Wednesday, June 3, 2009

One of the seven dies

I read, read and read about chickens, trying to get ahead on the research that I should have done before getting the chicks. I feel like a new teacher, learning the lesson the day before you teach it. But it's OK; the chicks will be in the Rubbermaid home for a while so I have some time.

The little yellow chick is worrying me. Actually, I am worried about all of them. They are so dependent. They need just the right amount of heat. Special food. They even need a special waterer so that they don't drown in their water. They don't know from life.

I love the sounds of their little cheeps. The constant peeping subsides whenever I visit them (which is often) and they look up at me with expectation. I hold one at a time in a paper towel, and each almost immediately falls asleep. Not just a nap, either, but a full-out power sleep complete with fast breathing, head tilt and relaxed little body.

When they're in the Rubbermaid bin, and I quietly sneak up on them, I see that a few of them have simply tipped forward and fallen asleep. Wings out, eyes shut, they look as if they have passed away. Luckily, a book told me that this is just the way they look when they sleep.

But this morning when I check on them, the little yellow one doesn't get up. She had had a poopy butt which I cleaned about every hour. But this syndrome (I will look up the name of it) has gotten this one. All the books said to plan on a few chicks (10%) dying. I guess one of seven makes for good odds, but why the yellow one? It's the one who looks most like an Easter decoration or a craft project made out of pom poms. Her little black eyes are closed. We have a paper-lunch bag burial.

We deliberately do not name the chicks, as we are not certain of their futures. For now, TLC is all we can do.

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