Saturday, December 12, 2009

And The Beat Goes On

I don't know why I made that my header for this entry. Its as good as any, because no matter what happens, life goes on, except for lately here amongst the chickens things haven't been going so well.

Wintertime, is a time for colds, infections, just not feeling so good in general. I mean, you wouldn't feel your best having to endure the outdoors in winter. My heavy girls and boys do well, they have big bodies and very rarely get sick. It seems when it rains it pours though. I been bagging and tagging left and right.

About a month ago I put my young up and coming show polish I had hatched over the Spring in the double wide pen that used to house sultans. For whatever reason, polish seem to grow really really slow, so their body mass is not substantial until after they are way over a year old, even then, they aren't like the heavy breeds. And Serama, well, they don't survive winter, period. You have to bring them in where it is tolerable. I have worked hard to enclose the porch with plastic and I have two utility heaters running full blast in there. It does indeed keep it tolerable.

So on with the deaths. A few weeks ago I had one young silver laced polish die. This was before I even moved them to the big pen. Then, just a few days ago, I go out to feed and water and the first thing I find is two more of my young show line dead. This came the morning after we had that horrible storm blow through with high winds, so bad it actually lifted the front posts of the run in up out of their two foot holes and I found them sitting out of the holes the next day. I don't know if the little ones were frightened to death or what, I probably would have been. It was a bad night that night with all the rain and wind and it was cold too. So, I moved what was left into the porch, IMMEDIATELY. I already have a boy and a girl in with some seramas in the porch. I have three left of the ones out in the pen, along with a young white crested polish cockeral, the only one left that survived that bunch of chicks I bought from the guy down in Jenkinsburg, if you may remember. I am sorry if this entry seems discombobulated. I feel as if I am up and down and all over the place so I hope anyone reading this can follow what I am saying.

So here are the ones left of the polish...from the double wide pen. They are doing well, in the porch.



The silver laced polish girl in the second picture is fine. I just turned on the light in the porch so most everyone was settling down for the night and she was sleepy.

Then, there is Buzzbomb. Do you remember him? He was my best serama breeder. He was cursed with being a serama. I say that, because he loved his freedom, so much, I think depression killed him. A couple of weeks ago, we had a cold snap, so I brought Sheila, his mate, and him in. He immediately became withdrawn, sinking his head down into his body. He was that way for two days. Soon as I let him out...he snapped right out of it and down the steps he bounded off to do fantastic chicken things for the day with Sheila by his side. I had seen this not once, but twice, so I know he wasnt sick. Once a chicken is sick, its touch and go. I do everything I know to do to save them, but most of the time the result is death.

This past week has been brutally cold. He would not have survived some of these nights in the twenties. So I brought them back in. He withdrew again. He would eat some, and drink some, but after five days I noticed he was painfully thin. I started antibiotics, vitamin and mineral supplements and a shot of penicillin in the leg. There was no signs of improvement and yesterday morning I found him passed on.

People say chickens don't have feelings, that they are mindless dumb creatures. I know that poor Sheila was grieving. She was very agitated and upset the day before. She knew. The next morning at daylight she was pacing the cage back and forth, frantic. I pulled Buzzbombs lifeless body from the cage and put it out of her sight. She was upset most of the day. Today she has been better, but I KNOW chickens remember. I could count a hundred ways I know this, but that is for another time. So here is poor little Sheila. Those two were bonded. They went everywhere together. Some chickens group together out there, but they seperate and go wandering their own way at some points during the day. Not these two. I have four girls and one boy out of this pair, and I know it is Buzzbombs son. If you look back an entry or two, you will see a picture of his son. Its the entry with the white cockeral, the other one, the dark one, is his son.

Poor Sheila...


We lost a battle with one of the silver spangled hamburg hens. She came down with a cold that resulted in respiratory distress. She was gasping for every breath. I treated her intensively. I took her out of the porch and into the house in a clothes basket with some towels placed down in the basket. I covered the basket with another towel and put her next to a heater vent in the bathroom to rest. For the next two days I gave her antibiotics orally.

Yesterday I was holding her in my arms, slowly dropping a few drops at a time of medicine into her mouth, as she gasped over and over. It broke my heart. All of the sudden, she spasmed, her wings pointed downward towards her feet, her legs became stiff, and then, she was gone. I started to cry while she was dying. I knew that was what was happening. I have been through it before with Mazda, our first house chicken. It is so heartbreaking to hold them and not be able to do anything but just hold them, comfort them while they pass. That is what I do for every one of my animals if I am able. It hurts, but they deserve the comfort.

So here is her sister, and now she is alone too.


And now, tonight, I found one of my white crested polish girls with a swollen eye. It is swollen shut and puffed out. She also seems to have a bit of runny nose. Once again, I got out the syringes, the needles, the penicillin, gave her a shot. Mixed a cocktail of oral antibiotics and vitamins and gave her a good dose of that. She is resting now, in a carrier in the porch.


Her head is tucked and she is sleeping. Please please, I don't want to lose another.

Then there is this guy here below. Shelby has named him Ellis. Ellis is one of the bantam barred rocks I showed. This little guy started wailing on his brother the other day and wouldn't let up, so I seperated him to a pen of his own. A few days went by and I thought, EH, he can have his freedom out in the yard with the free rangers. You see, he has a fault, as far as show quality goes. He has droopy wings. The muscles that are supposed to hold them up tight to the body do not do their job so well. I had already put the girl with the inverted comb, the silver spangled hamburg that was disqualified, and her brother, back into the yard and they were fine with it, glad to be out of cages.

Ellis, on the other hand, did not fair so well. When I put him out, I watched for awhile. I didnt just throw him to the wolves so to speak. Any rooster low on the totem pole knows his place and won't challenge any dominate rooster. He stayed out of Petes way and seemed to be fine, so I left. That night I went out right after dark just to see where he was roosting. I have several places for the chickens to go in at night. They have their choice of plenty of shelters. Keeps the fussing and fighting down.

Well, I couldnt find him. I looked everywhere. Great. Apparently I had sent him to his doom. The next morning I went out with feed and no Ellis. Not all day. I looked for him in the daylight, but he was hiding really well, or he had run away. I was so upset with myself for doing this. I felt so badly. I had tried to just give him his freedom, and instead sent him to his doom.

Yesterday I went out as usual to feed. I got to the third feed pan and started scooping feed into it and HERE COMES ELLIS! He is crouching like the devil himself is on his tail, but running for me as fast as he can. I was SO glad to see that little guy. He came up to me fast as he could. If he could talk, I knew exactly what he would be saying.

Mama! Please! Save me! I promise I will be good, please get me out of here!!! Please! Pick me up, take me in, I WANT to go back in a pen PLEASE MAMA!

So I stuck out my hand and he came right up to be picked up and was snug in my jacket hanging out while I finished feeding and then we went in. I made him up his own pen, again, and he seemed VERY happy about it all. Here is Ellis, peeking out. I told him it was okay, that I would never ever banish him to the yard again. It was just a relief to see his little fuzzy butt again.




I call this the "WALL O' CHICKENS"...this is part of what my porch is looking like right now. Please excuse the shavings on the floor, I hadn't vacuumed them up yet with the shop vac I keep in there just for that.


I am doing everything I can. All I know how to do to take care of all my babies, but some die anyway. I don't get as upset about every single one as I used to. Some I am closer to than others. Some, like the polish, I never had a chance to establish a bond with them before they died. It just sucked that they died. It was very hard to hatch them and I worked hard to take care of them, and will continue to do so with the remaining ones.

If you are still with me and reading this, thank you for listening. Sometimes I just have to get it all out, it makes me feel better.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Tree???


Yes? Well? It is! It didnt occur to me that it looked like something out of a Dr. Suess, but a comment left on Facebook about it by an old friend made me look closer, and I could immediately see it. So, of course I googled images, typing in Dr. Suess Tree to see what I would get. One in particular was extraordinary! Take a look.


Go ahead, Google it, Dr Suess Tree, after you set it to images...there are some good ones on there!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Didn't Do That, Not Going To That...

Well, we ended up not going to the parade. I hate it, but Shelby wasnt feeling up to it. I had worked her too hard I guess cleaning up some upstairs. Ian had been at work for hours and hours. By the time he got home and got settled, he was bone tired. I was sitting on the fence anyway as to whether I felt like going, as I had done some work of my own and was feeling a bit tired myself. Seems like when dark thirty hits, even though technically the day isn't over, it is over, because its cold, and its dark.

Eh...oh well. We got to see them at the stables face to face. I looked up some Christmas parades of them on Youtube. Not the same, but thats okay.

There is another bantam chicken show this coming Saturday. I would like to go, but with Christmas right around the corner I don't think its a good idea to go. It does cost money. Money to enter, and lots of money in gas to get there. This one is kind of far away, over a hundred miles away. Its not one of the 'GOT TO GO' shows anyway. Those come started January 30th. There will be shows for four weekends in a row starting with this date. Those are MUST GO shows. I will take some of the bantams I took before, but the large fowl is really my thing.

I did however get our 'Christmas tree' decorated. I must say, it looks quite festive. I want to add some tinsel to the tree tops first though...before I show a picture of it here. Shelby doesn't quite know what to make of it, as she has always had traditional Christmas trees. I guess her parents are getting a little loopy these days...having pygmy date palms for a Christmas tree. ;)

Ian and I spent yesterday doing some yard clean up. It was cold and overcast most of the day. By the time the sun poked out for any length of time it was almost time for dark thirty. He cut up the old pool liner, most of it, with a saw zaw, bagged it, and we took that along with other trash to the dump. We burned a lot of sticks and twigs from where I had chopped back bushes awhile back. He still has to chop up the old rug from the porch so we can dispose of that, but time was short, and daylight fades fast this time of year so we stood and sat around a small fire for the remainder of the daylight, about fifteen minutes, then went in for some leftover chicken and dumplings to warm our bones.

Chores left to do outside are hard to get done. Just a little at a time. I managed to get some hay spread out in the emus hoop house, but I need to replace the old tarp with new before it rains again, which is tomorrow I think. I got their new stock tank set up and filled. Uhhhh...uh right back...

Well thats forgetfullness for you. I had it filling last night, the hose on just a little bit. I had told Ian when I was standing there at the fire not to let me forget to turn off the hose when we went in, but he forgot to remind me, and I just plain forgot. So..yeah, I just went out and turned it off. The bad thing is, their stock tank is close to the young polish's pen. I HOPE it didnt flood that pen. It is hayed down thick, but I still HOPE its not flooded. I will have to check it shortly. BIG OOPS there.

So what's on tap for today. Well, I got an appointment, just a check in, check up kind of deal with the diabetes doc. Since changing my dosage my numbers have come way down and are steady and under control. Doc should be happy about this, as am I.

Other than that, its just laundry, school, a bit of cleaning and cooking.

Oh I do have to go up to the Kroger pharmacy and exchange my lancets. I am beginning to think going to the pharmacy is like going to a fast food drive thru, you better check your bag to make sure you got what you asked for BEFORE you get home, cause you don't want to have to go all the way back to get the RIGHT order.

When I first started all this, I had to go get some needles. The kind that go on the pen type insulin dispenser. I got up to the Kroger in Rome, and they gave me a box of needles, but asked me if these were the right gauge needle. Nope, they were not. I need the Novafine needle. Well they didnt have those in stock. They called around to other Kroger pharmacies until they found that Cartersville pharmacy had a box. So I got them from there. This time, I went to pick up my test strips and a box of lancets. Lancets are the little finger pricker doohickies that you insert into the spring powered whatchamacallit that makes it poke your finger. I got home, didnt really think much about it til the next day. I opened my lancets and they might as well given me a set of kitchen knives to slice open my hand with, as these were tiny flat spear looking things, I swear, you could have carved a turkey with them. Okay, maybe thats exaggerating a tad, but it DID say for optimum blood flow on the box. I'll say! So I called them, told them I need the THIN lancets. She proceeded to tell me that my prescription did not specify thin lancets. I said OH YES THEY DO, the label for the prescription clearly states THIN lancets on the first box of them I recieved. This is a REFILL. OH..okay. She says. She says they have thin lancets in and she will set a box aside for me to exchange. So I am going to do that today. It's not even a PILL prescription, its a prefilled BOX of lancets. All they have to do is read the box, slap my label on it and hand it over. I am not even mentioning that I called this in the day before, and when I got there the next morning, they didnt have any, but they would be in at one o'clock, and thats when I picked the WRONG ones up. If they had thin ones in at that time, like she says, WHY didnt I get those? Oh yeah, because my prescription didnt specify thin, oh but wait, YES IT DID. Good grief. Like I said, its like a fast food drive thru.

Okay, mini rant over. I guess I am just not cut out to deal with the public for any extended period of time. ;)

My girls weren't giving me any eggs at all. I actually had to break down and go over to Carlton Farms
and buy some eggs from them. I have to do this every year about this time. I still won't buy eggs from the grocery store. On my way back I dropped a dozen off to Jim and Linda, good neighbors of ours not far from here. They had been asking for eggs to buy, but I just didnt have them. This time of year the girls that are not too old to lay are molting, and who wants to squeeze out an egg in this kind of weather anyway. Jim wanted to pay for them but I said no way was he going to pay for them, especially after dropping that huge round bale of hay off at the house. (He does that, I come out on the front porch and just notice a huge round bale of hay sitting in the front yard up by the fence from time to ) He is a good neighbor. So I got home that evening, and guess what I found the next day in one of the laying boxes...well of course, three eggs! :) Guess they heard me crying about not having any eggs for breakfast on the weekend.

Well its time for me to stop lolligagging around and get to work. I already got all my little chicks fed and watered in the porch. Those two little heaters I bought at Tractor Supply are doing a great job of keeping it warm in there for my little chickens. Ian is so tolerant. The whole back porch is enclosed in plastic and is housing most of my little chickens and a dozen rhode island red chicks.

The pigs found the run in. The have claimed one corner of it for their sleeping quarters for the winter. I can't really blame them. They say pigs are smart. They would be dumb to stay in their hoop house over the run in, so I say they are smart. It has been built for the llamas though. The pigs and the llamas seem to get along okay, so I think they are all using it together. The pigs don't stay in there during the day anyway, unless the weather is really bad. I still need to take a picture of Ians handiwork. I am proud of him for building it. :)

Okay, now, time to go, got plenty to do. Just felt like rambling on a bit this morning on my blog. Have a good Monday all.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Its GOOD To LIve In The Country

Wednesday at five o'clock I got a phone call as we were sitting down to supper. It was our neighbors down the road that we are friends with, the ones Shelby rides horses with. She asked what I was up to and we talked for a few minutes. Then, she told me what she was calling for, to let me know that the Budweiser Clydesdales were stables not far from here and did we want to go see them at the stables. GOOD GRIEF!!! I told her why didnt she shut me up and just tell me to listen, that I was wasting time we could be going to see those celebrity horse!!! LOL! She laughed.

Apparently, not many people knew you could go and visit them at the stables. I don't know who you had to know to know you could, but we evidently knew someone who knew! Laury said she had just gotten an email about it from one of her Saddle Club members herself, so she didnt know til right before she called me. We told her we would meet her there.

We got there and the driveway itself took five minutes just to get down to the stables. These people had some serious money! What a SPREAD! It was just too bad it was getting dark and I wasnt able to get more pictures outside. Their house was huge, and on a hill, it was just so beautiful. The stables were immaculate. They had to be, since they had been approved to house these magnificent beasts. They are being housed her because yesterday they were in the Cartersville parade and tonight they will be in the Rockmart parade. Rockmart is just the next town over from us, in the same county. We will be going to the parade tonight.

I don't think many people knew about being able to see them like this, because there was just a handful of people wandering the stretch of stalls. I can't tell you how close I came to not being able to take the picture of Shelby, Tate, and Aubrey in front of the horse. Lately my rechargeable batteries have been pooping out sooner than later. We have several sets. I have thrown out two sets. I only have one set, and it is in my camera, and I didnt know how long those would last as this was a last minute thing and I didnt have time to recharge the ones in my camera, so I just had to hope they would hold out. I was going around taking pictures of them in the stalls, and I didnt realize they were going to take one out for pictures. By that time my red indicator light was flashing and I didnt know if I was going to have enough juice to get it or not. I was panicking. This was a once in a lifetime thing, and my camera was going to fail me at this momentus time. I did manage to get one picture, and then that was all it was going to give me. WHEW! I would have liked to have gotten more pictures of the horses the owners of the place had, but I didnt have any more batteries with me. They raise and show Tennessee Walkers. There were many pictures on the barn walls of them performing with them.

Enough babble, here is a slideshow of the pictures I managed to squeeze out of my camera! Hope you enjoy them. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Slideshow of Dalton Poultry Show

There were many, so many birds. These are pictures of just a few of my favorites. For some reason I never took pictures of my silver spangled hamburgs or their competition, but I will be sure and try to do that at the next show in Hartwell, Georgia.

I didnt expect to have a big win or anything at this show. I don't normally show bantams, so this was just a test run to see what the birds I have would do.

Results were mixed. The barred rocks did well with one cockeral winning Best Variety/Best of Breed, and one of the pullets winning Reserve Best Variety/Reserve Best of Breed. This doesnt win ribbons, but they are very encouraging marks. The cockeral's tag even had NICE! written by the judge. The other two took second place in their breed.

There were 104 moderns...needless to say, finding the best one of these was like finding a needle in a haystack. I did not envy the judge, as this was a tough job. Mine did not place, but I am not surprised, they are both molting. I am thinking of taking Sister in place of them at the next show, seeing as she is a pullet and chickens do not molt their first year.

I had tough competition with the Silver Spangled Hamburgs. I went up against a breeder that had been perfecting his flock for six years. I had spoken to him before the show and made plans with him to buy a cock bird from him at the show to replace my only breeding cock bird. Since I was showing, he decided to show some of his. I lost big time against him of course, but without any competition, I wouldn't know if mine were any good. He consulted with me, and he sold me a lighter marked rooster to go with my hens because my hens had too much black in them. He says he thinks he knows where my birds came from, a good breeder, but my birds needed some lightening up, so I will put this bird with my darker pullets and hens to hatch in the Spring for some hopefully really fine show birds. Only one was disqualified. She had an inverted spike for a comb. Too bad, she is the sweetest of them all.

I had this said to me about two of my birds, from different people.

Get rid of that bird.

I explained to them that just because I don't breed that particular bird because of a defect, doesnt mean I want to get RID of it. I just put them out in the yard with the community of chickens. If I got rid of the ones with some sort of defect or problem I would be missing out on some real characters, and some real friendships with those birds. I love my chickens, and just because they are not perfect does not warrent me getting RID of them. They just won't be a breeder.

Alright, here are some pictures...

I am going to enter two serama cockerals at the next they are...they are B's. The ones you see in the slideshow above are A's, very small. I don't have any A's, but thats okay. :)



Here is a picture of Rocko...the new Silver Spangled Hamburg rooster that will be with my girls this Spring. He already had this name, so I kept it. I like it.



A few of my up and coming show chickens...still just babies...


I put an ad out on Craigslist, hoping to find the owner of the flock of Appenzeller Spitzaubens I got two chicks from awhile back. I originally got two chicks from a lady in Rome, which had bought them from a lady in Carrollton. She since sold the flock to a guy in Villa Rica, which called me, and has thirty eggs incubating, of which I will buy some chicks from! So...the breed you see at the top, my header, that is an Appenzeller Spitzauben, from Switzerland. Here are my two cockerals that I intend on showing at the other shows that show large fowl...better pictures later...but here they are.


Thats it for today, I have to get moving. I got birds to take to Dwain today, and he is giving me a breeder house thingie...will show you later, it has compartments...kind of a wall unit type thing. :) Have a GREAT Tuesday! :)

Llamas and Alpacas at the Georgia National Fair