Monday, February 2, 2015

What's new on the Farm: Northeastern Poultry Congress and our new Ducks!

Since my last post, there have been a few major changes, but otherwise everything has pretty much stayed the same. I have been very busy between a very busy life, and also writing blog posts for the My Pet Chicken Blog on commission. I have tried to keep giving updates on our blog's Instagram and Facebook for all our loyal readers.

Most recently, I attended Northeastern Poultry Congress with My Pet Chicken for the first time and had a blast! We photographed chicken keepers' chickens for free, met lots of enthusiastic poultry keepers, and looked at all the many birds being shown there. One of the best parts, in my opinion, was when I purchased two female Pekin ducks! I have been interested in Pekin hens for a while and when I finally found some I sprung at the opportunity! They are going to make a great addition to our farm! We are hoping to add some geese to our farm this Spring as well, so stay tuned!

Our two new Pekin ducks Daphne and Daisy going for a little swim!
This fall we also visited Spring Woods Farm and made a big decision! We have put down a deposit for one of their Potbelly Piglets this spring! We met all their pigs, their chickens, goats, and dog! You may have seen them on Animal Planet's video series "Too Cute!" where their piglets became celebrities! We are all very excited for our piglet, who will room with the sheep once matured.

As you can see our farm is expanding rapidly, which makes things here more and more fun! Stay tuned for more posts with farm updates, I should have some soon! We also reached the milestone of 20,000 page views, which is a big deal! Thank you to all of our viewers who provide us with support and share all the farm fun we have through our blog posts!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Peek at the Past

This summer has been extremely busy for me, hence the lack of posts. I have still managed to keep our blog's Instagram and Facebook up to date and will continue to even when I lack posts as I know reader loyalty can sometimes be deprived when little recent content is available from blogs they favor.

Since I last wrote, the MyPetChicken chicks that were using the sweeter heater have grown impressively and are now in with the silkies until large enough to join the large fowl flock. Below, DeeDee, A Mille Fleur D'uccle chick struts her stuff!

I have also recently started writing for the My Pet Chicken Blog! I have only written an introductory post so far but more will be coming soon! You can see my first post here. I will usually write a couple posts a month there, which is the reason for a rarely occurring absence of posts here.

I also recently purchased a new camera for my chicken photography! It has made my recent photos much better quality and detailed then in the past. Throughout this post some of my new photos can be observed as well in future posts.

Due to rapidly growing size of our flock, it will be extremely difficult to keep up with the "Meet the Flock" tab on the right so we will be disbanding it from here on out. With over 50 chickens, of many breeds and varieties, it isn't as difficult to tell them apart as it may seem. It will help to inspire futures contests with games like "Who is this Chicken?"

Please continue checking back here for posts, as well as the My Pet Chicken Blog!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Peek at the Week! {Week of 5/25/2014}

This was a very eventful week! One of the fun things that happened this week was we got some new chicks! We received 8 new chicks from all of which are very energetic and healthy! We got a Buff Brahma, Light Brahma, Mille Fleur d'uccle, Partridge Cochin, and a Salmon Faverolles. The other three chicks are a friend's that are being picked up this weekend. 

The yellow blur is our very energetic Salmon Faverolles chick!

The chicks enjoy their big warm Sweeter Heater and are often found napping underneath. 

Spitz our Appenzeller Spitzenhauben hen and Missy our Partridge Plymouth Rock hen are both giving me an odd look expecting a treat shortly. In this photo you can also see the newly mulched run, which the chicken love to dust-bathe in! 

This is Sweetie, one of our Speckled Sussex hens. She has recently started to pose for the camera more often, probably hoping to share the spotlight with her other photogenic friends.

This week was a sad one too, because one of our white Showgirl chicks died for undetermined reasons. We sent her body to a nearby university to have a necropsy and identify the cause of her death. If you lose a chicken to unknown reasons I highly suggest doing the same. Our state does it for free and they even pick it up! We believe she may have come down with Coccidiosis so I ordered Corid, a medication to help birds fight Coccidiosis, and will probably be giving it to them as a precaution. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Peek at the Week {Week of 4/27/2014}

This week was an amazing one. From start to end you could see all the grass getting greener, flowers blooming, and smell the aroma of everything that reminds you of spring all around you. The girls free ranged a ton, but today seemed by far the prettiest in the photos. Here are some snippets of our week.

Quickly after coming out to free range, everyone always runs to the rose bush, their favorite place to dust bathe under and relax.  

We put the three new chicks we got out in the outdoor grow out tractor so they could enjoy the nice day as well. 

The three new big girls, still in quarantine, went into the sheep run, where they happily pecked around. 

One thing that has always amazed me is how much the sheep like out chickens, especially the silkies. Our first four silkies had been raised in a hutch in the sheep stall, and when they finally grew up and moved out, the sheep were sad, and went to the empty hutch wondering where they were. They always look through the fence to the chickens, as if they are talking to them. Today I took a crate of the little white silkie chicks and the sheep immediately ran over, happy to meet their new friends. They stayed there for a while, sniffing them, and watching them.

Lefty, because of his low volume crows, nick-named "Lefty, the not so loud but very proud rooster." Lefty is currently the only mature rooster on our farm, as Cluck Norris found a new home because he was being a little too loud and was related to most of the hens so we couldn't breed him. Currently some of Lefty's future children are developing in the incubator. They are from him and Victoria. 

After tons of rain earlier this week, the girls found tons of worms. 

To the left you can see Ruby, who we had brought to the vet earlier this week with impacted crop. With rest and a strict diet, Ruby is now back to her normal perky self!

This week we finally got our first broody! Our excitement was quickly cut short, because after she started sitting on a couple of her and Lefty's eggs, she got a respiratory infection. In worry the chicks she would hatch, and that her health would get worse as she nested, we stuck the eggs in the incubator and her in a crate to recuperate. We are going to most likely be giving her a Tylan shot to help her get better. The eggs we took from her nest are developing fine and will hatch around May 16th.

Just yesterday we lost this sweet little angel. She was much bigger, but I chose this photo because she was the first chick we've ever hatched and this was her a few days after. Yesterday I went out to check on everyone and I found this girl laying on the ground. I started carrying her in from the barn and as I carried her her condition quickly got worse. By the time I got to the house her head was dangling, liquid pouring out of her mouth, and her heart made a few slow last beats, and stopped. She was our first chick we've ever hatched and I will never forget her looking up at us from the incubator, all wet and lying there, almost smiling. We later concluded with some expert advice that she most likely died of a head injury from running into a wall or something. We were happy knowing she wasn't in pain, or at least not for long, and she had a very happy life before she died. We decided, since we don't name chicks in case we end up having to sell them, that we would name her Blossom. When I reached the house with her limp body, seconds before she died, I lay it down on the back porch for a moment and in that moment she could stare up at the beautiful blossoms on our cherry tree and die with that beauty in her eyes.

Rest in Peace, Blossom.

This was a very eventful week as you can see! Stay tuned for more fun posts!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chicken Health: Impacted Crop

Yesterday while I was checking on the girls, I realized Ruby was not herself. She was standing in the middle of the run with her eyes close and oblivious to everything around her. I immediately brought her in and checked her out. After talking to some knowledgeable chicken keepers online I checked her to make sure she wasn't egg bound, didn't have parasites, and a few other things. When I felt her crop there was nothing inside but one object. After remembering the girls trying to eat a mouse a few days before, I realized it was a mouse. It felt like there was one in there too! I was told by the same knowledgeable chicken keepers that it would probably require surgery t remove, either way, we needed to see a vet.

This morning we brought Ruby to the vet and they felt her crop and confirmed it was an impacted crop! 

First they tried doing an ultrasound to see what it was, but it was unsuccessful. 

Next they did an x-ray which gave us a clear image of what was in there, and also made a cool view of what a chicken's bones are like and arranged. 

Although we couldn't 100% confirm it, we believe there was in fact a mouse in Ruby's crop! as of now she is resting in the garage in a crate where we will monitor her bowel movements and keep her on a strict diet. If improvement isn't noticed, Ruby will have to have crop surgery later this week. 

About Impacted Crop 

What is impacted crop?
Impacted crop is the chicken version of indigestion. It's often caused from when they gorge themselves on large treats or scraps and have trouble digesting. 

How is impacted crop caused?
Impacted crop is caused from chickens eating things like string, hay, long grass, and other long string-like things they cannot digest or pass. This is most common in spring when grass is not dead and its tough and hard to digest.

How can I prevent impacted crop?
Make sure your there isn't string that the chickens can eat and don't give them treats that are too big and they may gorge themselves on. 

How can I cure impacted crop?
Depending on how bad, in some cases you can massage their crop, and in worse cases surgery may be require. Please talk to your local avian vet or read about it online before doing surgery yourself or culling the bird. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

New Flock Members

Now that we have taken the path of chicken breeding, we are keeping most of our silkies for breeding. Since Cluck Norris is very loud and is related to most of our silkie hens, we decided we would find him a home where he could be the only rooster and have all the hens to himself. So we could help him get a home, because rehoming cockerels is difficult, we said we would send his sister to go with him. After a craigslist ad and lots of hoping we finally found a perfect home. Cluck Norris and May will now have a coop and 25 x 30 foot run all to themselves. Finding a cockerel I raised from a chick a good home is enough reward in itself so we charged nothing for him and his sister. I would call this a mission accomplished. 

While some were re-homed, we also gained three new chicks and three new hens! 

From Left to right, Hally an Easter Egger, Buffy the Mealworm Slayer a Buff Orpington, and Chestnut an Easter Egger.

This is Spitz, an Appenzeller Spitzhauben hen. She's very friendly and will scream her lungs out if she can't find Stormie or Missy.

This is Stormie, a gorgeous Silver Laced Wyandotte Hen! She is very curious and immediately began exploring every nook and cranny in the barn until we finally found her and put her back with Spitz, who was screaming out for her. 

This is Missy, a Partridge Rock Hen! She is the most laid back in the group but always follows right behind Spitz her good friend.

Stay tuned for more fun with these spunky hens and chicks! We can't wait until they are done their quarantine and can join the others! Also this morning, their first morning here, we received a big egg from all of them! A good sign they are happy and healthy!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Birthday to Clover and Bo!

Today is Clover and Bo's Birthday! Clover and Bo are our two Southdown Babydoll Sheep! Today these twins will be turning 2 years old! We got them a year ago the day after their birthday, so we will share all our memories with them in the past year in some fun photos below. These two friendly twins have made many people smile, and make our lives very interesting.