For those of you who don’t know me very well let me fill you in a bit. I have been heavily involved in breeding rare, unusual and Heritage poultry for many years now and was finally at the point where I had some of the best birds in the Maritimes. In fact, I believe many of my birds were some of the best in Canada. However, in January 2014 my husband, Neil, was hospitalized after a fall in which he cut open his head and nose quite badly. I felt there was more to his fall and pushed the Dr.’s to investigate further. It turned out that he had suffered a silent heart attack. After numerous tests it became apparent that he would have to have a triple bypass.
In June 2014 Neil had his open heart surgery. The main artery had two serious blockages and one smaller, older one. The worse blockage was more than 90% and another was over 75% blocked. The surgery went well and his recovery was exceptional. The whole experience was thought provoking for us both. I had a lot to face up to.
You see, I was spending a lot of money on chicken feed, shavings, veterinary care, worming meds, parasite deterrents, feeders, waterers, lights, incubators, brooding pens, cages, fencing, wood to build coops and nesting boxes, etc. I was spending even more for power to run the lights, heaters to prevent the waterers from freezing, 5 small incubators and one large incubator. Add in the gas to run back and forth to the feed store and the cost of bringing in new and better bloodlines to improve upon my birds and it was clearly an expensive hobby. I won’t even get into how much time it demanded.
Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE my chickens. This year I had the following breeds: True Ameraucanas (Black, Blue & Splash); Australorps (Black & Blue); Barnevelders; Barred Plymouth Rocks: White Chanteclers; Black Copper & Blue Copper Marans; Columbian Plymouth Rocks; Silver Spangled Hamburgs; Mottled Houdans; Black, Blue, Splash, Buff & Lavender Orpingtons; Olive Eggers; Easter Eggers; Red Shouldered Yokohamas; Golden Laced, Silver Laced and Blue Laced Red Wyandottes; Welsummers; Belgian d’Uccles; Silkies; Bantam Frizzled Cochins; and some mixed breed layers and our devoted “watchdogs” – our Narragansett Turkeys. We also have indoor pets – a cream coloured Golden Retriever, a Golden/Irish Setter mix, 3 loving cats; and my HUGE 16 year old Red-Eared Slider. Obviously I have a VERY understanding husband!
After surgery Neil was only allowed to lift UP TO 5 lbs. I have old injuries to my neck, upper back, middle back and lower back that affect my day to day life and severe arthritis in one shoulder. We aren’t aged but we are older, retired people. I found it very difficult to keep up with my record keeping, shipping eggs in and out, incubating, sales, and care of the chicks PLUS the cleaning, watering and feeding of the older ones. As Neil was able to help out more I found it quite worrisome to be living so far from the hospitals, ambulance, etc. So we decided to begin a serious house hunting expedition.
…. to be continued…