June 1, 2011

The limpy chick or "The Little Chick that Could"

So, today I actually don't feel like writing about anything deep or even adoption related.

 I need a mental break. 

Plus, our family's tapestry is definitely made up of animals and being out in the country.

 What makes it all fun...and occasionally fun-ny is that I grew up in suburbia.

I am a big wimp about bugs, snakes, bats, and the huge prehistoric moths that exist out here.

My husband has been known to say that if I had been born during the pioneer times, that I would never have made it! 

He's probably right....except for the fact that I am also extremely stubborn and can become very determined that I can make things work out somehow or in some way. 

I don't give up easily...

So, it was my husband's idea to get the chickens.....

I am actually somewhat afraid of chickens but I have discovered over time that I enjoy feeding them and just watching them. 

The children have called it my "chicken therapy". 

During the time that I was working in Sacramento as a social worker, I found that after a long day of working in the city in areas with gangs and traffic...I would drive home and find myself breathing a little deeper the further out in the country I would get. 

By the time I would get home, I would head straight for the chickens to feed them and check for fresh eggs.

I have also learned a thing or two about chickens.  One fact that I did not know at all was that chickens reproduce like rabbits. 

And, something else that I suppose I already knew but am very keenly aware of now, is that I don't like the idea of butchering chickens. 

The combination of those two things means...too many chickens, and especially too many roosters. 

The first year that we did the chickens we liked the idea of them being free range and the children hunted for their eggs.

 Every day was Easter. 

It was great fun for them but they missed many of the eggs which resulted in a lot of chicks and a serious overpopulation problem. 

We now have most of our hens in a large coop and that has cut the population down considerably and has given us about 14-20 eggs a day! 

But there are a few hens that are still out...mainly because they are escape artists and seem to always find their way out. 

We have a hen that recently had 11 chicks!

She was doing a great job with them. 

All but one had survived the first few weeks.  Until.....she decided that it would be a great idea to go into the fence with the dogs.....

Our King Charles Spaniel named Cookie came on scene...

He decided that chicks are fun squeaky toys.  He couldn't understand why we were all upset and running after him!

Two chicks were caught in this episode. 

One was already gone once we discovered what had happened and one was pried out of Cookie's mouth. 

 I just knew that this little chick wasn't going to make it. 

When we put him on the ground he limped a few paces and then would stop and lay down and kind of lean to the side. 

Amelia was very upset and wanted to help him. 

I didn't think he would make it either way but was hopeful that at least he would feel safe and calmer if he was reunited with his mother. 

 Amelia brought him over to the hen and the chick limped his way slowly to her.

The next day, Emily said that she saw the little chick still trying to keep up with his mother but was having a hard time and she wasn't exactly slowing down to make it any easier. 

 I was very surprised to hear that he was still alive and told her that we would check on him in a bit.  

In the next moment, I was on the phone and needed to let the dogs out. 

 I intended to check in the yard for the hen and chicks first but because of the distraction of being on the phone and the fact that I did not have two hands.

The dogs slipped past me and immediately rushed out in the yard and straight over to the chicks. 

Our limpy chick had to be pried out of Cookie's jaws again. 

 Another chick was injured. 

I finally agreed that we would bring the two chicks in. 

 The other chick died within a few hours.

The limpy chick continued to thrive and improve a bit more every hour. 

The older girls brought him into their room and discovered that he actually liked attention and being held. 

He would calm down when they would interact with him but chirp and chirp when he was alone. 

A few days later, he was doing so well that when they walked into the room, he had flown out of his box and was perched on the ceiling fan! 

I thought that just maybe he could be reunited with his mother and siblings.  So, Lauren and I gave it a try....
It was so heartwarming to see them successfully reunited! 

And, he had absolutely no limp at all anymore!  The only way we could tell him from the other two chicks was an extra white spot on his chest.

We have made some changes on how we put the dogs out to avoid more chick attacks.

 Some peace has returned to our little part of the country....

Mother and child reunited.....

Cookie can go back to being a sweet and innocent puppy.....

And there are two more new babies that just hatched!

Oh, did I mention that there are things about the country that I can't handle....

Here is a brown recluse spider

He was found running across the bedroom....yuck! 

I even fought for his life until we identified what he was. 

Eleanor calls them "Seppers!!" and no matter how much I try to convince her that some spiders are nice and eat yucky bugs, she gets very dramatic and says:

"Seppers...bite you...get you!" and she will crawl her chubby little fingers up to your shoulder until you "squish" them. 

Hmm, maybe I need to find our "Be nice to spiders book"... or maybe not!

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