So, aside from art, I've always been a lover of animals. My previous blog post has related my most recent animal-keeping endeavor: chickens!
Recently I've been having a bad rash with my birds, and it upsets me greatly. I've lost 2 now, the hen Hilda for causes I am unsure of (she was found laying down in the coop) and Sass (who I believe fell victim to one of my unruly, and inexperienced cockerels trying to "tread" her). A third chicken (a cockerel named Flynt) is ill with I don't know what, can't stand, and seems to be suffering from a sour crop, which is no-so-good.
Now, this brings me to the major point of this post: do your reasearch before trying to keep any type of animal. Seriously. This is a major deal. Be sure to look up common illnesses and how to treat them, collect any recommended medications or items that could be used as first-aid. Talk to experienced keepers. Learn about the animal itself, what it eats, what it likes, what it needs, be it in its environment, food, or care. It doesn't matter what the animal is: fish, cat, dog, rabbit, lizard, amphibian, etc.
While I wasn't the one who really made the decision to keep chickens at my new place (a handful were already there) I should seriously have done a lot more looking into things like this so that I would be more prepared for when issues arose (and they always do.)
I should have known better. Last year I had to euthanize an iguana I had kept since high school because I was giving him an improper environment to live in. He didn't have enough of the different types of UV light that he needed to survive and came down the Metabolic Bone Disease. Iguanas get that light naturally from the sun, so he was fine in my previous home, where his cage was in a window. Once I moved, however, that was no longer the case and because I hadn't needed any fancy lights before, I didn't think I'd need them after I had moved. Big mistake. I miss that boy something fierce, he was one of the friendliest, most loving and attentive lizards I've ever met.
Every animal has its needs and if you plan to keep them as a pet, their life is in your hands. It is your obligation to give it what it needs to survive. Period.