Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rough Day In The Chicken World

Its that time again. Every Fall when the weather is cold and warm, cold and warm, back and forth with the temperatures...a few get sick. I noticed one of the two barred rock hens I have was not feeling well. When a chicken doesnt feel well they tend to draw their head into their body and hunch up. I picked her up and could hear from her breathing that she had congestion. It takes a few weeks but usually I can cure this. The problem is sometimes they don't want to eat when they are sick, and that will kill them. She already feels lighter than she should.

The first thing to do is isolate. I have extra cages just for this purpose. Its not like the chicken feels like running around, they just want to rest. I packed one of the cages with fresh hay and made up a dish of water with antibiotics and and a vitamin, mineral, and electrolyte supplement. I also give VetRX through an eye dropper or syringe, straight in the mouth and I rub the comb and wattles with it too. It has camphor in it so it helps to clear the congestion. Clyde have to give up both his heat to the barred rock and another to a cochin pullet.

Yep, I found one of my black giant cochin pullets feeling a bit blah. Nothing I could put my finger on, she just didn't have a lot of get up and go. I held her a while and cuddled her, gently scratching the back of her head as she closed her eyes and relaxed. I made up a sick cage for her, same deal. I also switch a sick chickens feed to the highest protien chick starter I can find, without any animal parts being included. I only buy ruminent free chicken food. Dumor has a 24 percent that I find great to use. I always keep a bag, even if I don't have chicks at that time.


It was getting late evening and the sun was going down fast. A neighbor friend stopped by on his way home from work. I had promised him I would come for a visit and see all his flock and time has just gotten away from me. I told him I hadn't forgotten the invitation. Things just get busy around here and time slips by. He had mentioned wanting some of the guinea keets when they were older and asked if he could still have some. He has three hens that he doesnt like, buff orpingtons, he says they are kind of dumb. I am thinking I can talk him out of those three in trade for some of the guineas. They would be nice to add to the layers as they are at a prime age for laying...around a year old now. I promised to catch him some and bring them by on Sunday so hopefully I will come back with three new recruits. They will have to be quarantined for a couple of weeks to make sure they are not sick or going to give my chickens anything bad and then I will introduce them to the flock. They should fit in pretty easily.

After he left I was wandering about waiting on dark to close up the pens and saw poor Bubba. Japanese Silver Phoenix roosters are not generally aggressive. They get along with each other very well and are not hard on the girls. One of my two silkie/polish cross roosters got it in his head right before dark night before last that he needed to beat up Bubba and was chasing him all over the yard. Bubbas comb had a small piece taken out of it and he was bleeding. He stopped and hid his head, putting it on the other side of the gate to protect his head. I picked him up and that darn other rooster hopped up on top of a pen to challenge him even as I was holding Bubba. I pointed a finger at the naughty boy and told him to calm down. Well he decided to challenge ME. If you are a rooster of mine, you learn FAST not to challenge me. You will get your lights punched out. This may seem harsh, but you have to be firm with hard headed young roosters or they will hurt you one day. I punched him in the side and he went squawking off like I had killed him. Night fell and all was quiet.

Usually an episode like this is forgotten and life goes on in the yard. Not so this time. That bad rooster had beat up Bubba bad this time and I hadn't been around to save him this time. His comb was bloody. He had dried blood that had pooled down under his eye and his pretty white feathers around his neck were stiff with blood. Oh I felt so bad. I immediately scooped him up and tried to get some of the dried blood off but it was just no use. I knew he was sore and I didnt want to aggravate it so I just opted to slather his head with antibiotic ointment that included a pain reliever in it. I made up yet another sick bay so he could come in where it was warm and sleep peacefully and comfortably overnight. Fresh water and the chick starter were on the menu this morning. I have locked up the offending rooster in solitary. Bubba can go back out in a few days when he has rested up.
In the meantime I am running short on heat lamps and so Clyde is in a big carrier in the house (yes that is my kitchen table, I live in a zoo) and is happy and content to stay indoors. We don't ever eat at the table anyway. ;) We always eat off of tv trays in the living room.

So that is what is happening around here. Thank goodness it is going to warm up some today. Highs in the mid to upper 60s and the weekend in the lower 70s. I am SO looking forward to it.

Ian will be off for four days in a row so I probably won't be online again until Tuesday. We have plans to work on that flower bed now that the neighbor with his tractor has helped finish pulling up those bushes. I will be selling birds on Saturday and catching guineas Saturday night. Sunday I will fit in visiting the neighbors and exchanging birds.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I sure am going to try. Trick or Treat and Happy Halloween to you all!


Astaryth said...

It's the same here. I have 2 horses that are quite old that I take care of. If it gets below 50 I have them in stable sheets, below 45 I add their winter blankets on top and if I think it will drop below 40 I go ahead and put them in stalls in the barn where I can shut the windows and make sure they don't get a lot of wind. Poor old guys can't take the fluctuations from 80's to 30's in just a days time.

It's Just Me ~ Katie! said...

Such beautiful birds - With your love and affection that should be up and feeling better soon. Take care,

Tina said...

sounds like you are going to have to expand your hospital. it also sounds as though you take exceptional care of your animals. I have known this, because you make it obvious in your posts. Unfortunately, most people I know do nothing at all for their chickens except throw feed at them. you have some lucky birds!

Beth said...

Oh, poor Bubba. And your other patients, too. I know you'll nurse them back to health. I hope they all improve soon.

Hollie said...

Oh Kelly your poor babies...I hope that your nurture everyone back to health. That mean ole rooster....he needs solitary confinement! I hope you have a wonderful Halloween & weekend!


Traci said...

You are so smart! I would have a bunch of dead birds, sadly. I know nothing about caring for them. Horses, I can do.

johns world said...

i enjoy reading you blogs Happy Halloween

madcobug said...

Poor Bubba getting beat up like that. I am surprised that someone hasn't had chicken soup after that ordeal. I hope all your chickens get well soon. Have a great weekend and Happy Halloween to you and your family. Hugs, Helen

Lisa said...

You are running a clinic right now lady. You take such good care of your babies, I love reading about the TLC you give them and how in tune you are with them.

So you had to give the cocky little rooster a good old come uppance aye?? I have one big red one who will peck at me if I am not looking. I've never reprimanded him, maybe I should huh.

Lisa said...

You are running a clinic right now lady. You take such good care of your babies, I love reading about the TLC you give them and how in tune you are with them.

So you had to give the cocky little rooster a good old come uppance aye?? I have one big red one who will peck at me if I am not looking. I've never reprimanded him, maybe I should huh.