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Chicken rescue

19 Oct

A few days ago, I received a phone call from a friend (M.) that does home health care.  Seems her patient, a woman with early Alzheimer had, well basically been taken advantage of by some jerks.  She had allowed them to live in her rent house free of charge PLUS paid them $100 a week to take care of her, run errands and cook meals.  In exchange they had every so nicely ripped her off of around $30,000 writing checks on her account she did not authorize.  Nice people huh?  While they were living fat off the hog, they also talked her into building a chicken pen and letting them keep chickens on another piece of adjacent property.  I don’t know the entire story, however these users disappeared some time ago, hence the need for my friend to come in and take over the job.  Yes, M. works for an agency and let me tell you, she takes care of her people.  Lovely as these people were, they of course left the chickens behind.

That’s what the phone call was about, the chickens.  They had been left for several weeks with nobody coming back to feed and water.  M. had been doing her best to help when she made her home visits.  But let’s face it, 20 some odd birds eat and drink a lot and her main concern was with taking care of her patient.  The birds had to go.

As they were waiting on a call back from animal control I was contacted as a second option for a new home for these poor birds.  As I pondered how many I could take on myself, I made some additional phone calls to potential homes as did M.  We soon learned Animal Control  would charge for removal and I suspect put down all birds as there are no facilities for unwanted fowl.  Unfortunately that’s life.

Adding new birds to an existing flock when you have no idea of their health condition, is not an advisable adventure.  For one thing you could be introducing disease into your own flock, for another you mess up the entire pecking order and you may find yourself with a few injured birds on your hands.  Fortunately I have two separate pens and could use one for quarantine.

Now I have rescued animals before and spent oodles of money bringing them back to health.  We even rescued a puppy once, only to find out the poor thing had distemper, $400 and several trips to a vet later the poor thing died in our laundry room anyway.  So I am a little hesitant to knowingly bring disease onto my property.  I made the decision to “take a look” at this flock of unwanted birds.

I arrived at the location to find 20 chickens and a rooster in a pen probably 10 feet by 10 feet, 3 waterers bone dry and not a morsel of food to be found!  I do not understand people at all!  Somehow the birds looked pretty good, skinny as all get out but “clean”.  No doubt in part from M. periodically bringing bird seed and giving water when she made her home visits.  Since she had found another home for the birds in addition to myself, I decided to take the 6 Leghorn as I do not currently have this breed.  I caught each one relatively easy  and quickly assessed they were all in need of a good meal.

I also noticed that every comb was very dusty looking?  Supposedly these are “young” birds, not yet laying eggs according to M.  Since there are absolutely no eggs or even egg shells in this tiny pen I have no reason to doubt her assessment.  But why the dusty combs?  I’ll have to research that one.

They are now happily ensconced in our small pen.  Good food and vitamins applied, I will be making a health assessment over the next couple of weeks.  Later they will get a good worming and a dose of antibiotics for good measure.  I don’t normally medicate my birds unless absolutely necessary and since I don’t know what the previous owners did I’m not about to “over” medicate these scrawny little things until they have had a few good meals under their belts.

LOL, these are some of the most skittish birds, let me tell ya.  They are as frightened of me as a mouse of a cat on the prowl.  I can only assume it is due to lack of human contact.  Perhaps in time they will come to trust me and greet me at the gate like our other flock.