Friday, April 15, 2011

Advice for Chickens with Problems

Question:  Hello I want to be a mother hen. I have laid a clutch of eggs but they just do not hatch, what am I doing wrong?
Signed Mom To Be Maybe

Dear Maybe
There are many reasons why a hen's eggs do not hatch. If you are new to laying that could be the issue, your first few eggs are not fully developed. If there is no rooster present, or you have not mated, your eggs will not be fertile and will not hatch. You must be broody, this means you must sit on your eggs to keep them warm, as if you do not the chicks inside will not develop. You must also turn your eggs regularly to allow the chick to develop properly. Even with all things done right there are other things that can go wrong such as a bacterial infection.

Hopefully the problem with hatching your eggs is minor. Keep in mind that it takes 21 days for chicken eggs to hatch, so maybe you have not been sitting on them long enough.


Question:  Help I feel like a freak. I have no feathers on my neck and its chilly. I an a fully grown rooster but have never had feathers on my neck and I feel silly, what can I do to grow feathers?
Signed Naked

Dear Naked
Very likely you are a breed of chicken that is called Naked Neck. It is normal for you not to have feathers on your neck. This breed originate in Transylvania, oddly enough, home of the vampires. It is best for you to have a shelter on colder days when the temperatures are below freezing, but otherwise have no worries. The lack of feathers on your neck is totally normal.


Question:  I am a rooster and apparently I am disliked. People seem to be mad at me for making so much noise, but I cannot help it crowing is so natural. What can I do to help people to like me better?
Signed Big Mike

Dear Mike
Roosters are very valuable to some people but not everyone likes them. It is impossible to get new chicks without a rooster to fertilize the eggs. Chances are your owner knows this and that is why they have you around. Roosters are also very good at protecting their hens. If a predator is small enough the rooster can often scare it away, and will even try to fight larger predators such as foxes! Ideally the noise will alert your owner who can act quickly to secure the safety of all the chickens.

Some roosters are not friendly, they get mean and chase even people away from the hens, if you want to be liked, don't do that. Additionally your crowing is probably annoying even though it is natural. People need to understand that you crow, not with the intent of waking everyone up, but rather to state “I am here!”. You are just trying to warn off intruders in the area.

Hopefully, Mike, you will have owners that understand the real value of a rooster and not dislike you for being what you are.
Reading for Chicken Owners

Care of Pet Chickens

Why Won't All Chicken Eggs Hatch

The Naked Neck Rooster

Chicken Breeds for Pets

Friday, April 1, 2011

Advice for Pets who are not Looking After their Offspring

Question:  I am a mother cat. For a while I was not feeling too good, then one day I felt really ill, and after a few hours I had six small versions of myself, apparently they are called kittens. Four of the kittens are doing great, but two are not as big and are not able to get as much of my milk to drink, what can I do?
Signed Worried Mother

Dear Worried Mother
Hopefully your owner will be aware that two of the kittens are not getting enough to eat. Because you have a large litter that is probably the problem although occasionally things like this happen when a kitten has a heart defect or other problem. Your owner needs to start bottle feeding the kittens (they could have a vet check them too). The kittens need to be fed proper kitten milk replacement formula (KMR) not cows milk. They can stay with you otherwise for warmth and bonding.


Question:  Howdy, I am a dog who has had puppies. To be honest I don't really like them and often walk away from them. My owner keeps forcing me to be with them, but they hurt when they try to nurse, and I am kind of scared of them. I would really rather have them gone.  What is a dog to do?
Signed Bad Mom

Dear Mom
Not all female dogs want puppies, some want nothing to do with puppies, and do not want to be mothers. Your owner must remove the puppies and look after them. Your owner will need to buy proper milk replacement for the puppies, know as Puppy Milk Replacement (PMR) and start bottle feeding them. Cows milk should not be used. Your owner should also consider having you spayed because, although you may look after your next litter, there is just a good of a chance that you will not.


Question:  Hi, I am a first time mother sheep, a ewe. I had twin lambs, but only really want to feed one of them. I kick when the other tries to nurse, I just don't have enough milk for both. What should I do with my other lamb?
Signed, Mom of Twins

Dear Mom of Twins
Sheep, and goats too, will sometimes reject one of their babies, in your case, a lamb. These lambs will start to stand hunched up and eventually die. Often then are getting a little bit to drink, but not enough to survive. The best option is for another ewe to adopt your lamb, as might happen if another ewe gave birth but her lamb died, however not all ewes will accept new lambs, so its best for your owner to start bottle feeding that lamb with special Lamb Milk Replacement Formula. As with the other baby animals, lambs should not have cows milk.

©B Nelson

*Note: It is very important all newborn mammals get their mothers first milk – colostrum. If a mother animal has not allowed her baby to drink at all it is vital the owner contact a veterinarian about getting some colostrum for that newborn (you can milk a sheep or goat for this, but its rather hard to milk a cat or dog).

Further Reading on Bottle Feeding Orphan, or Rejected, Pets