Dorene Olson

Bedding for baby chicks and adult birds

Bedding is an essential component to chicken husbandry and there are several viable options and reasons for choice. For baby chicks, flooring is a critical issue as, if the flooring is slick, they can develop an issue called “splay leg”, which causes their legs to grow askew from the center of their body and crippled them for life.  An adult bird can live with mild forms of this, less successfully if it has occurred in both legs, but it is an uncomfortable condition and preventable so their is no need to subject them to this chance.  As a result, newspaper is not recommended.  Shavings can be used, however, the chicks can ingest the shavings which can cause impaction of their crop, which can be fatal.  Some breeders that I know use old t-shirts, which can be easily laundered, others I know use paper towels. For adult birds, during the day being on pasture or in their run is the norm, which are obviously either grass or dirt, although for those of you who have chickens realize, grass quickly goes by the wayside after the chickens are done with it. Bedding in the coop usually consists of shavings, although some people use straw. Sand is also a good alternative.

Dorene Olson

Chicken naming ceremony: “Xesca” means “girl” in Catalon

I have a very dear friend who raises a very rare breed of chicken called a Penedesenca.  They are from the Catalonian region of Spain. They are very unusual in one regard. Usually the colour of the ear lobe dictates the colour of the egg – a white ear lobed chicken lays a white egg, a red ear lobed chicken lays a brown egg. The Penedesenca chicken is a dark black chicken with a white ear lobe that lays the second darkest brown egg, second only to the Marans. I have a little Silkie/Serama/Cochin cross that is a rescue from Georgia, who was originally named after me, but I got her confused with another chicken and thought that her name was Cuckoo, so she has always gone by that name.

Bedding material for animals: chickens and others

Bedding material comes in many options, and there are pros and cons to each one. Depending on the animal and its life stage, bedding varies by species and age.  Obviously, livestock and hoof stock, like cows, sheep, horses, alpacas and llamas, work well on beddings of straw (not hay, that is what they eat) although some people use shavings, such as pine shavings. With domestically kept chickens, ducks and turkeys (and other related poultry animals) straw shavings can be dangerous, as they are slippery and unstable, and can cause a condition called “splay leg”, where the legs go uselessly out to each side and the animal can neither stand up nor walk, and can result in permanent paralysis and subsequent death. I worked for 11 years at an avian and exotic veterinarian clinic, and saw many cases of splay legged birds. Our treatment options wavered from surgery, hobbling and such treatments as putting (smaller birds) in Dixie cups with their legs tethered together with cotton or gauze wadding between their legs to keep them in the proper position.

Dorene, on naming Border Collies

I have a “thing” about naming things, for some reason, it is really important to me.  For instance, with my four Border Collies, Piper came named “Blackie”, which not only offended my creative sensibilities but was socially awkward. One of the first jobs I did with him was rescue four Pekin ducks off Jefferson Lake in Forest Park during the middle of the day and I was running around as the sole white woman yelling her head off to “Blackie way to me!  And Blackie come bye, and Blackie LIE DOWN!” … it was beyond awkward. So after many weeks of pondering, I named him WyndSong’s Pied Piper, as he leads his charges to the water but they can swim and do not die.

A Truly Inspiring Tale of Love

Hi There, Dorene here, I haven’t posted in a while, hope everyone is enjoying this pretty spring. I want to share a tale of wonder that is such a gift in my life. It is truly inspirational. I recently now live alone and am pretty lousy about asking for help. For the last two weeks,  I had felt like death warmed over and was in bed for a few days, only getting up to care for the animals.

Princesses at AmberSky

Sparkle, magic, song and dance light up AmberSky. From Cinderella to the Frozen sisters, each girl has a special twinkle in their eyes. Sparkle, magic, song and dance light up AmberSky. From Cinderella to the Frozen sisters, each girl has a special twinkle in their eyes. Read the full blog at:

Parrots call “Fire!” Dorene Olson is skeptical

This is a raging story on two Amazon parrots who apparently called 911 and said:  “Help!   Fire!” and were subsequently rescued from a burning house. I have worked with parrots since 1991 when I worked for 11 years at an avian and exotic vet clinic as a vet tech and animal behaviourist. I started from scratch – had NO experience with birds what-so-ever, my mother had a “thing” about animals in cages and I was never exposed to them. When I started at the clinic, I developed a first-time, massive allergic reaction to them, headaches, breaking out in hives, face, neck and hands burning and turning red, but eventually I overcame that, for some strange reason.

Report praises county’s “fragmented” cities, calls for “carrots, sticks” to encourage inter-city partnerships

A state-commissioned report by a coalition of universities praises St. Louis County’s system of multiple municipalities as efficient, responsive, and resistant to the corrupting influence of special interests. Instead of municipal mergers, the report suggests Missouri attempt to enhance the efficiency of local governmental by encouraging “inter-city partnerships” for purchasing or infrastructure development. The report – “Best Practices: An Overview of Current Policies and Strategies for Improving Municipal Efficiencies,” by Mark Tranel, director of the University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL) Public Policy Research Center (PPRC), and research assistant Bradley DiMariano – appears to mark a major victory for opponents of a much publicized effort to merge the City of St.

Turkey helps out buddy (another turkey) with vision problems

Hello everybody, I hope that everyone had a nice holiday weekend with friends and family. Three years ago I added two, 12-hours-old turkey poults (baby turkey) to my established miniature chicken flock. One is named Cricket, she is a Royal Palm, and the other was Bleu Belle, who was a Spanish Black that sadly succumbed to an incurable paralysis brought about by egg laying when she was two. I belong to a Rare Heritage Turkey email list. My girls were/are both called “rare heritage”, meaning that their numbers are low and some even verge on extinction and hearken back to the primitive breeds that our fore founders brought with them and/or developed.

Please don’t abandon Easter ducklings, goslings, chicks

Hello everybody, and happy Easter. Recently I wrote about my Pekin duck, Peacy, and his adopted brother, Onyx, a Cayuga. Well, they were both “Easter Casualties” – ducklings bought on impulse at feed stores and later discarded in parks to fend for themselves, which is always – not sometimes – but ALWAYS deadly. I know Kim from the Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary, and her passion is her waterfowl rescue organization.  Her organization, like any non-profit animal rescue group, is constantly seeking donations for vet bills, feed, bedding, shelter costs, etc.  I am including her April Newsletter here because there is a fun contest that she has going on with duck or geese photos in different categories.  Winners get fun ribbons, and people like you and me can help sponsor not only the contest but also the rescue by donating towards the cost of the ribbons. By the way, Kim has written a one-of-a-kind book on owning and caring for pet ducks, and all their special needs.  I have done waterfowl rescue since 1989, and have have personally housed as many as 72 at one time in my suburban Creve Coeur house (how many ways can you spell labour of love???), but I currently have no waterfowl, just two Bantam chickens, and I miss those webby feetsies.  So if any of you have waterfowl, or even just an interest, I would highly recommend this book.

The Importance of Voting

Louise Charboneau is Ward 3 aldermanic candidate, Steve Lochmoeller’s campaign treasurer. Thank you to Doug Miner (40 South News editor) for the opportunity to issue a last reminder of the importance of citizen participation in the electoral process—the foundation and strength of our country’s government “by the people.” Recently President Obama floated the notion that “It would be transformative if everybody voted—that would counteract money more than anything.” Thirteen countries currently enforce compulsory voting, including Argentina, Australia, and Brazil. ( See Wikipedia: compulsory voting.)

I’ve attached the page on absentee voting from the St.

Bread at its Finest

When we walked in the door of Great Harvest Bread Company at 7 a.m. the air was filled with a crisp mouth watering scent of fresh cinnamon bread right out of the oven. In the hour that we spent watching these bread makers weigh 30 pounds of dough, knead, mix, dip in toppings and bake it was absolutely amazing! Last week I had the opportunity to photograph a wonderful local Maplewood company with my intern, James, from MRH.  Being a business owner myself, I love being able to talk with other business owners and learn about their business.  This local business just happened to be filled with wonderful smells, great tastes, and wonderful staff. Read the full blog at: