Monday, December 31, 2012

Food Allergies in Housecat

Jack and Shadow

Who would have even thought that a house cat could have food allergies.  When we adopted Shadow several years ago, she was a wild stray who lived outside, eating whatever she could find.  Since then she's become a loving and sweet indoor-only house cat.  She's all black, but with a chocolate shine.  I love her black nose and toes. 

We discovered that Shadow got sick (vomited) whenever we fed her beef canned act food or gave her a piece of beef from our table.  She can eat any flavor dry cat food, dry food didn't seem to bother her before.  When she does eat beef or beef canned food, she immediately throws it up.  However, beef is one of her favorite things.  She's quick to steal steak right off our plates if we're eating in the living room and leave our plate unattended (such as if we go back into the kitchen for something).

Strange.  So, no beef for Shadow.  No biggie.

Then around Thanksgiving this year, I visited a new friend and met her two cats who are beautiful and slender.  She told me she only feeds them Buffalo Blue all natural dry food.  I thought about my three fat indoor cats who only seem to be getting fatter, and decided to put them on an all-natural, gluten-free, healthy diet of Buffalo Blue Wilderness cat food, too.  I tried multiple favors, including duck, chicken, salmon, and the one for mature cats. 

 Shortly after Thanksgiving I realized that Shadow started getting terribly sick, vomiting a lot.  This was much worse than when she ate beef.  But I wasn't letting her have any beef.  Hmmm.  When she vomited, she foamed from the mouth.  She heaved and vomited and continue to throw up white foam even after her stomach was long empty.  However, she didn't lose her appetite from being sick.  A few hours after being sick she'd go back and eat again.  I worried terribly about her.  Not to mention that I hated cleaning up after her.  During this time I swapped out the different flavors of Buffalo Blue Wilderness cat food, letting the cats try the different ones.  I was about to take Shadow to the vet, where I'm sure they would have done tests and x-rays and charged a pretty penny, but she wasn't sick all the time, it was just random, but frequent.  Definitely not normal.

And then finally, last night I realized that Shadow is allergic to the Buffalo Blue Wilderness Duck flavor food.  I watched her eat it and immediately get sick.  Before she gets sick her tongue gets "puffy" or numb or strange feeling, and she sticks her tongue out and makes strange noises with her tongue.  Evidently her tongue and probably throat swells just like a person with food allergies.  And then the horrible constant vomiting and foaming and gagging starts.  I quickly grabbed up the bowl of dry food.  None of the other cats are bothered by it.  Shadow likes it's flavor, just like she likes the flavor of beef.

Who knew that cats can have food allergies?  Evidently Shadow is allergic to beef and duck.  None of the other flavors of the Buffalo Blue cat food bothered her, and they seem to have many of the same ingredients, other than duck.  Shadow hasn't gotten sick at all today.  Eventually I'm going to re-introduce the other flavors of the Buffalo Blue cat food to her and see how she reacts.

I thought I'd share this realization that cats can have food allergies with my online friends, maybe this information can help someone else down the road.   

I hope everyone has a great year in 2013 and I hope we all continue to learn from our online community.  Thanks everyone for helping me so much in 2012!
Happy New Year! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Leggy the Big-Combed Rooster

You know Sherlock and Errol, Lord B and Tuesday,
Don Juan and Muffin, Leopold and Hector,
But do you recall?
The most famous rooster of all? 

Leggy the Big-Combed Rooster
Had a very large comb.
Some say Leggy's not that bright,
Some even call him dumb.
All of the other chickens
Used to laugh and call him names;
They never let poor Leggy
Join in any chicken games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
Leggy with your comb so large,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?

Then how the chickens loved him
The guineas also cried with glee,
Leggy the Big-Combed Rooster,
You'll go down in history.

For you see dear Leggy
Had a very magic comb
It had it's own GPS
To guide Santa's sleigh right home! 

Then how the chickens loved him,
The guineas also cried with glee,
Leggy the Big-Combed Rooster,
You'll go down in history!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chicken with a broken neck?

Last night Cinnamon the hen wanted to sleep in the nest box.  But she's not broody.  She seemed to want to be warm and separate from the other birds, so I let her be.  This morning I noticed that she was standing off by herself in the pen and was listless.  I brought her inside and inspected her.  I think she has a broken neck!!!!

Her neck has a kink in it that didn't use to be there!  In the photo above she has her head and neck all down low so you can't see it.  She doesn't have much appetite, but she has eaten some canned cat food (seafood flavor).  Then after eating it appeared the food got stuck in her neck, didn't make it to her crop.  She straightened her head and neck and wiggled the neck and it has a huge kink that she wiggles around.  It's quite strange.  She's not dead, but appears to have a broken neck.

I massaged the neck, which she disliked.  I can feel a kink.  She will not drink, so I put her head down to a bowl of water and she threw up a little when I lowered her head.  Not doing that again.  Now I put droplets of water on her beak and she swallows it.  She's still eating, although not much.  We'll see how much longer she lives.  I'm giving her aspirin water and food and keeping her inside so the roosters don't try to take advantage of her.

Whatever you do, don't google image  chicken with a broken neck.  I got all sorts of photos about how to break a chicken's neck.

Many of my hens are getting old, so I expect to lose many of them in 2013, but I didn't expect them to be injured and die.  Such is life with chickens, I guess.  The rest of them appear to be doing well, other than Cinnamon.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2012

T'was the week before Christmas and all thru the farm...

So much time has passed since I last posted.  So much has been going on.  I work a day job, in addition to managing the farm.  And sometimes the farm takes second fiddle to the job that brings in the mortgage payment.  Luckily my husband is usually around to take care of the farm, in addition to his day job.

Since I last posted I traveled to three continents for work.  My job is very interesting and I love what I do.  And the travel is a bonus.  Right now I'm loving Italy, the food, the outgoing people.  I will never have pizza as good as real Italian pizza.

And then I returned to the farm, where the work awaits.  I found that Bonnie, one of the shelter hens, had a huge mass of poop stuck to her rear.  What the heck causes that?  It was hard and dried and huge.  I scooped her up, realized that she is one overweight chicken, and lugged her into the house.  She was obese when we got her from the shelter.  And so Bonnie had a bath in the sink.  A good long soak for 30 minutes.  She napped, she liked the warm water.  But the dried poop didn't come off, so I had to cut it off.  Now her soft and fuzzy butt feathers are all chopped. I'm not good at cutting feathers evenly.  But she's clean at least.  Immediately after I cleaned her she pooped a normal but large poop on my bathroom floor. That's her way of saying Thanks!

While I was dealing with Bonnie my sister Cheryl called, wanted to know how the overseas trips went.  I told her I had a hen on the bathroom floor who was needing a blowdry before returning to the coop.  She knows my passion for my birds.

Chloe hen is broody.  She had a good molt in the fall, then turned broody.  I have a welt on the back of my hand from pulling eggs out from under her yesterday.  I'm not letting her raise chicks right now, it's too cold for chicks.

The hens are laying good again, after most of them molted.  We're averaging 6 eggs a day.  Most of our hens are older now and are slowing down with the laying.  The 2 shelter hens are our best layers.  I'll have to check back and see if the shelter has anymore hens!

The guineas are all doing fine.  Today Randy had company, the and guineas enjoyed scoping out a new truck in the driveway.  Randy and the guys who were visiting went out in ATVs, leaving their white truck behind.  The guineas checked themselves out in the white shiny paint.  They love reflective surfaces so they can see themselves.  They inspected the wheels.  They circled the truck and announced it's presence.  Finally they accepted the truck and wandered off, although they didn't go far from the new visiting truck.  They wanted to keep their eye on it.

Last night the guineas decided they wanted to change roosting trees.  They chose an overgrown bush in the backyard to roost, right over top of a fox hole.  It was getting dark and they were all out in the bush singing their nighttime squawks.  I quickly went out with a flashlight and shooed them back to the big pine tree, which is much safer than the bush.  They are just not that smart.  The bush is not safe, provides no protecting from owls or hawks or raccoons, and the foxes will be waiting for them to fly down.

Randy starting putting birdseed outside on one of the windowsills to attract birds so the inside cats can watch.  The cats love to watch the birds during the day and the mice that come up to the outside sill at nighttime! 

Well, Christmas is literally around the corner.  I'm off to start writing out cards.  I'm so late this year!

I'll have to make a "T'was the night before Christmas" poem about the farm as my next post!  Stay tuned!  I have lots of ideas!

Merry Christmas!