- We came out into the pantry and found Henrietta had flown up to the side of the brooder without anyone there. (See above!) She hadn’t been trying to get up to perch unless there were a human there to see closer up. That seems to have changed!
- The as up til now still unnamed girls now have names! The smallest chick is now named Little Bit – she may be little, but boy she’s bold and has gumption! The darkest chick we’ve named Hallie – she’s beautiful just like Hallie Berry! (I wonder if she’d be flattered to know our chick has been named after her?! LOL!)
- We changed the set-up of the pantry so that the flow through the room is better – which means that the girls are a little outside the normal flow of traffic now – it should be interesting to see if this changes their level of interest in us.
This is Little Bit. She is the least thrilled of the girls to be held. Although if you hold her somewhat snugly, she does calm down some. She is QUITE the digger. Remember the meal worms of yesterday? Well, William and I watched several of them burrow down into the rice hull litter in the bottom of the brooder yesterday. We wondered what would come of them. Little Bit must have heard them or something – she kept tilting her head toward the “ground” and before long she started scratching… and then her scratching turned into downright frantic digging. Moments later – voila! – a big fat meal worm in her beak. The mayhem that ensued was hilarious. Poor Little Bit – she only got a little bit of the worm after all of that hard work.
Henrietta, I think, actually seeks out interaction with us. As soon as the boys or I approach the brooder – she’s quickly to the side we might be on and checking us out. Whenever my hand might descend into the brooder (to change water, to refill feed, etc.) she will attempt to hop on my hand and once made it nearly up to my shoulder!
William and I decided (after some reading online) to get some meal worms at the pet store this afternoon and give them to the girls. OH MY WORD! What a riot! They were SO funny! Even though they each had a meal worm in their beak, they would run around avoiding the other, and generally throwing a little tizzy fit. It was absolutely comical.
We were thankful for a pretty calm day with the cats – no frank assaults on the brooder or the chicks. We’ve been much more careful about the cats’ location when heading to another portion of the house, out of doors, etc. Pepper continues to be jealous of the chicks – she’s the most jealous dog I think I’ve ever met! It’s a little bit on the pathetic side! She barks and barks if we should happen to talk to the chicks, she doesn’t like it when we pet them, and she really doesn’t like it if we spend more than just a moment observing them. Silly dog!
It was a pretty quiet day today. Quiet is good.
I think the things I am most surprised about thus far are:
- Our chicks eat a LOT!
- Our chicks can dirty their water in seeming SECONDS!
- Our chicks are already trying out their wings!
- Our chicks already seem quite a bit bigger!
Last night – even before we had thought of heading to bed, we were astonished to see the biggest of the chicks flapping her wings and trying to get up to the top of the waterer! By early this morning, she’d managed the feat! We’ve named the biggest chick Henrietta. The next to the smallest one William has named Millie. The other two are nameless as of yet – but there’s plenty of time.
We found Caleb – our Maine Coon Cat kitten sitting in the brooder with the chicks tonight. He had then herded into the corner behind the feeder. I can just imagine the dialogue going on in his head… “Hmmm… which of these tasty morsels shall I try first?” Caleb is very Garfield-like. At seven months of age he weighs 10 pounds – and he’s not fat! – he’s just something akin to a linebacker in build. After a swift removal from the brooder, a firm scolding, and speedy escort out the back door, the chicks seem to have recovered from the trauma. Phew!
All in all, it’s been a pretty quiet day. We did decide that the smallest of the chicks must be younger. One disadvantage of buying from the feed & seed store – no exact dates on birth of these girls.
We’ve talked it over and can’t decide if it’s just us, or if the girls have doubled in size in one 24-hour stretch of time. They did go through an entire mason jar’s worth of starter in that same amount of time. Four little chicks! Who knew they could eat so much!
Right now we’re trying to decide how often we should change the litter in the brooder. It’s not smelly. But I can’t seem to find a real clear answer on how often or what signs trigger the need to change it out. When the time comes, I’m sure my compost heap with sing the hallelujah chorus – rice hulls AND chicken poop! The stuff dream gardens are made of!
We’ve got the starts of a backyard flock.
After WEEKS of research, hours of searching the web, and numerous visits to the various feed and seed stores in our area, we finally decided on numbers and breeds.
I knew first and foremost I wanted good, reliable egg layers. At first I didn’t really care whether they would be white or brown eggs – but the more I talked to the kids and friends (who amazed me with their interest in purchasing eggs when the time was appropriate), the more convinced I was we would need both brown egg layers and white egg layers.
After hours of comparing one breed to the other – and going through what I *think* may well be the entire supply of any book even remotely associated with raising chickens from our local library – I decided we should get:
4 Rhode Island Red chicks
4 White Leghorn chicks
Availability is something that sometimes precludes these kinds of decisions, however!
Yesterday the boys and I went out and got all of the supplies we needed to set up a brooder – with the hope of coming home with chicks on the morrow. We visited many stores that one would assume would have supplies – whether or not they were originally designated as a potential brooder, would at least have options that would be converted into an acceptable brooder. I think I was maybe most surprised at the amazing amount of money one could lay out on such a pursuit. I’m thankful for all of the great web sites and brooder designs I was able to peruse online – the creativity and ingenuity that people have shown is great!
After considering many options – we decided on a pretty bare bones approach with as little cash outlay as possible. Here’s the link that helped us settle upon our design: http://www.poultryhelp.com/brooders.html We ended up going to Fred Meyer and finding the largest clear storage bin they had and purchasing it – grand total: $19.99. And sure enough, by the time we went to sleep last night, our brooder was in place.
As the night wore on, though, I decided I should take one more peek at the different breeds and decide on some options that I would be willing to substitute. I came up with:
Barred Plymouth Rock
Both are brown egg layers (I found it hard to find a lot of information about white egg layer alternatives), and the more I read, the more I thought that maybe it was Dominiques that I wanted – maybe even more than the Rhode Island Reds! I figured availability would play into that though.
So our big aim for the day was to make a circuit of all of the places that were advertising that they had chicks in stock, check them out, determine if we felt the chicks were healthy, thriving, and met the breed requirements that we were looking for. We also decided that if we had no luck, then we’d end up ordering online from one of the several hatcheries that make that service available.
I’m not 100% sure how many miles we put on the car today, but we did manage to take a pretty decent tour of a good chunk of the greater Portland metropolitan area. We learned a lot! And we found out that our favorite place was actually a place we went yesterday – Ag West in Hillsboro. After hours of getting a tour of all of the other places, we decided to go back to Ag West.
We spoke with the staff there and learned that they had Dark Red Island Red’s, but none of the other breeds that I’d decided on. The gentleman at the counter did mention that he was able to make a special order, however. That would preclude me ordering 5 of a particular breed, though. As the day had been progressing I’d been thinking how much I really wanted the Dominiques, though. So I asked about them. He confirmed they were an excellent choice. So I said, “Okay, order 5 of those for me.” It was then that I realized I didn’t have any white egg layers yet. I asked about White Leghorns. He said he doesn’t like to order them, and asked if there were another white egg layer I was interested in. I asked what he recommended, and he and the gentleman farmer at the counter next to me said nearly in unison, “California Whites.” So, I said, “Okay, give me 5 of those, too.”
The boys looked at me and said, “We should get some Rhode Island Reds.” And I told the man, “And I’ll take 4 of the Dark Rhode Island Reds.”
I just couldn’t imagine going home with NO chicks after all of the work we’d put in thus far!
So, we picked out our four chicks, put them in a cardboard box – which the boys “debated” should be the one to hold in the car on the way home, told the man I’d take a 50 pound bag of chick starter, and a 50 pound bag of rice hulls (for litter).
The trip home was uneventful. We got in the door, we got the flooring all put together, and gently introduced our babies to the waterer by dipping their beaks in, and set them in.
We’re pretty much already in love.
THEY’RE SO STINKING CUTE!
I can hardly wait until they’re a little bit bigger and we can get them out into the yard.
I’m wondering, however, how this will alter my coop building agenda!
I know there are several out there who have talked about how they feel as if bathroom issues are ruling their lives, so I figured it was time to start talking in earnest about what can be done for this. But before we go there, I think I need to back up to the beginning just a bit.
There is great urban legend out there that says that DS = butt glued to the toilet. I’m sorry, but that just really isn’t so. And if it is, then something is NOT right. So if that’sbeen your understanding and you’ve decided that you’ve just got to live with it, can I just encourage you to take a minute and do some careful examination of some basic choices in your life to see if we can’t find a better quality of life for you? Okay? Seriously – it’s not supposed to be like this, and if it is – I kid you not, there is something wrong going on.
First of all – let’s define diarrhea. I know, seems obvious – but until I worked for GI doctors, I really had no idea what the definition of it was. So here we go!
Diarrhea is watery – there is no form. There is no waiting if you have the urge. It is no respecter of time or place. It is in control.
Here are some excellent references that everyone should read:
Next, if you are a newbie – i.e., less than three months post-op, and feel like every BM is essentially pudding consistency and wonder if that’s diarrhea, then the answer to your question is this: NO. Those are pudding poops, and that’s normal early out. In fact, that may be normal for more than early out. I’m six years post-op and I still have some pudding poops. (Hooray – that means the surgery is still doing it’s thing!)
There are things that can cause diarrhea – for anyone! And there are things that can definitely tip a DS’er in that direction. The problem with all of this – you have to factor in the basic detail that every person has a unique physiology. So for one person – lactose may be the big enemy. For someone else – it may be simple sugars. Both instances may be true for a normie, but for some DS’ers it’s even more true.
When I talk to a DS’er who has having bathroom issues that involve more than a few trips to the toilet for a BM daily, I immediately want to know – are you doing the basics? They are:
- Minimum of 64 oz of non-sweetened (artificially or otherwise) fluids daily, with the goal of doubling that consistently
- 90 to 120 grams of protein daily
- 30 to 35 grams of dietary fiber daily
- Sufficient fat intake – and good for you fats are important!
- Taking all of my vitamins daily (See http://www.bodybybaltasar.com/DS_vitamins.pdf if you’re not sure about vitamins.)
- Getting my labs done consistently
If you’re doing the basics, then it’s time to start looking at whether or not you need to tweak some stuff.
First and foremost, it’s really important to understand that chronic dehydration can and will feed chronic diarrhea. The problem being that there is some urban understanding that you should just throw any fluids at dehydration and everyone will live happily ever after.
Unfortunately, not so. Some people find that sugar (whether it’s high fructose corn syrup – which is in a LOT of drinks, or other forms of regular sugar) can actually cause the problem to be worse – or at least enable it to continue on. There are also folks who find that artificial sweeteners actually cause problems for them. The only way you’ll know one way or the other for either regular sugars or artificial sweeteners is to do some little cause and effect trials.
Next, you gotta be realistic about the fact that human beings are not designed to consume massive amounts of sugar. I know – everyone wants tons of license with no repercussion – but sorry, that’s not real life. If you are consuming LOTS of sugars I have two thoughts:
one, are you getting enough protein in? cause if you’re not, your body may be asking you for a quick fix to it’s basic need for a good consistent intake of protein; and second, are you dehydrated? Cause if you are, you may be answering your body’s basic thirst with a quick pop of something in the mouth that gives you a brief warm fuzzy in exchange forwhat it really needs – to be hydrated.
Basic fact: Sugar feeds the BAD bacteria in the gut. It not only CAN, but in most folks WILL cause a serious imbalance that CAN and WILL cause looser stools.
That’s why so many folks find that probiotics are SO helpful. They restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Not making a change in your sugar intake, however, will not help you – probiotics can only do so much. You’ve got to accept the fact that shooting yourself in the foot will not make you a better marathon runner.
Next, dietary fiber is your friend! If you are not getting in enough dietary fiber, you will have bathroom issues. Not just because the dietary fiber increases the bulk, but because dietary fiber is rich in vitamins that you need to have healthy flora and fauna in your gut!
Please – EVERY single post-op should read http://www.slrhc.org/healthinfo/dietaryfiber/ – and pay serious attention to the fact that you gotta get good for you food in your body. It takes work. It takes forethought. It takes – yes, that horrible word we all hate: discipline. If you don’t know what dietary fiber is, then look at the content chart on that site. Another excellent resrouce: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR20/nutrlist/sr2 0w291.pdf
The cool thing about dietary fiber is that quite a bit of it packs serious protein punch. A 1/4th cup serving of lentils has a ton of dietary fiber and is very protein rich as well!
Now, lest you think, “my bathroom issue is constipation, so I don’t need dietary fiber,” let me just make a point of saying: wrong! If you’re constipated, you DO need more dietary fiber, and more fluids, and probably more fats. But that’s for later.
Next, do you know that some DS surgeons “require” their post-ops to avoid dairy for the first 18 months post-op? Wanna know why? Cause a significant number of post-ops (but no, not everyone) develop lactose intolerance as early post-ops. If you’re not sure what lactose intolerance is, or what it would feel like if you had it, try reading these:
Know what? If you were lactose intolerant BEFORE your DS, you’ll probably be lactose intolerant AFTER your DS. (Although some people report improved tolerance as further out post-ops.) Also, some people who do have issues with lactose intolerance as early postops sometimes find that it lessens as time goes on. It’s not a given, but it’s also not unheard of.
Something to keep in mind: lactose is sometimes places that you wouldn’t think of right off of the top of your head. You gotta pay attention to the details! You gotta read food labels – it’s just basic common sense! This from the NIH web site:
What is hidden lactose?
Although milk and foods made from milk are the only natural sources of lactose, it is often added to prepared foods. People with very low tolerance for lactose should know about the many food products that may contain even small amounts of lactose, such as
- bread and other baked goods
- processed breakfast cereals
- instant potatoes, soups, and breakfast drinks
- lunch meats (other than kosher)
- salad dressings
- candies and other snacks
- mixes for pancakes, biscuits, and cookiespowdered meal-replacement supplements
Some products labeled non-dairy, such as powdered coffee creamer and whipped toppings, may actually include ingredients that are derived from milk and therefore contain lactose.
Learn to read food labels with care, looking not only for milk and lactose, but also for words such as whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, and non-fat dry milk powder.
If any of these words are listed on a label, the product contains lactose.
Lactose is also used in more than 20 percent of prescription drugs and about 6 percent of over-the-counter medicines. Many types of birth control pills contain lactose, as do some tablets for stomach acid and gas. However, these products typically affect only people with severe lactose intolerance.
SOOOO…. If you are using protein products (powders, shakes, bars, etc.) keep that in mind! Also, people are often terrified that being lactose intolerant means they will never be able to again consume cheese. Remember – there are alternatives available! Some people do GREAT with goat’s milk or sheep’s milk cheeses where they are irritated by cow’s milk cheese. (Also, don’t forget, the harder the cheese, the less likely you are to have an issue with lactose intolerance with it.) Just remember to do any “trials” with some basic controls in place – i.e., don’t consume something that may or may not be an irritant for you around the time you are doing a test to see if goat’s milk cheese is a good alternative for you!
Next, some people are just super sensitive to fats. And it’s an easy thing to want to make a sweeping generatlization and say “all fats are bad” or “all one type of fat or the other” is bad. The fact of the matter is we each have unique physiology and some people tolerate fats poorly all the way around. If that’s the case, respond accordingly – use fats sparingly. Do, of course, give it a good go of trying some alternatives to the fats you use in your day to day life. I.e., if you’ve always used margarine, then try butter. If butter isn’t working out for you, try olive oil. So on, and so forth.
Next, supplements. This is basic stuff, but sometimes we forget it. Calcium citrate – not in company of magnesium – is something akin to quick dry cement in the bowels. So – again – a basic: every post-op needs 2000 mg of calcium citrate daily – AT LEAST. (Of course, labs are the determiner of how much!) Calcium citrate typically comes in a formulation that includes a 2:1 ratio calcium to magnesium, and hopefully has some D3 thrown in there as well. All good and wonderful – unless you are sensitive to magnesium. Some folks are. If that’s the case, you need to try a trial and error between magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide. Magnesium citrate is actually used to specifically move the bowels (more than move – actually clean out!) – ever been given a bowel prep? That’s what it is! You can/will have some benefit from the citrate – particularly if you are one of us who lean more toward the side of constipation as a post-op – but that’s not the topic at hand. (Interestingly enough – magnesium citrate helps support nerve and muscle function. It is also involved in carbohydrate and mineral metabolism and assists in calcium and potassium uptake.)
If you find that the brand of calcium is bugging your gut – and there are different variations on that theme – sometimes it’s stomach ache (Citracal is notorious for this!), sometimes it causes gas/bloating/distension (again, Citracal is not unusual to see with these types of complaints) – THEN IT’S TIME TO TRY ANOTHER BRAND! There are LOTS of them out there. BUT – PLEASE – be certain you are choosing Calcium Citrate. It’s the best choice for DS’ers. Honestly. Totally serious.
The product that more people say has made their lives vastly improved with regard to lessened BM frequency is UpCal-D. It’s a powder, it has 500 mg of calcium citrate in one serving (which is awesome!), and it has D3 in it. I like it because it’s so easy to take. I get the little packets of it, open one up – dump it in on my tongue, let it dissolve a bit, and then chase it with a sip of tea or something. It tastes a little bit like pixie stix dust. You can find it at Vitalady or Amazon.com – compare prices – bargain shop. This stuff is worth it’s weight in gold. Thankfully, it’s nowhere near that expensive! (I think we pay $12 for about 120 packets.)
You may need more than 2000 mg of calcium citrate a day to firm things up in the bathroom department. That’s okay. The key is to baby step to the correct amount for you.
Next, accountability sucks – but we all know it’s good for us. That’s why I love
www.fitday.com or www.sparkpeople.com – they are a great place to get a reality check. Do some basic recording of what goes into your mouth – and then also pay attention to what’s going on in the bathroom department. It’s hard to know if the stuff that’s going into your mouth is causing a problem if you don’t know what’s going into your mouth. I know, I know – it smacks of weight watchers – but if it’s going to improve your quality of life significantly, is it worth working past the flashbacks of WW?! LOL! (The answer to that is supposed to be yes, by the way!) Pay attention to the details. If you’re finding that having a Wendy’s frosty is giving you killer gas, distension, bloating, and then a little later on explosive diarrhea – well, folks, there’s proof in the pudding there. (Sorry, I couldn’t help it!)
Next, it’s entirely possible you’ve got a bug going on in your gut that needs medical attention. Get tested for c. diff, h. pylori, and bacterial overgrowth. These are treatable. Why suffer if there’s something that can help – even though it may take a little bit of dedication and work to get there?
Finally, if you’ve tried all of these things and you’re still experiencing frequent BM’s, your labs are showing you to be in malnutrition (and there’s a profound difference between managed malabsorption and malnutrition, folks!), then it’s time to talk seriously with your surgeon and your PCP about whether or not you are in need of a revision. Lest you be panicking right now – it’s not the norm – not everyone goes through this – it’s the exception. It totally and completely as profoundly as possible SUCKS big time that *anyone* has to go through it. BUT, the great news is that those who do find that a surgical response is the best option for them find that it DOES, in fact, make a huge difference and brings hugely improved health and quality of life.☺
All of that being said, we have to be honest with ourselves, as well. I’ve lost count of the patients I’ve talked with who have been suffering horrible bathroom issues, have identified the cause (not at all out of the ordinary for it to be won ton indulgence in sugars – remembering that sugars come in lots of different forms!) and then look me in the eye and say, “I’m not willing to give up the sugar.” To that I have to say, “That’s completely your choice. I can’t make that choice for you.” But if you do make that choice – own up to it. Please.
I guess I need to add one more little snippet here before I close. Everyone always assumes that what it’s like the first month, three months, six months, year – even two years – is what it’s like forever more. That’s sort like saying as a human – my whole life will be just like it was my first two years of life – babyhood and toddlerhood. Yeah, not so much. Things even out with time. Lots of growing up happens over the course of those first few years as a post-op. Figuring out that there are good and bad decisions dietarily AS HUMAN BEINGS – not just DS post-ops – is one of the lessons that happens during that frame of time – hopefully.
Okay – so that’s my book length post for the day! LOL!
Author: Dina McBride