Friday, October 29, 2010

Mr. Roo-Roo - is he in for a Fright Night Sight?!?

Excuse me Queen Chick..where is Miss Lizzy? Is she going chicka-treating? If so make sure she checks out the corn kernels..I would hate for her to get a stomach ache.  I will be dressed as a peacock. What is she going to wear? Tell her I will be keeping my eyes peeled for her.

Mr. Roo-Roo 

Dear Mr. Roo-Roo,
Be on the lookout for Lizzy.  (Below is a picture of her trying on her costume last week.)  She thought she'd surprise everyone for FRIGHT NIGHT and Chicka-Treating - so don't look for her usual glamorous self! 

- Signed - the ChickenWrangler

Q&A for ME???

 I'm so excited this morning - Finally a Q&A for ME - instead of LIZZY!!!  Read on:

A Question for YOU, Chicken Wrangler -
Do you get the penicillin from your vet and keep it or are you able to get that at the farm store?
Wondering in Wonderland

Dear Wondering:
I purchased my new bottle of Penicillin at Family Farm and Home, but Tractor Supply generally has it with the vaccines in the refrigerator with animal care items.  Procaine Penicillin G is generally what the label reads, but the cautionary wording on the label also says not to use it in animals intended for food purposes because there is a "withdrawal" - this means once the treatment is completed, the animal cannot be used for meat (or eggs) for a prescribed amount of time.  This time limit is usually included on the label as well, but to be sure, ask your vet. 
Thank you for the question - it brightened my day!

the ChickenWrangler

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chicken Health Report

I'm glad to report that Robyn is feeling better after her round of Penicillin injections!  Her tail is up, she's got interest in all treats brought to the girls - Robyn is on the mend! 

Signs of illness in chickens: 
  • pale and shriveled comb, wattles, and ears (should be plump, and bright red, but color is dependent on breed)
  • bird keeps to itself, for the most part
  • little interest in feed/water
  • tail held low or tucked under the body nearly all the time
  • prominent breast bone (signifies extreme weight loss)
If you see any of these symptoms, or notice any watering of the eyes, cough, wheezing, foul breath (yes, foul, not FOWL - bad breath in hens denotes "sour crop" and should be treated immediately), abnormal feces, loss of balance, - anything visually unusual - these things bear looking into and your vet should be consulted! 

Tricks or Treats (hens prefer TREATS!)
the ChickenWrangler

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Q&A: Injection How - To's

Dear Lizzy:
In the previous post I read how one of your flock members was ill and needed a shot.  Just HOW do you give a chicken a shot, and how does a person know what the correct dosage of medicine would be for a hen?
Frightened of Shots

Dear Frightened:
You think YOU'RE frightened of shots - try being poor ROBYN!!!  She was totally unprepared for what was coming up the first time around!  But, to answer your question, Penicillin is injected under the skin, in a thick muscle, such as the upper leg or thigh on a chicken.  Robyn is way too thin to take an injection into her breast - she's lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time, and there's no "meat" there to put the needle into.  The first thing you have to do is CATCH the hen!  (No problem with Robyn - she is ill and easily tricked.)  Next, pick up the bird and place it carefully onto its back, stroking her from neck to breast for a few moments to relax her.  The last step is to hold a leg out from the body, and after locating a meaty area, part the feathers down to the skin, push the needle in, aspirate it back (to be sure there's no blood in the needle), and if all is well, release the medicine into the leg muscle.  Easy Peasy!  The first time or two it might be easiest to have an assistant.
  As for dosage, the Chicken Wrangler phoned the vet.  1/4 cc was the amount he recommended, 2 to 3 times a day for 5 - 7 days.  We are hoping it works its magic for Robyn this week.  Thanks for all of the well wishes - Robyn was happy to hear of your concerns for her well-being.
Signed -

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sick Chick

One of my hens is ill.  She showed signs of distress just before I went out of town for job training, and she looked worse upon my return on Thursday evening.  I phoned our vet, but of course they don't treat chickens, but they DO have a liquid to treat coccidiosis, which we determined my hen does NOT have.
Robyn, preening her feathers, before becoming ill last week.
  I had several options which could be costly, but the first to try as far as I was concerned, is twice a day Penicillin injections.  The recommended dosage for a laying hen is 1/4 cc....and so, I caught Robyn quite easily and was able to administer the dosage into her thigh muscle with little trouble.  The vet said that bacterial infections are easily cured within a few days with help of Penicillin.  I hope this does the trick!

Shooting UP!
the ChickenWrangler

Friday, October 15, 2010

Letters to Lizzy - A Nest Box Craze

Dear Lizzy,
You have mentioned that you and your entire flock of girls prefer ONE certain nest box. 
Lizzy, PLEASE tell us what is so special about that one particular nest box!
Alice in Wonderland
Dear Alice,
Most hens, when choosing a place to pop out an egg, will be looking for that special spot - the HOT SEAT, if you will - and when they notice another hen has picked THE perfect nest, of course the next hen will want it TOO!  Kind of like you HUMANS - always wanting what the other one has!  And, if we're lucky, the box will be warm and cozy, already burrowed into the shape of a hen's body, and ready to accept another egg!  What could be more EGG-citing?!?
- Lizzy

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lizzy's Fan Mail

Hello, ALL!  Today I'm going to make an exception to my rule of not revealing the identities...this letter was SO sweet, and the blog is SO much fun that I'm even providing a link at the end of their email, so you can go VISIT that blog!  Read on.  (and please take note of my fashion accessory today, if you will....)

Hello Lizzy!
My ever so handsome Roo-Roo wanted me to ask you if you were a single chick. I told him you were a real live chicken..but this tabletop rooster thinks he's real also.
A while back he stowed away in my luggage and took a trip to see the grand kids.
Maybe they could have a blind date one day.

I enjoy reading your letters and answers....What????..Oh... Roo-Roo wanted me to ask "do you have any leopard print glasses?"  Roo-Roo is a little on the wild side...

Hugs -

Cindy and Roo-Roo from Rick-Rack and Gingham

Dear Cindy and Roo-Roo -
MISS Lizzy is SOOOOO flattered by your provoc-EGG-tive email!  I'm definately a SINGLE (and available) Chick!  I would like if you would email me a good likeness of yourself, and then we'll talk about a possible "date" in the future!  oooOOOoooo!  And - I can be a little on the WILD SIDE, myself!  ooOOOOOOOooooo!  Hope you like the picture of me, shown at the top!
"Pecks" to you both -
MISS Lizzy

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lena Says "I's in Trouble"!

Lena (L) and Miss Emily (R)
This past week I've noticed that one of my hens has been looking at the world through a squinted eye.  Lena, seen above, is normally bright eyed and perky, but this past week she has kept more to herself than normal.  I enlisted the Hubbs to hold Lena while I had a look at her little eye to figure out what was the problem with it.  I grabbed some tissue and a small amount of peroxide just in case.

Chickens have a sort of "pouch" beneath their lower lid, and that seemed to hold the mystery.  The pouch of skin had a build-up of dirt, and it was STUCK there.  Lena needed some help to remove it, so as Hubbs stroked her breast feathers to relax her, I took the tissue with a dab of peroxide on it (careful not to get it into her eyeball), and  gently rubbed till the dirt was completely removed.  There were some tiny pin feathers on that tender skin as well, so I was careful not to rub on those and irritate anything further.  I had some antibiotic ointment that I sometimes use to treat my critters, and Lena got a small blurb of that under her lower lid.  When treating those tiny eyes, it's important to be sure the hen is very relaxed because they can move quickly and no one wants to loose an eye!
infectious laryngotracheitis
It's important to give your birds a "once over", to be sure all is well with them.  The chicken eye shown above is a hen (not MY hen!) with a viral respiratory disease called laryngotrachetis.  The eyes are the windows to the soul....  See the bubbles in the corner, and the sticky yellowish discharge?  This illness progresses slowly through a flock of birds, and is mainly found in broilers, but can infect any bird, young or old.  The birds will become lethargic, and will sometimes cough or stretch their necks out as they struggle to breath when the disease gets severe enough, and finally, the birds will expire.

Prevention is the best medicine, and so, keep your eye on your hens, and try to catch trouble before it gets worse.

the ChickenWrangler

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Letters to Lizzy - Raising the Royal Chicken Dander??

Good morning Lizzy,
I am so very glad that your column has taken off. I have a somewhat personal question, however, to ask you. Why do chickens smell? Do you not have a shower in the hen house?
City Ignorant
ooooOOOOoooo!  Miss Lizzy's Blood is beginning to BOIL!
Dear Ignorant,
This question just BLEW off Miss Lizzy's SPECTACLES! If there is ANY odor to a hen or her HOUSE, the fault lies with the KEEPER of the COOP, NOT with the chickens!!!  Our housekeeper cleans nest boxes out daily for our laying enjoyment; the house is completely cleaned each and every week, and the floors are dusted for pests that might wish to "bug" us Working Girls.  Our run is cleaned once a week, and the feathers and waste are burned and destroyed.  Fresh kiln dried pine shavings are used for bedding, and they smell just wonderful!  In the Spring and Summer, fresh cut Lavender and Lemon Balm are added to the corners inside our little house, and the aroma is SpEGG-tacular and ever so relaxing!  What therapeutic clippings are not used for aromatherapy can be readily eaten without harming any of us Ladies!

Coop care is so important to the health of any flock.  If there are odors, they can harm our delicate respiratory systems (causing disease and illness), but also odors attract bugs and rodents as well.  Visitors to our Chicken Palace have often remarked that if they did not see us or hear our gentle clucking, they would never know chickens lived in that coop!

As for your question about showers being provided, we girls prefer a good dust bath instead, containing 1 part sand to 1 part sifted wood ash.  Dust baths, when done properly, will drive away lice and some breeds of mites, and help remove the dander that accumulates under our feathers and upon our skin.  Dust baths are a daily necessity, and we find it ever so enjoyable!

Thank you (I THINK!) for your question, my dear "Ignorant" - - I hope this has helped educate you and others with questions concerning (cough!cough!) ODORS in the POOP  COOP and Hens that SMELL!  There should be no odors from EITHER!  (Now, I hope I can suck in my eyeballs before they swell this way permanently!!!)

the Queen Lizzy

Letters to Lizzy - Making a Spectacle?

Dear Lizzy,
Where DO you get your glasses?  I would like to see you in NERD GLASSES someday!  Also, where can I find that older book, "The Egg and I"?
Love Those Glasses
Dear "Glasses",
I get my Spectacular Spectacles at "the Eyeglass Egg-spress"!  I should have my own signature pair for them to market, but they have sooo many to chooooose from - I can't make up my little chicken mind which I like the best!  As for "The Egg and I" - you can find that book on ebay, or, in both new and vintage publishing years.  Many have remarked about the movie that was made from the book, but believe you me - the book is ever so much more enjoyable!!!

- the Queen!
P.S.  Please visit Two Bears Farm today, for a great spin-off on a Deviled Egg Recipe!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lizzy's Book Reviews

ooooOOOOoooo!  ANOTHER e-mail in my nest in-box!  GOOOooooOOD Day!
Dear Lizzy,
Since you work in a Library, can you suggest a good book for me to read?

Dear Anonymous,
I'm a working girl, all right!  And I do have a library at my disposal for times when one of the other girls is taking too long on the THRONE of PREFERENCE - the favorite nest box!  (We DO have 6 next boxes, but we all want the same ONE.  At the same TIME.) Reading helps pass the time, you know, while we're standing there with legs crossed, trying not to loose an egg!
Image found at, so DON'T click to look inside!
I certainly can suggest an EGG-celent book for you to read!  It is called:
"KEEP CHICKENS! TENDING SMALL FLOCKS IN CITIES, SUBURBS & OTHER SMALL SPACES " written by Barbara Kilarski.  A very good little book, only 150 pages, but covers most of the "ins and outs" of keeping a few hens in the country or the burbs.  It's entertaining, telling of the authors personal hens and how she transformed her yard from a concrete patio to a haven of relaxation and enjoyment!  Great EGG recipes, too!
Another fun and VINTAGE book I'd suggest is "The Egg and I" by Betty MacDonald - a hilarious read about a new bride, her husband, and their new business venture raising chickens back in the day.  Heard of Ma and Pa Kettle?  Well, Betty actually meets them back in the hills, with their zoo - including kids AND critters!  Good for some hearty laughs!

Two of my favorite reads, and NO YOLKS about it!

Cluckin' Good Day 2 You!
Queen Lizzy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the Library with Lizzy

"I've got MAIL!"
OooooOOOOOooooo!  GOOD day! - Lizzy here!  An e-mail forwarded to me was Egg-zactly what pecked my day up! 

Some Chick wanted to check out the ChickenWrangler's recipe for Roma Tomato Jam.  Us WORKING girls don't cook, you know, but we shore do love to peck at anything that smacks of TOMATO!  And, if there's "leavings", the ChickenWrangler delivers them right to our doorstep!  And so, to tempt your palate and treat your tastebuds, here's the recipe from my Library:

Roma Tomato Jam

5 lbs Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom
salt/pepper to taste

Combine spices, balsamic vinegar, honey, and tomatoes in a large sauce pan with a heavy bottom. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until it reaches a jam-like consistency, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool completely before serving.

Have a CACKLIN' Great Day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Changing of the Seasons

Since it's time for Autumn, it's time to get the garden cleaned up.  This spring, rather than plant tomatoes in pots like I have in previous years, I had decided to do things a little differently.  I have what I call my "circle garden" of flowers near the house by our parking area. 
I put some tomato plants in that little flower garden, and they did well enough for me to make some Roma Tomato Jam (YUM!  Great on Pork Roast!!!), BLT Sandwiches, and to slice up for salads.  I had very few pests to take bites out of the fruits, and the tomatoes that were damaged didn't go to waste!  The GIRLS got to eat them!  They LOVE their TOMATOES!!!
Now that the tomato plants have been removed, I cut back the "Susans" and got rid of some weeds, offering the trimmings to the hens.  The flowering baskets are spent, so down they came. 
I have a wetlands down by the main road and the seed heads from daisies and susans were not wasted; I scattered them along the roadside where the grass grows long all summer.  It should be beautiful in the years to come.  A blogger friend sent seeds from her Sweet Annie, and those have been scattered there as well.  I love the scent!  Heavenly!  When I was a young girl I'd love to pick a lily or violets or daisy flowers that I found growing near a woods to bring home to my mother.  Perhaps some child will take delight in doing the same thing in a year or two, with flowers from our roadside patch!

the ChickenWrangler