Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chicken Update 5/30/13 Sick Baby

    9 months is a pretty good run, I think, to not have any issues or losses with our flock.  But nature can be cruel, and the streak had to end sometime.

     Yesterday evening, Nikki noticed that one of the babies couldn't use it's legs.  We are totally stumped as to what is happening here.  The eyes are bright and clear.  The head and neck move ok and the little guy is chirping regularly.  It's as if it's legs are paralyzed and it's wings are very weak.  It can't balance very well, or maybe it is turning itself over trying to stand.  Several times though, I have found it on it's back with it's head at an extremely awkward angle.  It will eat and drink if it can reach the dish and the poops look ok.  We do need to clean it's vent regularly since it can't stand or preen.

     I'm pretty confident that the dark bump on it's foot in the pic above is just dirt and not bumblefoot.  The toes are all sticking out straight in a contorted spasm.  I really hope that this is not a case of Marek's disease, a rather nasty sounding virus I just learned about.  Or if so that at least we got him isolated in time.  My research in this matter has been fruitless so far, so if anyone out there in internetland has any ideas, please leave a comment or shoot me an email.

     We moved the brooder into the paddock with the big birds about 2 weeks ago so they could get acquainted through the wire mesh.   The other big change we have made recently is to give all the birds fermented feed.  We are fermenting the layer pellets and giving it to both groups of birds along with their dry feed.  Oh my god, as I am typing this I am realizing that that could be the problem.  One of the issues I read about was growing too fast causing leg problems.  Perhaps the excess calcium in the layer feed is the culprit.  I am going to feel really terrible if this is the case.  We started out fermenting the chick feed separately, but it didn't smell right, and I figured it was because it was medicated.  So we scrapped the small bucket and just started giving the adult mix to both groups in addition to their dry food.  Never stopped to think that it is formulated differently.  I am going to remove the fermented feed from the babies immediately just in case.  Now we discover the true value in keeping this blog, as it forces me to put my thoughts into words and to think things through.

     There is a lot more to write about, but now I want to go remove the feed.  Also I should really be building the new hoop coop instead of blogging, so I'll just leave you with a couple of funny cock shots.

Ever have an itch you just can't scratch?


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