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Surviving the Planet X Tribulation

Author Topic: Chickens  (Read 30748 times)

R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #120 on: June 27, 2019, 12:07:25 PM »
Summertime is mostly a lark for pastured chickens, but a little extra attention especially to the elderly ones on a no-cull homestead is worthwhile.

Peak heat may stress a hen that's up in years, which becomes noticeable when she remains sitting listlessly, not taking the usual interest in running around and chasing bugs.  It may be difficult to discern the difference between the natural end of her lifespan and the need for a simple electrolyte.  A  hen that's close to death will have a sunken crest and may not be able to swallow or process fluids.  If her crest is still erect, an intervention may help.

So the same electrolyte drench that's kept in the fridge for honeybees is also useful for chickens.  Numerous recipes exist on the web.  A simple mixture that we use here consists of 1:1 unrefined sugar in water, with a couple of fat pinches of mineral salt, a capsule of vitamin C powder or apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of bicarbonate buffer.  It can also be mixed preventively in water buckets for healthy hens in summertime.

We keep a stash of the soft plastic pipettes on hand, which come in handy for nursing wild birds, as well (one large birdhouse in our garden is "wild bird ER").  An ailing hen who is off to herself in one corner can be brought out to be with her sisters, assuming they are peaceful and not prone to hazing a weak member of the flock.  She may enjoy some extra attention from them.  In winter, a sick-bay box is always ready to be filled with hay for a feathered patient in the garage.

Our eldest Rhode Island Red, simply called "Old Red," who is nine years old is not taking our summer heat wave well, or is about to pass away - we're not sure which just yet.  Two days of feeding her the electrolyte drench via pipette have at least succeeded in making her well enough to take a basic interest in her sisters and bugs again, although nothing succeeds in getting her back up on her feet.  But we'll accept her as she is, knowing that we've given her our best care.

After receiving the sticky fluid over a period of about 15 minutes, she received a gentle shower with the garden hose from the neck down, and we used wet fingers to wash her face so as not to spray water into her nostrils or ears.  Pleasant chatter with her during the procedure reassured both her and her sisters that no harm was being done to her, resulting in several others coming over to lie down together nearby and coo.  :)

« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 06:00:18 AM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #121 on: June 27, 2019, 07:59:26 PM »
Summertime is mostly a lark for pastured chickens, but a little extra attention especially to the elderly ones on a no-cull homestead is worthwhile.

Peak heat may stress a hen that's up in years, which becomes noticeable when she remains sitting listlessly, not taking the usual interest in running around and chasing bugs.  It may be difficult to discern the difference between the natural end of her lifespan and the need for a simple electrolyte.  A  hen that's close to death will have a sunken crest and may not be able to swallow or process fluids.  If her crest is still erect, an intervention may help.

So the same electrolyte drench that's kept in the fridge for honeybees is also useful for chickens.  Numerous recipes exist on the web.  A simple mixture that we use here consists of 1:1 unrefined sugar in water, with a couple of fat pinches of mineral salt, a capsule of vitamin C powder or apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of bicarbonate buffer.  It can also be mixed preventively in water buckets for healthy hens in summertime.

We keep a stash of the soft plastic pipettes on hand, which come in handy for nursing wild birds, as well (one large birdhouse in our garden is "wild bird ER").  An ailing hen who is off to herself in one corner can be brought out to be with her sisters, assuming they are peaceful and not prone to hazing a weak member of the flock.  She may enjoy some extra attention from them.  In winter, a sick-bay box is always ready to be filled with hay for a feathered patient in the garage.

Our eldest Rhode Island Red, simply called "Old Red," who is nine years old is not taking our summer heat wave well, or is about to pass away - we're not sure which just yet.  Two days of feeding her the electrolyte drench via pipette have at least succeeded in making her well enough to take a basic interest in her sisters and bugs again, although nothing succeeds in getting her back up on her feet.  But we'll accept her as she is, knowing that we've given her our best care.

After receiving the sticky fluid over a period of about 15 minutes, she received a gentle shower with the garden hose from the neck down, and we used wet fingers to wash her face so as not to spray water into her nostrils or ears.  Pleasant chatter with her during the procedure reassured both her and her sisters that no harm was being done to her, resulting in several others coming over to lie down together nearby and coo.  :)

Very thoughtful and touching.  It's refreshing to hear that not every one looks at each "unit of livestock" as dollars in the bank. 
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 05:23:51 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #122 on: July 22, 2019, 11:30:31 AM »
Lacy, our Silver Lace Wyandotte, assumed the role of queen of the flock when Old Red died of old age this summer.  She's pretty easy-going as queens go, except when she sees a male duck overstepping his bounds with the ladies  :)

Lacy weeding the driveway for me...

ilinda

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #123 on: July 22, 2019, 11:51:00 AM »
It is so refreshing to see people who acknowledge that animals are "people" too, i.e., they have feelings, purpose, friends, and duties, and is also good to see you taking such good care of them.  She's beautiful.

R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #124 on: July 22, 2019, 12:13:01 PM »
Thanks Ilinda - Am eager for pics of your keets when time allows!  :)

R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #125 on: July 22, 2019, 01:03:34 PM »
Chickens groom themselves by preening and by taking "dust baths," in which they may vigorously scratch and roll around in the dirt until settling down for a half-nap, like this pair of Plymouth sisters:

These Plymouths have another sister who is off looking for bugs to eat.  Whenever we hear the new propaganda about how palatable insects are for people to eat, we can be thankful that chickens gladly do that distasteful bit of work for us, and leave us an egg instead.  Since the birds only cost around $5 each and do much of their own foraging, most folks should be able to own at least a few even if not living on a farm.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 01:19:37 PM by R.R. Book »

 

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