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!|
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.
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.|
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.
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.
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!|