Friday, June 12, 2009

Of Lessons Learned

I am going to tell you a story. Currently this story has no end, because its an ongoing story but I will be sure to fill you in as things move along.

I will begin my story with explaining that I am learning alot about myself in the process of becoming more "self sufficient". One of the things I have learned is that I am pretty strong, but I am extremely stubborn. I do not necessarily jump into things but I engross myself completely in the research and when I think I "got it" then I go for it. Last weekend is an example of that.

Since beginning the chicken thing, I have done nothing but read about chickens, look at pictures of chickens and as you know, write about chickens. There are some pretty cool chickens out there. I have a short list of all the chickens that I would like to someday own. Last weekend there was a swap in my local area. A chicken swap is a meeting of many chicken people who have different kinds of chicken products, chickens, hatching eggs, eating eggs etc. You can buy/sell/trade whatever chicken related item you want to. I had met a few chicken people online and one of them offered me a chicken that I had always wanted. She is 9/10 weeks old and "beautiful". This chicken is a breed that I did not know much about, but it is mostly a "show" bird. I have a coop full of practical birds ranging from egg machine to dual purpose. I somehow convinced myself that this bird would make a fine addition. I did some research on the person offering and found that she had swapped with MANY people in the forum and was reputable... or so I thought.

Anyway long story short, I picked up the chicken and brought her home. It was not long before I realized that there was something seriously wrong with the chicken. She wouldn't walk. When she did try to walk she was crossing her legs over each other and stepping on her own feet. She was also shaking her head alot. Dave and I finally discovered (over the next 2 days) that she was in fact INFESTED with northern poultry mites. I mean INFESTED with bugs guys. Not only was she probably anemic from blood loss (hey those dots on her feathers aren't dirt, they are blood spots), but she was never let out of her cage, was kept confined, malnutritioned and probably never learned to walk in the first place. We have her segregated in a great dane crate, by herself. We have dusted her with Diotomaceous (sp?) Earth and started giving her polyvisol vitamins and watching her carefully.

As I sat at the table late on saturday night, with my head down, worried about the state of my chickens (incidentally, they had to be dusted too for safety). My husband looked at me and said "read the paragraph that states what our blog is about... It's about learning and this is us learning". This reminds me why I love him and it reminds me that my failure may teach someone else a lesson. Of the lessons easily learned from my mistakes, please remember to practice biosecurity with your poultry and do your research. I could have very easily infected my entire flock. These mites can take down younger chickens if gone unnoticed.

We do not know if Phyllis Diller the chicken is going to live or not, we dont even know if she will ever learn to walk or recover from her malnutrition, but if she does, we will find her another home. We have alot of love to give, but I have learned my lesson and will stick to my own flock, regenerating my flock within my flock by having babies and nurturing my core flock only.

I will keep you updated on the little chicken.
this is her on saturday, see her legs?


Shell said...

Your husband is right. It's all about learning experiences... Just think of this chicken situation as your learning curve. I'm sure your flock will be fine. Just make sure in the future, you keep imported birds as far away from your flock in quarantine for as long as possible. I've gotten my fair share of dirty birds in swaps. It's not fun. I'm sorry.

Steph said...

Goodness! Hope everything turns out ok for your chickens! Being a poultry farmer, its crazy the precautions we have to take to keep our flock from getting any kind of disease. But we have to do it because these chickens could become your next chicken sandwich!

Callie said...

Yes, I agree. Life is a big learning experience. I bet your blog helps someone else avoid this problem. When we started with our first batch of chicks, the chicks we bought we not vaccinated and most of them died. We got the chicks we have now from a different feed store. Live and learn. Hope Phyllis makes it.

j00d said...

aw poor phyllis diller. that chicken dealer is a jerk.