Update on the Avian Flu

As I told you on the 15th of March the Avian Flu has been seen in our county, and so far our chickens, and my geese Polly and Fredrik are flu free.  I have made it a point each day to check beaks and bills in the AM and PM to be sure no one has a runny nose.  This is the good news.

STOP READING RIGHT NOW IF YOU ARE IN THE LEAST BIT SQUEAMISH!

And so it was that I found my Black Cochin rooster, Pagliacci had fevered and swollen eyelids on his right eye.   I picked him up and took him into the mudroom to see what was going on.  I expected to be cleaning debris out of his eye and then treating with an antibiotic eye drop…  except that his eye was missing.  Gone.  It was a chilling discovery as he had been fine in the morning when I let him out.  I did the only kind thing I could do and put him out of his misery, but I must tell you that every time I thought about him for the next couple of weeks I was chilled and sad all over again.

My 14 lb, big fella came to me from Murray McMurray Hatchery as a free chick; they are almost always a rooster.  He  got his name for singing crowing loudly every time he heard my voice or saw me coming into the chicken yard.  He was so fluffy feathered he looked for all the world as if he were wearing a clown suit!  I am sad to tell you I never got a photo of him fully grown, but if you follow the link above you will see an illustration that looks exactly like him.

Raising animals on the farm is certainly not for the timid or weak of heart.  It’s all fun and frolic until someone gets hurt and then you have to step up and do your best for the injured animal.  Sometimes, as in this case, it is very hard to do.

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Newsflash!

We are slowly being surrounded by avian flu here!

It started in south Tennessee and has now shown up in our county here in North Alabama.  It is mostly in the big producers chicken farms, but there has been one instance of a backyard flock becoming ill.  There is no cure and the all the chickens in these groups have been destroyed.  It is spread by wild birds. 

What does this mean to me here on the Farmlet?

If my chickens get sick they will also destroy my pet geese, Polly and Fredrik.

I have a knot in my stomach.

LOCAL NEWS on the subjecthttp://whnt.com/2017/03/14/bird-flu-suspected-in-3-north-alabama-counties/   (On the lighter side; don’t you just love Commissioner John McMillan’s southern accent?  😀 )

The elephant in the room…

It has been far too long since I posted regarding the Mountain Farmlet.

So here is why…

 

  • Due to our health issues we are no longer able to do the work that needs to be done to make it livable for us there.
  • Also due to our health issues we have no money to pay someone else to complete the work for us
  • We are planing to sell the property.

Bob and I are realizing that our little acre here is about all we can manage.  We are making plans with the folks who own the property behind us to lease it so I can have my pygmy goats, but that is at least a year down the line.

Bob has greatly improved since his diagnosis of COPD and resulting treatments, but working wears him out entirely.   He still enjoys it, but needs more breaks.

Me?  Since my knee surgery my arthritis has taken over my life!  Thankfully, my knee has healed enough that I was able to get some of my raised beds planted this spring.  Going out there each day puts a smile on my face to be sure!  However, some mornings find me hitching and lurching just to get out to take care of Polly, Fredric and the chickens.

Due to an old *injury to my thumb when we moved here eight years ago, I am now having to go in for surgery on the  22nd. to remove bone and build a replacement out of restructured tendon at the base of my left thumb and just above the wrist.  The swelling and pain find me dropping things unexpectedly throughout the day, and also limit what I can do in the studio, ergo fewer posts about my quilting and sewing.

I find it hard to believe that at the time we decided to buy the property in Tuscumbia we were both in seemingly great health and now we realize that we just have to let it go.

Anyone want to buy 25 acres with an antique home that needs lots of TLC?  It has a new tin roof!  🙂

So I am certain that most of you know this old joke, but I’ll post it anyway:

know how to make god laugh?

just tell him your plans.

Today will be spent unpacking the boxes I packed three years ago when I thought we were moving, and the rest of the week will find me busy with setting the guest bedroom back to rights.

are we sad?

yes, who wouldn’t be,

but we are also realistic about what we can handle.

Last week Bob was off work all week and we put another 13 Stay-Puffts into the freezer.  I got smart this time and cooked down all the bits and bones to make soup starter for this winter.  So now that too is all packed and waiting for us when the weather gets cold.  We now have plenty of chicken for the next year (meaning the next 12 months).  We also purchased bulk lamb (for Armenian sausage) and pork butt to make sweet Italian sausages for this next year .  It was a joy to be able to season them with mint and herbs from my garden!

Our freezer is full and we have a roof over our heads.

Life is good!

OK, lots to do before the 22nd.  I am going to get to work now.

These were taken this morning.  As always, please click for better viewing!

*When unpacking the moving van a 45 pound box of books fell onto my hand and pinned my thumb down onto to my arm.  It took several attempts before my brother-in-law and I could manage to dislodge it.  😯

The Crazy Chicken Lady Gazette Vol 1, No 1

Bringing you all the chicken poop that’s fit to print, and some as what ain’t.

4618597-crazy-woman-wearing-a-metal-colander-for-a-helmet

The Great Chicken Kerfuffle

Summer brings gardening, fruits and vegetables and this summer the neighbors went into high gear. They have a half acre laid out in corn, beans, squash and tomatoes! It is quite the extravaganza with three families working and eating the produce.

Enter Miss Dixie, our wild little hen who lives in the trees and eats what she pleases, mostly bugs and seeds she finds, and the occasional flushing cheek of the largest most promising tomatoes in their garden, not mine…

Very recently, this caused the Mr. from next door to come over and firmly voice his complaints about said little white chicken. I quickly apologized and went on to explain Miss Dixie’s situation.

You see sir, Miss Dixie was one of several chickens who were attacked and damaged by a neighbors dogs in 2011. She being the only survivor, went rogue. Taking to the trees to roost by night and the field to forage by day. This worked out well for me because she came home to lay her eggs with the other hens and pick up a bite or two and then she continued her foraging for the day.

I further explained to him that I understand his concerns.  I told him,  “I will try to catch her, but make no promises because of my arthritis.  If I can’t catch her then we’ll figure something out.”

He acquiesced and went home.

Previous to this incident (last year in April, and right before my knee surgery) I had to get rid of my chickens because Bob wouldn’t have time to care for them, and I couldn’t manage the job at all. As well, our other neighbor had called to complain that my chickens were scratching up all her sons newly planted seeds and could I please catch them and pen them up! I told her not to worry, and that I planned to get rid of my chickens anyway. I managed to catch every one but Miss Dixie. So now it is the day before my surgery and I still haven’t caught her. I called the neighbor and said, I’m sorry but Miss Dixie is a wild chicken and I can’t catch her. If she’s too much bother then tell your husband to use her for target practice! To which she replied,

“OH NO, THAT WON’T BE NECESSARY, I’M SURE WE’LL FIGURE SOMETHING OUT!!!”

Originally, we were told by this particular neighbor who owns all the land and houses on our street except two, ours and the people across the street, that our chickens were delightful and it wasn’t a problem to let them free range in their pasture. As the land usage has changed I have tried to respond accordingly.

The surprise in all of this is now their renters, the Mr. whose tomatoes were accosted, have about 50 chickens of their own. Yes, really! So when his nephew came to the door and complained about Miss Dixie again, Bob told him that we had asked their landlord to make good on our previous suggestion as to what to do about Miss Dixie, and that he didn’t want to hear anymore about the subject! Sigh…

Apparently, this upset said Mr. and his family, and now suddenly they want to take Miss Dixie, clip her wings and put her in a chicken run.

Miss Dixie is wild, I told them. She is old and won’t take well to captivity, I said. Yet, they were adamant that if they clipped her wings and put her in with their chickens then it would work. That was two weeks ago. Day before yesterday, they let all their chickens out.

Miss Dixie slept in her tree that night. 😉

She has not put a toenail nor pinfeather in their yard on either day, although she may in future…

I do hope they have the sense not to come knocking on our door again as regards Miss Dixie.

Miss-Dixie-and-RC

Miss Dixie and RC in happier times.