Saturday, May 10, 2008

First lost, some go home

Well, one of the chicks died. It was either 4 or 5 days old and I found it this morning when I was checking on the chicks. I have no idea what happened. At first, I thought it suffocated, but now I think it had a broken neck. Maybe it was trampled in its sleep. It was still warm and limp, so it was recent. When I found a box to put it in and reached in to take it out, the others were very protective and didn't want me to get to it. That was interesting.

“C” was there; she and I were checking on the chicks together and taking one out here and there for her to pet and hold. She isn’t feeling well, so I was hoping it would make her feel better – then we found the dead one. She handled it OK and then we waited to tell her sisters.

All the chicks were OK last night when I changed the water, gave more food, and cleaned the bedding. Can I just say those chicks are filthy! Yuck! I clean daily and give food whenever they run low. They can eat as much as they want right now. Then the water gets cleaned a couple times a day. Not a fun job, let me tell you. But I had to move them around last night in order to change the bedding and they were all fine and moving at the time.

This afternoon when we told her sisters, they were all pretty sure it wasn’t any of the ones they have named: “Sweetie” (from egg #27), “Honey”, “Chicka”, “Tootsie Roll”, and “Tu-tu”. How they can tell the chicks apart, I have no idea. I suspect they can’t really!

I had taken to calling the one we helped hatch “Flopper” because his toes on each foot curved inward towards the other foot. He hobbled a little as he got stronger, but I could still tell which one he was. Last night; however, I wasn’t able to determine which one he was. It could be I just wasn’t seeing his feet amongst the other 58 chicken feet, or it could be that his toes have straightened out. Unless I find him when we move the chicks to a box for transporting to their new homes, I won’t know if the dead one was him. Even if it was him, at least he didn’t die alone stuck in a shell trying to get out.

In just half an hour, we will be moving 15 chicks to a smaller box, filled well with bedding to keep them warm, so they can go home. They will be out from the heat lamp for about 5 hours, so there has to be plenty of bedding. They are going to live in NW Illinois. The other 14 will be going about an hour south of us and we don’t have a set date for them to go yet.

As they get older, they are growing more and more “chicken” to being held and starting to run faster. They are only 5 days old and are starting to grow their real wing feathers and the floppy thing on the top of the beak is really noticeable, though still small.

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