Well, the “keeper’s wife” had her first visit to town, and I welcomed the “escape” for a few hours. Of course it’s 1912 and there are no WF/GTR household problems to deal with! Would you like to see a picture of my beautiful lighthouse home?
Alas. We are dealing with our first real chicken health crisis: a very unwell rooster. The only adult rooster, the one we’d hoped to keep a while. He can’t breathe. No other symptoms, other than going downhill now that he hasn’t been able to eat or drink or sleep, since all of his energy is going into breathing (big open beak on the exhale-??). I’m worried, of course, about the others, but so far, no one else shows signs (and there's likely been ample time to develop them).
We’re doing what we can, but of course nothing is simple. Trying to figure out exactly what it could be so we can treat him correctly. I’ve read entirely too many websites, called the extension service, posted on message boards, bugged a vet acquaintance at home (eeek) and called my few chicken-raising friends. No one really knows, either… we’d have do cultures, etc, to truly know, and I haven’t yet figured out how to get that done. And really, he’s a chicken, not even truly a pet chicken. Our latest thought is something fungal, not necessarily catching.
It’s times like this that I wonder if I’m really cut out for this “farming” life. We are such greenhorns and don’t have many mentors around to ask for help. I am a worry-wart, and WF tends toward “let it be and it will fix itself.” Neither is really the best approach in times of crisis.
And the whole idea of chicken health care… this critter is NOT a pet, doesn’t even have a name, but is “The Rooster”, a definite character. We’d like him to live, or at least help him somehow, so…WF’s been spoon feeding him for the past couple days, which helps the rooster stay alive, but it’s not fixing anything. This animal is just like one we ATE (and enjoyed eating) a few months ago, yet we’re trying heroics to nurse him. And then there’s the question of when to put him out of his misery: Is it too soon? Are we waiting too long? What do you do with the body after that ?!
So: Doubting ourselves, frustrated with the lack of answers, feeling powerless, yet with more power than we really want: ie the ability to end a bird’s life or fight to save it and the weight to decide which is the right answer.
Does chicken-raising have to cause this much turmoil???