Monday, August 10, 2009

Rescue peeps

A day or so after our new chicks hatched both hens abandoned their nests, to take care of the surviving chicks. They take them out of the coop to scratch around in the yard and teach them to hunt for bugs. i had gone out that day to remove all of the old/unhatched eggs and was surprized to find a newly hatched and half dead looking chick laying on the floor of the coop. She was bloody from being pecked at, and her feathery down was dry but caked to her. There was no sign of a shell. We have a couple hens that are egg eaters if the eggs are not removed quickly from the nests, and we believe one of the hens actually ate the egg away...causing the chick ( that would have otherwise died) to hatch.

i brought the chick in the house and created a makeshift brooding box, to keep her warm and comfortable until she died.

i didn't take pictures when we first brought her in, because i never expected her to survive. However she did, and is doing well! We named her Lucky, because she is truly lucky to be here.

Our second little rescue chick, Bumbleberry, was brought in a day after Lucky. We believe he was stomped on by one of the larger birds. Kenan found him laying on his back in the mud outside the coop, both eyes swollen shut and dried blood around his head and beak. He was in really rough shape, and again we didn't really expect him to survive.

However, both chicks bounced back, and were comforted by each others company. The first night we had just Lucky inside she peeped all night, even though she had food and water and the temp was good...she was lonely. She would quiet as soon as i spoke to her. Once Bumbleberry was put in the brooder with her, she would cuddle up to him and they both stayed quiet all night.

We kept the chicks inside in the brooder for about a week, then decided to try and re-introduce them back with mama. i was really happy to see that she accepted both chicks, somewhat amazing as she had never even met Lucky before. Hens can often be very brutal to chicks that are not their own, and will peck them to death.

i re-introduded the chicks slowly, allowing them a few hours with mama, and then back in brooder for the night. After a few days of this, i realized they were ready to go back in the coop. i admit i was a bit worried about Lucky, who was smaller and more fragile than the other two chicks. She seemed to have a hard time keeping up, and with the amount of predators in the area...she would have no chance if left behind.

So, we were all very amused to see that Lucky has taken to hitching a ride on mama back anytime she feels she can't keep up.


Lisa said...

I love the "hitching a ride on mama's back" photos. Too cute. What wonderful stories of survival for those little cuties!
lisa ;)

Anonymous said...

How amazing!!
Tears filled my eyes when I saw the photo of the little chick hitching a ride on mama's back! Just like a human babe in a sling : )