Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Unexpected Blessing

I apologize for not having given an update on the baby chicks before now but we have been so busy! The little ones are doing well with their mama and are a little over two weeks old now. Mama Rosemary teaches them how to scratch and forage for bugs, eat greens, drink water, and is teaching them the complex language of chicken talk. The little ones happily go where she goes, sleep warmly under her feathers, and hop up on her back for some snuggle time.
"Little Bit"

However, we have had some hiccups along the way. Almost a week later after the six chicks had hatched, a seventh chick hatched out.  Let's call it Little Bit for now (he will get an herb name when he joins the flock).  Little Bit was getting trampled on and struggled at times to keep up with the other chicks but seemed to be doing okay.  One day after I had been playing with and holding the chicks, I noticed Rosemary pecking on Little Bit repeatedly.  I distracted her for a while but then she would see Little Bit again and go back to pecking
him on the head (while he ran away screaming).  This went on for quite some time and I was sure if I didn't rescue Little Bit that Rosemary would have killed him. Her last peck was so bad she lifted him off the ground in her mouth. It is actually not uncommon in nature for the mother to reject the runt of her litter. I'm such a sucker and couldn't bear to see it any longer so I rescued Little Bit and got him a friend at the feed store. He is happy now in his little brooder with food, water, heat light, sand box, fuzzy sock, mirror, and toys. He and his new friend are best buddies and sleep with their little heads on each other.  So sweet.

Little Bit's friend, a Partridge Rock pullet

Although I am sad that Little Bit could cannot have the same experience outside as the other chicks, I am blessed by the outcome because he has bonded with me, unafraid of my touch and calmed by my presence. The other chicks already run away from me and scream bloody murder if we reach for them. I guess it all worked out for the best!