Friday, December 16, 2011

Overdue Update

 I had thought I might get some rest while I was "off work", so to speak, but things just keep piling up and multiplying.  On a good note, I am almost finished with all the orders for pottery and am now just making whatever I feel that people might like.  Small stuff mostly; pie plates, mugs, small bowls and such.  I have been so busy with this!  The kiln often does not even completely cool before another load is ramping up.  That's good though!
Unfortunately there is usually bad to go with the good however.  About a week or so ago I noticed one of the smaller meat chickens was out standing in a mud puddle, covered head to toe in mud and grime.  I had just been out to check on them about a half hour earlier so he hadn't been there long but he was obviously not well.  I have seen how vicious some of these chickens can be to the smaller ones and suspected one of the big ones had stomped on him a bit.  I actually saw a big one grab one of the smaller ones one day, by the nap of the neck, and sling that poor little chicken halfway across the pen.  Although I think it's a horrible practice, I can see why they sedate these chickens in a commercial environment.  5,000 of these monsters crowded in one place and you would have half of them dead in no time.  Anyway, I scooped the little feller up in a towel and took him into the basement where I gave him a warm bath and set him by the stove to dry.  Chigger came in to warm too and they hung out for a while.  It was apparent that the bird was messed up though and I wasn't sure what to do.  After a while he started to eat and drink but he couldn't stand up and was very quite.

The next day I noticed that another one was staying in the coop house and wouldn't come out.  Upon investigation I saw that it was having trouble walking but seemed fine otherwise.  This breed just has issues with their joints and tendons and this one's knee joint wasn't working well, so I brought it in to keep the other one company.  I gave him a bath too and he seems to really enjoy being a basement chicken!  He just chattered and talked the other one's head off.  I tried all kinds of treatment on the first chick but it just couldn't seem to recover.  It would eat but got to where it would not drink.  It could sit up, like you see here, but could only take a step or two and was always unbalanced and teetering around.  I suspect one of the bigger ones damaged it's neck maybe?  I hoped and tried so hard to help him recover but it just started to get worse and I was afraid the little guy was suffering, so I put it down.  The other, bigger one seemed to miss his buddy but is doing well now.  He stays near my pottery wheel while I'm working and chatters to me and Chigger, or whoever else may be around.  He has a VERY good appetite and eats well.  I have been massaging a healing oil into it's knee joints in an effort to keep him mobile.  We'll see.  I told Jack I feel kinda like the witch in Hansel and Gretel;  "Here my sweetie, eat this so you'll get plump and juicy!" 
And so, in more bad news, our sweet Emily (a young laying hen) died yesterday.  She was a good little Leghorn hen that had just started laying.  I never noticed anything to be wrong with her; she seemed the picture of health.  I went out to check on how many eggs we had and saw her on the nest, which is normal.  But she had her eyes closed.  I thought this was odd but when I petted her she stood up and clucked at me so I went back to the studio for a while.  I went back out maybe 45 minutes later and she was dead, laying in that same nesting box.  It's so hard to tell if a chicken is sick.  I examined her body but couldn't find the first mark or swollen spot or anything on her.  I mean, gushing blood or not eating or spitting up you can tell, but otherwise it's baffling.  So, we buried 2 chickens in 2 days.  I can take a good many things in life but I can't bear to see an animal hungry, sick or miserable.  I think we try to take care of ours the best we can but sometimes stuff still happens. 

Today is a rainy, dreary day but it's not cold at least.  Some of the production rush is over so it is a slightly lazy day.  I'll do a little more throwing today as the kiln cools off, keeping BC (basement chicken) company.  If the rains slacks off a little we might go walkabout to find a Christmas tree.  I noticed that the little corner market where I normally buy one has sold out, so, looks like this may be a homegrown Christmas for real!  I might even make out some of my Christmas cards and do a little shopping online tonight while somebody else is occupied with reading or such.  Tomorrow looks to be a nice day.  I must go into town to deliver yet another load of pottery and while we're there we thought we'd check out a couple of holiday markets and just generally piss around and enjoy ourselves.  Have a nice lunch somewhere; that sort of thing.  I'll try to get some photos!


Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear about the chicken problems, it's been my experience through the years of fooling with chickens that you're going to lose some from time to time for no obvious reason. You're also correct that they can be very viscious at times.
I glad to hear that the pottery business has picked up steam, it's everyone's dream to make a living doing what they like.

Yake care and have a Merry Christmas,


Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Annie, glad to read about the good news with the pottery orders, but a bummer on the bad news. You certainly do take good care of your chickens and in their own way, they must sense that.
We've invited boogger friends to do a card exchange. If you want to get in on this just send your name and address to the email on my blogger profile and I'll do the same in return. And, you get to "see" Grenville and myself cause we're including a photo!

edifice rex said...

Hey Barry! Thanks! I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas too and ya'll be safe traveling back and forth!

Hey Bea! thanks..I appreciate that.
Yeah, a card exchange sounds fun! I send out a few to some readers now so I'll add ya'll to the list!

Floridacracker said...

Chickens do just up and die. I've had hens just slump down and quit.
Sounds like you did all you can reasonably do.

Enjoy your day tomorrow! Hope you find the right tree.

Anonymous said...

Your chicken problems sound suspiciously like Marek's. Were your chicks vaccinated?

edifice rex said...

Hey FC! thanks! Yeah, I know chickens are perplexing in their life cycle sometimes but I always feel sad and like I should have done more.

Hey Anon! You know, I had thought of Marek's and read all I could find on it. They were not vaccinated for it. I don't know though; it's hard to tell (from what I have read) unless you do a post-mortem. They did not have any tumors, scabs, or eye irregularities. I do know these broiler type chickens do have a history for leg/joint problems. ??? I don't know. :(

HermitJim said...

Sorry to hear about your chicken problems!

Sad when we don't know how to help our animal friends. Hopefully they know we are trying!

You have a great day, Annie!