Friday, August 31, 2012
We haven't had time to get more mulch for the garden, and the compost we put on is not enough to absorb the amount of water that came down. I'm hoping it will be dry enough to be able to plant some seeds for the fall garden. Otherwise my name is Mud.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
We brought her home, and gave her a bath. Yes, you can bathe chickens. Her feathers were full of snot and watery eye stuff and the only way she could get it off was to rub it on her feathers. It smells really bad. We put her in a large dog crate on the back patio to dry off in the sun. At this point, she could not stand on her own, and when she tried either couldn't get her legs underneath her, or went backwards. She also was not eating very well, or drinking anything. Trust me, it's not that easy to get a chicken to drink.
The Moose decided to bring her indoors in the air conditioning, and less humidity. He also cut her a piece of cold watermelon, one of her favorites and she backed up to it and did eat some. I think it was the only way her body was getting water or food. Since she wasn't drinking, she wasn't getting any of the antibiotic (tetracyclin). So here's what we did.
I lightly sprinkled the antibiotic on the watermelon. What did we have to lose at this point if we didn't try. I'm serious folks, I think we would have lost her for sure if we didn't try. So for you chicken lovers, this may work for you too. By late in the afternoon one of her eyes had started looking better and she was eating more.
So, again last night it was another piece of cold watermelon (must feel good on her throat, and I'm sure she was running a fever being that sick) with some of the antibiotic sprinkled on. This morning she's much more alert, still has a snotty nose, but the other eye while still red is not near as runny/bubbly. Again, she got a dose of "pumped up" watermelon. Along with dry food, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and corn. All of which she is eating today.
Whew! Keep your fingers crossed she continues to pull through.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I've decided to continue to call our original line of chickens the Hooligans. Their mannerisms are so similar, and it will always be a reminder of where we started in this adventure. Here are the three we hatched out 3 weeks ago. Along with Corrie, who is doing well, they will be dubbed the Hooligans. This is a photo of Rose, Pennie and R.Cogburn out on their first day in the yard. They huddled together for some time, and then realized bugs and grass were tasty, and scratching was a lot of fun.
They went out again Sunday morning, and were so happy to get some fresh air. Can you blame them? Tropical Storm Isaac was on its way and brought some nice breezes. I think they liked the wind in their feathers, what little they have. They're a noisy bunch, much like their parents.
I've decided to call the new flock of White Orpingtons the Cotton Club. Can you guess why? Yup, they look like giant cotton balls!
They are doing so much better, it's amazing. Once totally frightened if you approached the run, now they come within a few feet. They actually run to the door when we drive in, and are ecstatic about going outside for the day. They venture further away each time. Berta, the large hen was really banged up when we got her. Since we put on her saddle, her fluffy feathers are coming back in. Also, two of the smaller ones were picked on, one was missing feathers on its bum, the other on its neck. They are looking much better in a months time.
Unfortunately the previous owner/breeder just dumped all ages in together of the same breed. No thought to how they would survive in the 10x10 space with one feeder and one waterer. If you've ever watched chickens, there is a hierarchy. If the higher ranking ones want access to food or water, they will tear out the feathers of the smaller ones if they are in the way. Sometimes even if they don't want to eat or drink themselves. They just sneak up behind them and rip out the feathers. Poor things!
We have three feeders and two waterers. They can all eat and drink without fear of being in the way. When we feed them fresh fruits and veggies we spread them around, for that same reason. Everyone gets some. They also have day to day access to a run that's 24' x 33' and get let out on the weekends. It shows, they are all looking much better. Please don't tell me chickens don't know a good thing when they see it, live it and feel it.
Besides, it makes the Moose and I happy to see them looking and feeling better.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
We left exhausted, and actually disappointed we couldn't get more done. I'm behind in planting the garden, but thankfully I have some seedlings almost ready to go. There always seems to be one reason or another for not getting the garden planted in time. Say a prayer that we have warmer weather, longer than the past two years, so we can actually harvest the veggies we plant.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
- Hens get their tail feathers in earlier than cockerels. By days
- Cockerels will have thicker legs.
- Cockerels will not turn their backs on you if they feel threatened. Hens will just retreat.
- Cockerel’s combs and waddles will develop quicker than hens and turn red sooner. Hen’s combs and waddles will not turn a deep red until they are ready to lay eggs.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I hope to have a Compound and new chick update soon. Just got back from a couple day training session, and am playing catch up with everything!
Monday, August 13, 2012
A scout bee is sent out to look for abundant food, and may come upon the weakened hive. They enter grab a mouthful of honey and head back home. Then they send out directions to the other roving bandits and before you know it, your hive is completely surrounded. It will be a battle royale. It was with ours, it totally decimated our hive.
The hive entrance looks nothing like a normal function. There are bees flying chaotically all over waiting for their chance to gain access to the hive. They are fighting, stinging and biting each other. There will be dead bees all over the ground at the front of the hive, and if the robbers gain entrance there will be dead bees in the bottom of your hive. They are loud, and the tone is not the normal humming sound, it's definately turned up a notch and you can tell there is anxiety.
Unfortunately, once they know they have access, they will continue to come back until everything is gone. We will be moving our hive to a new location when our new colony arrives. We don't need to make it easier for the same group of bandits to find our hive again.
Even a well established hive should have an entrance reducer installed in the fall to help avoid robbers.
I've also learned that this is a totally natural occurrence. If you see the robbery in progress you can try a couple of things; put a wet sheet over the hive. Your colony of bees will manage just fine, and allow them to handle only a few robbers at a time, it also makes it more difficult for the robbers to get access to the hive opening. You can also spray water on the bees, not hard, but like rain fall. Some of your bees will be in that chaotic scene. You're basically tiring them out. I've read a couple different articles both positive and negative with this option. But if you're desperate, you may want to give it a try.
I am disappointed with myself for not knowing this information. Hopefully it will help others. I know that beginning beekeepers have a hard time getting a colony established. But we'll keep our chins up and try again just as soon as we can get another hive. Live and learn.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Without our knowledge, we hosted a standing room only party in our pond for the area storks and egrets. They cleaned out our Tilapia. The Moose subsequently had to create a netting roof over the top. So far so good on that account. We have plenty of fish. (knock on wood)
Of course a few weeks ago we lost the entire group of Hooligans. A predator chewed through the roof and killed them all. We spent three weekends putting on a metal roof. That's done, and so far no other attempts on the new flocks lives have been made. (knock on wood)
Just when we hope things will start going our way, we discovered our hive of bees, empty. It appears they were robbed. Dead bee bodies everywhere, and a chaotic swarm of bees, signs of a robbery in progress. By this time it was too late. We opened up the hive, no workers, very little brood, and no queen. They put up a good fight, but there just weren't enough of them to hold off the masses.
It's back to square one, and another delay in realizing our sweet dreams of honey. We'll likely have to wait until next spring to get another colony. It seems to be one thing after another and I'm just plain tired. I'm usually the optimistic type, but right now the glass is half empty.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
During the tragedy that struck, the Moose had the wherewithal to collect the remaining eggs and try and incubate them. Hoping we'd be able to hatch out some of the Hooligan's offspring. We were blessed with three small fluff balls on Sunday.
We stopped by after work tonight to check up on the new chickens (still haven't come up with a name to call the gang), and Corrie. All things are going well, the little ones that were picked on are healing up and getting very active. We have been waiting to get some eggs, and the transition on the hens caused them to stop laying for a few weeks. We fattened them up a bit, and were happy to find these waiting for us.
Now we won't be able to eat these, since we gave the entire group a dose of antibiotic to help clear up some sores that didn't look good and some coughing that had me concerned. But we have eggs! And in the nesting box too!
We really needed these shots in the arm! Thanks for sticking with this crazy blog! I really appreciate the comments and emails I get from so many of you.
Monday, August 6, 2012
That's how I feel
Should we even be counting? Does it just set us up for failure? Does a list keep us focused? I don't feel organized if I don't know what I want or need done, but then I'm disappointed when I can't physically get to them all and end up adding them to the next weeks list of chores. Sometimes the list is just too daunting and I'd rather just take a nap.
Maybe that's just life. How do you handle your workload? Make a list or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
Sunday, August 5, 2012
It was the first day we left the door to the chicken run open to see what would happen. We were nervous about getting the new chickens back in to the run, but thought we’d take the chance. Of course, Corrie took quick advantage of the grass and bugs. It took the others some additional time to really believe they would be free to roam. They stood at the door and contemplated the pros and cons about leaving the run. One even took a step out and then quickly jumped back in! Alfred(our new rooster) really had to do some coaxing to get the others to go outside. They didn’t travel far, and would come back and forth between outside and their run.
They didn’t really know what to do with the grass. They watched Corrie eating it, picked at it some, and then finally gave in and ate some. It was like watching your 4 year old with new food on their plate and not believing that it really does taste good. The younger ones actually did better outside then then older ones. They really liked running around the robellini trees, and of course dust bathing is always top of their list.