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They Don't All Make It

I mentioned in an earlier post that the first week is the most challenging (thus far) of raising baby chicks, mostly because they don't all make it. I was happy when we first opened our box of birds and all 16 chicks were alive and moving. We opened the box of chicks up around 4pm and watched them all evening, we ate a quick (and late) supper and then watched them some more. We noticed the strange sleeping and looked that up online. But then I noticed one of the smaller chicks who seemed to do nothing but sleep. I re-dipped her beak in the water and in the special gel that the chicks came with and watched as she laid her head down in the gel and went back to sleep. The next day most of the chicks were even more lively than the first day as they explored their new home, preened their fluff, drank and ate. I continued to show the sleepiest one the water, holding her while she drank. By the third day all of the chicks appeared to have grown overnight, all but the runt who was still spending most of her time sleeping. I watched her intently. She slept more than anything. My husband and I were both concerned. He hand fed her water. I mixed up a slush of food and sugar water and grabbed an eye dropper to force feed her. But that evening after the kids were already asleep I went to pick her up, and she was dead. My husband had just given her water a few minutes before, but this little one just didn't have it in her. The not-so-fun part of chicken parenting. We didn't tell our kids since they weren't there and they didn't notice her absence in the morning. If they had been there or if they had asked we would have told them. I don't want to sheild our kids from death, but I don't want to treat it flippantly either. Regardless I felt bad that we lost a little baby, even knowing that chicks under there own Mamma hen's care die too.

This post is part of 31 Days- a writing challenge and eleventh in my baby chick series!

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