We had our first visit to the Chick ICU (CHICU) this weekend.
It seems that one of our little chicks, Simon of the Appenzeller Spitzhauben Simon-and-Garfunkel pair got herself into a bit of trouble this weekend.
For those of you who can’t stand suspense, no she did not become anyone’s SUNDAY DINNER!
She had always been the littlest of our exotic chicks and from early on we noticed that her place of comfort was always tucked under the wing of one of the amazon Light Brahmas (Tom of Tom-and-Jerry). It was an endearing site and we all took a protective view of this the littlest of the littles.
But being little sometimes means you get shit upon.
This weekend when we moved the little guys out to join the older ones, we realized that Simon’s feathers were so covered in chicken poop that they resembled twigs more than feathers. She was lethargic and consistently chose not to join the others in their reindeer games. With cool weather on its way to New Hampshire, I wasn’t sure that this little one would be able to survive.
We had to do something but unlike Tiffany the chicken with the broken leg, I wasn’t ready to spend hundreds bringing a 3 dollar chicken to the vets. (and what local vet where takes on chickens as clients anyway?)
We tried washing the chicken with water. That didn’t work. She looked even more bedraggled and I’m not sure if chickens shiver but this one certainly appeared to be doing that.
I started prepping the kids about how some chickens die and its nature’s way to get rid of the runts before they are able to mate. Yada yada yada. You know all that stuff that adults say to kids to try to make them feel better about something that is going to be really bad.
Trevor, my nature boy wasn’t ready to give up so quickly. He picked up the little chick and started carrying her around in a little baby carrier made of towels and polar fleece.
When she had stopped shivering, he washed her in the sink using Dawn (the same stuff they use on birds caught in oil spills) and warm water. This bath was then followed up with more carrier holding.
When it looked like Simon was comfortable, Trevor made up a “nest” of a towel (she pooped on it already mom, what did you expect me to use?) inside a cardboard box. In the box he put water and some food.
Simon slept for hours.
When it started to get dark I told the kids that the chick needed to go outside with the others for the night. We had done all we could and I was fully expecting to have a dead chick in the morning, I didn’t want to prolong this anymore than necessary. With a heavy heart we released her into the chicken pen.
But when we put her down, she rushed over to the other littles. She started chirping, eating, drinking and even started fluffing her feathers which had remarkably started to look like real honest-to-god feathers.
As of today, Simon is alive and well. She’s still the tiniest but sometimes, as we’ve found, the greatest strength can come from the smallest of places.