Somebody Is Watching..

As I made the preparations for Cottage Pie last week, I had this feeling, somebody was watching me.. and then I found out I was right. This is Foo. However over time, as the two white ladies usually travel together in a pack, their name has become finnfoo or foofinn.

Immediately afterwards I heard this song in my head. We have that song on our playlist. The original is actually a Michael Jackson song. I like the techno beats version better.

Chickens

True Bargains

Sometimes you are not sure if the thing you are buying is a bargain or not. Especially if it is not something you regularly keep an eye on the price of. An example – you may recall in June, I bought a new blanket. I paid $42.50 for it. I use it on my recliner and Grumpy LOVES it.

So I thought I might go back and see if I could get another one around the same price, giving her other places to sleep other than my lap which she finds disruptive as I tend to get up more often than she would like AKA not stay perfectly still in one place for hours at a time. :) It turns out though, this was a genuine bargain.

At $79 she is going to have to put up with my disruptions. I will wait to see if these go on sale again and if they do you bet I will get another one because they are toasty warm and very pleasing to the Grumpy. Though we will soon arrive at a point where I switch back to my other rug – there are some days where this current rug is *too* warm especially with a cat added to it.

But not this week, as it is icy here at the moment. We got down to 3.1 on Monday, yet these past couple of weeks we have been having bushfires. Very little rain, no clouds in the sky, gorgeous blue sky days, but many of us are wishing for rain. Not flash flooding type rain, just long term sustained rain.. We need it.

Home, kitties

The Sleeper

You may recall this photo from a previous post. Since I got this new rug in June, we have an incredibly happy Grumpy. We have never seen her sleep this deeply before. Something about this rug sends her far away into cat dreams.

Recently there has been a new development – if we are not here of an evening, she will actually climb into my rug and curl up to sleep, surrounding herself with warm fluffyness.

What is that white thing you see? Toes.

We really should buy another one and cut it into four so she can have several cat sized new places to sleep.

Why are you disturbing me, if you aren’t turning the heater on? The least you could do is take a better photo of me, if you are going to post it on your blog!

kitties

Vale Queen

Last Saturday I noticed Queen was sitting down. This was unusual for her, she is normally a high energy girl. She also is Not A Fan Of Humans, so when I approached her and she was unable to take off like she normally would, fleeing like I am a demon chasing her, I knew she was a sick girl. In fact my first thought was we should take her to the vet right away to be euthanased, because she must be very sick if she would not flee me.

The Other Half was a bit more optimistic than I was, so he suggested we isolate her, examine her to see if we can find anything wrong, dose her with Ivomec which kills worms and any nasties, and keep an eye on her. Sometimes a chook just needs a bit of time away from the flock if they are not feeling the best.

After 24 hours we had seen some signs of improvement but we really had no idea what might be the problem, so I called the vet on Sunday to see if our exotic vet might be available that week. Unfortunately she was on holiday, but the vet on call convinced me to bring her in for an exam as she did have some experience with chickens and wanted to feel her abdomen etc.

We’d already done all of that ourselves but I wanted to at least get an antibiotic for her. If we’d put BeeGee on an antibiotic right away we may have had a better chance of fighting her ear infection. Queen had a high temperature. We took an x-ray – the only thing being seen was slightly larger kidneys, which pointed to a possible kidney infection.

She was still eating and her poops were fine, so those are good signs. She was able to stand and move about. We decided we wanted to give her a chance to fight the infection, so the vet gave Queen a long lasting painkiller shot, an antibiotic shot, a vitamin shot, and some medication for the next few days.

We set her up with our chook cam, so we could watch her 24/7 without disturbing her, and gave her some time. We only disturbed her twice a day for medication, adding more food and changing the paper towel in her enclosure, and at night we settled her in our special towel setup. Healthy chickens are able to tuck their head under their wing to sleep – unwell chickens are sometimes unable to do that, so you want to give them somewhere for their head to rest.

After our experience with BeeGee, I struggled quite a bit because I had done a lot of work with her, trying to bring her back to health. I really missed her. I was very determined not to get my hopes up and not to get too attached to this gorgeous chicken who suddenly was not fleeing away from me. But I knew that was her personality, so she must not be feeling well to be compliant and allow us to handle her.

We did see some encouraging signs – usually at night right after we gave her the painkiller she was able to tuck her head under her wing for a while. By Wednesday all of the signs were bad, so we made the difficult decision to let her go. It was the right decision for her. By the time a chicken shows you that she is unwell, she is usually *very* unwell.

Queen was one of our new girls, so we really did not have as much time with her as we hoped to have. She was not a fan of humans at all, which made her difficult to get to know. She was very flighty and able to fly. Her greatest joy was to fly up onto the fence next to the man cave and consider escaping to the other side, but the one time she managed to do it she did not enjoy being returned to the yard by the humans, so she would just stand there and look around.

She loved all treats but her most favourite was yoghurt and mealworms. When we first got her it took a while for her to work out how to get into the coop at night, and she would often end up on the roof of it rather than inside it. Eventually she got the hang of how to go to bed.

As I always post when this happens – there are 6 other chickens in the yard for whom life continues. They live minute by minute, sucking the most joy out of each and every moment, whether it is a dirt bath, finding a bug, eating a treat from the humans.. all we can do is love them while they’re here, protect them the best we can from predators, know when it is time to let them go, and remember them when they are gone.

One night at chook pen lockup time, The Other Half startled our Queen as she was returning to the enclosure. She took off like a crazy thing, flying over the fence. The Other Half called me and we had to run around to the other side of the fence to retrieve her, but she’d gone to ground in some blackberry bushes. I was to guard one end of the escape route, and the other half tried to capture her, but she’d seen enough, so she flew up into the sky and did a complete circle over the top of our house.

She flew right over the top of me like a majestic 747. It was a sight to see, and if I close my eyes I can still see it now.

Fly high, my Queen. Until we meet again, but next time please do not be quite so scared of me. :)

Vale Pets

Third Pillow

Something dangerous has been taking place in our bedroom lately. With the colder weather, we have two cats on the bed each night. We have a king bed and the pillows we like from IKEA are not very wide, so we have a gap in between the pillows. At least, we used to. Now that gap is filled with Third Pillow.

This third pillow purrs, it is fluffy and furry, and you have to be very careful not to accidentally touch it on the hind quarters as third pillow might choose to give you the claw.

Happy is what we like to call a sandbag, but that is a story for another post.

kitties

Where My Kibble At?

This grumpy land shark is staring at me.

I suppose it is better than the land shark circling on the bed that we get in the mornings and way better than land shark biting! ;)

This face regularly appears towards the end of the afternoon here. The kitties get a small tuna feed in the morning which is why they circle us on the bed. If we were made of tuna, I expect we would be eaten at this time. They only get a 15g serving, it usually is snarfed up in two minutes or less.

Kibble could be fed as early as afternoon coffee time at 4pm, or somewhere around 5-6pm – we like to keep it varied so they don’t know exactly when to expect it. But keeping it varied means we get stared at from 4pm onwards. I’m ok with it, and I do not let it influence me at all. Kibble time will not change no matter how evil the stares!

kitties

Vale BeeGee

The Vale posts are always hard to write but especially so this time. My wonderful BeeGee was euthanased on Monday morning. She had been making so much progress. We had got both the infections under control and in fact her ear infection was completely gone when the vet checked it Monday. But on Sunday she began to go backwards as far as progress. It became clear that the infection had spread to the one place we had no chance of fixing it, her brain.

For the past two weeks BeeGee was the center of our world. Looking after her took the number one place on our to-do list. We became masters of finding a solution to whatever problem was happening at that moment. The Other Half built a Raspberry Pi thing to do the camera stuff we needed, so we could have an eye on her without having to disturb her rest time. I made many bowls of chicken crumble mash, making them the right consistency for easy eating.

BeeGee has taught me so much about myself. I had no idea I was even capable of this level of chicken handling. While the outcome has not been what we wanted, I would not take back one minute of that precious time I got to spend with my BeeGee. Even cleaning up her poops has been a joy. I’m feeling a bit lost without her.

When she was a well chicken out in the flock, she loved all the treats but especially lactose free yoghurt and watermelon. She had gained a high position in the flock and was much loved by the other girls. She was never once mean to another chicken, even the Mean Girl Pekins who would have deserved it. She was a kind girl with loads of personality and a beautiful spirit.

As I always post when this happens – there are 7 other chickens in the yard for whom life continues. They live minute by minute, sucking the most joy out of each and every moment, whether it is a dirt bath, finding a bug, eating a treat from the humans.. all we can do is love them while they’re here, protect them the best we can from predators, know when it is time to let them go, and remember them when they are gone.

We will miss you, BeeGee. We loved our special moments with you. We will remember.

Thank you for being such a great chook. Thank you for fighting so hard to stay with us, you very nearly won your fight, and you won our hearts along the way. Now you are safe, warm, free from pain and hanging out with our loved girls at Rainbow Bridge, where I am sure they serve endless plates of lactose free yoghurt.

Vale Pets