Aula Seiler

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since Mar 19, 2019
I am currently living on a c.700sqm suburban block with a large garden just north of Perth. In late 2018, I completed a PDC, which whetted my appetite for permaculture in its many guises.
Slowly and surely, I'm integrating permaculture into my life and my garden, which has already proven itself to be a worthwhile endeavour many times over.
Craigie, Western Australia, Australia
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Recent posts by Aula Seiler

Yes, she's doing fine 🙂 I managed to get a good look at the wound a while ago, and it's healed beautifully.
1 month ago
Sarah: yes, birds in general are quite higly strung (to be colloquial) - they have heart attacks quite easily when their adrenaline is up. Not sure if that includes chickens, given they've been domesticated for quite a while, but rather safe than sorry.

Su, thank you for your detailed and helpful post.

So, I'm happy to report that the operation was a success (with my most grateful thanks to my partner and mother for their calming assistance).

We pinned her wings down as best we could with a rag (wrapped around her), then covered her head with a small cloth bag (big enough for her to breathe, but small enough to keep her head in the dark). We made sure to keep her legs in hand, as she was kicking around a little (my partner held the wings, my mother the feet, I was the worried surgeon).

I trimmed the feathers that were in the way of the wound and sprayed the area with Betadine (antiseptic spray). I used a razor blade (initially I tried a Stanley knife with a new blade, but that needed far too much pressure to cut the skin). I cut along where the stick was under the skin - which didn't cause much of a reaction from Pickle. However, when I tried to flush out some of the blood with the saline, she wiggled around a lot.

The stick was just under the skin, but it was attached around the entry point, where the skin had grown around it already. I cut around that as best I could, and was able to remove the entire thing. I flushed the wound again with saline - this time Pickle flipped out, lost her hood and nearly went off the table. We managed to calm her down again, and after a minute or so of keeping her still, we realised the bleeding was already slowing down markedly.

I specifically planned to operate an hour or so before sundown, so she'd basically spend only a very short time moving around before settling down to sleep and thus let the wound clot and heal a little. I'd set up a space for her that was clean, with food and water, away from the other chickens.
I put her in her temporary space, and 20 minutes later got called over by my partner to find that she'd escaped and was digging around in my garden, while trying to get to the other chickens (we only have four, including Pickle, who's the escapist of the group). So I let her into the coop, where she spent the hour or so before sundown acting as if nothing had happened. The wound isn't visible at all - it's covered a little by her breast feathers as well as being quite low on her chest.

She was up and running around the next day - as chatty and mobile as always, and the other chickens didn't seem to realise anything had happened. I picked her up to check the wound today (just over a day after the 'operation') and it seems ok. It's hard to spot - she's a wriggly chicken at the best of times and she's wary of me at the moment, rightly so.

Thanks again to everyone who weighed in with their knowledge and advice!
2 months ago
Wonderful, Amy: thank you!
2 months ago
Hi everyone,

Thank you all for your very helpful (and detailed) advice. I can't do this myself, so am just trying to find someone who can help with something rather bloody (no fainting!). I will update as soon as I have something to report.

Sarah, I did think about the vet, but I know birds are notoriously difficult to treat, so I figure if I can try it myself (someone she trusts and knows) in an environment she trusts and knows, there's a better chance of her not up and dying of a heart attack (also, I think the vet will be very pricey). Besides, I figure if I want to keep chickens, I need to learn how to deal with these things if at all possible.

Last thing: can I use warm salt water (boiled to sterilise) to wash out the wound in the time after I've (hopefully) cut out the stick?

Many thanks,
Aula
2 months ago
Thanks for your comments, Timothy. And yeah, you're right: it's pretty much the definition of impale!

I'm thinking the main risks of leaving it in (but trimming it down, so she doesn't get it caught on anything) are infection as the wood breaks down. Anything else that could be problematic? I know I've had wood splinters too deep to comfortably take out, that have over time worked themselves free. That said, I'm not a chicken and they were splinters, not recognisable parts of a tree...!
2 months ago
Hi :)

I seem to have a chicken that has managed to almost impale herself on a large-ish twig. It seems to have been in there for a few days before I noticed - the skin seems to have grown around it (I tried pulling on it a bit, but it didn't come out even a little). It seems to be just under the skin, rather than deep into her abdomen - one can see the outline of the twig clearly. She doesn't seem bothered by it at all - she's as frisky as ever.
Given that it seems to have healed around the wound, pulling it out isn't an option (it'll rip her skin badly and she'll definitely bleed to death). I'm wondering if I should try to cut around it, and pull it out, risking the bleed-to-death option, or (if it goes well in that regard), risking infection as a large patch of skin will surely be missing (and even multiple salt baths a day will be difficult - she resents being picked up at the best of times).

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Any suggestions if this were one of your chickens? (Kept for eggs, gardening skill and company, so killing for food not an option unless it's the kindest action to take).

Thank you in advance!
Aula
2 months ago
(",)

I have several plants in my garden that are afflicted with something that I suspect might be anthracnose (it is a problem here in WA, though I had no idea it could affect sucha a variety of plants).
My Malabar Spinach (see photos), Lablab beans (photos) and now my peas (photo) all have suspicious spots and things that I can't identify. The Malabar is greatly affected - not sure I can save the plant. The Lablab beans are too, but they might pull through. The peas have only just developed these spots.

These plants are not close to each other in the garden - the beans are a good seven meters away from the peas (which are in a pot), and there is a wall of old-growth ivy and a patio (inc. furniture) between them. The Malabar Spinch is again that far from the peas, with a various plants (inc. a sugar palm) in between. (The beans and spinach are nigh on opposite sides of the large garden). There is traffic between the areas, which could explain the spread, I guess; though I do wonder why nothing elsein between  seems affected. I seem to have rust fungi around as well... seems to be pretty common.

We've had a rainy winter so far, quite cold for where Perth (quite a few nights of 5-7 degrees with 15 degree days) but there are always a few days that heat up to 19 or so degrees, which seems to be what a lot of fungal spores want: damp and warm-ish.

Any help is much appreciated!

Aula
8 months ago
Hello again,

I've had two parsley plants, a Corsican mint and a sage plant in the same bed start to wilt, then within two or three days they're dead. The same bed also contains majoram, rosemary, thyme and Aptenia cordifolia (the hybrid Red Apple, as far as I know) and they are all fine. The bed is L-shaped - c.100cm by 150cm. It started at the short end and has moved around the corner (bypassing the abovementioned plants).

I've ruled out over/under-watering. I checked the roots of the sage and they seemed fine - they weren't rotted or had anything on there that I could see with the naked eye. I assume it's a soil problem but I'm stuck as to how I find out what, and how to stop it spreading. (Worst case it gets to my treasured asparagus, the only survivor of my first attempt to grow from seed).

Any help is most appreciated  (",)
11 months ago
I beg to differ on the eating habits of slaters/ pillbugs, Redhawk. They do eat live plants, perhaps not commonly, but they certainly do in the right circumstances. At the moment, they are so prevalent in my garden that they will eat pretty much any seedling I put out. I've had to repot smaller comfrey plants as they were literally hung with the bugs at night, resulting in no new leaves. I am aware it's a sign of imbalance in my garden; as I've only just started on my permaculture journey, it's not surprising to find drastic imbalances. Any suggestions on what might bring balance back are most appreciated.

When I look at my post, it lists my location on the side (Craigie, WA, Australia) - is this only visible to me? (I am new to forums). I will work on my profile to ensure it contains as much detail as possible.

From what I saw, nothing of the sugarcane was actually eaten. It just looked as if it was cut off and left there, which made it so curious to me.

I have never heard of cutworms but from some very quick reading, that sounds quite feasible. Thank you for that, Anne - I'll look into it some more.
1 year ago
Hello again,

My sugarcane (see photos) has been cut by something/one. As the photos show, the cuts look clean and neat - like someone used secateurs or scissors.
We have no foxes, rabbits, moles (the biggest thing might be the neighbors cat, or the odd rat but what with chicken feed, kitchen scraps, etc. around to eat, I can't see them favouring the cutting down, but not eating, of sugarcane).
It happened overnight, so I doubt it's a bird (unless owls are prone this sort of thing?); also, the sugarcane is (was) located a bit under another large shrub, so it's not as if it's out in the open and easily accessible.

I've had the same thing happen to a carnation plant - it was a lovely little circular growing thing and then one morning it literally looked as if someone had taken scissors to it. I do have a very back slater (pillbug) problem that I'm trying to solve, but as bad as they are for most of my garden right now, even they can't make this kind of neat cut overnight.
It can't be a person as the entire backyard is fenced in (not to mention, what motivation would there be?!).

I'm quite concerned, as the sugarcane in particular was doing quite well - not thrilled to wake up one morning to find it dead for resons I cannot fathom :(
1 year ago