The pullets like to sneak into the big girls coop to perch.
We have had to chance our habits and activities in the wake of the avian bird flu outbreak throughout the US and it been a bit rough. Not as hard as losing our entire flock of course, but sometimes even the smallest daily change is hard to remember when your plate is as full as ours is.
The Rhode Island Red pullets circling the chuck wagon!
I am not normally a worrying person as I am scrupulous about cleanliness and healthy living here on the homestead. I fed my chicks herbs, fresh crushed garlic and apple cider vinegar from day one. I wash out their feeders and waterers with hot soapy water every other day and clean up chicken poop in their runs to discourage the fly’s. We wash our hands every time we touch the chickens and I don’t mix dishes, feeders or the laundry room sink with anything we are eating out of and the chickens stuff.
Girls on the run.
And yet, I have increased my chicken biosecurity measures and that is reflected in visitors coming into my coop or run and in no longer going to friends farms that keep chickens. Avian flu strains have been found in my state in geese and in swans and our county fair has cancelled all chicken competitions this summer…
Three broody hens with crazed hormones in one nest box.
The hardest decision I have made is that I have stopped volunteering at the horse ranch where I have been giving my horse friends, Equine Reiki. I’ve even stopped going to the monthly Happy Horse Hour event held at the same ranch as a precaution. These two changes has been the hardest of all for me.
Yes, I could change my boots and clothing. Yes I can wash my boots in bleach but I would still be concerned about my girls. So I am taking the course of a serious lock-down action instead. I am very good at nutrition and herbs but I know that I am not so good about the actual act of diagnosing and doctoring chickens. I don’t give them shots, I don’t have antibiotics on hand. We just don’t have the necessary experience and there are no avian vets within an hours drive of us. I’ve heard of chicken keepers spending $500.00 on a sick bird with an avian vet and we just don’t have that kinds of means.
This is a tough love kind of decision which is never easy but I know in my gut it is the right decision. What are you doing on your farm to prevent this flu?
For more details about this flu and steps to prevent it please visit the Chicken Chicks blog and read her recommendation about the avian flu. See it at http://www.the-chicken-chick.com//search?q=Avian+Flu
Small House homesteaders and chicken keeper, Donna