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Ready to give up..please excuse pitty party.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kristen5894, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. Kristen5894

    Kristen5894 Just Hatched

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    Jun 14, 2016
    Wildomar
    I am ready to give up on raising chickens and it breaks my heart to feel this way. I have two beautiful hens, a Splash Maran and a Light Brahma that I adore. We've had them for about 4 years. This spring we decided to add to our flock so I purchased 4 chicks (one day old) from our local breeder. 3 of them turned out to be roosters - one was a Black Copper Maran and one was a Golden Laced Brahma...beautiful, but not the hens I wanted. My little hen was a Lilac Orpingon and the other rooster was an aggressive Buff Orpington. At about the 7 week mark, I walked out to the chicken coop to find the little hen displaying symptoms of Marek's Disease - one leg straight out and she couldn't walk or stand. I immediately removed her from the others and we had her euthanized. So I was left with 3 roosters and two older hens. Waited about 3 weeks to make sure the roosters stayed healthy and then re-homed 2 of them and kept the BCM. In the meanwhile, I picked up 2 Light Brahma hens that were about 6 weeks old. We had them 24 hours and a couple of coyotes came into the barn and pulled them through the bars of the cage - it was a slaughter and heartbreaking.
    Last weekend, my Light Brahma suffered a heat stroke - we treated her immediately and she pulled through just fine but it was terrifying how close we came to losing her.
    Three days ago, I noticed my rooster Stella acting off. I thought the girls were picking on him - he didn't want to come out of the coop in the morning and kept laying down. Saturday morning I saw that his legs were trembling from his weight and it went down hill from there. I believe that once again, it's Marek's. I had him euthanized this morning. So here we are again with our two old hens (whom I adore).

    We have been overrun with coyotes in our area so basically, we are hostages on our property. Our chickens can only free range when we are physically out there with them. No matter how careful I thought I was with protecting them, I failed. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would have never thought it was possible what they did.

    The heat has been bad so because my hen already had a heat stroke, I am terrified to leave her outside where it is cooler so they spend the day in our garage with the swamp cooler and fan on. They can no longer go out and roost under the trees and in the water/mud.

    Pretty sure that I have had a total of 3 chickens die from Marek's Disease and have no idea if they caught in our our property or if they already had it when I bought them. All my chickens are vaccinated, which apparently helps, but doesn't guarantee their immunity. I think my older hens are resistant but may be carriers? We have a ton of wild birds that live in our area...they could have brought it. It could have blown up to our property from the ranch down the road. I have no idea. I should have sent my rooster to get a post mortem whatever they call it but the idea of sending him somewhere - sticking him in my freezer whatever makes me cringe. I understand that it can live in the dirt for 7 years so any chicken I bring home has a chance of getting it? Now I am terrified that my older hens will die too.

    I know there is an entire forum on what to do if you confirm/suspect it's Marek's and later today when I stop crying with anger and frustration I will read it. The coyotes surround us. The rats have moved in. We are hostages and I just feel completely hopeless. I am sorry for putting this all out there.
     
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    So sorry to hear about your troubles. Sometimes keeping animals can be overwhelming. While there are many things that can go wrong, you can decrease the risk of injuries, infections and deaths by planning ahead for the area that you live in.

    I live in an area surrounded by wilderness, and predators of all kinds are a constant threat. My solution has been to build a sturdy coop with a large predator-proof run, with shady spots and sun, and with access to inside the coop. My chickens are quite content, and get out if I am around to watch them.

    As far as Mareks, some chicken health specialists think that it is almost inevitable that small farm flocks will eventually be infected. Birds you add in the future should be vaccinated, as that will prevent illness and death - it does not, however, prevent infection. I would also not give away or sell birds to others unless they understand that Mareks is possible.

    While it is sad to loose birds no matter what the cause, they are very rewarding to keep in many ways. Hopefully your sorrow will ease and you will be able to look with enjoyment on your birds again.
     
  3. Birdmania

    Birdmania Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey there. I don't have any advice for you sorry but just wanted to say that I am sorry you are having such bad luck. When you get past the hurt and anger please research and maybe you can find a solution....

    I really do feel for you as that sounds like a terrible experience to go through.
     
  4. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jacksonville
    I have not had chickens in a little over a year. Between my crack head neighbor killing my chickens, the free ranging dogs in the neighborhood and the local fox - I too had it.

    I really missed them. My coops broke down, my run looks like it is overrun with plant life...I just couldn't take it anymore.

    I cried like a baby when I had to buy eggs from the grocery store.

    Be angry, give yourself some time and then reconsider if you are done. Maybe Free ranging is not possible but perhaps you can come up with a better, more secure option.

    For me, I am going to try incubating some eggs.
    I am moving my coop to the other side of the property. I am digging down three feet and using more secure wire. My husband is totally rolling his eyes but I don't care. Crack head/ bath salts neighbor went to jail and is long gone. The loose dogs have not been seen nor any sitings of the fox. I had an open run but now I will have a completely enclosed run and fewer chickens - This is my step back and punt plan.

    When I had it. I was done. I miss my old friendly chickens and I know nothing will be the same.
    I am restarting a little wiser. and like my dad always says Trust in God, but tie up your horses to the hitching post just in case.

    Hugs to you. I know it's been rough for you!
    Caroline
     
  5. Kristen5894

    Kristen5894 Just Hatched

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    Wildomar
    I just want to say thank you to all you you for your kind words - I was feeling pretty down this morning. I am not a quitter and am not usually a whiner, but it just got to me. I get attached to these chickens and 2 recent trips to the vets for euthanasia was a little too much for me. I have beat myself up so badly over the coyote indecent too - I underestimated their abilities. I have taken precautions - vaccinations, reinforced wire, supervision and yet I still ended up losing our chickens. I think the thing that bothered me the most was that raising the chickens is something that me and my 12 year old daughter do together. She's my youngest and it's "our thing". Having to tell her each time that another chicken was gone has been heartbreaking.

    All of you have given great advise and it's time for me to re-evaluate and figure out a new plan. The first and foremost issue is the possibility of Marek's on my property. All the fencing in the world won't keep my birds safe if the real predator is that virus. Our two hens seem to be fine and I hope and pray they are resistant to it as I believe they have been exposed more than once over the years. But as you all know, fine today doesn't mean fine tomorrow.

    As for the coyotes, we've got a new chicken coop design on the table that will allow for more run space for them - partially in the shade and sun so they don't have to be out as often. I've already hired an exterminator for the rats and months ago started storing all the food in air tight containers. My chickens have "Grandpa's Feeder" so there is not as much food on the ground to attract the rats.

    I am wiser now than I was 4 years ago when I brought those little hens home and I am going to give it my best to ensure their safety - on all levels. I won't go out without a fight.
     
  6. Kristen5894

    Kristen5894 Just Hatched

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    Jun 14, 2016
    Wildomar
    [​IMG]These are our "ladies" Stormy and Snowy. I always imagine they are the sisters in "Arsenic and Old Lace" haha!
     
  7. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    Stormy and Snowy are beautiful girls. They'd make great house chickens!
    I wish I could give you a hug, friend. Bless your heart.
    Every day is a learning experience.
    None of us are perfect and I'm sure we've all had tragic losses and learned from them.
    I know I have and it's a terrible feeling.
    I wish you the best and never give up! Stay strong.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I "tried" giving up chickens - sold all the feeders/waters and supplies, cleaned up the coop and the yard/garden that they demolished, saying I'm done, no more. The feed store makes out, after a couple months I end up back there purchasing to replace the supplies/equipment I sold. Hubby always says insist I hang on to my stuff for at least a year but I get frustrated & say "no more", yeah right. I'll be replacing the 4 young pullets I sold in April with 4 new chicks this Sept when I return from my Grandma trip. Next time I say "no more" I'll keep my stuff, just in case.
     
  9. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wish there was a PS button, your girls ARE beautiful and so fluffy! Sorry for your loss & bad times, take a breather & regroup. Never give up what you love.
     
  10. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan

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