Joined: 22 Jun 2011
|Posted: Sun May 06, 2012 9:00 am
Well my Saturday gardening plans got derailed...
Having entered the world of peafowl quite unexpectedly last year, we still do not have our poultry penning and housing arranged very well. The three young peacocks from the feral hen share quarters with an assortment of chickens plucked more or less randomly from the spring chicks at Tractor Supply last spring. I had really just though we would have a few free range chickens strolling around to try to do some fly control in the horse pens, and then life intervened and the peafowl eggs had to be rescued, etc., etc.
I would have free ranged the chickens, but since the kiddo picked the birds, she can easily tell them apart, and the predictable predation losses would be more drama and trauma than I am prepared to cope with... I need a free-range flock that she can't tell the birds apart!
So out in the chicken house, things are a little chaotic. There are a couple of very broody hens, two very annoying little banty roosters, and the big boys, who are really very well behaved compared to the chickens! Anyway, things are not really conducive to good hatching out there, despite the broodiness, given the general rowdy level of behavior of the rest of the chickens. The "plan" is to build more pens and housing Isn't that always the plan??? We haven't been trying for chicks... but the chickens apparently plans of their own!
Yesterday morning, the kiddo discovered a newly hatched, still soaking wet chick, near death. When I was summoned to the chicken house, I found it lying in the remains of its shell. It was bleeding slightly, cold, and had a very rough navel, with a fairly large opening not closed and "stuff" hanging out. There was also some odd bruising above the navel. I thought it had expired already. But it moved a little bit, chirped faintly, and there I was, stuck. I considered how to humanely dispatch it -- and ended up trying to save it.
I think maybe that getting cold saved its life, because it wasn't moving around very much, and that slowed down the bleeding and the loss of internal organs, which otherwise would have come out the hole. So I brought in to the kitchen, spritzed the navel area with Bactine, and put a stitch with monofilament across the hole to draw the two sides together and keep the insides inside. I didn't want to close it up too tightly, for fear of infection, so I only used one stitch, and left a little opening (very small) at one end so it could drain if it needed to. I put some triple antibiotic cream (the kind that absorbs into the skin) on the area, and we put the chick into a box under the heat lamp to warm up.
Amazingly (miraculously!), the chick is doing well this morning. It is up, walking around, chirping normally, with eyes open and good toes and legs. Very cute, very interactive, and of course very adorable... Banty-sized, dark brown, with black flecking. It will be interesting to see what it looks like if it survives to adulthood. The navel area is scabbed over and looks good. I discovered that the bruised area (which has now also scabbed over) looks like it may have been pecked, and there are two or three other places that look like peck injuries. I'm guessing someone went after it during hatching, or right afterwards. I am continuing to smear antibiotic cream on all the injured spots every six hours or so, hoping I can keep things from getting infected.
So we have this cute little waif, who cannot go out with the hooligans in the pen, and has no friends... I called the neighbors, and no one has baby chicks at the moment. I can't figure out how to get another baby chick or two so this little one gets socialized properly -- am hoping maybe the broody white hen manages to pop out another in the next couple of days. There's also a blue cochin bantie hen that is sitting on top of every egg she's been able to gather -- definitely good mom material -- but no sign that anything is getting ready to hatch. (We weren't actually trying for chicks, I just failed to get the eggs picked up!)
Hoping that Sunday is a little less distracting...
-- the accidental peahen