Chickens – Week 18

Hello everyone. Long time no post! Sorry about that guys. We’ve been super busy with projects and family visits and holidays! But fortunately, nothing much as changed since we last posted. The babies keep growing and growing. We didn’t lose a single chicken to the disease that spread through the flock. We figured out it was avain flu mixed with maybe a hint of Coryza. We kept waiting and waiting for it to get better, doing a ton of research and feeding them lots of probiotics and electrolytes. We consistently cleaned their eyes and applied Neosporin to their wounds and one day they started to look better. Not once did any of them express signs of respiratory issues (which can be a killer), nor did any of them lose their appetite. The only issue we have seen since this has passed is that it has stunted their growth (or at least we believe it has). Our assumption of this is based on how several chicken owners cull their flocks back when they reach 18 weeks of age. Well, looking at all our roosters, only one looks like he’s reached maturity (our Blue Andalusian). None of the other roosters have filled out. Our Brahmas are (on average) suppose to weigh around 12 lbs. Ours are maybe 8 lbs. When we pick them up, they just feel like bones. We narrowed it down to either the flu caused them to delay their maturity, or we weren’t feeding them the right amount of protein rich food, or even both. Because this is our first flock and we are completely inexperienced and practically alone on this whole raising chickens thing, we just went down to the local Lumber 2 and bought what seemed right. Once one of our chickens got crop problems from that food, we immediately switched over to high quality food (Dumor). I highly doubt we will ever switch from Dumor or Purena brand food.

None the less, all our chickens survived the flu and none of them are being harvested for another few weeks at least. But when we do decide to harvest them, we will for sure keep our Blue And as well as either a Brahma or a Cochin.

Our Blue is so handsome too.

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Dale decided to put him on the roof of the coop. He enjoyed it quite a bit.

Another interesting thing happened since last time I posted. We didn’t realize that chicken’s beaks chipped away in order to grow. This picture below is a little fuzzy because I had to take it of myself holding him, but this is our male Buckeye. That white part on his beak is it chipping away so it can grow. Weird, right?

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We’ve also decided to start letting them out into the yard, since their yard is mostly dead (see below). They love it!

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This is one of our male Speckled Sussex, taken this past Monday. He still doesn’t have any of his showy tail feathers.

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This is ours and our friend’s flock mixed together. They get along quite nicely, until our Blue decides to pick on Georgia, the turkey. We just stand back and say, “dude, you have too much testosterone to go after that big of a bird.”

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This is one of our male Cochins.

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This is one of our male Brahmas. They are starting to look big and bulky, huh?

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I do love our male Cochins. Their coloring is so brilliant. The females aren’t as blue.

In other news, we did have to kill one of chickens this week. We’ve deemed him with the name “Sickly” because he is the one that’s had crop problems all along. This is him below. Just looking at his feathers and comparing him to the other Speckled next to him, you can just tell he’s not getting enough nutrients to develop correctly. Even his comb is a tell-tale sign. It’s very muddled and dark, in comparison to every other chicken’s comb that is bright red. And I know the picture doesn’t show it but he looks very bloated and big in the chest, mainly because of his crop.

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I sat out in the chicken yard one day and just watched this little guy. He’s significantly smaller than the other Speckled Sussex. But on this particular day, he just stood there, holding himself in and shivering. Yes, shivering! I didn’t know chickens could shiver. Look at that poor baby.

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So Dale built a box for him in our garage with a heater. We figured he hadn’t developed enough meat on his body to keep him warm through all the cold we’ve been getting. We would watch him for the next several days. Below is day one in the box. That little cut out is the heater. There was no poop the first night, but the next morning, there was watery poop everywhere, so we thought he was getting better.

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Unfortunately, he was not getting better. This morning, we discussed putting him back out in the chicken yard because he was starting to chirp and move around a little more. So Dale walked down to the garage to check on him and he said it was probably time to put poor little Sickly out of his misery. He said he walked down and saw Sickly laying on his side and when he poked him, he barely moved. Dale thought he was dead. We decided to just kill him then so he didn’t have to suffer any more. Surprisingly, it was hard on me. I knew I would have a hard time seeing any of my chickens die, but I was briefly really upset about poor Sickly, because we had nursed him back to health several times. He was always the first to the door for food, mainly because he was always so hungry. The cold just got to him and he couldn’t make it through this time. Poor guy. But I’m ok now knowing he’s not hurting any more (and yes! I know it’s just a chicken, but have some compassion!!)

And then there were 20 chickens.

Until next time 🙂

 

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