In an ordinary day …

Life happens.  It doesn’t wait for you to catch your breath or complain about it.

I have been preoccupied with getting little projects done around the house since early spring.  I started off great with sowing my seeds early, preparing the gardens for planting.  I just about got all my plants in the ground by the 3rd week in May, and then received some bad news regarding my husband’s health….

As of today, the summer has officially seven weeks left.  I don’t know where the first half went (I do, but can’t wrap my head around it)!  Not only do people struggle when a curve ball has been thrown, but I noticed that so do our furry and feathered animals.

Animals, whether they are your pets or livestock, realize something is dissimilar.  They stress just the same.  They were all so happy to see us when we returned home!!!

My first week home full time and I’m just familiarizing myself with my house, animals and beautiful garden.  I’m grateful for so much; the garden is exploding with vegetables, my husband is on the mend and life is good again. I stopped to pick up one of my chickens, and I knew immediately that something was wrong…. She was light as a feather, crop was not emptying and I knew, I just knew that it was something I couldn’t fix…

Four nights and five days later, I had to say goodbye to one of my matriarch chickens. She was five plus years old.  She cost $3.00 at the local feed store.  At six months of age I almost lost her to swallowing a toxic primer that someone had dropped in the yard before I moved to the house.

The good vet who I refer to as “Doctor Do Little” saw how distraught I was and said “let me see what I can do.”  She called me on the phone and said I don’t know if she will make it, there was a lot of necrotic tissue everywhere in her gizzard, but she came out of surgery well, and I will start her on an antibiotic.

Home she came…  It was a $300.00 vet bill, but it gave me 5 more years to enjoy her… Beatrice, I will miss you xoxox

On to the next day!  May it be beautiful for you, may you be blessed and remember to breathe 🙂

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Hen Spa Treatment

Who would of ever thought that a chicken would like taking a bath… a good long soaking bath???  Well, they do 😉  I guess with “Spring Cleaning” in Spring, it should only be normal for me to give each of my girls a “Hen Spa Treatment.”  If I had more hours in a day and these spring temperatures would act more like Spring, I could get all my ladies done in one day!

So I take the task on….I made sure the water temp was just right (not too hot, but more then tepid).  I put white vinegar in the water with dawn soap and massaged her legs and vent area to get off all the yucky stuff.  Changed the water out and just added Epson salt to the water.  I moved the water up and over her entire body (avoiding the very top of her head and eyes),  I then noticed that at the base of her tail it looked very dirty… remembering that this is normal ~ I removed some, but not all the grime.  This area at the tail base is where an oil gland is located.

My baby girl was so relaxed from the warm water she fell asleep and didn’t have a care in the world (don’t leave unattended, there head could fall below water). She trusted me to handle her 🙂 another bonding moment.

I changed water out again for a good rinse and had a towel ready… she was like a bowl of jello.  She snuggled in my arms as I walked her up to the bathroom where I had a small space heater working, I shut us both in the bathroom (avoid a drafty area) and gently (she didn’t have her chicken legs) placed her on the floor.  She couldn’t walk if she wanted to… I helped her preen – LOL, it just seemed like the natural thing to do 🙂

When she was almost dry I put a diaper on her so that she could walk around the house. We are still using the wood burning stove, and the temperature in my house is 74 degrees. When she was really dry I moved her to the garage which is somewhat cooler before moving her back to the coop with outside temps at a steady 40 degrees during the day.

She loved it and it gave me a chance to check her out from top to bottom. As one chicken owner to another (if you have a small flock its much easier) we should all periodically check our chicks over to make sure nothing is amiss. We don’t have to give them the “Spa Treatment”, but a once over every month or so ~ certainly keeps us in the loop to whats going on with our hens.

Happy Spring Everyone !!!

 

Chicks are now pullets and cockerels at 7 weeks!

My small little clutch of eggs that were hatched out by the most unlikely hen, have reach a ripe age of 7 weeks yesterday!

Mother hen threw up her wings at 5 1/2 weeks…  What a trooper she is!  In all honesty, the chicks were starting to get really big. Three out of the five are Roosters!!!  I’m so disappointed, I knew that I had 1 cockerel (and I was okay with that since loosing my big boy Franky), and now I will have two cockerels to re-home.  I so wish I could trust them to get along, but we all know that’s not possible.

This morning I watched Mother hen peeking in on her pullets and cockerels, but not wanting to say hello… She wants to keep them in a pecking order according to her rank.  The other day I had them all out together (older hens and young ones) and she was the only one pecking them on the head. Mother hens can be mean.

My next difficult decision will be .. which Roo to keep!  I already have an opinion on the Easter Egger / RIR mix …I think too aggressive of Rooster for me!  I don’t need wimpy, but would like to walk across the lawn and not have to worry :). After reading up on these two as a cross, I’m a bit skeptical. This young Roo is already trying out his vocals and pushing his weight around!!!  The only plus to keeping him over one of the others are his comb and wattles at maturity (Egger has pea comb and little to no wattles).  Winters are tough here in Catskill Mountains – that would mean less frost bite to worry about. The other crosses are a Buff / RIR and a Barred Rock or a Black Sex Link (I don’t know since I find genetics so difficult), both cockerels are beautiful ~ I will have to see how their personalities develop.

I have the next few months (Sept through early Nov) to integrate them into the flock.  I have split the coop in half (they can be seen by the older hens) and will let them out separately and together under supervision.  I was able to pull it off without a hitch two summers ago when introducing 8 new pullets to 5 hens and a Rooster.  This time I’m expecting 13 hens to give 2 pullets and a young cockerel the business.

I hope to come out of this unscathed… or I should say, the new additions unscathed 🙂