I have officially declared myself unfit as a chicken mama.
Someone call CPS. No, not Child Protective Services, ring up Chicken Protective Services.
I lost another chicky. I don’t know the cause of death, I contribute it to Mother Nature. Beneath my electrical pole, it is beginning to look something like a chicken cemetery.
Two down, Fifteen to go. And there may be more. I have one who seems to be having seizures. Every so often it begins peeping very loudly, flops over, and twitches its head and feet for about 20 seconds. I don’t know what to do when this happens. I don’t think I can fit a spoon in its beak.
I have another I’m very concerned about. It’s not eating or drinking much. Nor does it socialize, it just stands in the corner and stares at the box.
Frankly, if any of them make it long enough to lay an egg, it’ll be a miracle.
I don’t understand why my chicken flock isn’t stronger. I’ve been taking very excellent care of them. I make sure their temperature is just right, I give them plenty of food, fresh straw, and water.
However, I can pretty much bet that I won’t be winning the “chicken caretaker of the year” award. Let me tell you why. Yesterday I awoke and the chicks were happy, healthy, and rambunctious. They only had tissue paper lining their box for the first day (as per the instructions). Day two suggested giving them some sort of litter; straw, hay, big pine shavings, but not anything too small like sand or wood shavings, as they might eat it and mess up their digestive systems.
I got some hay from a big round hay bale out in the field. I picked each of the little chicks up, counting as I went, and set them in a temporary box to get them out of the way. I laid some fresh hay in their permanent box, then picked them up, once again counting each of them, and placed them back one by one on their new, cozy, straw bedding. Then I gave them a feeder filled with chicken starter feed.
I went into the kitchen, heated their water to a pleasant 98 degrees on the stove (as per instructions), and filled their waterer (pictured below).
I checked on them a few more times throughout the day, then I left to come into town (spoken like a true country girl) to take care of some business. I returned home around four or five in the afternoon and discovered the dead little black chick. I was distraught. My husband pulled in the drive and I met him with the bad news. He buried my little chicky for me.
After the funeral we were just sitting around the box watching the little chicks. I have a couple of little stools that set next to the box and my butt has almost become permanently affixed.
I received 17 chickens and two have died so I am down to 15. Sitting around the box, I did a quick headcount. I counted 14. I counted again, and again got 14. The little boogers are running all around the box, so they are difficult to count. I announced to J-Dub there were only 14, he counted and said, “No there’s 15.” I mentally counted again. Still 14.
“Jason, I’m only getting 14.” He counted again and this time, he too got 14.
“There’s a chicken missing!” I exclaimed.
“Well it can’t be far,” he answered.
Just like a mama whose lost a kid at The Walmarts, thoughts began racing through my mind.
Maybe it flew somewhere? I looked around the room. No chick, chick here. Maybe I left it in the other box and forgot about it? I checked the box. No chick, chick there.
J-Dub says, “Maybe you miscounted when you first got them.” I knew I hadn’t. And then the dreaded thought occurred to me. What if I squashed her underneath the waterer when I set it in the box? I carefully lifted the waterer and peeked beneath, expecting to find another dead chicken, but instead out wobbled a little black chick, hungrier and thirstier than ever. She had been underneath the waterer all day long. Fortunately, it didn’t set flush to the floor, and there was a tiny little space where she was crouched. But the poor little thing just isn’t the same. It’s easily recognizable by its spraddled legs. I think the poor thing must have been in the “splits” position all day and now her legs are very wide-spread. She also doesn’t have very good balance and wobbles around like a little drunk man. Even when she’s standing still, she’s weaving.
We decided if she wasn’t slow in the head before that incident, she is slow now, possibly even retarded.
So Ashy named her Molasses. Slow as Molasses.
She’s a tough one, that’s for sure.
Me? I feel awful. I’m relieved she survived.