Monday, June 14, 2010

A Saturday to detox

The day after Stretchie attacked the chicks, it rained all day. I sat by the window, with the chicks in the aquarium, and taught myself to knit. I was leaving an intense writing gig and the day felt like a wrap down of sorts.

We cleaned all the blood and tissue off the chicks under water then slathered them with neosporin - so much neosporin that Wink didn't have any down on her neck at all. Jim came in and in a really alarmed way asked, "Why doesn't that chicken have a neck?" I told him she has a head and there's got to be a neck there somewhere.

But he was right. The neck bone was thinner than a pencil. Thinner than an old thermometer. More like a few threads. It just showed how these little things are 90% fluff. No wonder you have to keep them at 95 degrees that first week.

The chicks nodded off most of the day. Squirt would lean against Wink and Wink would lean against the aquarium wall or a paper towel I wadded up as a kind of pillow. They did not eat or drink. That's normal for day two but I was a little concerned.

Catching up on two or three weeks

A lot has happened in the flock this June. Blanche has finally - finally! - found a direction in life and decided to sit on some hatching eggs. She was so excited about it she stole some of the nonfertile eggs and sat on those, too. She took this job very seriously, bristling up like a linebacker when I'd enter the coop.

In the end, she hatched out 4 of the 7 eggs. She was very protective and patient.

Then Stretchie came along. She apparently got jealous and decided to try to kill the chicks. Luckily, my daughter had been checking on the hatching on an hourly basis. She found two of the four chicks with their eyes pecked at and bleeding. They were in really bad shape, especially being hours old.

I put Stetchie in solitary confinement, outside of the run. I've never been so mad at an animal in all my life. She has a long neck that I really thought about wringing.

It's been about 8 days since the attempted chickicide, and I am happy to report, the chicks are alive and well. Squirt, the one who had both eyes attacked, is healing up nicely. Wink is healing up even better. They were pretty jumpy those first few days and I felt they could use a few more chicks to hang out with. I added a few more from Mary's hatch: Penguin, whom I had renamed Jackie Chan, and a pretty yellow one I decided to name Madeline Albright.