Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Razzberry Corner!





Guinea Hen

Jack and Shadow



Bad Rhode Island Red Rooster



Guinea flock
These photos don't include everyone around here, just some of the critters that slowed down enough to get their pictures taken in the past few weeks.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Zoner is doing great in the chicken infirmary.  She just has a sore behind her left eye, which is healing fine.  Her comb is all healed now.  She has taken to sitting in a nest box in the infirmary coop - I hope she's not getting broody!

Danni is doing ok, also.  As ok as can be expected for a chicken with a broken leg!  She happily drank her aspirin water tonight.  She ate well tonight - she likes cranberry sauce and cooked celery!  She especially likes to be hand fed.  Spoiled bird!

The 4 large Rhode Island Red roosters got themselves in trouble with me tonight - I found them viciously attacking the hens - they grab the hens necks/heads and don't leg go.  It's an attempt for sex, but the hens fight and run and end up being hurt.  I found a lot of blood in the chicken pen tonight, so all birds were inspected thoroughly for wounds.  It was odd that I found no wounds on anyone.  I did not look at the 4 RIR roosters themselves.  Maybe they were fighting each other?  They looked fine from a distance. 

While I was handling all the chickens, I sprayed all their legs for leg mites.  I try to do leg mite spray and poultry body mite powder every now and then to keep the birds safe from these parasites.  I locked the 4 RIR roos out of the coop until well after dark because they were very randy in the coop while everyone was choosing their roosting spot.  Those roosters are too large and wild for our bantam hen flock; soon all the hens are going to be in the infirmary with rooster injuries.  The RIR boys were allowed back into the coop after it was dark, so they would go straight to sleep.  I'm sorry to say, their days are numbered in my chicken flock.

Bobby the outside cat is doing great.  He's gotten all shots, has been de-flead/de-ticked, and de-wormed.  And he's still friendly after all that!  He still prefers the outside to the inside of the house, but that will change when the weather gets cold again, I'm sure!

Happy Holidays from Razzberry Corner!

Visit Verde Farm for Farm Friend Friday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chicken Emergency!

Warning - Gross and bloody photos below.  Stop now iof you don't want to see.  The chicken is fine now, it's not THAT bad...

Tonight there was a chicken emergency. I went outside to the chicken coop while making dinner to bring Danni the Hen in for her evening snack in the kitchen while I cooked. When I got to the coop I checked on all the other birds who were roosting for the night.

And to my horror I found Zoner the hen with a bloody head and the hen standing beside Zoner (Charlotte) was pecking Zoner in her bloody head! I scooped Zoner off the roost and away from Charlotte as fast as I could. I checked on Danni in her infirmary coop, she was ok, and I brought Zoner into the house.

It appears Zoner's V-comb was torn partway off in the back and it bled a lot on both sides of her head.  I blame those 4 extra Rhode Island Red roosters.  They are very big and rough with our small hens.  They are just starting to mate the hens and are mean to the ladies.  Then the other hens starting pecking Zoner in the head while roosting because it was red with blood, and she's a white bird.   Luckily they had not been roosting long. Zoner wouldn't have lived till morning.

I started cleaning and inspecting Zone's head when Randy came home and he took a few pictures of Zone. These photos were taken after I cleaned her up quite a bit. It looked worse before.  Eventually I ended up giving her a bath and a blow-dry to get all the blood off her.

After the spa treatment, I put sugar on the comb to make it stop bleeding.  Zone has a sore behind her left eye. She was put in with Danni in the infirmary coop, where she will stay for a few days till she heals up.  Luckily we have that infirmary coop!

Such is life on the farm...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Danni Hen Update

Danni, the chicken with the broken leg, again, has been diagnosed.  Her right tibia bone has a compound fracture right at the joint where it joins into the hip. You can feel a sharp edge of the broken tibia bone through the skin.  It makes use of her right leg impossible.  After studying her and listening to her, and spending A LOT of time with her, it was determined she is in a lot of pain.  She doesn't show pain much.  She may make a slight little noise when she hurts.  But you mostly notice pain in her eyes.  And she will not eat or drink when she's hurting. 
She has been put on aspirin water for the pain.  Physical therapy has stopped for now. 
Here she was this morning.  She was hurting this morning and didn't want to eat much.  You can see from her eyes that she doesn't look happy.  And she's staying all balled up.

She enjoys being around the other chickens, so I propped her up in front of the window in her coop so she could see the other birds.

This chart shows the location where her leg is broken.

Here a friend is visiting through the screen.  The friend is a white with black spots Araucana mix pullet.  Actually, this bird is a grand-daughter of our primary rooster, Muffin.  We haven't yet named her.

Here Lucy is visiting poor Danni.  Danni's not really interested in visitors today.

Here was Danni's standard food:  chicken food, wheat, and scratch corn.

And here was Danni's breakfast treats this morning:  corn, broccoli, spinach, peas, and oatmeal.  She ate a little bit of each, but not much.

Poor Danni hen.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Help With Chicken Thoughts, Please?

Danni the hen with the bad leg is still hanging in there.  I keep her separate from the other birds, in the infirmary coop.  I feed her plenty of treats - veggies and fruits and grains and oatmeal - basically, she gets whatever she wants.  Plus she gets enough chicken feed to feed the entire flock.  During the day, if I'm home, I take her out for "walks" - I call it physical therapy for her.  I attempt to force her to use her bad leg a little.  She doesn't do well with walking or standing and prefers to sit.  She comes into the house every night and hangs with me in the kitchen while I prepare her dinner and the family dinner.  After we all eat, she goes back into her coop for the night, where she has her own heat lamp.  Every night another hen named Jade spends the night with her, and they talk all night about girl things.  Jade fills her in on what happened that day with the flock.  Danni tells Jade about her adventures in the house.   

Last night Danni actually hobbled across my kitchen floor on her own.  She really doesn't use her right leg much, she sticks it out in front of her mostly.  She balances on her left leg with both wings sticking out.  To walk she sometimes ambles awkwardly on the right leg, but it still sticks out straight.  Mostly she moves by using her wings to make her fly along the ground.  Last night in the coop with Jade, Danni actually stood for a while on her good leg, right leg sticking straight out.  But after a few minutes her good leg gets tired of balancing her, and she sits again.

I don't know how long this can go on.  I have gotten very attached to Danni and it would break my heart to put her down.  She cannot go back out in the flock with a bad leg.  She would freeze just laying on the ground, as she can't walk.  The roosters would hurt her trying to mount her.  The other hens would pick on her.  Randy tells me if she's not attempting to use the bad leg, then, well, it's time...  She did make an attempt yesterday to use the leg, but she doesn't hold it properly.  I always position the right leg back where it belongs underneath her during our therapy sessions, but if she controls the leg, it's sticking straight out in front.

So, what are your thoughts on this?  I'm struggling.  Is she going to get better?  This week it will be 2 weeks since whatever happened to Danni to make her right leg stick straight out.  She is eating fine, her spirits are good, the leg is not cold, so it's still getting blood to it.  I just don't know... My brain tells me we can't keep a bird like this, but my heart tells me to give her more time.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Eggs and Time to Say GoodNight Mister!

First of all, just wanted to share a dozen eggs.

Aren't they pretty?  I'm so proud of them!  The two Cuckoo Maran pullets just started laying little dark brown eggs.  We are almost positive all 4 Rhode Island Reds that we chose as chicks this summer are now young roosters.  No eggs from them! :(  They are submissive roosters so far, they haven't been hurting any hens nor fighting with the primary 2 flock roosters.  All it takes is a peck from one of our smallest bantam hens and those giant RIR boys go running and screaming away.


And look - who's this???
This is one of our woodchuck boys.  He's grabbing a last-minute snack!
I don't know why we always have male woodchucks living around our house.  No females.  Which is fine with us - no babies!  The woodchucks enjoy eating every flower I ever plant and love to eat my garden before it grows.

I took these pictures on Nov 13, 2011 - he was in my backyard.
By now this little boy is fast asleep down underground in his home.
Stay warm down there, Little Chuck

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Poor Danni with a Broken Leg - Again!

Our first chickens were born on October 13, 2009.  Happy birthday to them - they recently turned 2 years old!  Since then we've hatched some eggs and watched them grow up and we've gotten 2 new adult birds to mix it up a bit.  Also we gave away quite a few roosters.  In the past 2 years we've had many chicken injuries, accidents, and illnesses, and quite a few birds didn't survive.  All who passed were buried.  I love my chickens and name all the hens, as you know if you've been around Razzberry Corner.

This sad post is about a strong hen named Danni.  Danni has had the toughest life of all other chickens here.  Things haven't been easy for sweet Danni hen.

Danni in Jan 2010

Back on January 15, 2010, Danni broke her big toe on her left leg on the feeder out in the chicken pen. Since Danni was only 3 months old, we had not yet named her because we were not sure if she was a pullet or a cockerel. Danni from Critter Farm provided awesome, timely, perfect guidance during this time, and in appreciation of her help I named the bird Danni after her.

Now, looking back, at the same time that Danni broke her toe, I believe she broke her neck. Her neck now has a kink in it. Back then I didn't realize her neck was broken because I was focusing so much on splinting her toe and getting her walking again. No wonder the bird had so many issues back then.

Danni in front, Chloe behind her, Feb 2010

Danni lived in our living room and bathroom for weeks. She had to be hand fed. I kept music and TV playing for her and gave her a heating pad to sleep on to keep her cozy while she healed. I splinted the toe, and trained her how to walk. I brought in other birds to keep her company when she was lonely. And she healed up just fine, although the toe curled off to the side.  

Danni in Aug 2010 - notice the bent toe
Danni has been doing great since January 2010.  She's lived a good life, has given us hundreds of eggs, and was able to walk and scratch and and get around fine with her curled-in toe and kinked neck.  And now, this week, somehow, poor Danni appears to have broken her other leg.   Her right leg - the good leg.  The leg without the broken toe.  We aren't sure if the leg is broken up close to the body or just out of joint and not broken.  We assume it was caused by one of those 2 large Cuckoo Maran roosters trying to mount her and have his way with her.  We immediately got rid of those 2 big roosters, they were too big for our little bantam hens like Danni.
Poor Danni has been moved into the infirmary coop this week.  In the past 2 years we built a coop especially for injured birds or babies, so they don't have to live in our living room!  Danni has her own heat lamp - just like a personal spa.  There's a door in her coop looking out into the chicken pen, and it has wire across so she can look out and other birds can look in, but no one can come in.  There's nest boxes in this coop - these were used last summer during the birth of the guinea keets and chicks.  However, Danni has no need for nest boxes right now.

Danni now, Nov 2011

Danni is not able to walk - she can't put any weight on her right leg.  She wants to hold the bad leg straight out in front of her.  And for a few days she lost the desire to eat.  She's been force fed and watered from a dropper.  We started her on aspirin water in case she's in pain.  Yesterday she started eating on her own again - she likes green beans.  She's such a sweet bird; she's always been one of my favorite chickens because she's so sweet and has had such a tough life.  I really hope she pulls through this time.  She's been my miracle bird.  Come on, Danni hen, keep your spirits up! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken Update

Our chickens are mostly all doing fine.  Many of them are finishing up molting now, and egg production is way down.  It's getting very cold here, I don't know why chickens molt at this time of the year.  If I was a chicken I'd want to molt in the heat of summer.
Here's Freckles - she was the first adult hen that we bought who came with a batch of chicks.  She was a great mother to those babies, she taught us alot, and she never went broody since we have had her.  We would have let her raise more chicks if she wanted.  We thought she was old when we got her, but she's still doing fine.  She's the wildest of all our chickens, since we didn't raise her.  Freckles has a special place in my heart; she's the old wise woman in our flock.
Freckles, our original hen
Here's Bella, one of Freckles' chicks.  Bella goes broody all the time and has always raised our guinea keets for us.

 Muffin is the best rooster I've ever known.  He's a hard working man.  He feeds his hens, he protects them when needed, and generally does everything he can for the flock, taking care of himself last.  He doesn't like other roosters, but tolerates Leggy, his assistant.  The other (new) roosters are enemies.  In the springtime Muffin likes to push me around, but I've learned how to manage him and we both really love each other deep down inside (even in the springtime when it appears he wants to fight and kill me and I'm taking the broom to him).  I like to hold Muffin in the evening inside the coop to keep him tame.  He always tries to peck my eyes out; I've learned to keep a hand on his head when he's being held.

Muffin, the lead rooster
This summer we got 4 Cuckoo Maran and 4 Rhode Island Red chicks.  We didn't know the sexes of the chicks- we picked them out of a big box at the local farmer's market.  We ended up with 2 Cuckoo Maran roosters and 4 Rhode Island Red roosters!!!  The Cuckoo Maran  roosters have just started crowing. So far we haven't seen the Red roosters crow yet.  One of the 2 Cuckoo Maran hens has laid an egg this week - our first dark brown egg!  But it was broken open and made a mess in the nestbox.  This week we gave the 2 Cuckoo Maran roosters to a friend, and once we prove to ourselves that the 4 Reds are roosters, they too, will have to go...  

Cuckoo Maran rooster

Rhode Island Red rooster
Cuckoo Maran egg in upper left of basket broke in nestbox - first Cuckoo egg!!

I always take my favorite hen, Lucy, out to scratch for worms outside the chicken pen.  Lucy is so sweet and works so well with me when we look for worms, and she comes to me when called, she never runs.  If I don't watch her, Lucy tends to sneak out of the chicken pen when I leave the gate open.  She'll push the gate open if it's pulled closed but not locked.  But she doesn't run away, she just walks a couple feet and stops and scratches for worms.  She would be fine living separate from all the other chickens, she's very independent.

And that's all from the chickens today!
Have a nice day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's a Camel Cricket Leg!

So, did you guess what this was?
This is a camel cricket leg.

To me camel crickets look like a cross between a cricket and a spider.
Here's a website about camel crickets:

As the weather gets colder, we get camel crickets in the house.  Not a lot, but usually we have at least one camel cricket a day somewhere in the house.  
The horrible thing is that the cats love to eat them, but the cats always pull off the back legs and leave them laying on the floor.  I've watched the cats work at pulling off the cricket's hind legs with their teeth, while they hold the cricket body with their paws.  I guess the legs get stuck in the cat's throat.  All we find are the legs, and we know the cats ate the cricket body!  I certainly would prefer the cats didn't eat crickets at all, that's for sure.  And yes, the chickens love them, too!

I call these crickets "George".  As in, "I found a pair of George legs on the bathroom floor today."
The first time I saw a camel cricket, I had no idea what it was, and after I ran screaming out of the room, I named it George, and eventually captured George and took George outside.  I assumed George was some kind of freak of nature, a one-of-a kind creature that shouldn't be killed. 
And then more and more George's came to visit, and I realized George's are a normal pest around here.
George, stay away or you may lose your legs!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What is this?

Does anyone know exactly what this is?
What is it?
I know what it is...
If you do know what it is, I feel for you!

I'll publish the answer tomorrow...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Orange Chiffon Cake with an Orange Glaze

Today's special is a orange chiffon cake with an orange glaze.  

Chiffon cakes are lighter and more fluffy than traditional cakes. 
This one is my very first chiffon cake.  Come on over for a piece!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bobby Cat

Meet Bobby.  
If you've been around Razzberry Corner much, you already know Bobby.

Bobby is a stray cat that showed up outside and never left the porch.  We, of course, feed all hungry souls, and Bobby became a part of life here.  Bobby is a working class cat.  He takes care of the outside.  He catches any birds that are brave enough to land on the ground.  He is friends with all other critters, including Jerry, the woodchucks, opossums, and raccoons.  he knows to let them be and they don't bother him.  Bobby really dislikes the guineas, but he puts up with them.  He doesn't like being locked in the chicken pen, but really doesn't mind the chickens from a distance.  Bobby assisted when a night monster, what we believe was a great horned owl, was killing the guineas and Randy spent many nights outside hunting.  Bobby was by his side all those nights, happy to assist with guard duty. 

The only thing is, Bobby doesn't understand why he lives outside and we have 2 other cats who live strictly inside.  It's getting cold outside.  Poor Bobby.

Here are Shadow and Jack.  Shadow was a stray who lived outside here at this house, and Jack was a stray from a former house.  Both cats melted my heart, moved inside, have been fixed and get all yearly shots and exams.  They now live the good life.

Yes - Shad looks just like Bob. She looks like she could be his mother or sister.  She doesn't have the same personality as him at all, though.

Bob, Shad and Jack are all friends through the glass.  We have been very careful to never let anyone smell noses, as we didn't know if Bobby had FELV (feline leukemia), a deadly and infectious cat disease.

And the good news is that this week we got Bob tested and he does NOT have FELV!  He got his FELV immunization and all his shots this week, and got de-flead and de-ticked.  Next we have to get the Bobster de-wormed, and then he will be ready to go!  We already let all the cats smell noses, and we've been carrying Bobby around the house in our arms, so he sees that there's life inside.  Right now he seems to prefer being outside, but that's just because he's scared inside still.  

This means that Bobby doesn't have to brave another cold winter outside by himself.
Yeah, Bobby! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Well, hello there my friends.  I haven't been posting lately.  I just have been busy, and when I have a few spare moments I consider all the work that must be done, and decide it's more important than sharing my world via the blog.  I have really missed my communications and support from my online friends.  It's awesome how blogging builds friendships between people with the same interests.

And so, I will probably keep my blog posts short and targeted, but I will try to continue the blog through the winter here at Razzberry Corner.  Winters are cold and rough times, but many holidays all fall in during wintertime.  I guess we need to find something to keep us happy when we are working extra hard to keep everyone warm, and so we have holidays!

So here's a quick update on the happenings here at our farm...

White Boy Guinea
White Girl Guinea over on the right
 The guineas are all doing fine.  I am so surprised that even the "slow" white female guinea is doing great.  She is my favorite now.  She had an issue after birth, when she was an infant, and her developing slowed down.  She did weird things, like walk backwards instead of forwards.  She didn't make good decisions and was brushed aside by the other guineas, often missing out on treats because she wasn't fast enough.  She got very sick at one point and couldn't stand on her own.  We considered putting her down many times.  She quickly was put on antibiotics and vitamins and miraculously she recovered, but she never recovered all the way back to normal.  When they got bigger, the other guineas made her an outcast.  She appears to be blind in one eye still.  But she's a fighter - she wandered alone, and eventually a pair of other shy females who were ousted by the guinea flock joined her and she became the leader of her own little flock of ladies where everyone was accepted.  I always make sure to feed the separate little flock treats, and most times now the 2 flocks join together and just separate during treat feeding times.  The white female guinea is the only pure white child from our white male guinea papa.  He was one of the last 2 guineas to survive from last year's flock.

The young guineas, who were born this year, started laying eggs this autumn before it got too cold.  If I searched I could find their eggs out in the bushes. Next year we will raise more guineas from our own eggs to maintain the flock.

Below is a picture of a typical dozen of our chicken eggs, plus the two little guinea eggs.  we only have light brown and green eggs right now, despite the fact that we got 4 Rhode Island Red and 4 Cuckoo Maran chicks this summer.  Both of these breeds lay dark brown eggs.  Those chicks have now all grown up into beautiful LARGE birds, much bigger than all our other bantam birds.  However, we think that all 4 Reds are roosters, and 2 of the Cuckoos are roosters!  We had a "great" system for picking the chicks from a mixed batch that was being sold at the local farmers market.  We read online how to tell the differences between the sexes of the chicks for these 2 breeds.  Evidently, we did it exactly wrong for the Reds.  Well, hey, we know how to pick Rhode Island Red roosters from a batch of chicks now!  The 2 female cuckoos haven't laid yet, although they are adults.  Possibly we're wrong and they are roosters, too, who knows?  I'll post some chicken pics next post, and will give you more chicken news.  There's always drama in the coop, you know.

Stay tuned, I do have some GOOD, no GREAT, news about Bobby the outside cat...  But you're going to have to wait for it!