Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New beginning on its way

Well, so far I have bleached every single coop, and limed the pens that the birds were kept in. I am now simply waiting the long wait until spring when I can get birds again. Hopefully this time everything will go smoothly, and no more birds will die.
I am hoping to pursue Orpingtons, EE's, LF cochins, Blue laced red wyandottes, a Naked neck, Black copper Marrans, Bantam cochins, Mille flur DUccles, my Ohiki's, maybe Sultans, Bantam Favoralls, Frizzles, and show girls.
Oh how I cant wait to start hatching and getting my flock back. I miss my birds so so much!

In the mean time, I have been occupying myself with my goats and two rabbits.
Rin and Kush are doing wonderfully outside for there first winter, and Danny *the barn cat*  though Rin is not thrilled about being brushed. She is quite determined to escape me every time she sees the brush come out hehe.

Little Annie dressed up for Christmas! :D She kept walking away with the hat and moving on me while I tried to take the picture, so I had to get my hubby to hold onto her lol

And of course our newest arrival, Nutmeg!
We have concluded that Nutmeg is a Kiko, Saanen cross. Though were not to sure how she will be when my does have there kids, but we shall see! 
She is a wonderful doe, and so far my male just thinks she is the sexyist thing on the face of the planet.


Oh!! I almost forgot, due to the massive increase in Coyotes, we have decided to invest in a LGD (Live Stock Guardian dog) which will be a Great Pyrenees. We cant get two right now if we want to get more chickens, so instead we will be getting one LGD, and then another down the road if the coyotes persist. 
So, thats about it for the moment!
Ill keep you all updated come spring!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Goodbye Big birds...

Saying goodbye to beloved pets has got to be the hardest thing ever, even when you know that they are going to good homes.





My babys are going to live with a wonderful family, who even agreed to let my meat bird Meaty live out the rest of her life on there farm. They have converted there rabbit room to hold chickens so my little Naked neck Alien *The hen in the sweater* wont be cold during the winter months.
Now, its time to clean, disinfect, and let nature kill the evil viruses that have been plaguing me and my birds for the past two years!!
*crosses fingers* This had better work this time, 1. good homes for chickens dont fall into your lap that often, and 2. I cant physically go threw the heart break of burying and giving away my babys again!



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A sad goodbye...

Today I say goodbye to my bantam babys...


All of them are being placed in a new home. I have made the hard choice to get rid of all of my flock...It is the only thing I have not tried to do, to keep my birds healthy. There is a group of wonderful women who have promised to help me re-build my flock in the spring when the harsh cold has killed the viruses. 
Im going to bleach the daylights out of everything three times over the course of time, and use this new cleaner that was suggested to me.

Again, if I ever hear of anyone say that chickens are rats with wings and are easy to keep, I will shoot them...
My bantams are going to a family, who are prepared to deal with the MG should it pop up. They just wanted some older birds for there daughter to love.
So, everyone wish me luck, and my birds, that this time everything goes right...  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

For the love of all things adult.

I always assumed adults were just that, but in reality they can be just as bad as those I grew up with. Swallowing pride and gritting teeth is just in the laws of nature I guess, as is poultry owning.
Today was a big test. My Ohiki's are going threw something very weird, and I am not sure what it is? The vet thinks they hatched with what ever is, and that they all could potentially be sick with it. Should one pass away again I will have the bird looked at at the state lab so they can figure out whats wrong.

All day I felt like nothing; between my neighbor tormenting me almost every day about how hes organic his flock is perfect, a personal issue that crippled me to tears, and my Ohiki's, I have just been emotionally sapped of strength.
I almost gave up owning chickens today, when a dozen very wise people reminded me that people in general dont mater. One in particular reminded me, again, that I just need to say ^$&$@^& it to everyone and do what I love.
Well, I am going to do just that; and I actually pity those who wish to make others around them miserable :(
I will try for one more year, and if that does not work then i'll just have to start over again...I really hope it all works again as I dont want to have to cull anyone.

Also, we have been having a coyote issue with the goats! Blasted things...Were looking into getting an LGD dog (Livestock guardian dog) to help keep the evil things away. So far none of my hoofed baby's have been harmed, but we are not taking a chance.

Now for a happy picture:
A good friend of mine made a scarf for my little naked neck :) It took her a while to realize it was harmless, but once that happened she was off pecking away.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flecks is gone

Well the little Ohiki that was sick, my little spotted Ohiki Flecks, passed away.
Thankfully though the rest of my flock seems to be doing well, so hopefully the worst is over and everyone will be fine from this point out.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Another Ohiki going down...

So, my little yellow legged Ohiki, the second best in the hatch besides Mr. Pippin, is sick...
The speckled one, second to last...
Hes fluffed, watery poop, and seems to be shutting down even though I have attempted to give him antibiotics and food...I have no idea what the hell is going on now, as this is the first time I have ever seen all of these symptoms at once...

AHHH!!

Why does it seem my backyard is a drop off for every single poultry catchable virus!!! I have been careful, and sanitized everything and everyone who comes onto the property :(
Ugh...Hopefuly he makes it, but to be honest I dont really have hope for any of the Ohiki's anymore...They will most likely all end up dead on me...

Garden update

Well, so far the garden was a partial success.
We have bagged and blanched over twenty pounds of green beans and this year we have six butter nut squash, 15 pounds of onions, 49 bunches of garlic, and enough dried beans for two dinners.
However, our squash did not fare well, we lost our soybeans to a rabbit, our raspberry plants suffered a mold attack due to all of the rain...ugh.
Then the tomatoes got attacked by blight half way threw the season and so we lost them all to it. The fruit continued to grow, however the blight grew inside the tomato's and when you bit into them they looked fine but tasted like rotten, yuck!! Then the community garden, where we grew two plots, sadly did not work as well as we hoped :( The bugs were unbearable to the point that we were forced to use pesticides which we hate to do, then the weeds just kept coming and coming and coming...We got a few green-beans and   tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash out of it, but that was about it. Nothing to sell, and nothing to can :(
But, at least we have vegetables for the winter, and enough meals to hopefully last us long enough where we wont have to shop for a while :D
Next year we are going to have the gravel pit turned into a garden, and we will be able to rotate the tomatoes away from the blight areas so that they wont be effected! We will have to use deterrents on the community garden, and then since we took care of the rabbit we only have to deter the mole.
So cross your  fingers that everything will work out and that next year we will have a wicked harvest! :D


Monday, October 1, 2012

Good bye Mr. Pippin :(


I lost my little Pippin yesterday, poor guy simply gave up and stopped eating...
It must have been Merrick's and just an odd strain of it, hopefully I wont loose any other of his siblings.

Friday, September 28, 2012

About to say screw it...

I dont understand...Not at all.
How a farmer who does nothing for his birds, does not test, give shots, does not feed them except in winter...How a farmer who lives right next door can hatch out his chicks under his hens without a problem and get 25-30 each time, who vists farms and does not bring anything back to his flock and then points it out every time he sees me...
Yet me, when i wanted to have some birds and show them, when I want to hatch them out and raise them, they just die or dont hatch.
I did the testing, I got NPIP certified, I got the best birds I could find...Beautiful, silkie hens from Mountain top Silkies, two of them. Two beautiful show birds...And then my Silkie roo scalped them and then the last one died after she fell of the ramp.
Wry neck, Merrick's, worms...and then Mg. I did what I was told to do, culled my flock and placed my birds until i had gone from having 32 to 8...
I started vaccinating, I started doing research, and yet still I cant seem to keep anything past the age of six months. I did what i had to to have healthy birds, stick to hatching eggs I was told...Now I cant even get a batch to so much as hatch for me, and the incubators are not only brand new, but they have been  disinfected before each use.
Yet my neighbor, who does nothing but let his birds run wild and not touch them unless hes going to eat them...Just hatched out 15 chicks under his hens...
Who ever said chickens are easy to raise, are rats with wings, should jump off cliffs...
Im almost ready to say screw everything, and just give up...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Goats!

Well, I learned the hard way with the hens, so I am going to take precaution with the goats. No one is allowed near them without dipping there does in a disinfectant. 

There hutch now has a door, and there hay rack will be put up as soon as we can find either a cordless drill or an extension cord long enough to reach them.

Ella is obsessed with the sweet feed, she LOVES to follow me to the pen and just wait for some of the feed to be spilled, just a single pellet and she will dive for it.
I really cant wait for milk and be able to raise the babys, make cheese, yogurt and all sorts of stuff!

I am really interested in how Seven's babys will turn out and whether or not she has twins.

Annie on the other hand I am a bit concerned about, the vet says that she should be fine for birthing since her breed is supposed to be smaller, but I am still going to be watching her like a hawk.

They have also stopped screaming at me, though they have learned to bite which we are working on. They think that we always have treats for them, so when we hold out our hands they always look and lick and nibble lol.


Sad and yet good news.

I lost my little Tod :( My poor little baby...
At least I have his brother Copper, and the little hen I saved named little S. (The chick who was skinned)
Copper is looking so pretty...But...
So is Mr. Peter...The bird in the very middle who disguised himself as a hen for a while. Today he decided to crow for me...I cant keep all the roosters T_T

And then the Blue laced red wyandotte's I hatched out seem to be thriving, except look who turned into a boy! Yup, that's right...The egg I dropped and helped hatch, the fluffyist of them all, is a boy! Who perch's on my shoulder and preens my hair...*sigh* Mr. B had better get along with him.

And yay! A hen. The 50-50 chance finally payed off!! Though she is a flighty little bugger...

Then here are the Ohiki's. My favorite little hen named Ginger * Ironically shes a ginger Ohiki*

There all doing very well! There coop arrived the other day and is all nice and set up, however I am having a hard time locating chain-link fence for there pen :/ I really hope I can find some before snow hits, because I would love to get them outside.

Then poor Master Pippin... I am not sure what his fate holds, and hopefully he will get better, but so far hes not walking still :(

My big flock is doing great also, I lost a bard rock to Merrick's, so all I have left is my Meaty bird *Meaty* Mr. B *Who is molting and looks horrible* Izzy, Alien, Bug *Who got stung in the face by bee's* and Ella the bard rock.

Also look who is looking awesome! The bird who I thought was a rooster, turned out to be a hen. A very interesting silkieXcochin cross :D

My poor little S. *S stands for survivor* is not handling Tods death well :( Chickens do mourn, and she is starting to get thin. But i do have some good news to that, as it appears she has taken a liking to Copper and has been following him around.

All I can say is thank god my favorite hen out of everyone is still alive and well. Frost has survived, and will spend the winter outside for the first time. I hope she does alright.

Thats about it, I am still loosing birds every hatch but I guess with chickens that is to be expected due to how fragile they can be. Hopefully my new ways of cleaning, disinfecting, and strict vaccination and de-worming schedule will help me have a higher survival rate. 
Again, I reiterate. Anyone who says raising chickens is easy should be shot...





Saturday, September 15, 2012

Gape worm, leg injury's and possibly Merrick's...

You know, when I first made this blog I expected to be posting about my hens running in the backyard pecking, or how cute they looked scratching in the garden...
I have lost my entire flock so far this year, and in my attempts to rectify the MG situation I have had Vent gleet, a deadly number of Mites that actually killed one of my birds, Merrick's, a leg injury that we are hoping is not Merrick's, and gape worm...
I am currently sitting with my little Japanese bantam cross boy Tod
Who I dont believe will make it to tomorrow...
The Vet thought he had gape worm, which is a parasite that clings to the side of the throat and slowly suffocates them. I had to de-worm him once every three days four times...
He is not getting any better, and now the threat of yet another horrible infectious virus contaminating my flock hangs heavily in the air...
And to top it off my prized Okiki rooster, who I have named Mr. Pippin, has either injured his leg or has a slow acting strand of Merrick's...
He is not using the one leg, and has been clicking his beak at me every time I touch it.
However...I brought him to the vet and they said to wait another week...If he does not improve then he has Merrick's, and if he does improve then that would be fantastic.
If it is Merrick's then I have no clue where it came from at all, an this will be the second bird I lost due to the virus. Worst of all there is no cure, and there is only one vaccination that does not prevent the type of Merrick's my flock has been getting.
...I will continue to move forward with my birds, and keep trying to raise them.
However, if one more person laughs, or mocks my misfortune I swear I will blow a gasket and fling something at there head and or heads...
Chickens are not rats with wings, they are not easy to raise, and they are not fun when they drop dead on you every day!!!
Grr...
Anyway thats my little rant, and my pity party attacked to it. i will let you all know if the two of them pull threw.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Genders!!!

The two little Blue laced red Wyandottes are a pullet and roo.
The chance of 50-50 has finally hit!! My luck is good, and I have a beautiful roo who loves to perch on my shoulder and coo in my ear. he also seems to like to preen my hair :D He has taken to sifting threw the strands and sorting them lol.
The hen is a bit more flighty, but otherwise very gentle. once you catch her she will sit on your arm and stay there.
I can not wait to hatch some more of these beauties!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Steps to battling MG in your poultry flock

Well, after some delay I thought I should post this. It might come back and bite me in the butt, but you know what I dont care.
Someone can learn from this, and from what I have experienced not everyone is up and ready to help you when there is a problem. Those so called helpful forums are only helpful if people open there mouths and are willing to speak up!
I sat there for an entire year, between hawk attacks and my accidental de-worming overdosing, I only got about sixteen people to so much as suggest advice, while my posts hit record numbers of 100+ views almost every time.
I finally befriended a group of people who actually wanted to help me succeed, and that was how I figured out (after a horrible disaster) what my flock had and what I needed to do to prove it and then prevent it.
Before I start this, DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I DID!!!! Always Always quarantine regardless what species it is! We believe that my flock got infected accidentally due to a pair of ducks I brought in. After a long, very long, talk with my vet that lasted about two weeks we figured out time frames and so fourth...Fowl can be carriers of many things even though they dont show it, I was ignorant and just threw them out with my hens. Well, now we know thats a bad idea...
Anyway, onto the steps!!

Step one: *optional* MG is an airborne virus that is: "Transmission may be transovarian, or by direct contact with birds, exudates, aerosols, airborne dust and feathers, and to a lesser extent fomites. Spread is slow between houses and pens suggesting that aerosols are not normally a major route of transmission. Fomites appear to a significant factor in transmission between farms. Recovered birds remain infected for life; subsequent stress may cause recurrence of disease."  It is a chronic respiratory disease in chickens, turkeys, game birds, pigeons and other wild birds. Ducks and geese can become infected when held with infected chickens."
What I was told by the state inspector was that I should pick my favorites, and "cull" the rest. I did not have the heart to cull my babys for no reason, and so only those who were symptomatic and obviously suffering were culled. *Which was horrible!* The rest I was able to place in a farm who had MG positive birds and new how to handle the virus. They willingly took on my birds and so far they are doing great.
I kept my favorites and had the poultry man test them, only two tested positive and thankfully my main favorites and first bird were negative. Those of you who followed my blog know which ones were negative and the whole story of my poor blind girl who got a very happy outcome!
The ducks, and six other birds however...Sadly were not so lucky. *I had a whole glass of wine that night, and those of you who know me know that I dont drink!*


Step two: Purchase the vaccine for MG, along with Tylan powder. Then buy a heavy duty poultry cleaner and power wash every single inch of the coop and flip the ground in the yard your birds are on *optional* and bleach it. MG lacks a specific cell wall that a lot of viruses have that allows it to be killed easily with strong chemicals, heat, or cold. Also: "The infectious agent survives for only a matter of days outwith birds although prolonged survival has been reported in egg yolk and allantoic fluid, and in lyophilised material. Survival seems to be improved on hair and feathers. Intercurrent infection with respiratory viruses (IB, ND, ART), virulent E. coliPasteurella spp. Haemophilus, and inadequate environmental conditions are predisposing factors for clinical disease."
Which means, according to the state guy, if you start over and get rid of every single bird then start over in a year with the following steps, you could very well end up with a clean slate and no virus. I was not willing to part with every single bird, and it was hard enough to place them... Especially my blind little Nugget!!! At least shes happy now and sporting a new hen saddle hehe.

Step three: vaccinate the birds you are keeping as a precaution! If they have not caught it yet then it will help, if they have it, well then it still wont hurt them. *You must vaccinate the birds every year if you choose this path!* If you wish to treat any sick birds, then use the Tylan powder and mix it according to the directions: http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/archives/fdaDrugInfo.cfm?archiveid=19987

Step four: If you chose to not cull, and you do not have to start over then you do not have to worry about the next step to much, until the time comes when you wish to get a fresh batch of birds. The step is... NO CHICKS OR GROWN BIRDS ""unless"" they have already been vaccinated for the MG and have come from an NPIP tested flock. *This step is so hard to follow, but so far im doing it.*
Its a bit of a pain, because you all know what that means....Hatching eggs and incubators! But! You can not hatch out eggs from your own flock until it is proven that your flock is clean of any Virus, and even then think twice. The MG will go threw the shell and sit in the yoke...However! Remember the tylan powder in step two? This next mixture is what you need to follow that will help prevent the virus from penetrating the shell and infecting your chick, and or killing it.
http://albertachickensetc.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=18095&p=1
This link has so far improved my hatch rates, chick survival, and growth! It is scary to think of dipping your eggs in cold water, but in order to keep healthy birds it is worth it.

Step five: The MG vaccination states on the bottle that birds can be vaccinated at a week old. It was suggested to me to wait until they were six weeks old to vaccinate. However, due to the issues I had I chose to vaccinate at a week old. My friend then suggested to vaccinate again at six weeks, so far my birds have tolerated it and I have not lost any from it. This step is all personal choice, if you want to wait, vaccinate right away, it is all up to you.

Step six: Keep a strict cleaning and disinfecting schedule and routine, and if you are organic keep a VERY strict schedule and routine. This virus is nasty, and when it hits it will hit hard and spread fast. In short, it sucks...
I clean my coops every two weeks per the suggestion of my friend. Chicks get cleaned every week, and as they grow I rotate pens to help with space and so fourth. It also is a good way to handle the birds. This is done in my garage so the doors can be opened and closed at will and they can get direct sunlight as well as fresh air.
I have also made a disinfecting step that has to be taken before anyone goes near the chicks. They must wash there shoes, then hands, and if possible pull there hair back so chicks cant peck at strands. If you recall  step two, its states that MG can attach to hair.

Step seven: Automatically assume every animal you take in is contagious and has to be quarantined for 30 days AWAY from any and all of your birds and or animals. Make it so only one or two people can come in contact with the animal/birds in question, and make sure you disinfect both coming and going from the room or place where the birds are being kept. Last thing you want to do is handle the bird, then go out to your flock and help spread what ever it is they might have.
If one of your own birds begins to act funny, or sick, then separate them at once and put them into the quarantine room.

And the last step!!
Enjoy your birds, after freaking yourself out and doing all of that you deserve it.

I know how strict and over the top this all sounds, but after being told by everyone "Chickens are rats with wings, they will be fine, dont worry, no problems..."
I call bull!
Chickens are very hard to raise when you have no clue what your doing, and once something hits them and no one is willing to open there mouths and tell you whats going on, then yeah...
Its really hard, and then before you know it you have lost half your flock and your half way down a creek without a paddle.
Always take precaution, and to those of you who read this looking for help, I hope it did just that.

Links to sources:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps034
http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/94/mycoplasma-gallisepticum-infection-mg-chronic-respiratory-disease-chickens
http://www.poultrydiseases.net/online/index.php?Itemid=26&id=14&option=com_content&task=view
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycoplasma_gallisepticum
http://www.ruleworks.co.uk/poultry/M-Gallisepticum.htm
http://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/eng/Health_standards/tahm/2.03.05_%20AVIAN_MYCO.pdf
http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Silver laced blue wyandottes and Ohikis

So the two babys who hatched are acting very roo'sh...
Oh but I love them.

And the Ohiki's seem to be half and half. Three boys and three girls.





The very last one is the one with the corn allergy. Its still a bit sensitive, but since I mixed there regular food with fish cat food they have all perked up and seem to be doing much better!
I really hope it stays half and half and they all dont end up roos on me, that would be depressing. 

Mr. B is also doing a great job as the new head flock rooster. Izzy is also his new favorite. Ugh...I miss my babys, but at least I know those who were not culled are living a very happy life on there new farm. Especially Nugget! Or, im sorry Abby hehe 

Alien is also doing excellent and is the head of everyone. Bug's feathers are growing back in  beautifully as well. Though she is not happy that she is now at the bottom of the food chain and no longer the head hen. Poor old girl.

And...Guess whos molting!! Yup, thats right, Mr. B is loosing his tail feathers faster then I loose my keys. Thats ok though, we all know hes still beautiful. 

The two bard rocks are also settling in well. I am holding out hope that they are immune to the Mg virus since they were raised inside during the fiasco, and I vaccinated them as soon as I realized it was there. They seem to be pretty healthy so far so hopefully they will continue to do well.

MEATY IS LAYING ME EGGS!!! She lays them under the coop but thats ok. Shes wandering around like a champ now, and even chased after the cat hehe. I am very glad she is doing well and not suffering, I know she wont live as long as the other birds, but at least she gets to enjoy life.