Monday, 12 May 2008

The Great Chooky Drama

Hard to hatch egg

As you will see on Caleb's blog we had a birthing drama playing out in the chook pen yesterday. Two out of the three chicks had hatched, and while the third had pecked a hole in the shell wasn't making any head way over a number of hours. Home school became a google search for information on whether to intervene or not. As the day wore on and the chick was clearly weakening we took the advice of one site and used tweezers to crush the shell in small sections till it was 'unzipped' and allow the chick to struggle out of there. But once returned to the nest the mother no longer recognised it and attacked it. We retrieved it and bought it inside and Caleb watched it struggle out of the shell and has nursed it for the last 24 hours, including sleeping in the shed so he could be near it. Propagation heating pads are useful things, not only do they get seedlings going, and keep beer brewing but also baby animals alive.

It seems to be doing OK and is now walking around peeping, cheeping and pooping and of course Caleb is doing a lot of bonding - I hope it's not a rooster!

A name has yet to be settled on - Caleb was keen on Little Tree after a movie he saw recently, but considering the amount of salivation going on in a certain dog - I suggested Little Treat might be closer to the truth. You can vote on Caleb's name choices at his blog - the link is just to the right.


Daisy said...

Oh how facinating. I can't wait to get my eggs in july. We are going to get Australourps as everything I've read on them is all good. Still struggling with not having chooks and i'm tempted to get a couple of Isa's to see us through. What will you do with the roosters? Love the tea too and your reciepe back in The Organic Gardener a while ago is heaven in a cup. Chai too is a food source here and the family know to not speak to me in the mornings till I have my Chai in my hand.

Anonymous said...

An exciting time in the chicken pen! A similiar thing happened to us, January this year. We bought our very first chooks in Nov. 07 - 2x Australorp x and 1x leghorn x. In december, one of the girls, Harriet went clucky. A bit later when we were talking to friends, they offered us fertile eggs from their hens. So we took the eight eggs home, placed them under Harriet and all three chooks took turns at sitting for the 21 days. A couple of weeks later, we found one chick had hatched overnight under Harriet and had been squashed under the other chook, Hilary. After removing the dead chick, we placed Harriet in a wire ring by herself with the remaining eggs. The next day, another chick had hatched overnight and was found pushed to the otherside of the ring, being eaten alive by ants. We put a damp towel in an electric frying pan (on the lowest heat)and put the chick with the remaining eggs in to keep warm as it was clear the chooks weren't very good mums! The chick died but another egg began to 'peep' and soon there was a small hole in the egg. He sat there for 24 hrs, occasionally poking his beak out of the egg and peeping - we called him 'Peep'. He hatched the following morning and spent the whole day peeping and sleeping. By that night, we were feeling quite terrible as it was clear from his persistent peeping the poor thing wanted his mum. We placed a stuffed toy in the box with him and he shot straight under her. In the morning however, he was peeping again and bouncing up and down on the toy, Cookie. One of my sisters said, "Oh no! Now he thinks his mum is dead!" After some phone calls, the lady we originally got our chooks from offered us a free 3 week old silky chick to keep him company. We took the silky and named her Cookie. So Peep found a mum and we found peace of mind. It was a wonderful experience watching the two of them grow up together and they became very attached to each other and us to them! We've spent the last few months wondering if Peep was a he or she. Peep, who grew into a beautiful barred plymouth rock, cock-a-doodle-doo-ed! just last week which was sad as we live in town where roosters aren't too welcome - though there is a few around. He is 4 mths old now and we are trying to keep him by putting him in a large box at night and not letting him out till 7 in the morning - just have to wait and see how it goes! I hope you enjoy your "Little Tree" as much as we enjoyed Peep!
P.S. We've read 'Living the good life' so many times, some of the pages are falling out:)

carole said...

I hope your little chick is being okay. What a lovely time to watch it start walking and being okay.
I love in los angeles, CA and do not see too many chickens. I did growing up in the Central/Agricultural Valley of California; so hearing your story made me think back.
Thank you