This morning started out as a normal Monday morning. Yesterday was busy with a lovely couple visiting from Kitchener who wanted to learn a bit more about permculture and see a permaculture project in action. Both Yuri and Katchea were already well versed in permaculture and had been doing work on their properties. Tim and I are looking forward to seeing their place.Soon we are going to make a road trip to see a few people and their properties to see what we can learn from them too (you too Brad and Sue!)
We then had Amy, from Inspirational Transformational Network come and interview us for her amazing show. It was quite an honour and experience. Amy interviewed us for a long period of time. She asked some excellent questions that we had never considered before. It was also an experience to see things through her eyes. Being here all the time can sometimes make us only see the things we haven’t done instead of the things we have. Amy was an inspiration herself. We gave her a dozen eggs as a thank you.
Of course in all this activity I forgot to close the gate from the sheep paddock to the chicken pen. As it has been so hot lately the chicken coop door has been left open for extra airflow. Usually the gate and the door is what keeps the sheep from getting into the 50lbs of layer mash hanging in the chicken coop for the chickens to eat. I forgot to close both of them. Not good.
Amy left and Tim and I sat down for a late afternoon beer. We were tired after such an exciting weekend. It was then that I noticed Izzy in the chicken pen. At first I thought nothing of it. Suddenly I realized the coop door was open as well. I went to get Izzy back into her paddock and close the gate. I still didn’t think much of it.
Later on I collected eggs and noticed that the hanging chicken feeder was empty. “Strange” I thought. It then dawned on me that the sheep had been in here for a good part of the afternoon. I still didn’t think too much of it. Boy was that a mistake.
The sheep got put away and seemed fine. This morning brought chores as usual. I was greeted with a lovely pile of what looked like green-tinged cow poop. then another, then another.Oooo, I though. This is not good.
Last week we started working with a new vet, Dr. Rob Swackhammer, an ecological farmer himself. Itchy hadn’t been too well and seemed to be bloating up far too often. He came in and looked at here but there didn’t seem to be anything acute wrong. We thought it was best to wait and see how she did. In light of this the first thing I thought was that Itchy has has a big problem and I may find her dead on the barn floor.
I looked around into the barn and there was Itchy lying with her head down in the straw beside the manger like she always does. I went to pet her and she didn’t seem o want to move. “Oooh,” I though” I had better call the vet.” I thought she had scours (diarrhea) and was on her last legs. Before I did I figured I would see if she ate. I went to the grain bin and pulled out a handful of grains. Itchy got up and walked over to me. She then followed me ouside and insisted on having some of that grain. Her bum wasn’t caked with poop. It wasn’t her. I the saw Thomas squirt out some liquidy green poop. at least I knew who was suffering.
I got more grain, put it in the bowls and watched who wanted to eat. Itchy, Harry, Hermione, and a bunch of chickens all came over to the bins and ate up all the grain. Thomas and Izzy wanted nothing to do with it. Mmmm. Two of them. I knew they were fine yesterday as Amy and I were in the pasture watching them all eat. I went inside to Google it.
Of course I cam back with a number of different possibilities. I then called Dr. Swackhammer. Considereing the time of year he thought it was most likely worms and that they should be dewormed. He would be over later on. No problem I though, it made perfect sense.
There was something still wasn’t sitting right, I had missed something. I went back to the house, made up some electrolyte formula for them and brought it down to the barn, and watched. I was trying to figure out why I was not feeling right about worms. It had come on suddenly, no obvious signs of worms before, mmm. It seemed too sudden to be really bad, but it cold be terrible. Then it dawned on me. The chicken feed!
The sheep had eaten WAAAYYY too much grain.
I called back Dr. Swackhammer. He chuckled when I told him about the chicken feed and the gate being left open.With the new information he sounded very certain. It was acidodis. Essentially serious heartburn. If you have 4 stomachs hertburn can be deadly.
He would be over in about an hour or so.
I felt very stupid for not thinking of it sooner and for leaving the gate open.