Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Story of Blinky's Arrival

Cochin #2 - the red hen - is not a good mother. After the birth of black-bubby-cochin, she was sitting on eggs on and off... mostly off. At least once I found the eggs very cold in the nest, so I figured they weren't viable any more.

Went away on vacation for ten days, came back and found her (and her frizzle friend in a second nest box), firmly ensconced on eggs. Oh-kay - so we should expect more bubbies in about two weeks time (they take 3.5 weeks to cook).

Sunday I was picking pond weed out of the trough (green algae... it's good for them, right?) and heard miserably loud peeping coming from the chook house - and sure enough, lying upside down in the dirt was a yellow-n-bloody chicklet. Huh... two weeks early. Seems like this one must have started to cook right when the black chooklet was hatched. So much for non-viable eggs.

Picked it up - definitely didn't look good. The roosters, outraged by its presence, had been working on it for some time, apparently. It had hatched from the red hen's nest, dropped about 4 feet onto the ground (she probably pushed it), and then it was at the mercy of the Big Kids. One side of its head looked very bad and I figured it probably wouldn't make it. But it was still alive, so I put it in a small box with a heat pad and left it to sit quietly.

Blinky's "good" eye :(

Blinky's not so good side

About six hours later, I was mucking the paddock behind the hen house and I hear more peeping. Back to the chook house and look around carefully and found a second chooklet hiding in a bucket. Huh. This one had been minimally pecked and looked pretty healthy compared to its sibling.

Alive and well, with only slightly pecked legs,
the Sibling
So now I have two chooklets inna box.

Monday night, they were both still alive but had gummed-shut eyes. With a damp Q-tip, I was gently able to get both eyes open on the healthier of the two. No luck on the injured one's "better" eye, though.

Tuesday morning, the healthier one was eating and wobbling around. The injured one was still hanging in there - preening itself - but I don't think had figured out the eating thing yet - what with not being able to see anything. It is noticeably lighter than its sibling. But it has not given up yet and seems to be fighting for its right to be here.

We leave on our camping trip Wednesday night and with nowhere to plug in a heat pad, I asked a friend at work if she and her son would be interested in looking after them while we were gone. They had done a great job on a disabled baby chook a year or so ago (twisted leg - now full-grown into an egg-laying hen... still disabled, but cheerily drags around).

So the chooklets came to work with me this morning. The injured one has been christened "Blinky". Think the one eye is gone, but if they can get it's other eye ungummed I think it might just make it.

Time will tell.

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