I was going through old photos trying to find some of last year’s Maple Sugar weekend in New Hampshire for an article I’m writing and I came across this beautiful picture.
This is Alkaia. Here story is originally posted here.
Alkaia was a chick who should have never been born. The time I hatched eggs from an incubator, Alkaia was in one of the eggs. She didn’t grow as quickly as the others and she never developed an egg tooth.
In short, she wasn’t strong enough to make it out of the shell.
But she knew how to peep and call for help. And when I heard her, I came to her assistance (of course I did, that’s what a mama hen does.) With some help, I managed to pull the shell off of this little chick and released her from what would have soon been her coffin.
She was a premie. She was so very fragile. I jury-rigged a tiny chick neonatal intensive care unit for her in the incubator – a small plastic container became her crib and a few drops of water kept her from drying out.
And then I held my breath.
Alkaia barely made it through that first night. She expelled her yolk sack and didn’t have the strength to even stand.
But little by little, she got stronger. She started walking, started eating, and eventually she lived long enough and got big enough to join the others in the hen house.
She was always tiny and I’m afraid she probably had some developmental issues. Some people said that I should have never rescued her, “she’s going to have problems,” they said, “you’re interfering with nature.” Little Alkaia ended up dying when she was just a few months old.
Oh, but what a lovely few months I ended up having with my little chick who taught us all the importance of speaking up for help when you need it.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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