April 28, 2011

May is International Respect for Chickens Month

 Somehow, I came across a website and learned that the entire month of May is International Respect for Chickens Month.
May 4th is INTERNATIONAL RESPECT FOR CHICKENS DAY, an annual project launched by United Poultry Concerns in 2005 to celebrate chickens throughout the world and protest the bleakness of their lives in farming operations.
I have had three backyard chickens for two years and some of my most relaxing moments have been sitting outdoors spending relaxing hours watching their antics and enjoying their endearing personalities.
Unfortunately, I have a sad story to tell about my sweet girls who became very sick last month. A couple of weeks after we got Lucy, our newest hen, my original three (Olga, Oogna, and Orla) stopped laying eggs and then had a significant decrease in appetite. Electrolytes did not help and respiratory issues soon followed. They did not respond to vitamins or any of the other remedies I tried after consulting websites and chicken forums. More severe symptoms followed and I tried antibiotics to no avail. Symptoms pointed to Merek's disease.
I read that it was best to cull the flock, but I just couldn't do it and agonized over it for two weeks. Each day I thought they would go naturally and prepared myself every morning when I got up and each afternoon when I got home from work.
Although they were not eating or drinking, they kept hanging on with no quality of life. I don't know if it would have made a difference but I felt gulity that I did not isolate the first sick bird immediately (due to lack of experience). 
Some friends were willing to find someone who would put an end to their suffering. I felt that I had to take responsibility for my chickens, so I ended up doing something that I never thought I could do. :(
What I have learned is that a contagious animal is a threat to your whole flock and must be removed. If you are going to get the animal proper medical treatment to restore it’s health, you must do so in complete isolation from the other birds.
The decision to keep a particular animal or not has to be one that you have put a lot of thought into and you must be sure of your decision.
Do what is best for the animal, do what is best for you.


texwisgirl said...

oh my goodness! i'm so sorry for you and the loss of your beautiful chickens! maybe after a bit of time, you can add some new hens to your place and start again. i know you must miss them. they were beauties!

i saw you sign up as a follower on my blog and followed you back here to see your place. now i'm following you too!

Ruta said...

Thank you for your kind words! I do miss my "girls" very much.
This Saturday I am going to a chicken swap and who knows what I might come home with. :)
I took a look at your blog after seeing your posts on others. I truly enjoyed your beautiful photos!