Tag Archive | chickens

Chickens with Bumblefoot

Growing a large family

 

*Graphic Pics in this post. Warning for the faint of heart*

Never in a million years did I think I would be a chicken keeper! Never in a million years did I think I would love birds! Never in a million years did I think I would have the knowledge to perform a surgery on a chicken! But all of those things I can and do.

Having chickens are really not for the faint of heart. Yes they are very easy to take care of…until there is a problem.

One of the first major problems I had to encounter was bumblefoot. And I have had to deal with it on several occasions with the same 2 bozos.

Growing a large family

Thing 1 and Thing 2. These 2 seem to get it like they get bugs in the leaves. It’s crazy.

Basically bumblefoot is an infection. If they land on something and cut their foot, it could lead to bumblefoot because of all the dirt that they walk around in. Almost like a staph infection. Signs of bumblefoot are swelling, redness, a black or brown scab on the bottom and sometimes limping or holding the leg up. If left untreated it could be fatal.

On this particular day, I had, not 1, not 2, but 3 cases of bumblefoot. Thing 1 had one of her feet and, always trying to one up her sister, Thing 2 got a double case!

So I gathered my team of homeschooling homesteaders, my supplies and got to work.

Growing a large family

This is your basic supplies for bumblefoot: Epsom Salt, Honey, scalpel, vetricyn wound spray, gauze and vet wrap. As you can see some of this you will have at home. The rest I picked up at Tractor Supply. You will need a bucket or bowl so you can soak the chickens foot.

Growing a large family

Sorry for the foggy picture. I used this activity as a photography lesson for Cailin.

First, you need to get warm water in your container and add some epsom salt. I don’t measure the salt. I just pour a little and let it dissolve. This is just to soften the area around where the surgery will take place. Hold them there for a minute or two.

Now comes the fun part. Keeping them still on your lap so you can perform the surgery without hurting them.

What I do is put a towel down on my lap, then I take them out of the water and lay them on their back on my lap. I have one of my daughters immediately cover their head with a towel. Chickens can’t really see in the dark. So the towel simulates this and keeps them calm. Once in a while they will kick their leg. But usually I have my youngest daughter holding on to them so my hands are free.

Growing a large family

This was a very mild case of bumblefoot. I probably wouldn’t have known she had it, had her sister not been limping and I decided to check both of them. But for this post I am going to show you the most severe case I have had.

Growing a large family

As you can see Thing 2’s right foot is extremely swollen.

Bumblefoot~ Growing a large family

That black spot is what we need to cut out. That is the infection. Again this is the worse case I have ever had on our homestead.

Growing a large family

You take your scalpel and cut around the edge of the black scab. You shouldn’t see blood or any fluids coming out. It is literally just a scab that is holding in an infection. You will see the scab start to come loose from foot.

Growing a large family

Once you cut away the scab, you need to scoop and squeeze to make sure there is no pus still in there. I very rarely get extra pus out. But at this point you have an open wound.

Growing a large family

Spray with wound care, put a little honey on the gauze and place over the incision area.

Growing a large family

Wrap with vet wrap. You will want to change the wrap at least once a day. If you see it has fallen off, then soak in warm water to kill any germs and repeat with meds. You may even need to use some medical tape to keep it on. Within 3-5 days it should be better and can remove the bandage.

Growing a large family

 

This post is partying over at the Simple Homestead Blog Hop

 

 

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Meet our ever growing flock

As everyone knows, I added to our backyard flock this year. We went from 6 chickens to officially 39 chickens and ducks. My hubby keeps bugging me to post about all of them because you know most of them have names.

So here we go…..Introducing the princes and princesses of Feather Tale Farm.

Midnight

Midnight

Luna

Luna

Ninja

Ninja

Precious

Precious

Thing 1

Thing 1

Thing 2

Thing 2

These are the original six. Now for the new members…..

Tank

This is Tank the turken. He has taken over as the #2 rooster now that his brothers were either sold or processed.

Mama & Bertha

The 2 big red hens is Mama and Bertha. They were hatched around the same time as Tank. I can’t really tell them apart unless they are looking at me.

Meg

The last of the first hatchlings is Meg. She is such a good girl giving an egg a day, but has to be watched she will run in the house.

Lucky

Here is Lucky Duck. Still doing very well, but doesn’t think she is a duck. She is also starting to get braver and come eat worms out of my hand.

princess

Out of Lucky’s babies we only kept a couple, this is Princess. I am so happy she is a hen because I love her coloring.

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Here is Tiny Tim. I wasn’t planning on keep him because he is a rooster. But after hearing his little crow and then naming him, I knew he was staying. He is a bantam so very little. Every time I am outside he has to be right by my feet. Isn’t he handsome?

other ducks

Here are my other ducks. Still very scared of me, but I do have them trained when I say “come here babies” they know its food time. When I say “time for bed” they know its time to go in the coop. I did just find out that both of the Pekins (white ones) are boys. So we will be selling one of them. I do know one of the Cayugas (black ones) is a girl but not sure which one.

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But this little guy is my buddy. This just started about 2 weeks ago. He is so curious and loves to see what I am doing. Once in a while I can ducky cuddles. I haven’t named him yet. And I know he is a drake because of the flipped up feathers on his tail. I think this is one I hatched but I am not 100% certain.

Now as you might remember. My aunt called and asked if I would take some chicks that the school had hatched and didn’t know where to take them. The kids were so upset thinking they were going to get eaten. And I told myself that if they were all roosters they were going. I did sell one, but ended up keeping the rest. What can I say I am a sucker!?!

Rusty

This is Rusty, a rooster. I have never seen a coloring like his. He is also so calm.

Maleficent

The one in the front is Maleficient and the black and white one right behind her is Mama’s boy. Maleficient is the only hen. She doesn’t like to be messed with but has this very queen like presence about her. And she is so dark from her feathers to her face. Mama’s boy surprised me by being a boy. When they were in the house, he was the one that every morning would jump up on my shoulder and used me as his playground. Very unusual for a rooster. He is also another one that will try to get in the house and knows to wait on the stairs while the feeding frenzy takes place because Mama will feed him his own little snacks. Spoiled much!?! NAH!

Chubby

THIS ONE BROKE MY HEART!!! This is Chubby. I was convinced he was a she. He loves cuddles and follows me everywhere. I was telling my kids I just don’t know. His feathers says boy, but his waddle and comb are little and not red at all. Then he looks at me and attempts to crow! I died right there. And then said oh well as long as there is no fighting he can stay. And the roosters out of this bunch do not fight at all. They are lovers not fighters.

Anna

This is Anna. This is my son’s silkie. We had a total of 3 silkies. We had an Elsa who turned out to be a Kristoff and a Lucy that turned out to be Lou. They got sold. So here is our one lone silkie. Funny looking thing, huh? Just wait it gets better.

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Polish Babies! These are also something my son wanted. We went to an animal swap and he fell in love with one that happened to be a rooster. I told him no more roosters, but we will get babies. I ordered an assortment from Cackle Hatchery and prayed the white crested ones would be included. And they were those black with white tops are the ones he wanted. I think one is a boy and one is a girl. The one in the middle is a Gold laced polish and the black and white one is a Silver Laced Polish. I think the gold is also a boy. My son said as long as one is a girl he is happy. Plus we can always order more, DUH?! They are usually much prettier but the rain does nothing for their do’s.

Silver Laced Wyandottes

I also bought some Silver laced Wyandotte Pullets. Meaning they are all girls. I bought 5 of them. I don’t have names for them or the polish yet. And they are very skittish.

Last but not least, I went to an animal swap to sell my leftover Polish chicks. I sold them and turned around and bought these bantam cochins.

flora and fauna

This is Flora and Fauna. There was a third one named Merriweather. But he turned out to be Floyd Mayweather instead of the 3rd fairy from Sleeping beauty.

So there you have it. All of my flock as it is now. Who knows what’s to come in the future!

This blog was part of the Our Simple Homestead Hop.

 

 

 

 

Why you’re getting soft shell eggs

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When I first thought of getting some chickens many years ago, I thought oh it’s easy, throw some food, give them some water and collect eggs. OH BOY! Was I naive!?

After 2 of my babies died, I realized there is a lot more to it to keep your flock healthy and happy. So many things could go wrong! I decided that I wanted to raise them as naturally as possible. Using no antibiotics, unless as a last resort, and trying all holistic methods. We also switched to Organic feed. Because if we are going to do it naturally then go all the way!

When my girls started laying, it was so exciting! I had one start, then a few days later I would have 2 laying and so on. But then one day, I found this in the nesting box. Two eggs laid by the same chicken (I know this because I only had 1 more to start laying at the time), but both eggs had soft shells. One would always be broke and the other intact, but squishy.

Let me start by saying I flipped out when this happened.

But then my quest for knowledge started and I was determined to find out why my chicken was laying these no shell eggs. My hubby looked it up right away the first time and said it can be common in new layers. I accepted that and moved on with my week.

3 weeks later I was still getting them here and there, so to the internet I went.

After much research and question asking on forums, I came to the conclusion that it was probably lack of calcium. She is a little low in the pecking order, so maybe the higher ups were keeping her from getting the oyster shell she needed. She just needed a little help.

I bought plain organic yogurt and took some of the egg shells from some eggs I used up and made an egg laying soup. My chickens actually hates oyster shells. I have never seen them touch the stuff. I still offer it but also offer monthly crushed egg shells.

Now the rules for giving chickens egg shells for calcium:

  1. Only egg shells that were from eggs from your flock. No store bought and no other farm’s fresh eggs. You don’t want any contamination.
  2. Dry your eggshells really good. During the summer I use to put them outside in the hot sun for some natural baking. During the winter or bad weather, just bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes and then cool.
  3. Make sure you crush or pulverize the shells. Easier for them to digest and they won’t recognize it as an egg or you might have trouble.

Use your food processor (warning: the egg shells will smell YUK!) and then add the amount of yogurt you think would feed your flock. I use one of the small cups or 1/2 of a bigger container.

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Now I did say that Nutmeg was low on the pecking order so I put down one dish on one side of the run for the higher ups. And because Nutmeg is a little spoiled, she knows to follow me because I will let her eat out of the bag of worms or container of food where no one can bother her. I knew she would get her fair share from the second bowl on the other side before the others discovered it.

I have to say I really think it worked. We have had no problems since. And I do this about once a month just to make sure everyone is getting their calcium fix.

 

This post was part of the blog hop on Oak Hill HomesteadSimple Life MomTimber Creek Farmer and The Chicken Chick.

Chicken math

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A year ago, I decided to buy 6 little chicks from Tractor Supply. Then a few days later, I went by and fell in love and bought 6 more. Out of 12, I had 10 survive and thrive. 3 roosters and 7 hens, little did I know that would send me on a journey that I never would have imagine. A wonderful journey of homesteading and learning about all natural/organic ways to raise animals and gardening. My hubby and extended family thinks I am crazy. My kids love it because of all the animals. But the most important thing is how happy I am doing this and learning. My friends on facebook now call me crazy chicken lady. I am constantly getting friends posting things like the chicken diaper or chicken leash (most ridiculous thing ever, I don’t need a leash they follow me willingly). But this is my life now and I couldn’t be more insane happy with the decision to buy 12 lil chicks.

At the beginning of the year, I had 9 chickens, 7 hens and 2 roosters. One rooster was getting a little crazy so he was rehomed to a farm with a lot of girls for him. Then is March, I lost 2 of my hens to poison. So by spring, I only had 6 chickens. 5 hens and a frizzle bantam rooster that can’t even mate because he is so small.

At this point, my obsession for hatching eggs began. First there was 4 that hatched, then 3, 18, 8, and last 15. I hatched out 5 different batches of chicken eggs. Along with 2 batches of duck eggs.

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Then I got a call from my aunt about the school hatching eggs but no place to take the chicks. And I also made the mistake of going by the feed store the same day and seeing some little ducklings.

Then I saw someone selling pullets (girls) and I had to have them. Then I ordered 15 polish chicks! So how many chickens do we have!?! 57! 51 chickens and 6 ducks.

36 are undetermined meaning they haven’t shown their rooster or hen side yet. Or in the ducks case duck or drake.

2 bantam roosters I am trying to rehome for their sake since they are so little, my bigger ones will probably beat them up.

So far I do know that I have 13 girls chickens and 1 girl duck. And 5 roosters.

ducks

In the end, I am planning on keeping only 4 roosters (maybe less depending on attitude) and most of the girls. All of my ducks will stay unless I end up with a lot of drakes which I don’t think I will. And any roosters over what I want to keep will become dinner. Most of the polish chicks are going to be sold. I only wanted a few for Dakota, but of course there is a 15 minimum purchase and I couldn’t find any locally. And I pray I have done enough research to be able to tell a boy from a girl.

2 of my goals this year was to expand my flock and add ducks! Mission accomplished.

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Am I completely done with raising chicks? UM hell no! Have you seen how adorable these little babies are! But I am more interested in the hatching and selling aspect now. I also will be adding meat chickens and turkeys next year.

 

 

One gigantic post!

It’s been so long since I posted on the blog that I honestly don’t know where to begin. So many changes have happened. It has truly been a busy time around here. I guess starting with why I was MIA would be good. Well it was tax season and as my hubby’s go to tax preparer, I had to deal with his crazy bookkeeping skills and that usually takes me a while. Now that the weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I can get back to my life.

Also we have been doing A LOT of projects around the homestead.

We fixed a lot of the mangled fencing that was around our property and expanded our driveway so Hubby could get his deliveries easier. Then with the old fencing we made a huge chicken run where my babies could free range but still be safe from my dogs. So every morning I go out and let the Bozos out to have their fun with the bugs and leaves. And when they free range all the time, they are also allowed to play in the rain. And even though I read chickens hate water. Mine sure do love standing in the rain.

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We also redid the liner in the our pool. Well not me, but the kids and hubby. I’ll explain where I was in a little while.

Have I ever mentioned how wonderful it is to have DIY hubby?!? He saves us so much money. And the things he figures out how to do on his own or by watching a YouTube video still blows my mind. Everyone should find themselves DIYer!

He got the pool drained, liner switch with a better build up on the bottom of the pool and refilled in 3 days. And that was with a nasty storm coming through! But one thing I truly love is the redneck inside of him. He truly comes up with some crazy inventions to make the job easier or quicker. See I thought using his pickup to level gravel was crazy. Then there was the time I drove his box truck around the yard to every tree while he rode on top and would cut the branches. But this one I think is the best. Prepare yourselves!

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Yup that’s right! A redneck water hose. What will he think of next? I am a little afraid!

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And of course Dakota had to test the pool as it was filling up. That will be the last time he touches the floor for a few years.

While the kids and Dad were having fun in the sun (it was extremely hot that weekend), I was inside in the daycare/maternity center/ICU.

Daycare because I had some babies to tend to. My first 2 hatchings were growing. I got 4 out of 6 the first time. But then the 2nd round only 3 out of 10 hatched. So I put them together to bond.

DSC_0663The first 4. I ended up with 2 boys and 2 girls (I hope) from this bunch.

DSC_0677Here is the first 4 starting to get their big feathers with the oldest from the second batch snuggling between.

Now my second batch had a little surprise in it. One we knew might be possible, but secretly I hoped it wouldn’t.

DSC_0681A turken! Not this is not what you get when a turkey and chicken mate. This is an actual breed of chicken also known as the Naked Neck Chicken. My kids fell in love. I went to give these to my neighbor, much to my kids disappointment. But she said keep them. So you could imagine the excitement when I walked back in with all 3 chickens.

DSC_0750 DSC_0749Here is him from about a week or so ago. Not much better, but my son has claimed him, so he is a keeper.

This group of babies are out in the coop in the getting to know each other stage. At night they go into a dog cage and then I place them in the coop. During the day they either play in the run of the coop or go outside to their play area.

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But before they left the daycare, there was much commotion in the nursery.

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We had a successful hatch! 18 out of 22 eggs hatched, but we lost 4. So we ended up with 14 chicks! Let me just say, we knew exactly when the first one was hatched because my older ones were in the living room going crazy. The family and I were eating dinner and the noise level went up 10 decibel. My older ones were squawking and lunging at the side of their brooder trying to get out. It was crazy!  These little ones I sold. But I did keep one little special one. Because I needed a friend for my ICU patient.

This little guy or gal deserves a post all of it’s own, so look for that soon. But I wanted to briefly tell you about our duck eggs that were in the incubator. So the first 9 weren’t fertile. Then I ordered 6 off of Ebay. They were doing great. And then hatch day came. I had 2 pip. After 12+ hours of waiting after they pipped, nothing was happening. So on Easter morning, hubby and I went in there and C-sectioned it out. One was still alive, but the other one had died before I got to it. Needless to say, none of us thought this tiny duck would make it. Most websites said it won’t and then it had a lot of problems so I told everyone who wanted to see the little duckling that day that I wasn’t getting my hopes up. Let’s just say he or she has been officially named Lucky. Look for a post on Lucky’s story with pictures and an update in a few days.

Then this past weekend, I hatched 8 out of 12 eggs. These are purebred chicks. I have 4 Olive eggers, 2 bantam duckwings, and 2 mixed sexlink. It is kinda nice not having to play guess that breed for a change.

Also in the process of all this, we had acquired 4 rabbits from a friend of a family member.

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These were not the friendliest bunnies. Only the white was easily handled. But he was an escape artist. They came with cages that were falling a part. So I had to put more money in then I thought I would have too. But in the end, the kids decided to give them sell them to people who knew how to handle rabbits. Eventually we will get some bunnies to raise, but I’m not in a rush. Plus the kids have gotten very specific on what breed they want.

We also took in a couple of ducks from a vet office. Apparently, they get ducklings a lot. But this time they got a full grown duck and a juvenile duck. My contact brought them out and within a few hours I had found them some wonderful homes.

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So as you can see, we have been very busy around here. And don’t expect us to slow down. I have 12 more duck eggs in the incubator. And 24 eggs on the way as I type. They should be here in a day or so. 12 are silkies and 12 are barnyard mix. Plus we are in the process of buying a shed. Hubby is really swamped with work or else we would build it. But there is no time and not sure when there will be. My youngest daughter has started digging up the grass in our new garden area. I am planning for a fall crop. But am hoping to plant some sunflowers soon. Plus I promised her a butterfly garden. But don’t worry all plants will be chicken safe and fenced in so none of my babies can get to it. My neighbor wants me to hatch some turkeys. So I might look into that in the future. We almost had a pig, but the trade deal fell through. Don’t be surprise when a couple of those pop up on here.

So just to recap. I have:

6 big kid chickens, 7 teenage chicks, 9 baby chicks in the house, 1 duckling, 12 duck eggs in the incubator and 24 more eggs on the way. So officially I am up to 22 poultry on my little farm.

And by the way. I have officially named our little homestead. Triple F Farm!

I was going to go with Feather Tail Land. Since I love Disney. But the I realized I have some of the craziest chickens around. And with the kids and the hubby, I always feel like I am losing my sanity. So Ford Funny Farm it is, or Triple F Farm for a more professional sound.

 

This post is being shared on Simple Life Mom.

2 weeks of craziness

Sorry for being MIA but life kinda took over again. Ya know 4 kids can keep a girl busy. Plus losing 2 of our chickens was awful and rough. But life came full circle when 3 days later our first batch of chicken eggs started hatching. This was a small batch.

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As you can see we started with the 6 in the front, 1 wasn’t developing. So 5 went into lockdown. The 3 white eggs in the back are our duck eggs. They ended up not being developing either. Out of the 5 that went into lockdown, I got 4 to hatch! Not too shabby for a first timer. Of course, I had been watching the first cracked egg for hours and nothing major was happening. So I went out to run my errands with the kids and my Grandma called and said you have a baby and it is chirping extremely loud. My poor cocker spaniel was going nuts trying to find the babies. By the next morning, I had 3 waiting in the incubator and the last one hatched while I was cooking breakfast. Those little boogers can move fast when they are ready to break free!

About 48 hours old here

Here they are after their first night in the brooder. Everyone is doing great and seems very healthy. When they were waiting in the incubator to dry, they were extremely loud and responded whenever I talked to them. Now they recognize “the hand” and enjoy pecking food out it.

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Here they are 4 days old and already starting to get their big chick feathers. They are growing so fast!

In other news, Lil man has lost his first tooth! This momma is mad because she missed it. I was out to dinner and literally pulled into the drive way about 5 minutes after he yanked it out. But he was very excited because his tooth fairy didn’t bring a dollar, instead he got a new Skylanders Trap Team Trap. Yup, that kid is spoiled rotten by everyone, including the Tooth Fairy. But how can you not love him!?! Look at this smile.

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We also went to local Renaissance Festival with my Dad and Aunt. We had never been and it is something my Dad really enjoys. It was an experience to say the least. LOL But the kids got to try a lot of new things and had a lot of fun. I will post more when I can figure out how to get the photos off my stupid phone.

The kids are on Spring Break this week. So we are just relaxing and putting up a new fence. More on that later.

Plus it’s U-pick’em season here Plant City. And I found a wonderful Organic U-pick’em. Be prepared for lots of Strawberry recipes!

Plus more babies! Our next batch goes into lockdown on Monday and we have a new set of duck eggs in the incubator. Those should be hatching the Saturday before Easter.

The importance of knowing your plants

When you have little kids, farm animals or just everyday pets, it is important to know what is in your yard. Especially the plants. I have been silent this last week because I made a huge mistake and have been trying to fix it ever since. Last Tuesday, Brianna and I were browsing at Walmart while waiting for Cailin to get done at bookclub. We found this really beautiful flower plant that I thought would be perfect in her butterfly garden. We bought it not really thinking of the consequences. A couple days later, 2 of my chickens came down sick. They were lethargic and not eating or drinking anything. I thought it was impact crop or sour crop. I tried to find answers online. Until I finally did an inspection of their free range area.

Foxglove~ extremely poisonous

Foxglove~ extremely poisonous

They had eaten some of the leaves off of my daughters plant. We didn’t even know what kind of plant it was when we bought it. That was our first mistake. I started doing image searches online and after many hours finally found what it was and cross searched with being poisonous to chickens. It is, extremely poisonous. Even to humans if eaten!

I brought my 2 babies in the house and had a little hospital room going on. I force-fed them water and electrolytes and basically just tried to keep them warm. But honestly they ate so much there was nothing I could really do other than make them feel comfortable and loved.

RIP Nutmeg and Big Bertha

RIP Nutmeg and Big Bertha

Just hours after I took this picture, my little nutmeg said her good-bye.

Nutmeg as a baby

Nutmeg as a baby

I know a momma shouldn’t have favorites, but she was mine.

And as I was beginning this post, Big Bertha had a seizure and died right next to me.

Big Bertha then

Big Bertha as a baby

Big Bertha was my best layer. I will definitely miss those big beautiful brown eggs.

I honestly feel responsible. My chickens depended on me to keep them safe. And they also trusted me wholeheartedly. I truly believed they thought everything in the garden area is good for them because I would never do anything to hurt them. My carelessness has cost me 2 of my beloved chickens.

But going forward, I will be very careful and do my research first. I will not buy any plant just because it is pretty.