Thursday, March 10, 2011

Not a Good Weekend for Chicks...

So if you are keep score with us, we are down 1 French Guinea and up 2 Black Australorps, 2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Barred Rocks.  (Doesn't the flock just sound colorful?)

After coming back from church on Sunday morning, I went down to take a look at the chicks and see how they were doing.  I was so nervous after everything that happened with the Stripeless.  Right when I looked into the box, something didn't seem right.  One of the Buff Orpingtons was...  trampled flat into the ground.  It looked like it had been run over by a steam roller in the pine shavings.  I was amazed that could happen to a chick, especially since there were only other birds in there.  I quickly grabbed a couple plastic grocery bags and put the little lady in the bag.  I wasn't ready for another round of drama like we had Thursday night.  And I didn't have another pretty rock like we used for Stripeless.  Home Depot plastic was going to have to do.

Well, Sunday evening I was down in the basement with my oldest son who is 11.  He was noticing that Tiny, one of our Black Australorps seemed to be just standing around and not eating or drinking.

He also wasn't moving around as much as the others.  We called him Tiny because he was smaller than the others.  You would have thought that we would have figured it out at that point that maybe something was wrong with him.  But we were chicken novices and had no clue.  Later that evening I hear yelling and screaming from the basement again.  The boys are yelling that the other chicks are pulling Tiny around by his leg and his wing.  I pick Tiny up and hold him in my hand.  He isn't doing very good.  He just lays there breathing hard.  I figured I should put him out of his misery, but I don't have the intestinal fortitude to do it.  I just try to make Tiny comfortable.  While I am holding Tiny, my oldest, the other two have gone upstairs, notices there is only one Buff Orpington in the box.  I tell him that one of them died earlier, but don't tell his brothers.  I figure that Mom can get back down to Hertzler's and pick up another before the others notice.  I put Tiny into a separate shoe box in the bigger box with some food and water and go upstairs.

Before I go to bed, I go downstairs to check on Tiny.  As I go back upstairs to get two more Home Depot grocery bags, my wife looks at me and asks me what I am doing.  She sees the bags and just smiles at the novice chicken farmer.  I can tell inside she is saying, "Good luck with that."

Now I figure my wife needs to get a replacement Buff Orpington and a replacement Black Australorp.  She can get it done Monday morning.  Before school on Monday, the boys go down with me to look at the chicks.  The younger two ask about Tiny and I tell them that she didn't make it.  All of a sudden they also notice that there is only one yellow chick in the box and ask about the other.  I can't hide it any more and let them know.  They question why we keep getting the defective chicks and vow not to get attached to any more chickens until we know they are going to live.

Monday morning my wife went to Hertzler's and got two more chicks.  We now have our full flock and everybody seems to be eating, drinking and getting along just fine.  It looks like we may be out of the woods as far as chick survival.  In case you lost count, we have 7 French Guineas and 8 chicks, 2 each of Ameracauna, Buff Orpington, Black Australorp and Barred Rock.

Now if we can just get the dog to look at them as friends, not food...


  1. so, are you batting 500 at least? great write up!

  2. Okay. I grew up in Phoenix but my grandparents had full fledged farms that I spent a fair amount of time visiting. There are some beginner rules:

    - Don't name the animals unless they are pets.
    - Animals are amazing producers of mess (you've just scratched the surface).
    - Baby animals are cute so they survive. Wait for the adult version before you fall in love with it.

    With all that said, the farms still sit at the top of my favorite memories.