Sunday, October 29, 2017

a tiny chicken story

It all started with this little guy.

                                 

A few nights ago I was outside taking photos of the sensational sunset pictured in my previous post. Before coming inside I thought I would check on the veggie beds and found they were all quite dry, so decided to give them a water. Once I had finished, I turned off the hose, shut the gate and proceeded down the path to the house.  

In the distance I could hear a cheeping sound like that from a chicken. As it was now dark, I quickly ran inside to grab a torch so I could see better.  The chirping was starting to get quieter but I followed to where it was and found an empty chooks nest with lots of broken open eggs inside. At first I didn't see this little fella because he was black and blended in well with his surroundings. 

So mother hen, the same one as last time, had done it again. Once more she sneaked away from the others to lay her eggs and sit on them. This time in a different location to the last. 

She is a very shrewd girl as I had no inclination of what she was up to, although I had laid eyes on her a couple of times. What I didn't notice was her absence from the hen house (that's what happens when there are too many chooks and the bantams want babies all the time!). We had eight broody ones the week before we went away, so we isolated them from the nest boxes for a few days and they came off the brood.

Anyway back to the story.  Mama hen had abandoned this little chicken as he was hatching because the ants started to move in. She moved the remaining ten chickens to safer ground and still I didn't know.

I picked up the chick all covered in ants and brought the poor little mite inside.  At this point I was thinking that he had been abandoned because there was something wrong with him. He wasn't able to stand so I thought he may have crippled legs, not realising that he had only just hatched out of the egg.

I cleaned all the ants from his fluffy downy feathers and wrapped him up gently and placed him on a warmed hot water bottle. He stayed nice and warm all night and he had improved by the next morning. He was nearly able to stand on his feet...yay! I was so relieved.

Right, so off I go early next morning looking for mama chook. I looked high and low but could not find her.  Thoughts of a fox started to enter my head, but I remained hopeful. 

While I was headed down that same path to the house I could hear more cheeping coming from the empty nest, but this time it was very faint.  My heart sank.  Why didn't I check properly last night?  Anyway I found an egg with a hole, and in it, was a live wriggling chicken, and heaps of ants running in and out of the hole...yikes!
                           

So I brought the egg inside and warmed it up, this time using my heat bag and knitted cover. I placed the still moving chirping egg with the little black chicken, hoping the cheeping would spur him on, which it did do.

On you-tube I found videos of chicks being helped to hatch and the chirping coming from the computer seem to inspire this little chicken to keep trying.

I did give him a hand to get out by gently peeling away some of the shell to make it easier. I wasn't sure how weak this chicken was. Within an hour he was out and I tucked him in the warmth to rest and recover.






I am pleased to say that both chickens are doing well and are now back with their mum who eventually turned up with the rest of her brood. She now has twelve babies to contend with and there were three eggs that never hatched.

So this was my day on Wednesday.









The moment when mama chook turned up...there she was waiting for me to show up so she could get back in the pen with her babies.


Here she comes with the chicks.









Here are the last photos of these two ratbags before being returned to their mama...a sad moment for us both. They had become very attached to me, and me to them...












It is so nice to have a happy ending to this story.  It could have been so much different. If I had not watered that night, the babies would have perished. If it happened last week when I was away, the babies would have perished. If it was cold...(if, that little word with a big meaning). I am so relieved things worked out the way they did.

xTania

22 comments:

  1. Yes, happy endings are always the best!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This takes my mind back to when I was only about 6 and was very sick in bed with tonsillitis and the measles. I can remember a big cardboard box being set up next to my bed with an old desk lamp, an upsidedown cup and saucer and there were 12 little fluffy chickens. They kept me company whilst I was unwell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right Phil, these little chicks made my heart sing even for just a day. They were so cheery even though they had been through quite an ordeal. The little ones are still doing well with their mama.

      I like to sit out and watch the chooks going about their business. It is great therapy and makes me feel less stressed.

      xTania

      Delete
  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story Tania. I’m going to read it out loud to the kids at breakfast and then show them the photos and video as they love chickens. Big animal lovers. I also think it a great start to their Monday morning.
    I’m so happy things turned out as they did and they’re so fortunate to have you look after them. Thanks so much for sharing and I would love to read more about them as the6 grow. Speaking of growing I can’t believe how much they change in a matter of days.
    Kylie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww that is so sweet Kylie, hope your little ones enjoyed the story :)

      xTania

      Delete
  4. Oh how lovely, a nice feel good story for me to start the day on :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad my story brightened your day Cheryl :)

      xTania

      Delete
  5. Happy endings are wonderful, aren't they!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes definitely wonderful Meg :)

      xTania

      Delete
  6. What a lovely story, Tania! How lucky are those little guys? And so cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to my world Diann,

      I think I may have been the lucky one in this story. It is lucky how circumstances lead me to find them and I love how that works out sometimes. They are indeed cute and I am crossing my fingers that they are girls :)

      xTania

      Delete
  7. They are adorable, Tania. I love the markings on the little yellow one. What a sweet story. I'm so glad you listened to your intuition and watered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I am glad I listened to my intuition too :)

      xTania

      Delete
  8. They look as happy as Larry Tania, you are a great chookie-Mum! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Barb, so glad to hear from you :)

      Delete
  9. Awwww, you made this broody hen all clucky too! ;) I suspect you have a boy and girl there. The darker one is a boy. I could be wrong though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am hoping for girls Chris, but a pigeon pair will do, not sure I want two roosters lol. Your are clever to be able to tell by just looking at the chicks. I tried to sex them by their wing feathers, but didn't come to a decision either way :)

      xTania

      Delete
    2. I've gotten it wrong once, and that was because the "girl" I sexed as a "boy", ended up having no tail at all! Girls will come into their feathers before the boys, and you can normally tell the boys, by having no tail feathers. But all the girls do. Well, this "girl" had no tail when she grew into a hen, lol.

      The other way to sex, is by behaviour - which is what I attempted to view through your pictures. The boys will always try to stand the tallest, be at the tallest point, where as the hens will opt for ground positions, and look like they just want to nestle into someone. Also, that pic where they appear to be looking at each other - the yellow one, is looking at the other's beak. Which is another hen trait. She's looking for the food, the boy will traditionally give her. That's how he attracts a mate.

      Anyway, probably too long an explanation, lol. I could be wrong though, as they're just pictures.

      Delete
    3. Thank you Chris, I will go out and see how many roosters I have now lol!

      Great explanation and now it makes sense to me :)

      xTania

      Delete
  10. What a nice ending, Tania. I am so pleased the chookies are doing well. Imagine them being covered in ants. Yikes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I felt sick when I saw the ants Nanna Chel. Horrid things would have eaten the chicks alive!

      xTania

      Delete

I love reading your comments! Through them, I have learnt that there are some truly lovely people out there. Thank you :)