February 9th, 2022: As some of you already know I have been planning for some time now to make an announcement about our chickens. The day has come.
Carolyn Hurwitz, DVM, Assistant State Veterinarian visited the farm today to lift us from a quarantine. A few months ago, we brought a congested bird in to our local veterinarian for testing. Several birds in one of our coops started wheezing and had puffy eyes. We immediately shut down all sales and visitors. We treated them with antibiotics and they did seem to get better, only to come down with it again. When the results came back a few weeks later it turned out our birds had infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) which is an acute, highly contagious, herpesvirus infection that cannot be cured.
UPDATE ON MAY 20, 2022: On May 14th we retuned from a 2,800-mile road trip to collect eggs from excellent stock up the east coast. It took one week of camping in often ridiculous places along a meandering route from farm to farm. This new stock consists of 261-eggs from several farms, in addition to more eggs expected a month after this round hatches. We even picked up quail and bantams for the first time.
We did not sell any birds during this period or have any farm visitors aside from some friends, who I notified. Some of you who have followed us for sometime now may already know we had to sell off all our chickens a couple of years ago due to our sons poor health. We had just started over last spring and all of them had just come in to laying age when this happened. One day before I received the phone call placing our farm on quarantine, I had finally gotten the darkest Marans egg I had ever personally seen from one of our new girls. I learned that we would need to euthanize the entire population here on the farm. Every. Single. Chicken.
I had put so much time and energy into building a new barn with special breeding pens. Now it sits half built. I was so devastated I couldn’t even talk about it for weeks. In the time between the shocking diagnosis and when we put them down, I could not tend them without sobbing. I stopped having my coffee on the front lawn with them. When I would come out of the house, they would chase me everywhere, so I stopped going outside. My husband had to take care of them. At the same time, some extreme family drama was going on which did not help matters.
So, for those of you that asked me what we will have in the spring the answer is we won’t have any chicks, eggs or pullets for sale because we will be building our flocks back up. Again. I refuse to give up.