I apologize to Judith Viorst. Really. I do.
It was a bad day. You know those days. You feel like you lost your best friend. But you really didn't. But it really feels like that. Nothing goes right. You feel alone and lonely. And all your plans, your to-do lists, go out the window... in one fell swoop!
Yea ... it was one of those days.
Sunday, Honey and I decided to move the 25+ chicks out of their brooder/stock tank since they were beginning to "fly the coop". They were living in the brooder house with 5 small Swedish ducklings. The ducklings can't eat medicated feed so I made the decision that at 6-7 weeks old, the chicks would eat "all flock" feed. I bought the feed on Saturday and started feeding them.
It was warm ... too warm in the coop and we actually thought that some were overcome by the heat.
I had raised the light several days ago ... but I wasn't opening the coop up because ... its OCTOBER! In my mind, chilly nights ... cool breezes ... sweater weather. And these chicks were feathering out but not quite completely there. So they needed a warm coop. Didn't they?????
Not so much.
So I babied a few of the chicks but wasn't surprised to see that 2 were gone when I checked later in the evening.
I was surprised to see the chicks crowding in the corner. Hmmmmmm? Lights are raised...... not too warm. But the first day out of the stock tank. Maybe that is it. Yea ... maybe that's it.
Yesterday morning ... I went out to find 6 dead chicks. Again -- I try to see what could be wrong. Still crowding ... not eating... not drinking ... droopy. Butts were clean ... no runny poop ... no bloody poop. But something is obviously wrong.
Now ... I've been raising chickens for almost 10 years. I would hardly call myself an authority but I rarely have unexplained losses ............... until now.
It was the first time I have tried to raise meat birds. I had ordered 25 Barred Rock roosters. I wanted a nice, firm, slowly raised meat bird. (And I figured I could grow to hate 25 roos!) But you also want to limit the amount of medicated feed so there is not residual antibiotics in the meat. So at 6-7 weeks ... I went to a non-medicated feed.
Yea ... you got it. The warm weather --- the humid conditions of a closed coop -- and I had bred the perfect condition for coccidiosis.
I now have 6 live chicks. I'm not sure if they will all make it. I am forcing medicated water down them.
We will see.
It really was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.