Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Spraddle Leg??

So, checking on the poult this morning, N and I found it no better. I looked up online, and found a lot of info about Spraddle Leg. I thought that might be it, so I did what's recommended: band-aids! And lots of vitamins. I tried to get Reginaldo to take vitamins straight, but he wanted nothing to do with that, so I just super-dosed all the poults. Can't hurt, right?

So I don't think this is Reginaldo's problem, but I do think this would have helped that first poult I lost. Live and learn, I guess.

Reginaldo is actually walking on his knees, and the only info I'm finding online about that is equally confused, and has no solution. This is the best information I've found. I've been making sure he has good access to feed, but maybe I'm making the problem worse.

Saddle, the pig

So, after lots of reading on anal prolapse in pigs, and feeling very guilty about not doing anything, Saddle was better on Monday, running around again. Still looking black and gross under the tail, and she couldn't let her tail down. So we made some yarrow tea, thinking it would help heal the tissue. Online, you can find lots of people who say nothing works, sometimes it spontaneously heals and sometimes you need to put it down. Then some people who recommend some variation of the poop tunnel, which everyone Dad asked said wouldn't work. Then a few people do things like spray vegetable oil on the prolapse, or cover it in sugar or hemorrhoid cream. So we decided to try yarrow, which is a great healing herb, but not as fast as comfrey, so we wouldn't increase the chances of the anus healing shut. Maybe she was on her way, or maybe the yarrow is magical, but today, she looks so. much. better. The tissue around the outside is clean and pink and healthy looking, and in the middle is poop. I'm sure just cleaning it helps that some.

So now we're hoping she's not too constipated. We tried giving her ExLax, but she's having none of it. T even hollowed out a crab apple and put a pill in. She ate the unadulterated one, but ignored the other. So we're going to stick with feeding her lots of ears of corn - it works for people, right??

Monday, July 28, 2014

turkey legs

Today, one of the Great Whites is down. I picked it up to see what was wrong, and one "knee" (I just read that what look like bird knees are really ankles, which finally explains thighs, drumsticks, and the part you cut off when butchering) was swollen-looking and purplish. It was sitting on both legs oddly, but I'm hoping only one is hurt. We set it by the water, with some food, and it ate and drank. Tonight when I went back to check in, it had moved to under the light. Here's hoping that heals.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Trouble in Hog Heaven

Two days ago, when we were checking on the pigs in the evening, we noticed one was bleeding from under the tail. Being new to pigs, I wasn't even sure if that was the rectum or vagina. Or if you call them vaginas in pigs. We called Dad, and he didn't seem too worried about it, but when he checked the next morning, it was clear that it was a rectal prolapse. From what Dad says, from his experience and checking with friends who still raise hogs, and a vet friend, there isn't much to do. You can insert a tube into the rectum, and tie it on, but apparently that rarely works. Sometimes it resolves on its own. This one doesn't seem to be. It's Tucker's pig, and the friendliest; he is heart-broken.

The first couple days it was acting completely normal - super playful and active. Tonight, it's clearly not doing well. I don't think it's going to make it. I feel terrible - we should have tried something, even if it had very little chance of helping. We should have at least separated it from its comrades. No one has much hope it will live. And I don't even know if you can butcher a pig this small.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


On Friday, Chris found a duckling as he was driving home - all alone, no sign of any other ducks. So he picked it up and brought it home.

We stuck it under Calypso (who has been sitting on that nest since May 16!). She didn't move, and the duckling just popped under her like that was where it belonged. I kept checking on them for the next couple days, and Calypso was never off the nest. We had put chick feed and a smaller waterer in with her, and the feed was being eaten, but there was no other movement.

Finally today I was too curious. I picked up Calypso - no duckling, no eggs. I'd given her eight eggs in May when I moved her. Where they went, I have no idea. I also tried to move another hen in with her, Connie, with her two eggs. She wanted nothing to do with that, and escaped. One of Connie's eggs had been broken a week or so ago, but the other was just sitting there. Calypso was sitting on no eggs, next to an egg, and there was no sign of a duckling.

I don't get it. Whatever is eating eggs isn't eating the free egg, and isn't bothering Calypso, and apparently took a whole duckling. Calypso could have eaten the eggs and killed the duckling, but I would see signs. Curiouser and curiouser.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


The poults arrived today. We put them in the farrowing house. Fifteen in all - eight broad-breasted bronze, and seven giant white. No heritage breeds this year, since I was so slow ordering. I was really hoping our Black Spanish turkeys would have babies. And they did - one hen sat on a nest of 12 or so eggs, and hatched 4 just before Memorial Day. Two days later, they were all dead. I assume a raccoon got them. The other hen's nest is right below where they roost, i.e., in a pile of dung. I didn't have much hope for them, and apparently none hatched.

So, ordering poults again. They were supposed to come last week, when we were out of town. Handy, I thought. But the hatchery pushed them back a week, and so they arrived today. One of the Bronze was on its back when we got the package, and it didn't make it.

When I introduced them to Noah, his ears perked up and his tail wagged. He spent a lot of time sniffing them, then settled down next to them. I think he was surprised that I wanted him to leave, but I don't trust him that much. Plus, I have to lock the poults in to prevent the cats from snacking, but I don't want to lock Noah in. Still, I feel like I'm wasting his natural tendencies.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


We got four piglets today, from Duin Family Farm. Dad found them on Craigslist, selling just what we were hoping for - heritage breed pigs already living outside / on dirt. They are half Red Wattle, half farmer's hybrid, except the darkest red one, who is half Red Wattle, half Tamworth.

I think they were born about Memorial Day. He found them on Craigslist on June 24, but we were going out of town and couldn't pick them up until July 8. 

They're super cute, and the kids are in love. 

They're in the hog building we got before they razed and burned the neighbor's farm. Dad and Chris put up the fence yesterday. They're going to town on the grass and weeds they were on.