Friday, February 11, 2011

"Expect the Unexpected"...

"Minon", a Champion Mille Fleur Cockerel
In the spirit of my tag line for Poladora "expect the unexpected", I thought I'd share an article I just wrote for the Poultry Press, a newspaper for poultry Fanciers (of which I am one). I am also a poultry health expert and receive emails from around the globe looking for help with chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, and sometimes pet birds. And, sometimes I get calls from local Vets to help them resolve issues their clients are having with their poultry or pet birds... So, for my poultry friends (and those who just might be curious about the growing trend of backyard chickens), here ya go:

Back to Basics
By KJ Theodore

After nearly fifteen years of answering poultry health questions, I’ve realized one thing. Having healthy chickens, turkeys, or ducks/geese – whatever – and preventing more work and heartache, really boils down to getting back to basics.

I’ve considered what I could write about for the Poultry Press since I’ve been away for so long, and I decided that instead of getting technical on a single subject, I’d write an article with a more broad appeal. You see, after all of these years, and even without writing for the Press, I continue to get daily poultry health emails. So, I decided to take a look at the broad overview of the subjects that I have been answering questions for, which lead me to the conclusion that the vast majority of issues could really be handled by simply applying some basics to your operation.

For example, do you use a medicated feed to help your birds build a resistance to Coccidiosis? (Medicated feed does not prevent Cocci, but it will allow for a weaker infection to occur that the bird can build resistance from.) There’s an article on my website about Cocci, and it explains everything you need to know to prevent this heartbreaking and deadly infection.

Do you have a vaccination program for Mareks? Mareks and Cocci combined account for more deaths among poultry than everything else combined. So if you prevent both of these illnesses, you’re way ahead of the game in keeping your beautiful show birds (and pets), alive and well. There’s also (more than one), articles on Mareks and even how to vaccinate for it on my website.

Are your facilities predator-proof? (That includes rats and mice.) Besides causing instant death and destruction, some vermin simply live in among the birds and carry disease from one to the other. (In a previous article of long ago, I even told you about a bold little deer mouse that I caught keeping warm under one of my banty’s wings – sticking its head out and looking at me as if to say “hey, it’s cold out there!”. Of course my little hen was just as proud as could be keeping the little stinker warm!)

Rodents of any kind in the coop can cause terrible harm – even if it’s not a gruesome mess with bodies everywhere. They’re the silent killers of our birds because we usually don’t notice them. They come out in the dark and leave a trail of urine where ever they go – not to mention the little brown gifts they leave in the drinking water that spread disease. They also carry their own vermin that are more than happy to change homes from the rodent to the birds if given a chance. Yes, you can read about this subject on my website as well.

Is your water clean and fresh every day? If you have an automated watering system (don’t we wish), do you run something through the lines to keep down the build up of slime? Do you provide clean bath water for your ducks? I like to use a little Oxine in my water and equipment to keep the water clean and free from disease that can pass from one bird to another. There are numerous articles on my site that pertain to the use of Oxine – too many to list here.

Do you have a biosecurity program? Even if it’s a loose one – anything is better than nothing. Setting up a two week quarantine location for incoming birds is a great way to start. More people have health issues with their birds when they bring in new birds, than at any other time. Keeping a “closed” flock is also good practice, but not everyone can do that. Also, keeping a closed flock is not as effective if you’re exposing your birds to other people’s birds through showing.

Do you check weekly or have a treatment program for the prevention of mites? I’ve seen a simple case of mites bring down an otherwise healthy bird in three days if the infestation is great. Sometimes mites can be so small that you don’t even notice them – they could simply appear as dirt around the vent. Look closely – if the dirt moves, it ain’t dirt! And, of course, there’s an article about mites on my site as well.

Other articles that may be of interest to you if you’d like to practice some more simple tricks to keep your birds happy and healthy are ones on keeping your birds cool in the heat, warm in the winter, worming, and the use of probiotics. These subjects, and many more can be found on my website at ("Shagbark Bantams"). Look forward to an all new look with many more resources for Fanciers sometime this summer. In the meantime, get caught up on some of my articles before I continue the education through new articles coming to the Poultry Press soon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's Just a Matter of Time...

 ... before I figure out what to do with this.

I was taking apart a vintage watch for the parts to make some steampunk jewelry (I use the real stuff - not store bought parts), and ended up with this base. Normally, I would have set this aside as the resulting waste of my little project, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. Why, you ask? Oh, I don't know - there's something about it. Perhaps the different colors between the base of brass versus the inside circles of the nickle plating. Or maybe it's all of the circles that were created for an active part of this watch's history of keeping time. Or perhaps it's the three little "stars" I see as places that I could attach wire...

There's just something about this "junk" that intrigues me. Someday it will end up in my Internet Boutique Poladora.

Stay tuned to see what I do with it!