Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ex- Bat Hen Update...

Sora and Bridgette are doing well out with the flock. The first day was full of much posturing and chest bumping with the established hens, and some downright neck grabbing by the top hens, who felt they needed to REALLY drive their point home. We intervened, gently...pushing them apart and petting and praising them for NOT fighting. This seemed to work for the most part and today all was peaceful.

But poor Sora and Bridgette have NO idea how to roost on perches, and need to be placed there in the evening. They HAVE learned where the coop (and the food) is, so they can get in and out of it with ease. Today was sun and dust bath heaven. No eggs from either one yet, though they have peeked in the nest boxes.

Bridgette is growing new feathers at great speed, and is getting more talkative. Today she saw a cat on the fence and threw a cackling fit that several other hens took up. Sora is much more quiet and laid back, a true California girl. Both girls are very attached to each other and stick together constantly. They have learned that when we appear it means good things like food & pets, so they come running. Sora loves to be picked up and petted, but Bridgette not so much--she'll come running up to us, but due to her prickly state is NOT all that hot on being touched. We expected this, so we'll just give her time to get those new feathers out. She'll be a beauty once she does!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

So My Kid Has A Cause...

...and it's to rescue ex-battery hens.

This all happened quite suddenly the other day, when I came across a funny YouTube video to share with her about a rooster. She loves stuff like this, so we looked at a few others as well.

This one, 'A Battery Hen's Hope' is what got to all of us--it's heartbreaking and touching all at the same time, and represents just one bird out of thousands:

After N. saw it, and I had to explain to her the concept of battery cages in egg farms and how and why animals are housed that way, she was OUTRAGED, and rightly so.

Having to explain the worst parts of society and humankind as a whole is one of the worst things you will ever have to do as a parent, by the way. Forget about the 'birds & bees' talk. Watching her faith in humanity and 'doing the right thing' die in your childs' eyes as you explain corporate cruelty is heartrending. The fact that this type of 'animals are disposable' thinking is commonplace and accepted is even harder.

So OK, the kid now wants to stage a rescue and save ALL of the battery hens on Earth. I explain to her that unfortunately this just isn't possible, but people DO try...then she realizes that she has seen ex-battery hens at the feed store!

C'mon mom, off to the feed store! Never mind that it's 8:30 at night and the feed store is closed.

Well, we have to go to the feed store the next day anyway to get chicken feed, so I agree to look at the ex-battery hens then.

Ha. 'Look'. Right...

So here they are, our two adoptees:

Bridgette, a sweet, curious, talkative Red Star who has suffered the loss of most of her feathers and has been de-beaked:

and Sora, a camera-shy White Leghorn who has been at the feed store long enough to grow some of her feathers back:

Neither of them had ANY idea what table scraps were, but are quite docile and quiet. Bridgette has quite a bit of trouble eating with part of her beak gone, but I'm hoping it'll grow back eventually. Both of them spent last night and today in the house, we're medicating and worming them right away since I'm pretty sure that egg farms don't care a whole lot about keeping individual birds healthy long-term.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Names For Chicks!

It's been decided: The large reddish chick is Voodoo, the darker brown one is Moxie, the smaller one with the fluffier cheeks and downward-pointed tail is Bug, and the bantam is Flash.

Flash is pretty darned uppity and may be a roo, while Bug is very calm and sweet, she wants to be held a lot. Voodoo is all Bear, and Moxie fits her name perfectly--very daring!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Maggie Is Dead...

...thanks to my vet of 10 years. She had a straightforward oral fungus growth in her mouth, which his office seemingly deliberately undermedicated--we'd run out of the medication in 3 days (normal course of treatment for something like this is 7-14 days), they'd make us come BACK in for another office visit + more medication. Rinse, repeat, repeat... Five visits & charges in less than 10 days. The last bottle of medication he cut her dose by 3/4 and we STILL ran out in 6 days, so she never had a chance. It's all about money, I guess. They've succeeded in draining my bank account AND killing their patient.

Maggie suffered horribly with this crap and died of starvation, despite me handfeeding her night and day.

Good job, guys.

Enjoy your correspondence from the licensing board.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Three Is A Magic Number!

Because that's how many WILD catlings I just found out have been living under our house. Old enough to be weaned and mama long gone, but still kittens. All three are grey tabbies with white socks, very pretty. But skittish. I guess mama had managed to force her way through one of the vent screens at the bottom of the house. And quietly! All this time we never heard any mewing at all.

Right now I'm plying them with food and sweet words, trying to get them to trust me long enough to get them over to the pound. I'm sure all they need is a little TLC, someone will adopt them, they're cute. :)