Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2013


If you have enough chickens or have had chickens long enough, it’s not unlikely you’ll come across cross beak at some point.

After our Mayhem In The Coop a few months ago, while dealing with plucked booties, it came to my attention that one of my cuckoo maran girls not only had a bald bottom, but also had some cross {scissor} beak going on.

Cross beak can happen for a few reasons. Mostly, it’s just genetic. If the chick can actually crack its way out of the egg with a crooked beak, chances are it might do ok, since it has a fighting spirit.

In our case, it seems to me it was from the smackdown in the coop. My Easter Egger cockerel also has a slight cross {and his butt is still missing his long tail feathers and still has a large bald spot}, which I think also resulted from that episode. I don’t remember either of them having cross beak before, and given their heinies, they most certainly were on the bottom of the pile at some point.

Miss Betty has a pretty prominent cross beak, as you can see. crossbeak1

My concern was that while she might look all fluffy, chickens with cross beak can slowly starve to death without looking like they are losing weight. Some chickens with severe cross beak need to be tube fed; some of them still die. When it’s genetic, it’s not unusual for a chick to have all kinds of other things wrong with them, too, even if they aren’t seen.

Because the top and bottom beaks don’t line up, some can’t get any food in their mouths. Well, they *can,* but it falls out because the top beak can’t keep it in the mouth long enough to get it down the throat. Water is usually not too much of a problem, though.

The other issue is beak growth. Beaks are like fingernails- they grow continuously. Chickens peck and wipe their beaks from side to side, which helps keep the growth in check.  {It’s just like filing nails- although some might equate it to sharpening knives, too :lol:} When they are crooked, though, they can’t really do a good job of keeping them trimmed themselves.

Some folks will physically weigh their birds; others check the crop. Me, I pick ’em up and hold ’em. 😆

When I pick her up, I can not only feel her crop, but I can feel her weight, too. This girl isn’t starving, that’s for sure! 😀

Not only do I check her weight this way {and love on her while I’m at it}, it gives me a chance to file her beak.

Like fingernails, if you cut too close to the quick, there can be bleeding. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that chickens bleed, and it can take a bit to get the bleeding to stop.  Any time there is injury, the first step is to stop the bleeding.

Then, I always put something on the bloody spot to discourage picking. I really like Blu Kote. blukote Not only is it an antiseptic, it’s also an anti-fungal. It does a fabulous job of disguising boo-boos.

And, it makes you purple!  😆

Some people like to clip, using toenail clippers for cats or dogs. I don’t even like to use those on my cats or dogs, so it goes without saying that I’m a big chicken when it comes to using it on a chicken beak.  😆

Instead, I use a file. Some like to use a metal file; some like to use a Dremel pet nail trimmer. dremel1

Some use the regular Dremel trimmer with the sanding attachment. dremelsandingbitBecause I’m the “Option 3” girl, I use a regular ‘ole nail file.  nailfile 😆 File, file, file, file. Pet the chicken, pet the chicken, pet the chicken. File, file, file, file.

This is a two-person job. One person holds; the other covers the eyes and files. I cover eyes just because it helps keep the chicken calm. I don’t close the eyes; rather, I place my hand in front so they can’t see past it. No big deal.

I file both beaks, getting them as close to the same length as possible. I also smooth any jaggedy edge near the groove the upper beak worked into the lower.

beakgroove1

Before

After

After

While the end result is still crooked, the beaks are much closer in length. This helps them not only eat better, but groom better as well. I try to do this about every month or two, and it takes maybe ten minutes, depending on long it takes you to catch the chicken. 😀

If you find yourself with a cross beak baby, take heart. Don’t give up right away. It might not be as bad as you think it’ll be. It might be nothing more than a minor hiccup in the overall scope of things and you’ll have a great excuse reason to spend some quality time with your chook.  :mrgreen:

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


Unraveled.

Christina’s world is coming unraveled.

Since her father died a year ago, Christina has done what she could to keep the poor house going. They didn’t have much, but the sense of family amongst the needy folk staying at the home have buoyed Christina and given her a sense of purpose.  whatoncewaslost

But the fire has left them homeless, and it’s up to Christina to find temporary homes for all of them until the home can rebuilt. Finding homes for all but blind Tommy, Christina reaches out to one last person in desperation.

Miller Levi Jonnson is a recluse. Christina doesn’t know if he’d take any child in, much less a blind one. She has no other choice but to try.

With everyone temporarily rehomed, Christina is hopeful that the board will give her good news and get the rebuilding underway.

She is stunned to be told they won’t allow a woman to run the home. She is shattered when two of the children are spirited away to a children’s home an expensive train ride away.

The hope and faith she’s held onto her entire life seem to be slipping away, and with it, Christina’s sense of self. What can she do if she’s not serving others? Does God have another plan for her? Will she listen long enough for it to be revealed? Will the man who threatened her past succeed in ruining her future?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I loved this book. The back flap summary didn’t do it justice. I thought it would be a bit boring, and was I ever glad I was wrong! Although this had several different themes going at the same time, I could easily see the big picture, and wow, I have to say, it was masterfully pieced together.

In many ways, it reminded me of a clock- all the different parts inside, working independently to support the main feature. It’s like that. Often, authors write these stories with many characters and none of it really makes sense- they don’t inter-tie, and then they don’t actually get resolved.

This left me feel really quite satisfied with the way the storyline was rolled out. Put this one on your reading list. You won’t be disappointed.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Don’t miss the trailer!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEsazD2JJQM%5D

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Please click and rank my review!

Rank this Review!

Read Full Post »


I continue to be amazed by the backward thinking that some folks have, saying “If the ranchers had really cared about their animals, they would have had shelters every 20 acres and those animals wouldn’t have died.”

Aside from clearly not knowing anything about actual ranching, cattle, or the ranchers that have them, it’s patently false to think that having shelter was the key to saving them.

It’s not.

Let me say that again.

Having shelter would not have saved them. Not necessarily. Not guaranteed..

I read one account where 63 cattle had taken shelter and were found dead because they had gotten buried by snow and suffocated or froze to death. I read other accounts where ranchers were digging out cattle that had used bales of hay as a wind break; some of them survived, some did not.

If someone doesn’t think snow can suffocate and cause death, then I’d say that person didn’t live in a location where there was real snow. You try breathing in near hurricane force winds that are blowing sticky snow onto your partially frozen body, all the while burying you under snow drifts of 7 or 8 feet high. Ya. Try that and get back to me.

In addition, with that kind of snow load, a more likely scenario would have been the shelters collapsing under the weight of the snow and trapping and killing the cattle inside who were too buried in snow to escape.

I’ve seen pictures of cabin doors that were blown in and the cabin filled with snow. Now imagine if you didn’t have a coat and were already wet and it was blowing a sustained 60 mph.

Using a quote from an article on Beef Magazine.com, “She said, “Discouraging day. Cows are smart and know the draws to hunker down in, in just about any direction the storm comes from. But when the storm fills your hiding place, you must leave or get buried. Many cows did not leave and did not survive. The cows that left got stuck in drifts and had the same fate.”” 

Did y’all get that?

The storm blew snow drifts INTO the shelters. INTO THE SHELTERS.

Had this storm blown in during the actual winter, animals might have fared better. With this kind of driving snow, the ones not suffocating might not have succumbed to hypothermia because their winter coats would have given them some measure of protection.

And still, they might have suffocated under the snow anyhow.

They would have also been in their higher winter grounds. I’ve read about some herds that had already been moved to the winter grazing grounds who didn’t fare much better.

But this storm at this time?

No. The death toll was not because of ranchers not caring.

I’ve read accounts of folks going out to dig out cattle to get their ear tags for identification.diggingoutcattle Some found cattle that were buried and barely alive. So they kept digging, trying to get sunlight on hide to help warm them up.

I have yet to see anything on mainstream news.

Fortunately, people are getting the word out as they can.

In addition to the South Dakota Rancher Relief Fund, there are now several outlets on Facebook helping connect folks to relief measures.

Here’s a list of the ones I have. If you know of others, please link to them by leaving a comment. If I get enough, I’ll update either on this post or on a new one.

South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association- has helpline info

South Dakota Cattle Locator– not just for cattle, as I’ve seen folks posting information on found horses

Pennington County digs free mass burial pits for cattle killed in blizzard- free carcass burial information

Rancher’s Reflief Fund– Facebook page

Atlas Blizzard Ranch Relief and Aid– good collection of resources and info

5 Resources For South Dakota Ranchers Hit By October Blizzard– this article has resources and links to other articles on the blizzard

Other links to stories written by other people with first-hand experience of this storm:

Photos: Heather Hamilton-Maude

Rancher Details “Gut-Wrenching” Pain From Cattle Lost In SD Blizzard- Heather’s Story

Read Full Post »

FRONT PAGE STORY!


Read this.
I’ll try to post more links later today after I read and sift through them.

Share everything and anything you can on this. These folks need help to overcome what feels like a media blackout on this event.

Read Full Post »


Are you?

Granted, I haven’t been watching the news like I generally do, so maybe I’m just missing it.

I know there are lots of things going on. The government shutdown. The Kardashians. Miley’s twerking. Miley’s naked ball romp. Etc etc etc.

But seriously- this one has my head and heart spinning, and I cannot understand why there is no coverage on this. As of today, I’m finding sporadic coverage, and mostly only the ag sites are really talking about the real losses. Today, I’m seeing a few other sites starting to report on this, but where is the media when you really need them?

“The situation right now in western South Dakota is dire,” Christen said. “We have ranchers who have nothing left, literally nothing left.”

The snow storm Atlas has resulted in the loss of 20-50% of some herds in South Dakota. I’ve seen a write-up from a lady who lost 10 of her 13 horses.

I’ve seen comments on some of those sites by people saying the loss of cattle was due to humans being irresponsible. And that just makes my blood boil.

REALLY?! So, you think that tens of thousands head of cattle lost were because ranchers don’t care about those animals?

That tells me that the folks making those comments are flat ignorant.

Calves going to market {which would have happened soon} bring in about $1,000 a head. Grown cattle bring on average about $1,500. We’re talking about HUGE numbers of cattle. We’re talking about people’s livelihoods-  not just money lost from selling this year, but breeding stock which is an investment for the future.

And to say that the ranchers don’t care about their cattle is as stupid as it gets. They don’t get paid if they don’t care. You can’t survive if your means of income is dead.

Ranchers will haul out water over thousands of acres during dry years. Ranchers will pay to have hay dropped during storms when they cattle get stranded. If ranchers can prevent harm from coming to their cattle, they will do whatever they can.

So what was so bad about this storm that caused all these animals to die? I mean, surely, South Dakota is no stranger to winter storms, right?

Um, you know this is still early October, yes?

While parts of Canada see winter year round, 😉 South Dakota wasn’t quite ready for a storm of this magnitude.

To begin with, this one snuck in under the radar. There were no warnings that this would be as bad as it was.

First came the rain- 12 hours of soaking rain.

Then came the snow. 4 feet of snow in 48 hours. That’s an inch of snow every hour, for 2 days.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the wind was blowing, too. Winds  were clocked at 60 mph, with 70 mph gusts. Y’all, that’s nearly hurricane force winds.

If you’ve not experienced a lot of snow, let me tell you why that’s a problem. Snowfall is bad enough, but when it blows, you’ve got drifts of snow. Many of those drifts were measured to be 7 to 8 feet high.

This is how houses get buried.

This is how animals get buried.

If you’re still wondering why so many animals died from this storm and yet manage to stay alive during the winter, let me fill in the blanks.

Grazing lands are rotated. Winter grazing lands are usually closer to other structures, like houses. They are often on higher ground, too, which makes getting to them easier. These animals hadn’t been moved to the winter grazing lands yet because it’s October.

The other key element of this is timing. Another two months, and the cattle and horses would have been equipped to handle this storm. Soaking rain causes more problems than just snow because it lowers body temperature more rapidly.

The bigger factor, though, was that because this came in early October, the animals had not yet grown their winter coats.

If you have a dog, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Horses and cattle are no different. They grow winter coats just the same and shed out come spring. They didn’t have their longer winter hair. You try standing out in freezing rain and then snow without a coat and see how long you last.

And yet, somehow, these ranchers, who’ve now lost their livelihoods for years to come, are somehow responsible for a freak storm courtesy of mother nature???  😡

Adding insult to injury, this storm couldn’t have come at a worse time, what with the government being shut down and all. There aren’t even any relief agencies available to help out right now.

Thousands of people are still without power, although they’re working on it.

So while most folks are  busy watching the news and talking about fluff and the government, life and devastation are happening for people who need help and aren’t getting any because news outlets are too wrapped up in junk to report actual news.

I’m pasting in some pictures below. Be forewarned that they are graphic and heartbreaking. I’ll put them in after the other links for more information on this devastating storm.

Rancher Relief Fund

South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association and South Dakota Sheep Growers Association have established a fund with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation to assist livestock producers devastated by the blizzard of Oct. 4-7.

To donate visit. http://www.giveblackhills.org and search “Rancher Relief Fund.” Checks can also be mailed to Black Hills Area Community Foundation/SD Rancher Relief Fund, at P.O. Box 231, Rapid City, SD 57709

Northern Ag Network: graphic pics and updated information

Rapid City Journal: Governor tours ranches devastated by blizzard

The Weather Channel: South Dakota Ranchers Seek Help for Cattle Lost to Winter Storm Atlas

“The situation right now in western South Dakota is dire,” Christen said. “We have ranchers who have nothing left, literally nothing left.”

The Blizzard that Never Was

WeatherUnderground: Winter storm Atlas

NBC News: Shutdown worsens historic blizzard that killed tens of thousands of South Dakota cattle

AgFax: South Dakota Storm Kills 10s of 1,000s of Cattle

sd1

sdfb1

South Dakota Storm Kills 10s of 1000s of Cattle
South Dakota Storm Kills 10s of 1000s of Cattle
South Dakota Storm Kills 10s of 1000s of Cattle

I am from Wall, South Dakota and we had a horrible blizzard here October 4, that killed thousands and thousands of cattle and horses. There has not been any national coverage or help. Our state needs help in finding our animals. We are all in heartache as this is how we make a living, and is also how everyone else in the United States eats. Our own President hasn’t even acknowledged the natural disaster we are in. This picture is of some horses my family lost in the storm. We lost 10 out 13 horses and are devastated by the loss, which doesn’t even count the thousands of cattle that was lost by some of our neighbors.”

Read Full Post »


*sigh*

I know loss is part of farm life, and I accept that.

I also accept that the safety of the animals is my responsibility. And it irritates me to no end to have a loss that could have been prevented.

At this point, we’re up to 4 losses that could have- SHOULD HAVE- been prevented. 😥

Last month, I went to let them out in the morning and found one of my polka-dotted chickens {silver spangled hamburgs} huddled by the door and near frozen solid. It had gotten cold overnight, and while I didn’t think she had gotten her foot stuck under the waterer, I really had no other explanation for her being by the door instead of up on the roost.

I brought her inside right away, and got a water bottle full of hot water to help heat her up.

chicken1

She sat on my lap all day.

chicken2

chicken3

By evening, it was clear she was not doing well, despite out efforts to feed and hydrate her. Early the next morning, with my daughter sitting with her, she convulsed and died. 😥

I am not sure what it was, but it might have been something she ate that got stuck in her crop, even though I couldn’t feel anything there. It didn’t seem to be a contagion, and I was sure hoping it wasn’t. {It wasn’t.}

I accept that sometimes, these things happen. It is absolutely never easy, though.

We also lost 2 cuckoo marans over a month ago. We had moved them outside to the coop, but because the run wasn’t done, we weren’t letting them out. After finding 2 of my girls trampled and plucked inside the coop, we cut the pop door and let them out, finished run be darned.

Did I mention that this has become The Coop That Would Not Be Built? Yep. And it’s a source of irritation to me, to say the least.

That right there is the bulk of the issue, as I see it. Hunny doesn’t think we need a run (or the expense) and once we had to let them out, it was easier to just let them free-range the entire time.

Then the guineas got out about a week ago. 3 were out all night because we couldn’t catch them. 2 found their way back in the following morning, but the last one we found dead on the horse path between the two pastures. Here again, I am convinced that if we had the run, it would not be an issue because they would be contained while we let the chickens out.

It goes without saying that by far one of the worst predators is the family dog. Have I mentioned that we now have 5 dogs?

We moved here with 2 dogs that completely left the chickens alone. We gained another border collie, and then in both July and August we gained dogs that had probably been dumped. That’s a whole ‘nother post for another time. Having 2 unaltered male dogs- even though one is a weiner dog- was not on my agenda.

But I digress.

Up to this point, we’ve done pretty well keeping the dogs away from the chickens. {You know where this is going, don’t you….} Both Buddy (short-haired Jack Russell terrier) and Oreo (border collie) are about a year old. You may know that border collies are well-known as the smartest dog breed there is.

Case and point- Icee (our blond merle border collie} knows how to open the bedroom door in our RV; and Oreo not only knows but has taught Buddy how to open the outside door. We can’t do an eye-hook because then whoever is outside can’t get back in. Not to mention, she’s working on the dead bolt, too. We are trying to remember to take our keys outside with us every time……..

The bigger issue is not that they can open the door when they are both in and outside, but that I don’t want the cats to get out.

Did I mention we’re up to 6 cats now? Yep. One of these days, I’ll write up the story of the kittens, which were not planned but totally loved and adored.

Bottom line- I just don’t want them getting out. The older kitties are declawed because we don’t want them outside. The kittens were planned on being outdoor barn kitties, but after bottle feeding them and having them inside because they are too little to be left outside to fend for themselves, well, we’re smitten with them, too, and will get them declawed and fixed so they can be indoor kitties.

Anyhow.

Last week, Buddy got a hold of my favorite silver silkie, Silver. We got to her in time before he killed her, but he sliced her chest open and punctured her in a few places. I kept her inside overnight, and then the following day (when I had company, of course), I used some EMT gel {for animals} to glue her back together and sent her back out.

You need to understand- I’ve been crazy about keeping the dogs away from the chickens. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve managed. At some point, Oreo got scared of them, but I knew it wouldn’t last, particularly if she was out there with Buddy. I’ve seen them essentially hunt/play together/in a pack.

Now, Hunny and the kids think they are playing with them. Buddy with go after them when there’s squawking- like when the boys are sparring and when they are grabbing the girls. He thinks that she was chasing her and went to nip as border collies do, and got carried away.

I didn’t see this event, so I don’t know what happened. What I do know is that Oreo killed one of my polka-dotted chickens {silver spangled hamburgs} and that I am really very upset.

This dog is smart, and she knows better.

I am loath to give up an animal- any animal- particularly when it’s a rescue and I’ve invested money in it. I cannot, however, abide by the “it’s just a chicken; there’s no reason to get upset” kind of thinking some of my kids are dishing out.

I. DO. NOT. CARE. IF. THEY. THINK. THAT.

IT. IS. NOT.” JUST”. A CHICKEN.

I love my chickens, even if they don’t.

I have a responsibility to keep the animals in my care alive.

And so, I’m annoyed. I’m upset. I’m not sure what should be done.

There are those that tell you that once a dog kills once, they won’t stop. Normal dogs, I would agree. Border collies are so, so smart.

My other border collie blew out both cruciate ligaments in her knees- both of them, at the same time. If you know border collies, you know they have a HUGE work ethic; in that you often don’t know there is anything wrong with them until they just don’t get up the next day.

And that is what happened with her. She just couldn’t get up one morning and was in huge amounts of pain.

The normal fix for this injury is surgery, at $2,500 a knee. 😯 Our vet thought, given how smart she is, that we could try something else first.

He suggested we explain to her what happened and why we had to crate her. If she could stay immobile for about 6 months to give the ligaments time to heal, we could avoid surgery. It was a long shot, but we thought we’d give it a go.

It’s been over 5 years later, and we never had to have surgery. She wasn’t thrilled with being crated, but she accepted it. Her knees are a bit arthritic now, and we think she can’t see too well. She’s been kicked in the head by one of the horses, but the head injury didn’t kill her, either.

She was smart enough to listen {and yes, I’m sure she knew what we were talking about- ask anyone with a border collie and they’ll tell you}. Oreo is just as smart, but she’s only about a year old and very headstrong.

I don’t know if she will WANT to learn.

I don’t know that I can ever trust her again.

I don’t know that the kids will actually LISTEN to me and NOT let her out unsupervised. I am sick of hearing how much they hate the chickens (with the exception of daughter number 2). When they say that, they are basically saying they hate me, and that bothers me. I don’t ask them to love them the same as I do, but gollee, it sure would be nice if they could care about living things a little and have a little regard and respect. And a little thought about keeping them safe.

I need other options.

I just don’t know what they are yet. And, with life in flux right now, I’m not sure the answer is going to be forthcoming, either.

I’m so annoyed. I’m annoyed with the situation, and I’m annoyed because there are no easy answers.

Stay tuned.

Read Full Post »


Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She’s changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.  unspoken

She’s never said a word–to the cops, to her doctors, to family–about those four years.

A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn’t find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn’t know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather’s estate–and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor–she’s decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she’s willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She’s not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The description had me thinking this sounded a Jaycee Dugard story, and I thought I would review it just because it piqued my curiosity.

Well. Thankfully, it was not like that story.

It was, however, very good.

Events a decade ago led Charlotte to change her name. She didn’t want anyone to know. She hadn’t talked then and she wasn’t about to start now.

Her life moved on in relative anonymity, and she wanted to keep it that way. As the sole heir to her grandfather’s fortune, she has the responsibility of liquidating his multi-million dollar inventory of stuff- including 60 million in rare coins.

As part of her grandfather’s estate, another piece of the pie are the investment dollars from the sale of his early companies, now worth even more than what he had in his compound’s vaults. Charlotte doesn’t need the money, of course, and it’s a burden to even think about. She won’t get that money, though, unless she marries.

And after what happened those many years ago, Charlotte has vowed never to marry. Ever.

As Bryce comes on board to help her sell the coins, can he help her find a place of healing, too?

~~~~~~~~~~

While there was a lot about coins in there, I wasn’t completely bored. The premise of this was interesting, while not being completely realistic. I suppose it could happen, though, and it’s fun to think about what you would do if this landed in your lap. I am not a coin collector, so I don’t know if all the information was completely accurate or not, but it sounded good.

This had all the right stuff- another mystery going on at the same time in the form of a cold case the super sleuths were trying to unravel. I was hoping it would all get tied up with a neat little bow at the end, and I wasn’t disappointed.

If you don’t mind coin talk, you will love this book. If coin talk makes you fall asleep, you’ll have to start and stop to get through this.

I loved it, though, and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers (www.bethanyhouse.com) for this review.

You might really enjoy the trailer for the book. 🙂

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OylK0PN1ak8%5D

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: