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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life (and death) on the farm

Life and death occur together, and nowhere is a microcosm so apt to show itself as on a farm.  I have two hens setting, one an Araucana bantam and the other a Buff Orpington.  The Banty is setting on about 9 eggs, the Orpington on about 15.  I snuck a few extras under each of them.  My Silkie rooster now thinks he's the Cock of the Walk, because he happily struts his stuff in the coop where the hens are setting, happy as a clam.

On a less happy note, when I closed up the chickens tonight, one of the other hens was in distress, wheezing and making odd noises as if moaning.  I checked her for egg impaction, but that's not the problem.  Birds are so much harder to diagnose and treat than mammals!  My homeopathic poultry book wasn't handy, and I don't know where I put it.  I don't think it's going to matter, though; I think she'll be gone tomorrow morning when I get there.  Birds get sick so fast, and fail so quickly, that it's hard to save them.  Injuries they recover from, but illness--seldom.

I took out the hen that I think is breaking and eating eggs, too.  If I'm right, then she'll be the next to go.  I have 6 or 7 hens laying out of 17.  When these two go, it'll be 4 or 5 out of 15.  By the time winter comes, though, I'll have a slew of new hens to replace them, and perhaps some meat birds as well.  They should hatch by the end of May, and will be laying by the end of October.

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