Death of a Dream

Sorry it’s been a while since I last wrote.  I’m afraid that we have all been a bit “down” lately, and trying to sound cheerful in a blog post just seemed a bit too difficult.  I mentioned before that we have had some chooks get sick and die with weird liver effects and we had been trying to diagnose the problem using the internet, but when another hen become ill in the same way we thought it was time to call in the experts and so we took her to the local vet.  He was very helpful and sent us to the pathology section of the Department of Primary Industries (Ad Dept) for a post mortem.  The results came back as Avian Tuberculosis: no preventative measures, no diagnostic tests, no vaccine, no treatment, no cure, no hope for Lydia’s dream of an organic egg business anymore.  😦  Oh, did I mention that the disease is zoonotic?, so people can catch it too although it doesn’t seem to cause any symptoms from what I can tell.  The bug is particularly difficult to get rid of as it stays in the soil for up to 4 years, crosses to sparrows and other wild birds as well as to mice to spread it around through their faeces and since disinfectants don’t really touch it either it is basically here to stay.  The chooks can have the disease for many months or even a year or two before any symptoms appear as it only shows in the latter stages of the disease in birds 18 months or older.  This makes it is very hard to control from a bio-security point of view as you don’t usually quarantine new stock for 18 months!  Some birds are more affected than others, our Barnevelders dropped like flies whereas we have only lost 1 Araucana so far, but I doubt any are completely immune.  Apparently the disease is not seen so often these days because the modern commercial practice is to cull all laying hens at around 18 months of age.  So, that is bad news for us, we are now feeling a bit lost and in need of inspiration.

Still, life rushes on.  For a while we thought our lakes were not going to fill, but late rain in August filled them up and the horse and cow had to vacate their favourite paddock for higher land.  Since I last wrote we have started building another chook house / garden run, burnt off lots of piles of branches, tried my hand at making liquid soap and planted a bunch of fruit trees in a sunny spot then carefully ran an electric fence around them to keep the possums and wallabies away.  Spring is now thinking of coming to Mole Creek, and I have been hopeful and planted some tomato seeds in the greenhouse.  I’ve also planted lots of pea seeds in the chook house / fenced gardens so I am watching every day for them to germinate.  I love home grown peas!  We had another September wind storm recently, causing about 4 trees to fall behind the house.  We were actually quite pleased about that as we wanted the trees down but they were going to be really nasty and dangerous to try to bring down ourselves.  God felled them for us.  🙂  One of them clipped the lounge room roof but did not do too much damage other than poking a couple of holes in the roofing iron and flattening the TV aerial – Again!  We were without power for 2 days and were very thankful for our limited off grid power which allowed us to have lights, fridge and freezers and some limited computer use.

Anyway, I best be off to do the chores and get Josiah moving on his schooling for the day.  Other plans for the day include paying a farmer in Beulah for 10 rolls of hay to be delivered this week, poo picking the horse and cow paddock and checking on our boar Erlestoke who did not eat his tea last night – a major event for a pig!

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