Poor Spanky chicken. I did you wrong.
Some sad times here at the Acres. We were away for awhile. We knew it would be a big deal to leave the place for so long, and that it’d be trouble when we got back. But we went. And just three days before we got back, disaster struck. We don’t know the whole story I think, but apparently something was casing the coop, and eventually it got into the run. And Spanky, dear sweet Spanky, was the one it took.
Spanky was high up on the pecking order. Usually I thought she was the top bird, but at some point I think Bubbles took over. Spanky had the sweetest prettiest voice of all the birds. She was absolutely no trouble at all. Our best layer, and the biggest bird. She was the fastest runner. She wasn’t a lap chicken, and the hardest to pick up but she was always first over to get a treat. Poor sweet Spanky. I feel so bad that I didn’t protect her from a horrible fate. We were smug about our chicken fort knox. But we let things slide, and there was a way–whatever it was found a way.. to get into the run.
Now we have just two chickens left, Bubbles and Knuckles. Traumatized I’m sure by all that happened. I’m not sure how they managed to be spared. We’ve reinforced every inch of the run, and got the trap set out. We’ll keep a closer eye on them, and hopefully we only need to learn that lesson once.
So horrible. You were a good chicken, Spanky, and I’m sorry you went in such a terrible way.
Filed under: dahlias, favorite plants, gardening, goats | Tags: dahlia, fall garden, goat, maarn, saanen, snowflake dahlia
I do love me some dahlias! This year they seemed to take forever to get going. Maybe I planted them a bit late? Maybe I didn’t give them too much love. Certainly I didn’t spend too much time staking them!
Oh well, they’re still nice.
Even with a half finished pathway. These orange ones on the left are Maarn.
This one is new this year. Pretty huh? Might be Awe Shucks? But I’m too lazy to bend down and look at the tag.
Here’s some red russian kale. Yum! Along with a container of soapy water that I use to capture stink bugs. Not so yum.
And here is one sweet goat, having a rest under the big oak tree. She’s so cute! She likes this spot because it’s the highest in the paddock. Silly goats with their height thing. She’s also a digger and she’s made a little sand pit over there , dug up all the grass.
Yep, it’s finally the end of the season. I’m watching the birds eating crabapples, and turkeys wandering across the yard. Everyone is packing it up for the season.
I picked the last of the tomatoes. Green ones for goaties! We’ve had a couple of nice pasta dinners with fresh tomatoes chopped up with basil and cheese. Yum! So I guess I’m ready to say goodbye.
When your plants look as bad as this one–you’re ready for them to go. I took them all out, and put them on the burn pile. Of course the burn pile is now in a goat paddock, so anything remotely edible is gobbled right up. I didn’t think goats should eat tomato plants, but they seem to enjoy nibbling them. They’ve also had a heyday eating the squash vines (who likes those? no one I thought!)
At any rate, we’ve got our last fall lettuces and peas in, and enjoying the dahlias in full bloom!
Well almost a month ago, we got the big one. The storm we’ve been waiting for–you know, the one that officially blocks the road and takes out all our power lines? Yeah, that one!
For some crazy reason I was at the gym when it came. The storm didn’t look so bad from there, but on the drive home I noticed a LOT of debris on the roads. I had to drive over some trees too. Then, I came to our street, turned in, and there it was.
I climbed on over it, and walked to the house. On the way I noticed that another pole was damaged, listing really! Cracked down to the bottom.
And then the kicker, the pole at the top of the line…smashed into many little pieces..
I was not too happy, as we had had an outage in the summer that last for a couple of days and it was a much smaller set of damage (a transformer down the street I think). This one was the big one. And all the work we’d gone through to get the lines raised in the paddock, erased. I knew we’d have to start from scratch.
Yeesh. Amazingly they had the power back on after 24hours. Our phone line continued to work with the tree down on it! Poor me, I had to be out of town in NYC for the weekend, and when we came back, we had power, but alas, our phone was gone, and…the line was ominously just lying on the road!?!
It stayed there for about a week, slumped over our utility paddock fenceline, not connected to anything. I kept calling about it and finally someone came in and got the phone back online.
And then, the calls began. AKA the verizon circus. You can’t call and request a lineman, no they will always send a technician (guy who can’t fix anything) first. So…call, automated endless wait for a customer service agent. Explain the problem. Half of the time they drop the call while transferring you to the repair line. Explain the problem. Get a service appt. Wait. Guy comes out –oh it’s the technician. I can’t do anything, i’ll call it in for a line man. Nothing happens! Repeat.
Today was a first, we actually had two service people come out–first one, you know this…a technician (can’t do anything). But then a second one showed up (guess the first one did call it in, thanks dude!), second one was a “troubleshooting technician”. He had a little bucket truck, but not the big ones that can stretch the lines. He said he thought it was weird all the comments about needing a bucket truck (odd that my story gets written down somehow, and they still can’t fix it), but added to the story–he thought he was looking at the line from the barn to the pole (WHAT? we don’t have a phone line going to the barn??) so he couldn’t fix anything either. Verizon really looks like a bunch of dopes. Wasting everyone’s time–are they gov’t employees or something??! Just a big circus. And I’m too tired to tell you about how their attempts to get us on FIOS fit into all this. Another time? luckily for you, dear reader, probably not!
So far, it’s been 2.5 weeks since I called about raising the line. It’s actually gotten lower now at 6.5 feet (I can touch it with my hands, and i’m not that tall, than it was when we initially called about it several years back. We’ll have to see what happens, but until then the paddock is not usable. It’s a safety issue, and it really needs to be addressed. Hard to believe we got over 13 feet clearance back in the day. I hope they’ll fix it all back up.
Filed under: bubbles, chickens, liz, Uncategorized | Tags: cancer, chickens, crop, molting, new feather growth, pet chickens, pictures of chicken molting
As you know, we took Liz to the vet to have her put to sleep. It cost 124.95, but the peace of mind was worth it. I opted for the shot and not the gas chamber. It was nicer for her I think, and it was nicer for me too. She got a shot of sedative and then fell asleep as I petted her. Not that I think all chickens like to be petted (cause I don’t think they do) but Liz was our lap chicken. We knew that she had some kind of terminal illness. She was finding it hard to swallow and it was getting worse.
The vet offered to have a necropsy done. Apparently Penn State will do them for free. Anyhow I got the results back this week…she had cancer of the crop. An adenoma (though I’m not sure if that’s the right thing–reading around it sounds like that’s an ovarian thing?–dunno.) It was a relief to know that it wasn’t worms or something we could have helped her out with. We didn’t get her body back for burial, but I thought the opportunity for learning was important.
While we’ve been sad about Liz’s departure, someone I think has been more sad….
We went away for the weekend after I took Liz to the vet and when we got back, we saw this….
Yep that’d be Bubbles. We used to say that Liz was Bubbles’ be-otch. The two of them used to hang out. They were best buds. And Bubbles would come over and try to attack me if I was holding Liz. Sheesh! Bubbles is a mean bird.
But she is a pretty one, and I haven’t really posted pictures of the birds when they’re not at their best. And yeesh, Bubbles you looked a mess!
I’ve never seen her molt so fast and so much. She lost all the feathers on her back at once. Weird.
One thing that’s neat about a Bubbles molt–her feather shaft things look BLUE when they come in. Kind of neat. (If you have an aversion to those scenes in the Black Swan–cover your eyes!) Of course, chickens are due for a molt, they haven’t been laying any eggs for a bit and it’s common in the heat of the summer. But they do say that chickens can molt if they’re really stressed out. And I do believe, that she was. Poor girl.
One other finding from the necropsy…Liz apparently had some testicular tissue in her ovaries! I don’t really know how common that is, but it probably explains why she never laid any eggs. Poor girl had a lot going on. She really was one special bird!
Filed under: farm, preparedness | Tags: barn, pittsburgh, pumpkins, storm clouds, summer 2013, weather
We’ve sure had a lot of rain this summer.
Came home one afternoon to see this storm coming in. Sure got dark quick…
While I watched, the wind kicked up and a tree fell down over by the wedding tree!
We keep having big thunderstorms that drop a lot of rain. Nice to not have to worry about watering the garden! But the power did go out last week for a whole day. And voila, we were reminded that we really DO need backup power–as we have no water and more importantly no SUMP PUMP action in the basement. Flooding was minor down there, luckily. But we should really think about our preparedness for this kind of thing!
Filed under: chickens, liz | Tags: 4 year old chicken, buff orpington, euthanasia, pecking order, pet chickens
After a lengthy illness, I took Liz to the vet for the last time last Thursday. She’d been sick for a while and we took her to the vet in early May. She didn’t get better but gradually declined, and finally she seemed to be unable to enjoy her life around the farm.
We were happy that she got to enjoy the summer, and she did, running around and dustbathing as she loved to do. She had some kind of thing that impeded her ability to swallow. She didn’t throw up, but struggled to get the food down. It started slowly, a burp really, and over time it got louder and her swallowing action more violent. She would stand up really tall and drop her wings down to manage it. She didn’t lose her appetite, or her sweet personality. But she lost a lot of weight, and towards the last days she wasn’t too interested in tooling around, but was content to lie by the kitchen door. Her last day she came and stood next to me in the garden. I could tell it was time.
She didn’t feel any pain, and she went to sleep while I petted her.
Silly chicken, she is greatly missed.
She was the poster child for cute chicken. I love this picture of Liz, aka Queen Elizabeth the third. She was the first chicken to touch the earth.
She got pushed out of the box and ended up being the first chicken to go outside. Maybe that experience scarred her, as she was always so sensitive. She refused to go outside when it was snowy, she hated cold feet! She also had the largest ugliest feet of any of the chickens!
She was our special needs chicken in many ways..
She never laid an egg. For a year or so every once in awhile she seemed to be ready to lay one, she would sit in the nest box, mill about looking like she was ready, but then. Nope, no egg. Eventually she stopped having any urge at all. We thought we might lose her for that. But no she lived on.
She was the lowest chicken on the totem pole. The other chickens picked on her constantly. Maybe because she was so pretty!
I’m sure that was hard on her, but she found other ways to amuse herself. Like….
long dustbaths. She wouldn’t always come when called if she was bathing. She liked getting a free ride back to the coop.
chasing the goats. the goats were both very afraid of Liz, who’d track them down, and peck them.
jumping to the top of the coop door.
When you opened the door, she’d come over and if you weren’t careful she’d jump up on the top of the door. Really hard to get her down from up there!
And she loved naps with people. She was our lap chicken. If you sat down for a minute, she’d come over and peck your leg asking to be picked up. Then she’d give a few cursory pecks to your lap and settle down for a good long nap. She just really liked the people. And they really liked her.
A very nice Buddhist woman I met this summer told me that they believe that if you treat animals really really well, they can come back reincarnated as people! So if you see that the new prince or princess to be is pretty, opinionated and hates the cold–well I’m hoping that little Queen Liz made it through to her rightful place in the world!