Air-Sac Disease

    A common, but maybe not very well-known poultry disease is called air-sac disease. If you raise a myriad of chickens, you will eventually run into this disease. I believe that we might have had a bird that caught this, but thankfully she survived. It’s always scary when you have a sickly bird, so please heed this article to help prevent your birds from getting this, or cure your birds from getting this.

   Air-sac disease affects a chicken’s respiratory system. Symptoms include: constant coughing, trouble breathing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite followed by rapid loss of weight, stunted growth, and frequent closing of the eyes. The cause of this disease is the two pathogenic bacteria: Escherichia Coli and Mycoplasma Gallisepticum which can come from combinations of or just a vaccine, especially vaccines preventing other diseases in the respiratory system. Preventing Air-Sac Disease is fairly simple. You need to not use or simply avoid excessively dusty litter, you need to provide superb ventilation, avoid copious stress and chilling, and try to get mycoplasma-free birds. The best treatment would be to copiously give infected birds vitamin E which is found commonly in egg yolks and leafy vegetables. Vitamin E provides the strength of the cell membrane which helps protect cells against pathogenic bacteria. Also, give birds antibiotics to fight off the bacteria. The mortality of Air-Sac Disease is about 30% so it is a fairly lethal disease. Always be careful that you don’t sell any Air-Sac Disease infested bird’s hatching eggs to people. This disease can be transmitted through eggs. 

  I think that this disease should be known better by chicken raisers, since it is a common disease. I hope that you will start to help prevent this disease. Please feel free to leave a comment; I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on this article. Thanks for reading! 🙂

 

 

Sources:

Damerow, Gail  The Chicken Health Handbook

    

What are combs and wattles, and how do they benefit a chicken?

  I’m sure you’ve known that chickens have combs ever since you can remember, but most likely, you might not even know what their use is. 

  First, I’ll start off pointing this out: combs and wattles are not vestigial organs! Or to put simply–they are not useless. They may not function like organs such as the stomach, gizzard, or abdomen in a chicken, but I still consider them an organ. So what do they do? Combs and wattles help circulate the blood in a chicken to sustain better health blood wise. Because they circulate the blood, it gives the combs and wattles a very cardinal role! This is why, in the winter, chickens’ combs can get frostbitten because they are warmer and have high amounts of blood. If it is frostbitten and it goes untreated, it could become lethal. So, definitely, the combs and wattles do not have a subordinate role. To my knowledge, a chicken cannot live without its comb, and if the comb gets damaged, it could potentially endanger the birds health. Because of this, I am against the dubbing of game birds’ combs. If you are not familiar with ‘dubbing,’ it is where you trim and shave off the comb and wattles of a chicken. It seems almost barbaric, I know. It, I’m sure, creates a bloody mess, all to just look better at the show. That would be why I do not raise Old English Game, Modern Game, American Game, etc. for showing! 

 I hope that I was able to show you how the comb is not only useless like some people think, but it actually benefits a chicken so much that it cannot (at least not very well) live without it! If you have any questions, or comments, please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

What does your chicken think of you?

How can you tell what your chicken thinks of you? Of course, there is no precise answer since we cannot fully understand other animals’ brains. However, we can, in general, tell vaguely what they think of their owners.

First, I’ll start out with the first question: does your chicken like you? Or not? Here are some manifest things that can answer that question. A chicken’s temperament toward you is the main thing. If your bird is very flighty and squirms in your hands constantly when you’re holding it, it most likely does not like you. It’s telling you that it doesn’t trust you, it doesn’t want you to hold it, because it doesn’t like you. If your chicken is flighty, yet it doesn’t mind being held, what does that mean? It probably means that your chicken feels insecure when you’re chasing them and trying to catch them, but they feel safe when you hold them. But do they like you? Most likely, they are okay with you, but they aren’t terribly fond of you. When this happens, it can change bird to bird depending on how flighty they are. If your chicken isn’t flighty and doesn’t mind being held, it probably somewhat likes you. However, if your chicken isn’t flighty, loves to be held, and likes to cuddle with you, chances are the bird like you. If your bird does those and flies on you because they want to be held a lot, they are very fond of you.

Second, what is your chicken thinking about when it’s near you? Something I’ve learned in the past few weeks is that you can vaguely tell by observing their eyes. See, chickens obviously don’t use their eyes like humans do, because their eyes are on the side of their head, not of the front. Since they are on the side of their head, each eye serves a different purpose. If a chicken turns it’s head on the right side to look at something, it’s most likely deciphering the difference between something. The right eye of a chicken is used to tell the differences between things, especially when foraging or with feed, so if your chicken looks at you with your right eye it is possibly making sure that you are their owner and you aren’t someone else. If a chicken glances at you with their left eye, it is measuring depth perception. The left eye is dominantly used to measure the distance of something, especially with predators such as hawks or eagles to tell how far away they are.

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Lily, looking up at the sky measuring the depth perception of something. Notice the use of her left eye.

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Dannielle, looking at the camera with her right eye, probably trying to tell what it was. Notice the use of her right eye.

Can you tell if your chicken is annoyed with you? I’ve deduced that you can. If a chicken is annoyed with you, it will run away from you and go somewhere where you cannot get it such as a tree. It will probably stay there for a while to,  until you leave. If you catch it, it will squawk at you several times as if it is talking back saying, “Go away! Leave me alone!” A chicken will also tend to get annoyed more if you are with them a long time. However, I’m not saying you shouldn’t spend as much time with them, eventually they will get used to you. Chickens also tend to get less annoyed if you go to the coop intermittently.

Well, I hope this will help you see, vaguely, what your chicken thinks of you. Chickens are amazing creatures and the more you can learn about them, the more you can understand them. The more you can understand them, the more you can connect with them and give them a good life.

Hans

Hans is a Mille Fleur d’Uccle. He is a nice rooster and I will be using him in my chicken breeding venture next year. He was raised with Sage, Gabriela, Primrose, and four other Japanese bantams. Hans hatched on March 22, 2014. I love his name, as Hans is a German name, and d’Uccles come from Belgium/Germany so it fits!  I’m hoping to show Hans in the fair this year, and I’m guessing he will do well in it. I haven’t had very many opportunities to take pictures of him lately, but I have some pictures of him when he was younger.

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Another entry in the fair!

I just entered one of my Japanese Bantam roosters in the fair online! I was originally going to sell him, but since he’s show quality and somewhat tame, I might as well show him in the fair! He seems to do fine with all the quirky things you have to do to the chickens in fitting and showing, which is great. Although, the only bad thing is that he doesn’t have quite as many features on him so there is less opportunities to earn more points during the show. Sage, my other option, isn’t quite as easy to show as my rooster is, but she has extra features such as: vulture hocks, feathered legs, a beard, and muffs which looks more impressive when you’re naming off the parts of the chicken. I’m thinking that I’m going to train both of them multiple times a day and a few days before the fair I’m going to decide which chicken I’ll be using! I’m so excited! 🙂

Update!

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve done an update! A lot has changed in the last two and a half months. I have been envisaging a small flock, with less chickens and more time with each one. Finally, I’ve gotten around to selling/giving away some of my chickens! I was able to get my flock down to only ten! Yay! I’m hoping I’ll be able to give away my two Japanese Bantam roosters, then I’ll finally have my complete flock! Also, I named all my Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens! There names are: Hans, Sage, Gabriela, and Primrose. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to show them all at the fair with Lily and April. Speaking of which, the fair is coming up in only a few weeks! It’s crazy! I’ve been studying all that I can and I’m hoping it’ll be enough. Last year, I won the novice devision and made it to the final round. I didn’t win the whole thing, but I’m hoping that this year I might just be able to get second in everything. It’s not going to be an easy road though, I know some of the people that will be in my devision this year and they are really good as well. I will also be entering the chicken dressings, which I will be dressing Lily up as “The Chicken That Skis,” I will be entering (most likely) April in the chicken racing contest, and Hans in the rooster crowing contest! I’m hoping that April will do better in the chicken races this year, as she lost in only the second round last year. I am excited about entering Hans in the rooster crowing competition, mostly because this is the first time I’ve done it. I was not able to do it last year because, well, I didn’t have a rooster!

At the fair, I will also be doing rabbits, even though I don’t really know much about them, and horticulture, which I did last year. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to entering melons, zucchini, lettuce (which I might have trouble with because they’re ready a few weeks early), kohlrabi, and beans.

I’m a little bit frustrated because, unfortunately, it has been raining for the past few days. I’ve had to keep my chickens in their keep all day because if they go out in the torrential rain and the messy mud before the upcoming show, they will be in very bad condition. Since I’m hoping to do better in type judging at the fair this year, they are going to have to be kept in. I’m really hoping that my d’Uccles will be better quality birds than some of the birds I’ve had in the past. I’m especially worried because the judges tend to be more harsh with the bantams, at least I seemed to have heeded that at the last fair. April and Lily are nearing a molt, which is driving me crazy because they look horrible! I have been very acquiesced by this, but, there’s no sense trying to change this because there’s is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I mean, winning type isn’t completely what I’m wanting to win, it’s more the fitting and showing that I’m worried about losing. But, it would of course be grandeur to do well in type.

I’m a bit disappointed that Lily isn’t technically show quality, because she has a defective toe (half of it is strangely missing) which isn’t good because I usually show her.  I recently thought about how the judge always carefully scrutinizes the bird, and mainly the toes. If it came down to it, I could potentially lose because of that. So, I have been training the lovely Sage for it. She is a beautiful chicken, but she tends to be a bit too squirmy and I’m really hoping she’ll be ready by the time of the fair.

Here is a picture I took a few days ago of Lily.

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