Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday... I Have Lost Count of the Days

No. 3 with Mama

Yesterday's trials began Thursday when John called to tell me another chick hatched out and a 4th one was struggling in its shell. When I got home, No 3 was still wet and the 4th was in what looked like a collapsing egg!

Since it was late and the 3rd sat protected under Mama, I left everything as it was. It would dry out and not be molested by the big birds and no 4 would be out, hopefully, in the morning. It looked weak and rather miserable and I steeled myself to the knowledge that this one might not make it at all.

But the morning came and no. 3 was binking around Mama, chirping at me and interested in everything. Mama was in no mood to be fooled around with but I got her shift enough to see no. 4 still there in an ever-encreasingly crushed egg. What to do. What to do. Wait n see. I removed no. 3 so Mama would presumably quit shifting so much.

By 2ish pm I decided to take matters into my own hand. The little thing was completely surrounded by an egg that had been crushed and a membrane that was drying out and smothering it.

I know I shouldn't interfere but it looked like it was trying but needed help! So I quickly removed it to a shoebox with sawdust in it for warmth and hurried back to the bathroom where the others are living in a large cage.

Would YOU be able to just turn away? Well, neither could I so I sat there for several hours and "helped" it get loosened from the drying membrane and one foot released and started kicking. And I waited.

I was so tired from not getting good sleep for several nights in a row. Waking at 3 am makes 3 pm seem like bedtime. So I left it and took a nap. When I returned an hour and a half later, it looked like progress was being made.

So now I put it in the palm of one hand and began wetting the membrane with warm water and easing it off the dried feathers.

This went on for an hour or so when I realized the membrane that was still attached at the navel (yeah, chickens have a navel!) (who knew?) so it was still soaking in al the remaining blood and nutrients from the yolk sack!!!!! Yea!!!! I put it down around 6 to think about dinner.

When I returned an hour later, it had completely separated itself naturally from the sack and was kicking gently against the sawdust and fluffing out its feathers. At this point in time, I felt better about its chances of survival.

By the time 10 pm got there, I was more than ready for bed and checked on her (I am going with her from here on out) and found her fluffing nicely and gave her water on her beak. I put the whole shoebox in the cage to keep her safe during the night but separated from the others. No. 1 keeps trying to "fly" but still can't get as high as the top of the shoe box so I figured they would not bash into her.

This morning (4 am) things look very rosy for the baby in the bunch.

She looks like a wren in color. I may name her that...

She is integrated now with the others and they have shown her how to drink and don't behave too roughly. She is standing wobbly on her pins and moving around slowly.

She may never be robust as she must be called a preemie but I think I have bonded very strongly with this one. Please don't be a rooster!!!!

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