I researched who had starting chicks and placed an order in March 2012. Our “born on date”of April 9th brought us 8 baby chicks on April 11th. We kept them in a small box with a heat lamp ever so carefully hanging over head. They grew and grew out from a small box to a large BBQ grill box to a watermelon box to a condo configuration before the coop was finally ready fathers day weekend. We very quickly realized we had two Roosters. Of course I thought that I wouldn’t have a problem raising everyone without a hitch (LOL). I had to re-home the most aggressive Roo to a farm up the road.
Now down to 7 chickens by August ~ home free of any issues going forward, so I thought…. I had one of my Barred Rocks named Beatrice standing away from the flock and not eating her favorite foods… I brought her to the Vet (who by the way I call her Dr. Doolittle, she takes care of ALL animals ~ a true blessing), an ex-ray is done of her gizzard and we find out that not only has she ingested glass, but a igniter from a bullet!!! I live off an old farm, where she could have found this??? Very disturbed, I leave Beatrice for surgery not expecting the Dr. to call me an hour later to say that she might not make it…. all her organs were showing signs of dead tissue…. I was more than upset! I told the doctor to put her down, I didn’t want her to suffer and I really didn’t have the money to go further to save her life (she was a $3.00 chicken, how could I justify this?). The Dr. told me that she would call me back with her decision. She called me back 4 hours later telling me that Beatrice came out of surgery just fine and was drinking! She gave me an antibiotic and sent me home with her. She bounced back and was eating like nothing had happened to her, in 7 days she was set back in the coop at night for her to wake up with her sisters!!! We found out that the igniter was releasing toxic poison into her tiny little body. By removing the metal, she was able to heal herself. In late December we lost our first hen (and I will never know why because I wouldn’t do a necropsy on her), my best layer RIR (Rhode Island Red) named Mary. Cried my eyes out all the way to work that morning. She was only 8 months old. Of course there were no visible signs, her crop was full, she was fine when I locked her/them up the night before ~ I’m thinking that my rooster broke her neck (because he was and is still such a spaz), because of the way I found her on the floor of the coop.
I had this big coop (which could hold 30 + hens), and only 5 hens and a Rooster. I special ordered different breeds in early spring of 2013 ~ the arrival date was the end of July 2013. ** Names to follow
In late August of 2013 I started to notice my other RIR named Lady was acting differently. She was keeping to herself (she was always the lowest in the pecking order, but not to this extent). Lady was always a hen that I worried about because she never gave me a “good egg.” Her eggs were always week, thin shelled ~ but would lay everyday. I did my research and knew what I was in for… 😦 I had read that there were cases that some hens could live without laying ~ but with the way things were turning out, Lady wasn’t one of them…. Most people wouldn’t have tried to keep her comfortable, but these are my pets who I’m committed to… I kept her, worked with her and when I couldn’t do any more without her suffering I put her in my arms and drove myself to the good Dr. and I put her down (November 2013)… she died in my arms and I drove home and buried her next to Mary. It’s so hard to say goodbye to animals that give to you and love you unconditionally.
My Laying hens:
All Born April 2012: 2 Barred Rocks – Beatrice and Pebbles, 2 Black Sex Links – Penny and Henny, and my RIR Rooster – Franky.
All Born July 2013: 2 Blue Copper Marren’s – Millie and Betty, 2 Golden Laced Wyandotte’s – Marcy and Maggie, 2 Buff Orpington’s – Nugget and Cup Cake (CC), 1 Easter Egger – Hazel, 1 Speckled Sussex – Sissy, 1 Welsummer – Wilma
*side note: CC the smallest buff, she could be a bantam … has from day 1 given me a weak, thin or no shelled eggs. She will be watched closely.
This has been my quickest re-cap to date. I have had some other experiences, but with all good results 🙂
~ my little eggheads