Sunday, June 22, 2003
Lift Our Quarantine!
"Take us to your Chicas."
Well, if anyone doubted the gravity of our quarantine or thought Exotic New Castle Disease was an ailment of Lotto winners, here's proof that the USDA ain't foolin' around. Right up there with Monkey Pox and Mexican Fruit Fly, this chicken sickness has had everyone on high alert.
The vigilance and precautions are paying off, and in hopes of lifting the quarantine the USDA and California Department of Food and Agriculture are visiting farms, and even little Ranchos, so they can test the flocks for the disease. Each bird is checked for symptoms (depression, diarrhea, droopy heads, sudden death) and then swabbed in the posterior.
Swabbin' the poop deck.
The two scientists don a new suit at each stop, because the disease is highly contagious and can be passed from the soles of shoes or the seat of your pants. Once the testing was through, they double bagged their outfits and sprayed disinfectant on everything. They were much friendlier than the first pair of workers that came to warn us about the likely deaths of our chickens and put us on quarantine: "No transporting birds, feathers, bedding, eggs, or equipment, and extreme caution and decontamination if visiting any other birds." Even the Wild Animal Park has been on watch. There is still evidence of the disease in Los Angeles, which means it did spread north, but it appears to have been contained here.
The best part? They loved our Chicas! "Wow, they're so tame. They come when you call them!" And they were impressed with the luxury accommodations our free ranging Chicas enjoy. They thought they were surprisingly healthy looking and were very optimistic about the test results. We will only hear from someone, in two weeks, if the results were not good. At that point we would be offered "fair market value" and the Chicas would be taken away. I am feeling quite confident, even a little bit "cocky;" these Chicas are adored and pampered, spiritually fulfilled, disease resistant super hens!