I'm a Momma Hen

On Friday afternoon, I went to randomly check on my chicks in their brooder after feeding my big girls their treats as I often do. I came across a very happy brooder minus one poor little Buff Orpington that was laying off on it's own, I thought for sure she was dead. I picked her up immediately and when I realized she was still alive, I carried her inside and set her in her own little brooder with a heat lamp so that I could carefully observe her. She was completely limp & lifeless, couldn't move nor walk, couldn't even lift her poor little one month old head. I thought for sure she wasn't going to make it. But I knew that at least this way, she could sleep peacefully without being stepped on or pecked by any of the others. At bedtime, she was fast asleep..not moving or opening her eyes but still fighting...

I asked Adam to check on her in the morning so that he could take care of her before I saw anything.

Saturday morning I got up and was shocked to see the heat lamp still on and Adam drinking coffee beside her, surely she hasn't made it thru the night in her condition? But, she did. She hadn't moved much and when she did it was painfully obvious she couldn't walk as any movement was abrupt and ended with a scootch backwards. Her eyes were still closed and the poor thing..she broke my heart. Dying in little chicks is very common but I hate when they have to struggle. I cried and not because she was dying but because she was just laying there, fighting to live and there was nothing I could do. And then it hit me, I had nursed chicks back to health before without knowing a thing about what I was doing. I just went with my gut and it hadn't failed me yet! So I held her close and I filled the cap of a pill bottle with water and I forced it in her face. She had no interest at first, but I didn't give up. Eventually, she took a sip..and then another, and another, and another

After a little nap I noticed my little girl had perked up a bit, I couldn't believe it. After texting the breeder, I decided to add a tablespoon of brown sugar to a gallon of water and fed that to her and she wouldn't stop drinking it up! She amazed me at every turn..

Saturday night, although she had shown so much progress in 24 hours, I again didn't know if she'd make it thru the night. Her right eye still appeared paralyzed as she could barely open it and she could barely lift her head let alone stand..but I had faith that I was doing the right thing. I fed her some more sugar water before bed and I asked my sweet Daddio to help me out. I asked that if she was to go be with him, to please take her..or help her get stronger, then went to bed.
Sunday morning, I walked out of our bedroom and was greeted by this..
Her eyes were open, she was chirping, she was holding herself up and walking {shakily}, she was drinking and when I gave her food, she couldn't stop eating. I couldn't believe it. If I hadn't followed my gut and helped her, she could have either still been lying helpless at the bottom of this box or, worse, she could be dead. Now, she's far from being out of the woods yet..Lord knows anything is possible! But today, shes walking and flying and showing true signs of recovery.
After a full day of showing recovery, I could see my little girl was quite lonely. Whenever I checked in on her she would come as close as she could to me so that I'd pick her up and take her with me. She'd fall asleep in my hands {made me melt} and I had to laugh when our "family" took a Sunday afternoon nap..what a sight we must have been! Adam sprawled out on one couch..Jakey sleeping at his feet and myself sprawled out on our other couch, Honey sleeping on my chest :)
But because I cannot be her constant companion, I went back out to the brooder and brought home another Buff Orpington that showed signs of being pecked on..{a small bit of dried blood on her comb, completely natural} and, although at first they stood frozen, unsure of what to make of their new situation, within minutes I found this..
The two of them, snuggled up next to each other. Made my heart melt :) Chickens by nature are very social creatures and are stressed when they are alone for very long. While its very important to confine them when they are ill or injured, its also important {in my experience} to either have them in a box right next to their fellow flockmates or reunited when in the clear. Because I am keeping an eye on her for at least a few more days, but knew she wasn't going to contaminate any other birds, I knew this was the right thing to do. Just this addition alone has helped little Honey perk up even more..its truly amazing to see!!
Saving an animals life is powerful and I feel so grateful that I was given the chance to take care of these little babies and raise them on our farm so that they can grow up and happily provide our family with fresh eggs daily. Its a blessing for a former city girl like myself to be able to experience.

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