Friday, May 20, 2011

My mean pet chicken

I don't know what to do...well, I do, but I don't want to. I didn't choose my Easter Egger Eastie, my son did. (as well as her name) She isn't very pretty, she gets beat up on all the time, she's neurotic (why she gets beat up on..or because of it...we need a chicken LCSW) This chicken choose me. There's no question. I've held her when she was sick and have protected her to great extremes including getting rid of half my clutch with my favorite girls because they were mean to her.

Eastie thinks that she is a dog and follows me around closely. She tries to get into the house when you open the door and when I pull up in the van she runs up to great me and hops up into the car. The fact the kids drop french fries on the floor might add to that wanting to get into the car. She's even tried to get in through windows. She just wants to be with me. The small group (she's grown up with them except for one) I have now are wonderful and even they peck at her back...she doesn't have any feathers above her tail area. I couldn't see why everyone..EVERYONE was mean to her. I thought maybe because she is my pet and gets extra treats and the others were jealous.

My husband brought her other behavior to my attention and I see her in a new light. Maybe she just loves me for the treats? No, I still think she loves me though. She HAS to be free range. I don't let them unless I can watch them since I've spotted countless foxes and coyotes in our yard. I've never lost one, but they have been saved literally from the jaws of death. She'll pace and jump and just go nuts sometimes when they are in the run and I can only imagine in the coop. (It's 4X8 with a 10x8 run) They have good space for 5 chickens and they spend most of their time in the front yard at the bird feeder or digging up my gardens.

The other chickens just hate her. Momma is nice to her and will cover her at night, but will also peck to keep her in line when she is getting spazzy. Now my daughter and I each have a new baby. They are about ready to join the big girls. The hen I've been babysitting is going home so that's 4 hens and two babies. One would think that would be fine. My other 3, 2 black Astrolorps and my other Easter Egger, are nice to the babies and will peck around the yard with them and hang out together on the bricks. Eastie will charge them and peck at their heads! They could just be sitting there in the sun and she'll attack. We've spent time really getting these chicks to be calm. Luna holds her RIR Reba like a rag doll and plays with her in the sand box. She LOVES that chicken. I hold Bunny all the time and we sit on the bench swing all 4 of us and she cuddles, closes her eyes, and falls asleep. This chicken just sleeps in my arms like a baby. So, to have my 2 year old spazzy hen attacking these babies is NOT acceptable.

Eastie and I have a relationship though. I know I'll have to get rid of all my girls when my husband finds another job, but I actually had secret plans to keep her and just build her a nice indoor coop until we got where we were going. So you see, I'm close to this chicken. Am I so disloyal that I'm choosing the babies over her? Wouldn't life be easier if I didn't have to worry so much about the social issues of my chickens? I have no soap opera any they are my replacement. I'd have a peaceful hen house without her. Would she be happy with strange chickens in someone else's run? I know someone with 1 chicken that free ranges and sleeps in a small coop on her porch. I'm going to ask her if Eastie could live with them. I got her as a 1 day old chick over 2 years ago. She lays a perfect pale green egg for me almost everyday. She looks at me as a mother and here I am sending her off to a place that won't be as safe as the home she has known her whole life. Just to keep babies that I'll have to part with maybe before they even start to lay if  job comes in?

The drama of a chicken keeper......

update: Eastie is still happy and healthy at my friends more than a year later. Sadly she has forgotten me. Yes, I did think she would remember me:(

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gallbladder Update

I know I haven't blogged about this in a long time, but I thought I'd update what I said in case anyone cares:) I was really trying to shrink a 3 cm large stone in my gallbladder for the past year. I tried Apple Cider Vinegar and can't see how people do that! My sister drinks it and I just can't. I switched to Malic Acid pills as well as Dandelion supplements. I watched my diet and did what I thought I could from what I found on the internet. I didn't want to do the full flushes and I'm thankful that I didn't. Getting the stone stuck in a duct scared me out of that as well as the fact that I was still nursing my baby. That's really why I waited so long. I did find out that you can nurse the day of the surgery, but the whole concept of going under scared me to death. I've had a bad experience and didn't want to go through again!

Last Wednesday was the big day and they took that stupid thing out once and for all! The shoulder pain and migraines were making it very hard to be a good mother. You just don't have patience when you are in pain all the time.It's only been a week and I am a bit sore, but I can tell you that I feel better now even with that discomfort of 5 holes in me than I have in years!! WHAT WAS I WAITING FOR??? Thank you Dr. Sullivan.

I'm a neurotic mess when it comes to not trusting hospitals, especially up here where I consider everything old and dirty. Yes, the hospital is very old but the people make up for that ten fold. They were all wonderful and I got there at 7 A.M. and was home by 1 P.M. I was pretty out of it for that day, but I'm so surprised at how fast I felt so much better.

When they looked at the removed gallbladder they found a lot of bad cells on the inside - dysplesia? the Dr. told me that I was very lucky that I had it out when I did and that keeping it in so long was trouble. So that's my cautionary tale to those trying to shrink or pass a large stone. Once I saw on the computer that the cases of gallbladder cancer were related to large stones I figured that was it, I wanted it out. The Dr. confirmed it and said that these bad cells could lead to cancer but that my tests came up with no malignancy. They had to remove a LOT of scar tissue from my c-section 8 years ago. I may need to repeat the scar tissue removal, but it's worth it now that I know you heal quickly and that discomfort can go away.

I learned something else very interesting. When we are forming our diaphragm is up in our throat. As we form it's pushed down. When there is something wrong below the diaphragm the brain thinks it's the upper shoulder because all the nerves are still attached from when we were forming. That's why my upper right shoulder was in so much pain from the gallbladder and all the scar tissue. Interesting.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Carrot Tape

We had some fun with this project. I can't take credit for the idea at all, I read about it in another blog I really enjoy  " ". We got the seed tape that we made in the ground this weekend. It was just a beautiful weekend and I can forget that I hate central NY so much on days like that. I planted the rows in front of the chicken coop where I'm going to put in 5 Roma tomato seedlings that are looking great. I have the tomatos under the light in the basement still and will bring them out around the 20th. I don't want to rush it this year and lose what I've spent so much time nurturing.

I planted 2 rows of sweet peas in the back that will be able to climb up the run fence....protected with hard wire. In front of that are the tomatoes that have some lettuce at the base. The lettuce will be harvested before the tomatoes are very big. I stick lettuce everywhere since it grows quickly and we eat it every day. I then have the carrots in front on one side and beets on the other. I have a juicer and the beet juice can be added to red grape juice and none are the wiser:)  You have to love the juicer when you have picky eaters in the house.

Making the seed tape was a lot of fun. I made up a paste with flour and water and let the kids choose the food color to add to it. I couldn't find an empty glue container so we just used a small paint brush. Once we put the paste and seed on the toilet paper we covered it. I had a bit of trouble with the paper breaking. I tried one with a paper towel and I really liked how that worked. I think I won't use the toilet paper next time. I'm sure the paper towel will work fine in the soil. I did one with paper towel on the bottom and toilet paper on the top. Maybe it needs less cover...I don't know. I'm still learning this. I do know that it was super easy to plant the seeds on the paper. They are all in nice rows now instead of spilled in pile like how it's happened in the past.

3 out of my 4 babies... happy with gardening and chickens. If only life was always this simple.....