Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Chickens = Big Mistake

I bought some new chickens back in mid November. Some Wellsummers. I needed a few more layers, I found some on Craigslist, and I had a trip to Atlanta already planned so it was convenient to pick them up then.

I would say that buying these new chickens would not be on my list of smart things that I have done. I have a lot to learn about chickens, and my lack of research put me in a tough spot.

Long story short, I got the chickens and was concerned about how one was acting (clue 1). The lady said that they were fine and that I could have an extra just in case (clue 2). I asked her if she was sure if they were healthy, and she told me that she had had a respiratory illness a month ago and all birds were treated (clue 3), but they were all fine now. And the chickens didn’t look near the age she told me they were, but they were a new breed for me. I asked her again how old they were, and she repeated that they were 5 months. Okay. They look no more than three but okay (clue 4).

So we went home. And I swore that one of those chickens was sneezing in the back (clue 5) but I had never heard a chicken sneeze and wasn’t sure.

welsummers 1110 (1)

I do not consider myself a stupid person, but in reading over this post, those clues are pretty glaring and indicate that I was not using my brain on this particular day and that I should not have taken the chickens. I guess I wanted the chickens so badly that I just ignored all the clues (all stinkin’ FIVE PLUS clues), and I’m so naive and think that folks are honest like me. Maybe one day I’ll learn that that is not the case!

welsummers 1110 (2)

Fast forward to the next day, and this chicken is sick. I do research. Chicken respiratory illness is chronic. Most of the time they get better but can spread it to other birds later on. Great. So I contact the lady by email and ask her what to do. I mention bringing them back. She tells me how to treat them. She ignores the part about returning them.

welsummers 1110 (5)

I borrowed medicine from a friend and started treating them. That’s great, but I feel like they are contaminating everything! I feel like every time I go on my porch where they are that I have to spray my shoes to make sure I don’t spread illness out in the yard for my chickens to get. (I’m a little bit paranoid about stuff like this, but you know.)

I emailed the lady again and told her that I didn’t want the chickens because I didn’t want to deal with respiratory illness all the time. She did respond, but it was not in the least bit suggestive that she would be willing to take them back (although she told me that she would guarantee them when she gave them to me).

The germy little things stayed on my porch cooped up for four days because I’m scared that a little germ might get in the yard and make my others sick. I sick one died, and I took the others out to the barn to let them spend their quarantine days there. Then one of Brad’s employees wanted them. He took them, and they all died. I emailed the lady again, and she didn’t respond.

I have decided that I will raise my own chickens next time and that I will not be buying any more adult birds. Lesson learned.

outside and the new rooster 122810 (21)

Exception: when she came for Christmas, Linsey brought me a rooster from her house, but I know her chickens are healthy, so it was okay. The poor thing has been a tad bit abused by the girls, but after a day or so he’s fitting in nicely. He’s still pretty young, but I think he’s going to be so pretty!

outside and the new rooster 122810 (26) 

He’s actually also a Wellsummer. I hope I can get some more hens (baby ones) in the spring to go with him. Wellsummers lay really dark brown eggs!


jmluckie said...

Come to Fitzgerald and get all the chickens you need.There are plenty for everyone.

MamaHen said...

We have chickens also. We raised the first batch from very tiny birds shipped to us. They did wonderful. We had 25 and not one of them died. They laid wonderfully for three years

Our next batch, uh, not so good. If it could go wrong it did. We bought them from a feed store at about 2 weeks old and we only have 8 left. Of 20.

Maybe things will turn around though and you will get some wonderful brown eggs!

Jamie Oliver (@va_grown) said...

We bought young birds at first because I was so nervous about the idea of day old chicks. But we've mail ordered chicks several times now and had just as good luck with day old biddies as the pullets we bought locally. I just follow the directions they send you (or on the hatcheries website) to the letter and everyone seems to do fine.

mountain mama said...

yes, that's the same thing that happened to us! only...we didn't have any clues and they were put in with our chickens. thus, the dead chicken episode...not fun!!

good thing you didn't mix them in with your healthy gals!!

i never knew a chicken could sneeze either! :)