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Friday, November 22, 2013

Day old Rhode Island Reds and their orthopedic repairs

Still seeking to increase and improve our flock of poultry Jean ordered 6 day old Rhode Island Reds. These are from an old strain known for their egg laying. This is one of the few breeders we found who provide sexed day olds. Specialty breeds are not cheap and they can become very expensive coq a vin. We have a fine looking RIR rooster "Rocky" who we hope will allow us to continue increasing our stock.

This morning we were heading off to Kirkwood Produce in Maitland where the parcel was to be dropped off. Just before we left home they phoned to let us know the parcel had arrived. This is exceptionally good of a store who didn't know the parcel was coming and makes no money from being used as a central drop off point. As it was we needed some produce and were able to repay the generosity by shopping at the store.

While we were out we completed a number of other tasks. Every hour or so we needed to stop while Jean took out each chick one at a time, made mothering noises and fed them some water.

One stop was the Dungog Dump Shop. We are hatching Indian Runner Duck eggs in the incubator and will need some form of shallow bath for them. The hope is to find a discarded baby bath or pool. Something that is shallow and lightweight which can be emptied and refilled easily. No such item as yet BUT there was a 9 litre bucket full of right angle steel brackets - for $2. This is a great find. Our pergola is in need of some repairs as the nails holding the cross beams have failed. My solution was to manufacture 90 odd brackets from Aluminium. This bucket load will save me hours of work.

So home to unload the chicks into their temporary residence in a container in the bathroom. The bathtub is getting crowded as there are the 3 week olds we hatched in another container.

As it turns out we were sent 7 not 6 babies but one of them has crooked toes. The toes are curled. According to Jeans chicken bible this is a problem probably caused by a too low incubator temperature or too much activity soon after birth. A solution is proffered. Using first aid tape or band aids the toes are tapped straight. We don't have any band aids - never use them. There is some sticky bandage in the first aid kit but it has lost its stickiness. Its only 25 years old, nothing lasts these days.

We do have some sticky tape in the stationery draw. This is fiddly work. Jeans holds the baby while I try to apply some orthopaedic repairs. The first attempt lasts about an hour before the tape falls off.

But never give up. After some though and a glass of wine another idea pops up and we give that a go. The toes are not only straighter but it stays on. Apparently it only needs a few days to fix the problem. It won't be perfect but it will be pretty good.

Quite a few years ago while catching a Guinea Fowl I broke its leg. Never catch Guinea Fowl by the leg it is their weakest spot. Using a couple of chopstick like pieces of wood and gaffer tape a patch up was instigated and six weeks later removed. Complete success. Just a reminder to give it a go.


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