Friday, April 13, 2012

More Stress of the Chicken Kind

They say bad news comes in threes, I shall take both cars needing major repairs in 3 weeks as number 2, (I'd hate to think there was still something bad coming) and number 3 was a chick found dead on Sunday morning. I figured it was an accident, squashed by the other 25 when her foot got caught in the wire floor, but Monday morning another of the same breed, my Golden Buffs was ill. I Took her out and placed her in a box with her own heat and water. She did drink a lot and ate a bit but she mainly sat on her belly not a sign of a healthy chick which should be standing and running around. Later that day another female GB became ill and joined her. It died a few hours later, then a male GB became ill and died Tuesday morning, leaving that lone female. She finally died Tuesday afternoon.

Their legs became paralyzed, they were lethargic and in the end gasping. Looked like the description for Marek's disease. The whole batch were vaccinated for it so I really don't know if it was a reaction to the vaccine or just a coincidence, I am not a veterinarian so who knows. However it's now 3 days later and no other chicks have become ill so hopefully this crisis has passed.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ziggy was Dog-napped!

Sometime between 11 am and noon on Monday Ziggy disappeared. I had him and Luna and Farfel at my house out in the yard and while I was planting more snow peas he wandered off. I walked all over the woods looking for him, calling his name. I called my friend and he drove around town for a couple hours asking people if they'd seen him. After driving all over as well, I came home, walked back into the woods on the west side of the property. Nothing. Luna didn't react to anything either. At this point I knew he was gone, someone had to have taken him, or hit him with their car. I walked back to the house and I called the sheriff's department and then the local veterinarian around 4:30. No reports of little black dogs alive or dead.

I went back outside to walk the east side, took an old logging trail to the east of the pond, calling his name. I heard barking. I couldn't be sure it was him but it sounded like him. There's a nasty man living on that same street who had threatened to shoot Rocket more than once, waved a machete at me another time. He got a visit from the sheriff's department. I mention him because the barking came from the direction of his house. That was worrisome. I called Ziggy again and again and approached the back of his house from my woods. As I got closer the barking stopped, of course I worried that the creep was muzzling him. I went back to the house, got a leash and took Luna down the street. The barking started again and it turned out not to be the creeps yard but the yard next door. This guy whom I don't really know is a recluse, at least I never see him or his wife. At the end of a long black driveway is a 2 car garage. One of the doors has a cat door, and there is Ziggy inside trying desperately to get out through that tiny door.

I enlisted the help of the other next door neighbor and called Hal and my friend who also came over. This guy came out of his house and began ranting about my dog and all my "other dogs" and dogs in general pooping all over his yard rather than my yard, ad nauseum. At some point he realized that I do not own these other dogs that run amok nor do I live on his street. It seems he's referring to another neighbor's dogs, in fact the one who owns Farfel. He intentionally trapped Ziggy in his garage and hadn't decided what to do with him. (some of my friends think he was planning on either confronting Farfel's owner with Ziggy, or doing the "shoot, shovel, and shut up" thing after dark.)

Obviously, I do not like this newest creep in my life. He somehow lures my friendly little guy into his garage and left him there for hours without water. There was nothing in that garage to lure Ziggy in otherwise, the man has a cat door but no cats at all. After he sort of wound down from his ranting, he finally opened the other garage door and commented "lets see how much damage he's done" implying, of course, that I would be liable for it all.

Ziggy had destroyed the cat door and some insulation around it but nothing else was touched because Ziggy was more interested in getting out that door than anything else. Not to mention this garage was the cleanest, emptiest garage I had seen in my life. The man is anal in keeping it pristine. I can see why he's a recluse that no one seems to know much about. Being a decent person I offered to buy a new cat door, insulation and install it. I left with the understanding it would be fixed within 2 weeks.

But next morning at 8:30 am he shows up with a sheet of paper showing he had spent $40 on a new cat door and was going to buy the insulation. Hal met him at the door and a final sum of $50 was agreed upon. I haven't seen him since, I also haven't paid him. He can damn well wait those 2 weeks for the check or come get it if he wants it before then.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fuzzy Butts

My chicks have arrived. They left Meyer Hatchery in Polk, Ohio on Monday and got to my post office this morning which is Wednesday. I ordered them 3 weeks ago when it occurred to me that waiting for my order in June seemed an awfully long time away. Normally I wouldn't get them this early in the year because it's usually colder and I don't want to over stress the birds. But with the record heat wave melting the snow, thawing the ground and generally making things a little warmer (though not much) than usual, why not get some now? It means fresh eggs this summer rather than October which is about when the June chicks would began to lay.

Because this was a last minute order I had to take what I could get. Even when I ordered my June chicks back in January I couldn't get the numbers of what I wanted. So while I could not get Buff Orpingtons I did manage to get a hybrid breed called Golden Buffs, also known as Golden Comets, (it all depends on the breeds used to create the chicks), aka red sex-links. This means you can tell the boys from the girls upon hatching, no peering into chickie genitalia by specially trained people required. Since they were moving around I didn't get an accurate count but of the 16 GBs I got at least 8 are girls. The boys will be heading to freezer camp about the time the gals start laying eggs. Since they are hybrids, breeding one to the other will result in a mishmash of chicks, not more GBs.

The other 11 chicks I ordered are Blue Andalusian. Some of these will be a blue/gray bird, others blacker in coloring and others gray/white. Apparently, the "blue" gene is recessive or some such thing so you get 50% of one color and 25% of the other 2 colors in a hatching. As chicks are grabbed randomly and stuffed into boxes for shipping, I have no guarantee as to what colors I have gotten though one on-line person has suggested that I may have a few splashes (the gray/white) and at least one blue. I have no idea what gender they are.

They are cute little devils though and are peeping up a racket. Here is a photo of a few in my little flock.
The reddish one is a female GB, the black one a Blue Andalusian, probably blue or black, and the yellow one either a male GB or a splash BA. The gray one to the right is also a BA, but being new to this breed, I have no idea what color it will be. I guess you'll find out when I do.