Herbs versus Medications: Gastrointestinal Stasis- a Deadly Condition.

I am a student of herbs. I have spent many years growing and using herbs, and I recently finished the intermediate class at the Herbal Academy of New England. I view herbs as a preventative, an immune system builder, and an overall heath booster. However, things will happen, and in an emergency, I will take my animals to the vet. I will give antibiotics if recommended, and I will readily admit that a chemical medication saved Sugar's life a couple of weeks ago.
I also firmly believe that herbs are under used in our culture, and I believe that medications and antibiotics are over used. However, if herbs were all that were needed, the chemical antibiotics and other medications would have never been studied or created.

A few weeks ago,  I noticed one evening that Sugar was just lying around. Now, this isn't necessarily out of the ordinary. Every rabbit is allowed a bad 'hare' day once in a while. So, I added his fresh hay, romaine lettuce, and fresh pineapple to the cage, and I went to bed. 

The next morning, I came down, made my coffee and started for the den where his cage is.
The trick to catching this early is understanding your rabbit and their routine.  I already knew something was wrong before I even got in there. So here was what I found:

#1. Sugar always starts thumping when he hears me in the kitchen making my coffee. He cannot wait to get out in the mornings, but this morning, he did not.
#2. When I got in the den, he was still lying down in his cage.
#3. When I went to the cage and opened it, he didn't get out.
#4. He had not eaten any of his lettuce, hay, or pineapple from the night before.
#5. I remembered he was rather lazy the night before.
#6. I got him out, and he just stayed on the couch with me. He had no desire to play.
#7. I saw no evidence that he had used his litter box.

Sugar is not sick here, just sleeping.

At this point, I knew something had gone horribly wrong with Sugar's system. We left immediately for the vets office. I couldn't get an appointment till 3 in the afternoon, so we just went, signed in, and waited in the car. I told them it was an emergency, and I would wait till she could work me in.
About an hour later, she worked us in and diagnosed the dreaded, gastrointestinal stasis. She did say that it appeared to be in the very early stages. She said that I had done nothing wrong, his weight was perfect, and his diet is perfect. She said it was just one of those things that happens. What is so sad, however, is that she said most of the time people do not get their rabbits in soon enough to save them. She said another 24 hours, and we would have had a different outcome.  Rabbits cannot survive for very long without eating, and with no fecal output, his system had blocked up. Gastrointestinal stasis causes their intestines to stop up. The first sign is that their poops will change in size, and sometimes be connected to each other by strings of hair. At this point, you can up fresh pineapple and papaya to counter this. If that doesn't work, fecal output will continue to decrease in size and slow down to an eventual stop. At the same time, the rabbits will stop eating, and start laying around lethargic. The night before Sugar got sick, he was lethargic, but did want his favorite treats. By the next morning, he wasn't eating at all.

Within a 24 hour period, he had gone from a bouncy, healthy bunny one morning, to extremely sick on the next morning. 
I am so blessed because:
#1. Sugar survived.
#2. I knew his habits well enough to catch it early.
#3. My vet took me seriously, and immediately prescribed medication to force his intestines to work.
We left the vet with a weeks worth of a liquid medication called Reglan.
She showed me how to give it to him, and told me to go to the store and get baby food- like mashed carrots, apple, etc. I was to make him eat through the syringe about ever hour or two during the day. In addition, she said to get pineapple juice, and make him drink that to help dissolve any hair he may have in his gut.

The reglan made him extremely drowsy, and for several days I was with him constantly. I even took him to work with me every day. He finally started using the litter box later that day, and his droppings began at about 1/4 their normal size. After just 6 hours with the medication, he began eating his hay on his own. It took about a week before he was his normal, happy self again. 

I learned a valuable lesson though. 
I would rather pay an un-needed vet bill than ever risk Sugar's life.
Twenty-four more hours, and he would have either died, or needed surgery that he may not have survived.

My advice is this:
#1. Trust your instincts.
#2. Know your animals.
#3. Provide fresh clean water, hay, and pellets daily, as well as fresh lettuces and some fruit like pineapple. Hay should make up a major part of their diet; however, I provide unlimited hay and pellets. Plus, they get the fresh, organic vegetables, lettuces, and some fruit twice a day.
#4. Keep their living conditions clean. If I didn't change litter boxes every day or two, it would be impossible to tell whether he was using his box.
#5. I believe the herbs keep my chickens and rabbits healthy and happy; however,
I will not rely solely on them once sickness sets in, we will go to a vet.

I believe fresh/ dried herbs daily as a preventative and immune booster is a powerful tool for everyone, including our pets. 
However, in an emergency, I will, and I will always advise you to take your animals to a vet to get diagnosed.

Wild, Feral Chickens in Bermuda? Yes!

This summer we went to Bermuda. The water and beaches were absolutely amazing. 
                         This was one of the most naturally beautiful places that I have ever been.
Prior to going, when I was researching a bit, I discovered that the entire island of Bermuda has feral chickens. While Bermuda considers them a huge problem because of crop devastation, they were absolutely adorable! Everywhere you looked you could see chickens sunbathing, scratching, tending their babies, etc. Chickens are as plentiful there as squirrels are here in North Carolina. 

One very interesting thing about the chickens in Bermuda is the fact that they have no predators. No hawks, raccoon, opossums, etc. The only true predators Bermuda says there are for chickens are: rats, crows, and cars. 

Bermuda is actively attempting to decrease the massive population of chickens which has been 
estimated to be at least 30,000. Bermuda itself is only 21 miles, and is inhabited by approximately
65,000 people. At the rate of increase, and no predators it will not be long before the chickens
out number the humans. I found this information here, and you can learn much more about them.
While their numbers are slowly dwindling, it appears the chickens have decided to begin
a colony in this graveyard, which is surrounded  by a huge grove of trees.
 Here, they have cover, safety, and are relatively protected from the tourists.
What is interesting to consider is the fact that they survive alone, without commercial feed or medications. They are amazing, and it is proof that given the ability and lack of predators, chickens are smart enough to take care of themselves, feed themselves, and medicate themselves naturally.
I did not have time to hike through the wildlife in Bermuda, and as you can see it is lush. I would like to offer one possible reason why the feral chickens are able to survive without conventional medications. In Bermuda, certain herbs grow wild, and the chickens have unlimited access to them. 

"These include arugula, basil, chives, coriander, cumin, dill and fennel ( Foeniculum vulgare), aromatic, which grows wild in just about every corner of Bermuda but is not at all gathered for commercial reasons. It is a native of Southern Europe and is naturalized in Britain and North America. It was one of the plants introduced to Bermuda in 1616. Traditionally, it was grown in Bermuda to eat with fish, in particular salt fish. Also common are garlic, marjorum, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage (the edible herb, not the bush), and thyme."

Now, this is just my own little theory, and I have no scientific evidence to back it up, but it is very interesting, don't you think? So, if you are a chicken lover, I highly recommend Bermuda!
Yes, that is me!

Simply Saturday Blog Hop!


Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!
Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

Did you know.....?

Did you know........?
Did you know that 5:30 am smells different than any other time of the day?
Did you know that a hen sings a song after she lays her egg?
Did you know that a rabbit can be the best indoor pet ever?
Did you know that a tomato you grew yourself really does taste better?
Did you know that tending your herb garden in the evenings reduces your stress levels?
Did you know that chickens have emotions?
Did you know that there is nothing like the feeling of a freshly laid egg, that is still warm, in your hand?
Did you know that your animals, including chickens, miss you when you are gone?
Did you know that starting a backyard chicken hobby will be one of the most rewarding and frustrating things you have ever attempted?
Did you know that it is possible to grieve the sudden loss of a chicken?
Did you know that there is great joy in the morning, when you wake to realize the sick bird you nursed through the night, survived?
Did you know that a cup of coffee tastes better when you hear a rooster crowing in the background?
Did you know that every hen has a unique personality?
Did you know that each hen has her favorite treats?
Did you know that a hen, sunbathing or dust bathing, is in absolute bliss?
Did you know that guineas really are stupid?
Did you know that your entire flock will run to you when they see you coming?
Did you know that a rabbit really does 'thump' when it is irritated or scared?
Did you know that a rabbit loves to watch tv with you?
Did you know that your animals will become the smartest and most beautiful ever?
Did you know that your animals believe the same thing about you?
Did you know that time spent sitting, watching your chickens will become your favorite?
Did you know you will eventually schedule dinner around letting the chickens 'free-range' before dark.
Did you know that on the hottest day of the year, you will want to change their waterers every few hours just to make sure they are safe?
Did you know that on the coldest day of the year, you will put on three layers of clothes so that you can double check your water heaters every few hours for the same reason?
Did you know that becoming a 'farm girl' will change every aspect of your life, but you will not regret it?

Did you know that guineas have eye lashes?

I didn't, but I do now.
It is amazing what you notice when you slow down and pay attention.

Simple Saturday Blog Hop


Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!
We have a two new  blog hop hosts joining us this week on Simple Saturdays. I am positive you will enjoy their blog pages, as much as we do.
Please welcome and visit Elaine from
and Brittany from
Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

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Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

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Live Ready Now

Tiny House
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Summer Versus Winter

We do love summer time at Happy Days Farm, but it has been a scorcher this week! We have seen 100 degrees twice already. The humidity is high, but I must say that I think I prefer it to winter. Which do you prefer? Here are a few photos showing the difference in a North Carolina summer and winter at Happy Days Farm.