Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another chick and a problem

Here's what I have learned the last few days:

Watching chickens hatch is amazing.
It is also very bloody and can take a lot longer than you want it to take.
Newborn baby chicks look like aliens for the first few hours. Not pretty!

All 4 baby chicks made it successfully through the night but I noticed immediately that we have a problem. One of the white chicks has spraddle leg. This apparently happens to some chicks that can't get their footing right away. It looks like they are ice skating (which is kind of cute) but it has to be fixed. Spraddle leg is basically a weak leg so the chick can't stand up, walk or get around without doing the splits.

A quick trip to the internet helped us figure out what to do and we became Poultry Physical Therapists. Little chick now has a rubber band tied around its legs which helps him stay upright. So far he's taken it off once but we have it on a little more securely now. He'll need to wear the band for about a week, during which time his weak leg should gain enough muscle to support the chick on its own. At least now he can get around although he really doesn't like the rubber band.

At 10:30 this morning, our first frizzled cochin was born. My heart already belongs to all my silkies and I think they are the most beautiful chicks in the world. I still had high expectations for the cochins and couldn't wait to see what they would look like. Shock! This one came out looking like a freaky alien. Poor thing. A face only a mother could love!

Thankfully now that he's dry, he looks a little better and is comfortably ensconced with the rest of the chicks. They tried to peck his eye out when I first put him in, but they seem to have all settled down now. He's the yellow one. You can see the rubber band on that poor little white one. Bless his little chicken heart.

We had a nice visit with Grandmother the past few days. She enjoyed meeting the donkeys and holding one of the baby goats. And all the chicks enjoyed having an afternoon in the warm sun.

Last Saturday, we were out sledding and enjoying the beautiful snowfall. This Saturday, it's almost 70 degrees and sunny. What a difference a week makes!

1 comment:

  1. To prevent spaddle leg I always use shelf liner in the brooder for the first week. It is rubber and gives them lots of traction. Can be washed out, bleached, and reused. It will even help a chick with minor spaddle leg correct itself without the hobbles.



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