STRINGS, HOG RINGS, AND OTHER DANGEROUS THINGS
by Richard Liipfert
Every other month I look forward to getting my copy of PEAFOWL TODAY and reading the articles submitted by the membership. There is usually an appeal from the president or editor in each issue for more articles to be submitted. Feeling guilty, I then, for a few days rack my brain trying to think of something of interest to write about. Most often, I come up with nothing and the urge to write an article gradually fades until I receive the next issue. Then, the cycle repeats itself.
This past weekend, I was doing chores in my pens when an idea for an article struck me. After reading the following article, you may conclude that I again came up with nothing, but I'll take that chance and submit my article anyway.
Again, while working in my pens I noticed a Spalding Purple cock limping around favoring one leg. He was obviously in distress and not interested in my help. On closer examination, I realized there was a thin thread-like string wrapped around his foot and leg. It was close to the color of his leg and so was not readily apparent.
As I went to retrieve my catch net, I remembered the day before seeing a Spalding Opal hen with something wrapped around her leg also. It did not seem to be bothering her, and at the time, I was busy trying to sell some birds to a customer, so I made a mental note to deal with it later, then promptly forgot about it until now.
With two birds having the same problem at the same time, I decided that this might be a potential topic for an article. I had been taking photographs of my birds that day so my camera was nearby. I snapped as many pictures as I could and submitted them with this article.
As it turned out, the string wrapped around the leg of the Spalding Purple cock came from a feed sack. Obviously it ended up in the pen, either by inadvertently getting in the feed or by blowing up against the pen and being pulled in by a curious bird. The string removed from the Spalding Opal hen's leg was a piece of frayed visual block that I use as a sight barrier around the pens. An old feather had also become entangled and was being dragged around by the hen.
After removing the string from the legs of the two birds, I searched through all my pens and was surprised to find a variety of innocent looking fibers. In my submitted photos, I've included pictures of this potentially hazardous junk. It includes, as mentioned before, a piece of feed sack string and frayed visual block fabric, as well as pieces of netting materials, several different types of twine, and even a wad of birthday ribbon.
While searching the pens for string like material, I'm embarrassed to say I also found an alarming collection of small pieces of hardware of which I have also submitted photos. Included in this group were a hog ring, a roofing nail, a wing nut, a rubberized roof washer, a roofing screw, and other dangerous debris that could easily be swallowed by my peafowl.
To my knowledge I have never lost a bird to Hardware Disease, but the potential was there. I urge you to always to be on the lookout for the above hazards. When working on your pens, always stop what you are doing, climb down off that ladder, and immediately pick up that nail, hog ring or whatever it was that you dropped before you forget. Otherwise, Murphy's Law comes into play, meaning that if a peafowl finds and swallows it, chances are it will be the best bird on the farm.