Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Nursing Animals Inside Continues

This week on the Cockeyed Homestead, we are still nursing hurt and sick animals.

The hurt hen is now in physical therapy. Twice to three times a day we are stretching her hurt leg and working on her claw. After a week and a half post attack, she needs to use it or lose it. I can't imagine being a chicken and not be able to scratch. Her feathers are growing back in and she even makes allowances for me picking her up one handed. She doesn't like the therapy, but I think she understands I'm trying to help her. She has actually tried to put her foot down when she tries to catch her balance. So there is hope that she will rejoin her flock. Although she's not in danger of dying now, she is getting too comfortable inside where it is always warm and dry. She has unlimited food and fresh water too. I'm afraid she will become another Cuddles, who also stayed inside while she was egg bound. Now, Cuddles wants to be one of the domestic pets. She will come inside at any opportunity like she owns the place.

The Jersey Woolie, Ebony, is still in the dog crate. Her shoulder has scabbed over and it isn't tender to the touch any more. What's she still doing inside? She's next in line to be sheared. What Mel is waiting on I have no idea. Oh wait. That's right. Mel is trapped in la-la-land writing her next novel. I guess I could finish grooming her to get her back in her outdoor cage. If worse comes to worse, if Mel doesn't finish her this week I will. I've done the rabbits in the rabbitry (the girls Daisy, Moira, and Early Gray). It's a level surface for me to get around. Dustin, grey angora, is outside and needs to be done, but I can't climb stairs while holding a rabbit so he's left to Mel.


The new casualty this week is Mel's special needs cat, Devon Angel. He's sick again with our warm, and then freezing weather. He's got a severe head cold. But as usual, it's in his lung now too. I can hear him gurgling when I listen to his chest so he's back on antibiotics. For the past two days, he's eaten nothing. He has even turned his nose up at tuna! He's still drinking lots of water though so I'm not truly worried yet. He lost quite a bit of weight over the summer and fall, 4 pounds of his ten pounds, so I imagine his immunities are low too. But then, Mel says he's always been sickly.

In case you are wondering what Devon Angel is lying on, it's a homemade incubator. It's on the table nearest the wood stove. The hurt chicken stopped setting on them forty-eight hours later. I think it hurt her injured leg. Best laid plans and all of that. Inside are four New Hampshire Red eggs. Kind of over kill with that huge tub, huh? It's a plastic, lidded tub with a towel inside, and sitting on a heating pad. Then we wrapped the whole thing in a blanket. Inside are the eggs, a candy thermometer, and a small stainless steel bowl of water. That's it. No special equipment. It's on the table nearest the wood stove. We manually turn the eggs twice a day. It stays 99-100 degrees inside. I have no idea what the humidity percentage is but we are having to add water to the 3 oz bowl every couple of days. It's not humid or hot enough to fog up my glasses so it's about right, I figure. Mel swears by this method over the standard incubator. She had a 100% hatch rate of fertile eggs last time. She had compared it to her incubator hatch rate of 25%. We haven't candled the eggs yet. With a ratio of four hens to one rooster, I figure the chances of these eggs being fertilized are pretty good. But we'll know for sure in about a week when we do candle them. We are hoping for a couple of new hens, but if we get roosters, we'll just grow them out and butcher them.

Why so small an amount of eggs? Well, we plan to get other chickens this year too. We just wanted to replace what the predator killed. We figured if two hatched and lived to adulthood, Whitie, the rooster could easily care for his girls. They would produce enough eggs for us and friends. We also want a back up rooster like we had before Dinner gave his life protecting the flock from the predator. It gave Whitie a chance to lead the other four hens to safety. But if all four eggs are viable and hatch, it's just gravy for the goose. No, we aren't raising geese too. Roosters and soon quail are enough noisy animals. What with our neighbor raising cattle, we got a regular barnyard cacophony surrounding us.

Well, I'm off to make my sour dough bread. Mel was surprised that she liked it better than plain, white bread. Until next time...
Y'all have a blessed day!

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