Uncertain about this Honor

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by AGhens, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. AGhens

    AGhens New Egg

    Nov 19, 2013
    East Bay, SF Bay Area
    Hey All at BYC.

    I joined about a month ago, but it's been a journey to get here this evening to tell a tale. Here you all go.

    It all started with the passing of my 18.5 year old Border Collie. As her end approached, I told all those close to me that the consolation prize after her death would be chickens. Well, my dear companion departed last April and I slacked on the chicken front. On November 7 the Gods decided to show me exactly how fast one could have chickens. One moment you don't and the next you do!

    I'm heading out to meet friends for a hike. About two miles from my house as I crest a hill a chicken crosses the road begging a very old bad joke, "And Just why did the chicken cross this particular road at this particular moment?" Because the Gods have twisted senses of humor! I follow her line of travel back to a large cardboard box tossed out on the side of the road around which a total of 14 starved, terrified chickens are huddled. One moment you don't have chickens and the next moment you do. Haha. The joke's on me!

    So now I have 14 chickens in a box which means I have to find a predator safe place to put the poor things while I obtain a coop and all. I rush over to a ranch facility here near where I live and beg the use of a dog run for a couple of days. Well, a raccoon ate one of the dears right through the fence the very first night. Now, I have just had the Gods slap me into action. Those are my chickens now. I'm their keeper and having a border collie train me for 18.5 years means I know the keeper of the flock is not supposed to let the flock get eaten! Well Crap!

    I call up all my clients and cancel everything on my schedule begging an unexpected emergency. (I am way to embarrassed to tell them what the emergency is). At 8:00am on a Saturday I start calling every builder of chicken coops in the bay area because I need a coop NOW. You know, when you need a coop NOW, it's amazing how much you have to spend. At 8:10am the guy over there in San Rafael actually answers his phone while preparing breakfast for his young and very loud kids. I tell him my tale. He chuckles and says, "You know, you would be surprised how often I get this same phone call." He had all the pieces of a coop and run in the back of my pick up by 1:00pm. At 10:00pm my poor housemate is finishing the kit up and the poor dears made it through the night. Whew.

    So there is the the opening chapter. It's a good one. I wish the whole story could be so good.

    Keep in mind, I actually work with animals for a living. Perhaps a newbie to chickens, but I am not naive about the twisted nature of the Gods.

    The chickens were starved and dehydrated. They had undergone stress enough to kill. I assumed there would be losses. In fact, one of them appeared ataxic which I assumed was from any one of who knows how many reasons. Yeah. Some of you already shaking your heads with pity? It was the first to go. Nine of the birds were not full grown. Another clue. Yeah. Notice the past tense. Another one died. I joined BYC on November 13, only seven days after becoming care taker to a flock of chickens at risk, desperate to see if there was something I could do to improve their chances of surviving. I started the flock on Sulfa meds. One bird rallied. Others did not. Another bird got gimpy and the readings clicked. Marek's.

    Today, December 20, 2013, there are only 4 birds left. The silver hen that crossed the proverbial road, two cross breed types, all three adults, and surprisingly there is one, not fully grown americauna. This little bird has tried to die twice on me but has rallied. I guess if she tries hard enough she may yet succeed in succumbing. Four out of 14. I have not had to euthanize a bird in 6 days. The last to go was a black silky that I thought was a young hen until she looked up at me a Cockadoodled! He quickly became my favorite bird so when his leg paralysis began I really kinda lost heart.

    The remaining dears I watch closely, but after last weekends losses my detachment is high. I do not know if I want them all to go so that I can start over or if I want them to hang in there and spit in the faces of all obnoxious entities that play dice with the fates of Chickens and Humans alike!

    That's my story. I'm sure it's not a new one. There will be more chapters. Hopefully better. There are many, many questions, but none that need asking of the BYC community right now. My remaining hens and time will tell.

    Thanks for having me!

    PS: On the periodic chart of elements, AG stands for silver, the color of that hen that crossed the road. So why did the Silver Hen cross the road? So that I could join a huge community of keepers of BYCs.
  2. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    wow quite a story!! You have a very kind heart and what ever way this plays out - I know you will have well cared for chickens. Mareks will forever be in your soil, etc . There are some very, very good and detailed articles about Mareks- regarding survivors and if/and/buts of bringing in other birds etc. as they say "No good deed goes unpunished."
  3. mummyandchicks

    mummyandchicks Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 22, 2013
    I'm so very happy those chickens were with you in their last days and not the box on the side of the road.
  4. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan [​IMG] - glad you and your hens found each other, sounds like it was meant to be.
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    [​IMG] to BYC!

    Great story!!
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Wow! Great introduction - well done on the part of you and the chicken gods. Welcome to BYC.
  7. [​IMG]

    I am very sorry about all your losses [​IMG] I hope you lose no more, Mereks is terrible. I have heard anyways. I hope some hens of yours survive! Good Luck!
  8. AGhens

    AGhens New Egg

    Nov 19, 2013
    East Bay, SF Bay Area
    Thanks for the Response. My questions are all about the survivors, their chance of surviving and introducing new birds. This is the first on-line community I have ever joined so not sure if I ask you to share those Marek's articles with me here or if I should start a new thread elsewhere on the site asking those questions. Enlighten me.
  9. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC & happy holidays!
  10. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow Welcome to BYC and Happy Holidays! What a story, those chickens were so lucky to find someone as caring as you. There are several articles in the BYC Learning Center, the compilation one is https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/mareks-disease-fact-site There are also a ton of threads if you want to do a search on it, ie long thread with a similar situation to yours https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/741957/not-an-emergency-mareks-in-the-flock You might want to go ahead and start a thread of your own in the Emergencies/Disease forum https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/10/emergencies-diseases-injuries-and-cures

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