Sunday, July 24, 2016

This week in the garden

It was a pretty quiet week this week which is nice.  I prefer no drama.

Peaches finished her medicine for vent gleet yesterday and I do see a big improvement in her.  Unfortunately, her bottom feathers were so badly soiled that I had to trim quite a few away.  So I'm eager for her to molt and go back to having a nice fluffy bottom again.  I'll spare you the photos as her bottom is not very attractive right now.

The flowers are all blooming in the garden.  The roses are performing well.  And my Hens and Chicks are dividing nicely.
Beautiful Bella just continues to get prettier and prettier.  Penny is the black hen in front of her. 
The hens love this ceramic bowl of water on the patio.  I suspect because I fill it with cold water each time I let them out.
My big girls haven't taken a dust bath in the garden in three years.  They have a huge dust bathing ring in their run and I think they really like it.  But the babies are still learning what's what in the garden and run and they have taken to dust bathing in the garden.  It's fun to watch them out there.
The babies are now 14 weeks old.  Just four more weeks and I can open up the fence that keeps them separate from the big girls.  They get along just fine out in the garden.  I don't let them mingle in their run because I don't want the babies eating the big girls layer feed until they are 18 weeks of age.

They are getting big and I'm ready to let them all be one big family.  It will make it easier on me to get in there and tidy up the run each day if I don't have to work my way around their fencing.

I'm really happy with this batch of chicks.  They are so curious and fun to interact with.  Penny, my Black Cochin is a little more shy and timid than I was prepared for.  Not sure if that's just a Cochin thing or if something has happened to her to make her a bit skittish.   But she sure is sweet and hopefully she'll come around.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Trust your instinct

Peaches has struggled with a dirty bottom for about a year now.  A very long and frustrating year.

When I first discovered her dirty bottom, I tried to treat it myself.  I would give her a bath every few days to get her clean.  I trimmed back her bottom feathers.  But she continued to have a dirty bottom.

I did some research online and came to the conclusion that she must have Vent Gleet, which is a yeast or fungal infection in the bird.

I tried to treat her with some of the online suggestions such as yogurt and ACV and while that seemed to help, it didn't clear up her issue.

I took her to a vet (not my regular vet) and explained her symptoms.  The vet looked at a dropping under a microscope and said she didn't see yeast so ruled out Vent Gleet.

Well, fast forward over a very frustrating year and this week I noticed that her bottom was now red and very irritated from the dropping sticking to the skin.  I knew that would go south fast so a trip to the vet, MY VET, was in order.

I explained all her symptoms and the vet explained how you might not see yeast in the droppings but that doesn't mean she didn't have Vent Gleet.  She examined some of her badly soiled feathers and indeed there was yeast.

So now Peaches has medicine to treat the yeast internally.  She also has some special soap and will get a bottom bath every afternoon and after she's dry, she has some special ointment to help sooth the red rash she's sporting.

I'm angry at myself for not pushing this issue harder.  I know my girls best and after 6 years of having hens and doing research, I know a few things about chickens.  I knew she had Vent Gleet.  I just knew it.  I should have taken her to MY vet a long time ago.  I just assumed that if one vet said, no yeast, that it must be something else.

I'm glad we're on the right track to getting her healthy and happy again.  And just ahead of when she'll molt so hopefully, this all gets resolved, she molts out those nasty, spent feathers and sports a beautiful, fluffy bottom for the rest of her life.

My point to all this is to Trust Your Instinct.

Yes, veterinarians went to school for many more years that I did.  But that doesn't mean they always know better.  Most vets are generalist or avian specialists.  But each bird species has it's own unique set of issues.  And sometimes those issues come in many different forms, not just the worse case scenarios that were detailed in text books.  Don't hesitate to ask your vet, What about this?  And why not that?  I'm sure they hate it when you say, well, I read online...  But there are people online who are quite knowledgeable about chickens.  Yes, there's a lot of misinformation out there too.  But information is power.  If you don't have a vet that you can have an honest discussion with and ask these questions, then find a new vet.

I adore my vet.  I really do.  I'm so glad I found them and have a relationship with them.

And just one day into treatment, Peaches' bottom already looks better.  I'm so thankful that we finally are on the path to resolution with this issue.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Chickens are the best medicine

Anyone who doesn't laugh at their chickens every day, well, they simply don't have a sense of humor!

My birds crack me up every day.  I'm always laughing out loud at the goofy stuff they do and wondering what on earth must have been going through their little brain.

Last night I went out to check up on the babies who only learned how to roost last week.  My Black Cochin Penny doesn't want to roost.  I don't know if there's something wrong or if she's just a late bloomer.  You really can't see her but if you look through the legs of the Buff Orpington who's standing up, you can see black and that's Penny.

But what really had me laughing out loud, was how Belle managed to get her self up on the roost but tucked neatly behind the nest box curtain.  I love the look on the BO's faces.  It's like they are asking each other, What's she doing?  Is that how it's supposed to be done?

I scooted back into the house to grab my camera and fortunately she was still in the same spot when I came back outside.

I reached into the coop and scooped up Penny and put her up on the roost next to Bella.  But I don't see any droppings under the roost this morning so I suspect she got right down and tucked herself back into the corner of the coop behind the BO's after I left.

Anyone else have a bird that refused to roost?  Did they eventually learn to roost?  I supposed it's not the end of the world if she chooses to sleep on the floor of the coop provided I keep her out of the nests.