Wednesday, July 21, 2010

16 Weeks Old

It has been such a busy time.  The fourth of July came and went.  All my kids from all over with their children came to visit.  Raspberries came and went.  Jam was made.  Beans began to ripen, jalepenos and eggplant followed suit.  Good times all around, even the exhaustion was resemblence of good times.  I thought I would be able to give my son a taste of homegrown chicken while he was here but that didn't happen.  To start with I totally suck at catching chickens.  My favorite man in the whole world, Mark, became sick and needed care.  So it turned out great for the chickens, they get to live longer.  Good thing too, I discovered when I finally managed to catch one and weigh him.  He was 5 lbs at 15 weeks and again I weighed at 16 weeks and still came up with 5 lbs.  Good thing I can't take a picture of myself trying to catch chickens.  Probably not a very flattering thing.  I've been reading about how to cook homegrown heritage chickens and the proper way to handle them before and after slaughter. I will add a post to share the information on that. 

Serious Mr. Rooster.
Come on we can share this thing.
Alright, we'll see who's boss.
I am the boss.  Cock - a - doodle - doo!
Aren't I beautiful?  I know I am.  I'm a buckeye.
I'm beautiful too.  Mama said I was.
Me too.
The July heat has been a serious issue.  I've been busy trying to keep them hydrated and cooled off.  Ice bottles in the afternoon water.  Watermelon in the late afternoon.  Temperatures in the upper 80's at bedtime.  Still I was worried about the poor things.  One afternoon I noticed some blood in and around some poop.  I asked on the AmericanBuckeyeClub, a yahoo group, about it.  The advice I got was closer to a disease called Coccidiosis.  That was scary.  I learned from the Chicken Health Handbook that Coccidiosis will run through the flock in 5 - 7 days.  I was also advised to get them back onto the medicated feed.  I thought and thought about all this.  Very stressful.  When I went to the feed store I found a pint of Corrid.  This is the medication, amprolium, which is in the medicated feed.  I bought it just in case.  Good thing to have on hand.  I also found a packet of vitamins and minerals for chickens, in a powder form.  I didn't buy the medicated feed.  When I got home I replaced their water with vitamin and mineral boosted water.  I also began putting a mixture of molasses and garlic with olive oil and water in the morning grain.  I mix it up and spread it out for them.  They love it.  My reasoning is saying that, if they are strong they will beat this sickness if they have it.  I have not found any more blood but I am watching them carefully.  They seem fit and healthy.  Running, flying, eating, drinking, fighting.  It has been three days now since I found the first clue to sickness.  I will watch and see if there are other symptoms before I treat with medication.  So far none.  It could be that one ate something it found in the ground that was sharp.  It could be due to dehydration from this unbearable heat.  By next Thursday I will know.  So for now I am fortifying them with vitamins and minerals.
Very hard to keep the coop cool.  Mark put in a fan to draw the air out.  But the air being sucked in is hot and heavily humid.  It rained this morning, hard and so far the air is much cooler than it has been.  We are looking forward to a week of cooler temperatures.

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