully this will take care of it. I'll likely have to retreat or at least put more vaseline on later this week.

The egg production has been REALLY low over the last several weeks so there has been hardly any eggs lately.

Charlie had been "free ranging" for several weeks and something finally ate him. I TOLD him this would happen. Every time I went out there, I tried to catch him to put him back into the safety of the run, but he wouldn't listen. What a shame. He was such a handsome rooster, too.

I posted a want ad on Facebook looking for used Halloween pumpkins and that was a hit. I hauled away pumpkins and the chickens and ducks "recycled" them for free of charge! They loved them! I have a giant pile outside of the run. Some people who believe in organic chicken-keeping say that pumpkin seeds are a natural de-wormer. Pumpkins, watermelons, and squash are also a very healthy snack for the chickens to eat in addition to their normal "chicken food".

Last week, Eric and I ate one of the ducks that I raised and butchered myself this spring. That was rewarding...and TASTY. I decided that I will be raising ducklings this spring for butcher and to sell to family/friends. I still need to figure out how to torch the tiny little feathers off the duck. Actually, Eric and I didn't eat the skin because it really was WAY too fatty, but I suppose consumers wouldn't want to see teeny feathers in the skin. I'll figure it out.

I made broth out of the leftover carcass and threw it back to the birds and they picked it bone dry, It's amazing what they eat. They really needed the protein though because of all the hard work they are doing molting and re-growing feathers.

Well, that's all for now!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Oh so busy!

Things have been crazy busy around here! Eric and I have been working many, many hours so the chickens haven't been given much attention lately.

The molting seems to be subsiding a little bit. I have feathers EVERYWHERE! The ducks have stopped laying for now, but hopefully they will start up again soon. From what I remember, ducks will take a break for a while and then start laying again in the winter. We will see. My ducks started laying in January or February, which was a nice surprise.

I'm putting Charlie up for sale because he keeps escaping. I am so annoyed with having to chase him around to catch him that I just gave up. He'd probably be happier where he can run free all over a farm. I wish I could give my poultry that, but for right now I just need to be patient for the right farm to come up for sale. Hopefully something near Wheaton or Browns Valley with nice outbuildings and land will come for sale. I could handle an old house for a while until we can build or bring in a manufactured home.

I had another hen mysteriously die the other day. She had been looking ill a few days prior and then she keeled over. She was like chicken #8 buried in my garden. I should have some good soil next spring for planting!

Work has been busy and I am really starting to love my job. I was worried that wasn't going to happen but I LOVE LOVE LOVE working with the kids. Helping youth is definitely my passion and I'm happy that I'm able to do that with my new position.

My husband has been wonderful lately and let me hire a housekeeper! We just have too much house and too little time to maintain it. She'll be coming weekly to get it deep cleaned for now and then probably once per week or every-other-week to maintain it. I'm so fortunate to be able to afford this right now. It's just one less stress I have to deal with.

I am taking up a new hobby. I have found that I enjoy shooting stuff. I went out and tried it out a couple weeks ago and got almost all my shots on the target! I want to do this more often but I need to go shopping for a gun. I want to try hunting too. Hopefully Dad will let me come home in November to play with his guns. (Hey, Dad! HINT HINT!!!)

My garden is about done. I was able to sell a lot of peppers and goodies out of it but now no one responds to my ads anymore. I plan on picking the rest of my garden today and tomorrow. I'll probably bring the pepper plants out to the chickens to eat. The brussel sprouts aren't quite ready to harvest yet, I don't think but I haven't been out there for a while. SOOO BUSY!

Well, thanks for reading my random musings.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Marek's Strikes Again

A few weeks ago, 5 of my babies chicks that had hatched from my chicken's eggs died all within 24 hours (I'm guessing) from Marek's Disease. It was a huge bummer because they were an interesting group of babies. Only one survived- my little girl Pepper. I am very glad she did because she is my favorite. I feel really bad for her though because she had to watch all of her siblings die around her and now she is all alone in the coop. She's too little to be let loose with the big chickens. I let her out sometimes but they pick on her and beat her up really bad. I take her out and she will sit on my lap and let me pet her though. She's so cute!

I brought home three new ducks about a month ago and they are very fun to watch. My new muscovy Daphne is a great layer. She lays massive eggs- I weighed one and it was 3 ounces!! She is quite the timid little ducky though. I tried to pet her last night and she BIT me! I didn't even know ducks could bite! She's such a pretty duck and I wish she would be tame, but oh well.

My eggs have been selling out fast lately. I've had a waiting list for the last two weeks and I finally have all the eggs caught up. Now if I could get people to start buying duck eggs, that would be great. Unfortunately, it's getting to be that time of year that chickens and ducks molt, so egg laying is going to come to a swift halt. Kim already stopped laying and all of her feathers are falling out so her winter feathers will be coming in. The chicken run looks like 2 huge pillows busted open. There are feathers everywhere.

My garden did pretty well this year. I sold a bunch of jalapenos after canning a buttload of them, I'm on the hunt for more apples so I can make more applesauce and apple pie filling. I canned potatoes, ham and bean soup, stewed tomatoes, and applesauce last weekend. I might can a few peppers this weekend. My big plan for the weekend is to clean the coop out and pick cherry tomatoes.

We went on a trip out west to Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota, and Montana last week and it was fabulous! I want to buy a small ranch out by Cody, WY. We are looking but I wouldn't want to move unless I found a good job first. Wouldn't that be wonderful? It would be a great place to retire to one day.



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Canning Queen

Wow! What a busy weekend! I didn't relax one bit. I cut the lawn yesterday and then spent most of the afternoon/evening canning goodies from the garden and peaches from the store. I made sugar-free diced peaches and jam, as well as sugar-free rhubarb jam. I made chili beans from scratch and canned those...and Eric had about 8 million jalapenos that I pickled and canned.








It was a busy weekend for the birds as well. The little babies got moved to the "teenage" pen and then my two month old chickens went to the "grow out" side of the coop. It seemed like everyone liked the move.

The birds got lots and lots of treats from all my work canning. I also sold Steve, a baby rooster, and two pullets this weekend. I have at least one more rooster in that teenage batch....and I really hope there aren't any in the babies. We'll see though!! They all got vaccinated this weekend for ILT, which went pretty smoothly actually.

I got myself nice and sun burned today from pulling weeds. I weeded the entire garden and froze my green peppers. I also took out three heads of cabbage and made Eric a cabbage hot dish to take to work.

I finished putting the timbers down for my landscaping project and now I just need to find some dirt to fill it in. I already have some shrubs purchased to plant there. I'm so excited!



Sunday, July 19, 2015

BUSY!

Life has been busy lately! We spent the last two weekends camping and now this weekend, I am on call for both jobs, so I am GLAD to be home! I got SO much stuff done yesterday. My neighbor was kind enough to lend me his push mower, so I could mow the lawn and exercise at the same time. I brought him a bunch of duck eggs for his kindness. He was pretty excited to try them! I can't even begin to tell you how much I got accomplished yesterday. I got some long overdue cleaning and organizing done.
Camping over 4th of July weekend with my love.

There's a lot to be done today as well, but I enjoy doing these random odds and ends around the house and farm. I feel so productive! I would like to clean out the coop today and fix the snow fence that is up to restore it back to looking nice again. I'll take all the sawdust and use it as mulch in the garden.

The weeds in my garden are out of control, so my garden will be getting lots of TLC tonight and tomorrow. I had some disappointment with my garden already this year...those stupid cabbage worms have been snacking on my cabbage, but I did spray them down with salt water so I hope that helped. Also, with how hot the weather has been, my head lettuce did not form into a head, it went right to seed and overgrew, so that was a waste of 8 plants! I've slowly been pulling the lettuce out to feed to the chickens. I would eat it, but it is bitter now.

I'm so happy my lilies have begun to bloom.

I am getting antsy to start building a small deck on the front of the house. That is a project that I want completed by the end of the year. I also want to build flower beds with some timbers around the front of the house. I would like to increase the curb appeal in hopes of selling this place next year. I just need help with building this stuff because I have no idea how to build a deck. (HINT HINT KIM!!!!!! Time for you and Mitch to finally come visit!)

Our bathroom was supposed to get done in June but we have not heard from the contractor yet. He must have been taking longer on his other projects than he had anticipated. Maybe I'll call him this week. I'd like to get the upstairs bathroom in functioning condition again (another selling point!! $$$$)

Work has been going really well. I think the job is pretty good, but I do feel that I need to learn more about my role as a service provider in the community, so I plan to go with other CSP staff to see how they run their sessions, etc. I feel like I have a good understanding of my role as the home supervisor. I know there is more to learn there, but until I experience what I need to learn, I can't really learn it (firing someone, getting a new intake or discharge, etc.) My staff are pretty great. I really like all of them and the home has a good strong team of people who care about the gentlemen who live there. I couldn't ask for better staff.

I ended up getting MORE baby chickens again 2 weeks ago. They were hatched 4th of July weekend
by a friend of mine. They are the baby chicks that came from my flock's eggs!!!! They are cute as hell, too! They have muffs (fluffy cheeks) just like my rooster and you can almost pick out who each chick's mother is because of what they look like. I have a few gray chicks and I named on Nacho because s/he is a yellowish color and has extremely fluffy muffs. My other favorite is a little gray one named Pepper. I hope these chicks turn out to be female because they will lay the beautiful colored eggs.
Pepper

Me and Nacho

These little gray chickens own my heart.

Nacho....I LOVE the cheeks!

This is Truffle, I think she is the mom to my gray chicks.

My teenage chickens are growing fast! I plan to move them into the big coop in 2 weeks as soon as my babies are 4 weeks old. At that time, I will be able to vaccinate them all against the ILT, so they won't get sick from the big chickens. I will then move the babies up to the house into my makeshift chicken coop/run.

My girls have been weird with their laying lately, a few weeks ago, I was lucky to get 3-5 eggs per day, but now I am getting close to a dozen. They can't seem to make up their mind! When we went camping I found this awesome egg basket at an antique store and it is much easier to put eggs into it. I've decided that I am going to start collecting fowl-shaped egg baskets from now on. How cute, this one is a goose with a bow around it's neck!

This was only $3! The last one I found was only 25 cents!!!


Steve has something funky going on with his eye...it's been foamy and looks like it is sore. I need to pick up some medication for it, so I might go with Eric to town today to pick some up from TSC. I tried to rinse it off, but it went back to being foamy later on during the day. He must have an upper respiratory infection, but he is not coughing and sneezing. I am a little bit worried. I love that duck.

Susie is about ready to start laying eggs!!!! I noticed this week that her comb and wattles became bright red. That's a sure sign that her little body is preparing for egg laying. This is awesome because I didn't think they would be laying until the end of August. Leenie isn't as bright red yet, so she'll be my late bloomer.
This little lady should be laying eggs soon!!!!

I finally broke down and bought a huge swimming pool for my ducks. It's about a foot deep and oh.my.god.....Daisy was SO HAPPY in it yesterday. It was so fun watching her swim. She could actually dive under and she can paddle her webbed feet under the water. Her, Kim, and Karen have troubles getting in and out of it because it is pretty tall, so I put a step in front of it and threw in a log and some blocks so they can utilize those to get out.


I really enjoy keeping birds. It's such a nice release for me. I'm very introverted so just hanging out with my birds and doing projects to better their lives leaves me in my happy place. I hope everyone has something in their life that brings them joy like this.

I've been contemplating starting a facebook page for my poultry farm, but I don't know how many people would even be interested in looking at it. I post so much about chickens on my facebook, so I figure I should have a separate page for that and the people who want to see those posts can follow me. What do you think?







Sunday, June 28, 2015

Butchering

This has been an exciting week! Last weekend, I weeded the garden and was so proud of all my hard work and it's frustrating looking at my garden today because all of the weeds are back! My veggies are growing well and it looks like my broccoli is about ready for harvest already. A few of the brussel sprouts that I planted from seed decided to come up after all, but just in case they didn't, I bought some started plants and planted those. I will have a lot of brussel sprouts this fall!

It seems like everyone else but me has lilies blooming! Mine are taking their time this year.

We didn't get the farm that we haggled for which is hugely disappointing, but at least it gives us time to save more money for a down payment so we don't have to sell the camper. I'm willing to bet that it will still be for sale six months from now and maybe we can try again.

On Monday, I butchered two of my hens. I got fed up with Charlotte's broody shit. She has been a freeloading, lazy chicken for TWO months, so she was the first to go. I also butchered one of my red hens who was pretty sick from the ILT. That was quite the interesting experience- butchering chickens when I never had done it before- and with no help! I'm proud that I was able to do it! I got impatient and started plucking one without dipping it in boiling water first, and you can tell because she still has some pin feathers...arghh. Oh, well. I know for the future to start my water way ahead of time.


I butchered two of my Pekins today and that was not as bad as I thought it would be. It took me about 3 hours from set up to clean up, which isn't bad for my first time butchering ducks. I took a few pictures through out the morning of the steps all included. It is so crazy that these ducks were tiny little babies in April when I brought them home...and now they are in my freezer, dressed out at over 5 pounds each! I think it is the coolest thing that I was able to raise these ducks to eat. Now, that's what you call from scratch!!! It's a lot of work to do the butchering, but if I wanted a locker to do it, I'd have to travel over 2 hours one way and then pay an outrageous price to have it done. It's way cheaper to do it myself. I will raise ducks again next year to butcher. I had two male Cayuga ducks, but I ended up selling them so I didn't have to butcher all four by myself. This left the only female out of the bunch of ducklings all by herself. Luckily, Daisy has Kim and Karen to hang out with (my two Runner females). I'm looking forward to her laying eggs this fall.



Waiting to get butchered.


My butcher block


Draining the blood, and then I take their head off completely.


Next, they go for a dip in boiling water to loosen their feathers.

I used this bucket to pluck all the feathers out.

Halfway done with plucking, and then I take the guts out and dress them.


The finished product!

The girls going for a dip on a sunny, hot day!


Steve is all kinds of messed up. He hates water and now he's been trying to hump the chickens...I'm probably going to have to sell him because ducks can seriously injure chickens because they can get quite aggressive when they mate. So if you know anyone who wants a Pekin who thinks he's a chicken, let me know!

I took Winnie away from her babies now and brought all of the baby chicks together outside. Dave is letting me borrow his igloo doghouse for them to sleep in until they are big enough to go with the big chickens. One night this week I will vaccinate them for ILT now that they are 4 weeks old. Winnie is not happy about the change, but hopefully she will start laying eggs again soon. I sold two of my chicks today because they are roosters. I am down to 28 birds in total now, which will probably feel nice on the pocket book when it comes to buying feed.

Checking out their new temporary home.

My hens have not been laying worth crap lately and I don't know what their problem is. I got 1 fricken dozen last week and I have 14 hens that can lay!....So over the weekend, I worked at the fish fry and brought them home a ton of scraps. Maybe the increase in treats will get them back on track again. It's really frustrating because due to the egg prices increasing the demand for my eggs is higher, but I don't have any to sell! And to feed these birds, I need to sell 8 dozen eggs just to buy a bag of food for them...and they've been eating a bag per week. I hope that with the absence of the male ducks, it will bring the feed costs down again.



Other than that, not much has been going on. I started my new job three weeks ago and it's going well. I believe I will like it a lot. The people are pretty cool and I will enjoy creating treatment plans and working with individuals in the community. Eric has been busy at work loading trains this month and has been doing a phenomenal job getting healthy. He's lost quite a bit of weight and he motivates me to do well, too....but once the weekend comes, hell breaks loose and I eat like a cow again...ugh.

I ran the  5K this weekend and that was good, but brutally hot for 9 in the morning. It was 75 degrees! I am doing another 5K in two weeks in my home town. I hope my time is better. I have not been exercising at all, but I will get a membership at the gym this week because I learned that I can shower in the staff shower at work, so I can totally work out in the morning before work. Afternoons just don't work for me. I want to just eat and relax in the evenings, so I've gotten quite lazy since I started my new job.

We are going camping for the next two weekends, so I better get going so I can plan our menu and shopping list. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

RIP Henny Penny

Sigh...another one bit the dust today. It's always the ones who don't show any symptoms that keel over. The last one that dropped dead was Fibby and she was perfectly fine the day before...just like Henny Penny. I don't get why the ones who are actually sneezing and have ocular discharge don't die. Not that I want any of them to, but it's just annoying.

I am starting to think that only one of the ducklings I brought home is a female. That means the rest (except Steve) are going in the freezer. The black ducklings are definitely cayugas, which will be fun because they lay charcoal colored eggs and one of the black ones is a female. You can tell males from females because male ducks do not quack. She definitely quacks.

I am currently sitting with my chickens and Francis is running around being a man whore. He just mated with two different hens in the last 5 minutes. Ew! It's definitely chick season.

I have two broody hens. Charlotte is still trying to hatch 6 golfballs and one egg. There were two eggs, but I thought one was a dud, so I threw it outside into the run...Sure enough there was a chick inside and one of the chickens happily ran off with it and had a snack. GROSS!!!!!!!!!!

I brought home four baby Rhode Island Red babies and stuck them under Winnie to trick her into thinking her eggs hatched...and it worked! Lol. She is being a great mom to the babies and it's the most adorable thing ever!

I had a few kiddos come to clean my coop last weekend and it is SO nice and clean. The chickens love it and I'm super glad it's not so stinky anymore.

Well, Susie wants to sit on my lap so that's all for now, folks! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

This and That

Necropsy Results
I got the results back from the necropsy and my two baby birds ended up dying due to being full of tumors. Dr. Porter believes that they had contracted Marek’s Disease and it caused them to get tumors all over their internal organs. Marek’s Disease is a very common disease found in flocks. Baby birds don’t have enough immunity to it, so when you buy from a hatchery, a lot of them vaccinate against it. Since I put my babies in the adult coop, they got the disease from the older birds and died. The older birds are immune to it. The vet said that usually anywhere there are adult birds, you can bet that there is Marek’s. I will buy vaccinated chicks in the future to prevent loss from it.

The adult birds are sick with Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT). This is a highly contagious disease that is pretty resistant to treatment. You can read more about it here.

Unfortunately, in order to rid the flock of the disease, I must butcher all my chickens and disinfect the coop. This disease is pretty resistant to even to disinfectant. I’ll have to clean the coop thoroughly- with soap and water…and then douse it in disinfectant. It will then have to sit empty for a few weeks to ensure the disease is killed and gone. I plan to butcher all of my chickens before moving to our farm one day unless Dave wants to keep the chickens. The chickens can’t be moved or the disease will come with. Luckily, ducks cannot get ILT or Marek’s so I can bring my ducks with. I will need to make sure they are very clean before transporting them so it doesn't travel on their feet or whatever to the new farm.

The disease likely came with my birds when I brought them home from another farm. All my birds came from different places, so the disease could have come from anywhere. I think the disease flared up when I brought the new group from Glyndon home in February. I could have already had the disease in my flock prior to that and the stress of the new birds caused it to flare. I won’t be buying birds from private farmers anymore. I learned my lesson. They will come from NPIP certified hatcheries and I will raise them myself and make sure they are vaccinated too.

They love their new sandbox!
I was grateful to have the necropsy done for free. Dr. Porter said that since I had concerns about them having Avian Influenza and since they had been tested for it, he did the necropsy free of charge. It did cost me like $60 to package and ship them though…oofda! This was a very tough lesson to learn and I hope that by reading this blog, other future poultry owners will take heed and practice good biosecurity and buy from legit hatcheries.

Her idea of sunbathing....She looked dead! Haha!



Baby Ducks
My little ducks are growing like weeds. It blows me away how fast they grow. They are like 4-5 weeks old now and they are already half the size of Steve. Initially, I thought the black ones were Black Swedish and then I thought they were Black Indian Runners, but now I’m not so sure. They do not walk upright like my White Runners, and they seem to be much more bulky. I posted online in a Backyard Chickens group and they all believe they are Cayuga ducklings…this would make me very happy. They are good for egg laying and they are a beautiful breed of duck. I hope that’s what they are, but I would still be happy if they were Runner ducks, too. I just wish Tractor Supply Company knew what kind of ducks they were selling…


I took the heat lamp away from them since the weather has been so nice and for today and yesterday, they got to play outside all day. They loved the pool and sunshine. It was super cute watching them splash around in the pool. The chickens left them alone for the most part. I didn't have to break up any fights.

Lookin' fabulous!
Steve is doing wonderful. I put him and the two baby Buff Orpingtons in with the big birds last week. Steve has a hard time getting up the ramp into the coop, so I have to check each night to make sure he makes it in. I’ve been having to put him in the coop myself. Hopefully he will learn soon because that will be a drag if he keeps needing help to get in. I named the little chickens Leenie and Susie. They are very calm and sweet birds. One of them sat on my lap for a good 20 minutes yesterday while I pet her.


He just can't figure out how to get back inside the coop!


They find this mirror to be very interesting.


Big Birds
At least two of my Easter Eggers are laying eggs. I spied Truffle laying one today- she’s laying the small, but gorgeous sky blue eggs. I haven’t figured out which other one is laying the large blue eggs. One of the Black Copper Marans started laying too. I have found a few dark brown eggs in the coop. They are so pretty!

I put a mirror in the run and the chickens have been very entertained by it. It is really funny watching them look at themselves in the mirror. They also got a new sandbox to play in. I upgraded to a big green turtle sandbox that I found on Facebook to buy. They love to take dust baths in the sand and eat the smaller grains to help them digest their food.

This photo cracks me up. She's trying to see what I'm up to!
I have a couple of kiddos coming to clean my coop out for me on Monday. It is very stinky from all the rain we had gotten. The birds have tracked in the mud and water, so with a mix of the coop not being well ventilated and chicken poop, it smells rather unpleasant. I’ll have the boys scrape it all out and lay down new bedding for them. I suspect the chickens will be very happy once it is cleaned out.
I brought them a giant bucket full of grass clippings on Wednesday night and they LOVED that. I’ll have to bug my neighbors’ grass clippings each time they cut so the birds can have fresh grass to eat regularily. The grass deepens the color of their egg yolks and makes the eggs more nutrient rich- especially with Omega-3’s!

Looking for Farms
We’ve been looking at a few farms for sale here and there. Today we looked at our dream farm. It is nearly perfect in every way. I really hope the bank will approve us for a loan. I can’t wait to sell our house and move into the country. It has a great porch that I can sit out on my lawn chair and watch the chickens free-range. They will no longer need to be penned up anymore. I am looking forward to that and to raising our own beef and pork. Keep your fingers crossed that we are able to get a loan for it.

New Job
I had to switch jobs due to budget cuts. I am very sad about it because I literally have my dream job currently, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I took an offer to be a program director of a foster home for adults with serious and persistent mental illness. It’s quite the step up in responsibility and I’ll even be supervising employees. I am looking forward to the new skills I will be learning as it will definitely open opportunities in the future for me. I’ll be even more employable with supervisor experience under my belt for when the MN DOC or county is hiring for probation or parole down the line.

Gardening
I finally got my garden planted. Eric went on a shopping spree picking pepper plants out. I planted 49 peppers!! I hope my Brussel sprouts grow. I had to plant them from seeds because the greenhouse didn’t have any started plants left. I also planted 5 pots of petunias and threw some Miracle Grow on them so I can have big bushes of flowers overflowing from the pots.


Other than all of that, not much else is going on. Oh, we went to go see Papa Roach and Godsmack this week down in Brookings. Papa Roach was awesome!


Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach!

I was going to raise meat birds, and still might, but for right now, I’m pretty content with the amount of birds I have. They are enough work as it is. Thanks for reading!
Jack thinks he is a big baby who should sit on Dad's lap!