Sunday, December 6, 2015
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
|Soak soak soak!|
|All bandaged up!|
|RIP, Easter Egger.|
|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!|
Sunday, November 8, 2015
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
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
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
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
|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.
|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
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
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
|They love their new sandbox!|
|Her idea of sunbathing....She looked dead! Haha!|
|He just can't figure out how to get back inside the coop!|
|They find this mirror to be very interesting.|
|This photo cracks me up. She's trying to see what I'm up to!|
|Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach!|
|Jack thinks he is a big baby who should sit on Dad's lap!|