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?  😀 )

Born to be wild

I sit here with so many words in my brain, things I might say, things perhaps I should not say, in a word:

emotional

On Tuesday afternoon I heard the little dog from across the street yelp.  I ran out front to see a big green truck stop, wait, then take off.  This truck frequents our street often looking for goodies in our junk piles we place out for monthly collection.  He usually turns at he end of the lane and goes back out to the main road.  Not this time.  This time he had the nerve to drive through our neighbors property to get to the road on the other side!

Thankfully, little Payden is none the worse for the event.

Later that afternoon Bob came home and said, “I need your help!  Chuck says the new neighbor has run over Miss Dixie!”

I never heard a thing.  Surveying the road out front of our house I clearly see by the feathers that she hit her and kept right on going.  I followed the trail of feathers leading back into our yard to find her cowering under a bush.  She was badly hurt and I knew what needed to be done.

You may find it odd for someone who raises chickens for the table to have a hard time with

what needs to be done,

but it remains that I did.

Since Tuesday I kept waiting for the lady next door to come to me and say she was sorry, or at least to tell me a lie, but she has not.  I suppose she could just be feeling ashamed, but don’t believe that is the case.

Like that  guy in the truck, the same afternoon, she just drove on and ostensibly couldn’t care less.  People like that bother me.  I want to tell her about Dixie.  About how she came to be wild, about her run-ins with owls, hawks, tomato loving neighbors, and wayward dogs.  I want her to know about how she had been a survivor for all these years, and how just recently, she had started laying at home again and hooked onto my other chickens in the chicken yard.  (Although she still preferred to roost high in the tree out back.)

I want her to care.

However, when she kept going that afternoon, and has not come to me to say anything in the way of regrets, I simply know that she does not care.  To her Miss Dixie was just a stupid chicken in the road.

Goodbye, Miss Dixie

Looking for adventure
In whatever came her way…
She was  born
Born to be wild
She could fly so high
I never thought she’d die (not like this)
Born to be wild
Born to be wild

With deepest apologies to Steppenwolf   😉