Lessons Learned

20 Nov

Since I picked up my 1st bunch of 6 chicks, I have had a hard time saying no to taking on more. I have enjoyed them so much & they really have added something wonderful to not only my life, but to the rest of my family. However, I guess there is some truth to the saying “too much of a good thing.”

I recently went to a poultry swap & came away with some wonderful Silkies, Black Copper Marans & of course, Mr. Tom Turkey. As if that wasn’t enough, a friend on the meetup message board was giving away an Easter Egger. I REALLY want some pink & blue egss so emailed her & said I would take her. Turned out she had given away the EE, but she said she had a Silver Cochin,  Jersey  Giant & an Oliver Egger. Well, if I can’t have pink & blue eggs, green is the next best thing! Right?!!

So, the girls & I hopped in the car to make the 100 mile, round trip to pick up the chicks I didn’t even know I wanted…When we get there, she has her kids go & get the chicks. Turns out the “Olive Egger” may not be that at all. Turns out she is not sure what she is…But I drove all this way.. We named her Mystery, of course after Mystery Inc (Scooby Doo) “Well gang, looks like we have another mystery on our hands.” Sorry. Couldn’t help it.

The Jersey Giant was lovely. Huge & lush & she appeared to be so tame that she was content to fall asleep in my arms. Something didn’t quite feel right. I asked my friend why she had her eyes closed & she just said “she’s really tame.” Then, the silver cochin…she looked awful. Hardly any feathers & so tiny! I really didn’t want to take her, but she was outside in a run w/huge chickens & it was cold & SHE HAD NO FEATHERS! Again, I questioned my friend from the message board who said she didn’t know why she didn’t have feather. Maybe moulting??? Moulting? She is only 12 weeks old. So, I couldn’t say no. We drove all this way. And, I felt like I couldn’t be rude. And, of course, I couldn’t tell my kids we were leaving empty handed. So, home we went. In addition Mystery, the Jersey Giant was named “Snooki” and the Cochin was named “Martha.”

I didn’t think a thing about putting them in with my other newbies along with 2 pullets that weren’t quite big enough for the big coop. 2 days later, I go to let the little ones out & Snooki doesn’t come out of the coop. I look inside & there she was with her eyes completely closed. She was totally blind. I immediately brought her in, cleaned her up & went to my local chicken message board to see what I could do. One of the longtime members, Grandpa Jack suggested a concoction that included cayenne pepper & apple cider vinegar. I thought it was worth a shot. Meanwhile, little Martha was getting picked on in a big way, so I also brought her in, separate from Snooki. But, low & behold, she came down with a weepy eye, runny nose & sneezing. I also put her on the concoction.

VERY long story short, Snooki & Martha are now doing well. Snooki is actually out with her friends again, but Martha is still in. She still doesn’t have any feathers & she still has a runny nose. I lost one little Black Copper Maran. Went out, same symptoms, but way worse. Took her to the vet, but $150 later, she died. 😦 Now, I have another one with the same symptoms again. Even though I have had everyone on oral antibiotics, this thing is persistent. On the advice of a trusted chicken friend, I now have Martha & Felicity (speckled sussex) on injectable antibiotics. Felicity is doing much better after just one dose, so I am hopeful. Of course, I go out to lock everyone up tonight & I see another one of my babies has a weepy eye. Will this ever end?!!

So, my very big lesson learned is to NEVER put newbies in with your existing flock without quarantining them for 3-5 days. Another lesson is to trust my gut. I knew these chickens were sick, but I chose to ignore my gut & take someone else’s word. I don’t think she was trying to pull something over on me, but in my heart, I knew these girls weren’t right. I just hope I can come out of this without losing any more. 

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