ECHINACEA FOR BIRDS AND POULTRY
From desperation, creative solutions often arise. When all else fails, reach for that inspired thought. The more often you reach, the more accurate your reach is. Such was the occasion when Emily discovered some idiot had put duck pullet eggs into her incubator "So my son can see birth." It was too late to just take them out: The chicks were about to hatch, they were talking through their shells! For some good reason of their own, ducks do not set on pullet eggs.
36 infected bloody eggs were hatching, ducklings who had hours or days to "live."
She did not feel free to experiment with their lives until all but 6 hatchlings had perished. The vet said infected eggs defined 'a hopeless case.' So now Emily was ethically free to experiment.
For 9 days, ducklings live off the yolk inside them. So for 9 days they don't have to eat. Intuition suggested this was what to work with. Emily had some echinacea powder and some echinacea extract. She knew how general echinacea's benefits are. So here you go: Half of their gruel is echinacea powder; and one- fourth their water is echinacea extract--alcohol free echinacea extract.
These ducklings survived. Yes, they were small for their age. Emily continued feeding this way, reducing the percent of medicine as they grew larger and more active, especially after day 9 when they had to eat to live. Now, she wished she had done this from the beginning.
When the 6 joined the duck community, you could tell who they were because they were smaller. In a week or two, you could no longer tell.
That would have been the end of that inspiration had it not been for Turkey the Sparrow. Emily discovered him in the dirt in the peafowl pen in early May. Some snow was on the ground still in 2003 there. He looked like a frog with a beak: no feathers or feather tracks; and his eyes would not open for four more days.
There were no occupied nests to return him to. He was her baby.
Wouldn't you know, an avian biologist--who does surgery on eggs!--is her best friend. So Turkey was reared properly, with Leslie's expert tutelage, fed from a syringe Exact gruel and hand strained peas and carrots at exactly 105 degrees--fed this way every two hours around the clock for six weeks and his tiny body kept at the right temperature and so on. And he survived.
Outdoors, sparrows live two breeding seasons, eighteen months to two years. When Turkey was five years old or so, he was ill. When you weigh a half-ounce soaking wet and you are a bird, a bird way past his life span, and you live in some outpost where farm animals are what people value, and what the vets treat, you are down on your luck. Turkey was in distress; and birds die very quickly.
She remembered those ducklings. Let's do it again. But Turkey is an adult (no yolk to go on) and is not poultry. What to do? Was it the Muse who suggested drops of echinacea in Turkey's water over a long time? Perhaps so.
Non-alcohol-based echinacea extract to the rescue once again. She starts with about 12 drops in his water, which was about 3 ounces. She gives it to him for life at 3 drops, with some days plain water. She also gave him ginger extract in his water for a while, which perked him up. Is that beneficial as well? Don't know, but it happened and it did seem to be a good thing.
Turkey is very much alive right here as this is being written, possibly the most vibrant happy creature on the planet. Such a pleasure to know him! He is grateful for every moment of his life. He has passed 6 years old, and is headed straight for 7--which is the record for documented sparrow longevity.
Cornell University is keeping track of Turkey. It has a research department project going, on treating avians with echinacea. Because of Turkey! Avian biology is big at Cornell, where the woman who gave the instructions on Turkey's care is a graduate contributor. And those poor dying ducks brought all this about, through a string of coincidences.
All because someone was paying attention and thinking with both sides of her head at the same time.