Monday, June 11, 2012

A Potential Sad Story

This afternoon I went out to check for eggs and am glad I did.  Whenever I check for eggs, I also inspect the flock.  Is everyone ok?  Is there water?  Do the mama hens have all their babies? Today the answer to 2 of the 3 was no.  Over the weekend we bought a Blue Cochin Banty hen with 3 chicks.  She is a gorgeous show chicken and I am a huge fan of letting the hens raise the chicks over hatchery chicks.   Today she was out clucking with one chick.  one?  where were the other two?  I looked in the coop.  I looked in the nest boxes.  I looked in the yard.  I figured some predator must have got them (hubby did think he saw a fox last week) since they are so little.  I was just about to count them as dead and go on to refill the water pool.  Thats when I noticed two little masses in the water.  Thinking they were dead chicks, drowned in the water I did not get my hopes up.  When I bent down for further inspection I realized they were alive!  Cold shivering with not much of their heads above water, but alive nonetheless. I quickly scooped them up and placed them on the ground.  I waited for Mama Hen to come get them but she seemed confused.  Should she stay with the one healthy chick or come investigate the two she thought were goners too.  Usually chickens communicate to the chicks with a different cluck than their normal cluck.  The chicks peep back as if they are sound waves bouncing off walls.  Back and forth they cluck and peep ensuring that they are never far apart.  I can only imagine Mama Hen's despair when she only had one chick peeping back instead of three.  No telling how long the two chicks were in the water pool (the "pool" is a rubbermaid under the bed container with a 3 inch lip) and not answering back to her clucks.  I wonder if the chicks knew they would be rescued.  There was no way they could get out on their own, and there was nothing Mama Hen could do.  Unlike a mama cat who can pick up her young, a mama chicken is helpless.  She can only cluck and wait for peeps to answer.  After a while the Mama Hen still didn't come rescue her chicks.  I moved a dog crate from the barn into the coop, filled it with straw and added the two wet babies as well as the healthy baby.  Mama Hen went right in.  I will check in a while to make sure the two chicks are dry and mama is attending to them.  If not it looks like we will be back to chick feed and heat lamps.  No matter what, I am thankful they didn't drown, or get eaten by a predator.  This story could have had a different outcome all together.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear they were still alive! We lost two bird this weekend to a raccoon attack. Two other birds were hurt in the scuffle but alive and recovering.