Sad Days

It has been a bit of a sad time around the ‘farm’ lately. As anyone knows who lives in Queensland, or who is in Australia and watches the news it has been raining almost nonstop in this state for weeks now. This creates some conditions which are not great for keeping chickens as the chickens do not cope well with high humidity for extended periods. It makes them susceptible to all kinds of respiratory problems, it breeds molds which can be toxic to them, and young poultry in particular are very vulnerable to a parasitic disease called Coccidiosis.

My chickens are no exception to this, and no matter how hard I have tried to keep them dry and healthy, I have, nontheless lost a couple to the weather conditions. On top of having to sell some, and give others away, this has reduced my flock size quite dramatically. I am down from my one time grand total of 38 birds, to 8. This will make it easier when it comes time for me to move. I will have just four hens to take with me. Three hens will stay here and the one remaining rooster is sold, pending pickup.

Redback spider

Redback spider (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s still bittersweet though. Especially the latest death. I lost a little Gold Laced Bantam Wyandotte this morning to a suspected red back spider bite. This doesn’t happen very often. I have seen a total of four red back spiders in my lifetime, and given that I am turning 50 this year, that is not a bad ‘strike rate.’ So, to lose and animal to the bite of this spider (the equivalent in the USA would be the black widow) is kind of a shock, but the evidence all pointed to it. There was a messy web, where I found the poor little pullet, cold and lethargic. There was no sign of the spider, however and I suspect the hen ate it. There’s karma for you!

I have made that part of the coop off limits anyway for now until I can get in there and spray some permethrin around to make sure no other nasties might be waiting to reduce my flock any further.

To all my Aussie friends, be careful where you poke your fingers. Redbacks are notorious for lurking in dark corners!

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2 thoughts on “Sad Days

  1. How sad. I’m sorry you’ve lost so many chooks – and one to a spider! I see my girls chasing spiders (and eating them) all the time. I never thought to worry about them being bitten. I used to see heaps of redbacks when I lived in Perth, but not here in Sydney. Here we have plenty of funnel web spiders though. But somehow that seems better than loosing them to the heat and wet weather as you have. Like I said, very sad.

    Hang in there, I’m sure the move will be tough but you’ll come out the other side with a new start and great things waiting for you.

    I subscribe and you’re right, I’m sure I’ll find the blog on the new site without a problem. But thanks for the heads up, if I don’t hear from you for a while, I’ll come looking.

  2. Hi Laura,

    The one comfort I have about the spider bite death is that it was quick and I didn’t have to put her down myself. I hate when I have to put them down. Even though I know it is the right thing to do, it feels like such a betrayal of trust, to me.

    I think I would freak out if I came face to face with a funnel web spider! We don’t have those in QLD but I did encounter a trap door spider once, years ago in Central Queensland. That was a hair raising adventure!

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