“Smile though your heart is aching, smile though it’s breaking, When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by. If you smile through your fear and sorrow, Smile and maybe tomorrow, You’ll see the sun shining through
For you. ”
Nat King Cole
This morning on this bright and sunny day I woke up, did what I needed to do and walked outside to check on Scarlett , see if there is any new chicks and Rosie. So as soon as I opened the door Rosie bolted through the door as per usual and I started to check on Scarlett. Scarlett and Pip are great. Pip is already eating and drinking and very active and curious, Scarlett is a great Mum. So I started checking if there were any more eggshells underneath her.
My heart sunk as I felt around and found that there were several eggs still underneath Scarlett. As I moved an egg I incidentally heard a peep. On closer observation there was a chick on her back , limp, one weak leg and one strong leg, labored breathing squeaking. As it did this Scarlett saw her and started to attack the chick. I quickly scooped her up as she lay very limp on my hand, unable to hold her own head let alone her own weight she lay there with her eyes closed just trying to breath. So I did what any irrational person would do, if they saw something that was helpless.. I tried to help. However my gutt instinct was that this little chick wasn’t going to make it. IN comparison to Pip who was up and about and very energetic this little one was completely the opposite.
I rushed in, told hubby to make up a hot water bottle. ( we have no brooder box) and I settled on the couch with the chick I called Peanut. “Common Peanut, lets try today eh?” I said to her. Not a peep , not a movement, she lay still, limp in my hands with only her little chest moving up and down to indicate that she was alive.
Not a moment too soon after we settled her on a towel wrapped waterbottle on my lap we called the my Chicken Guru. I told her the grim news of what had happened.
“I’m so sorry to hear that Detty, I was so careful to give you the good eggs. Out of my batch out of 9 eggs, 7 hatched the last one did last night. We’ve already went a couple days over the due hatch day so how many eggs do you have left?”
“We have about four left”
“Okay… it’s going to be very unlikely that any will hatch today, a very slim chance.” .. I then told her about Peanut.
“Doesn’t sound good Detty, the best that you can do is keep her warm, a hot water bottle is fine for now, temporary, if you have a desklamp with a globe in it, a warm globe to keep her warm that would be preferable. All you can do is keep her warm, if she opens her beak try dipping her beak into the water to see if she’ll drink. I feel badly for you. Come over tonight with her and I’ll be able to look after her. ”
So all in all we ended the call with my Chicken Guru saying that she will give us some chicks ( for free as she feels horrible how the situation ended up) and we’ll be able to sneak them in under Scarlett tonight and remove the eggs, a good old switcheroo so hopefully in the morning she’ll think the chicks hatched and she can get onto the business of mothering Pip and the rest ( When i’ll see them ill name them too and take pictures to let you know).
My Mum calls and we talk for a while, she mentions that she has a lamp that we could use so she’ll get it now so she won’t forget. I have youtube up and I play some songs from Madeleine Peyroux. She has this amazing voice, and the songs are easy listening. After Mums phonecall I turn it up a little and hubby and I watch little peanut take every breath. We can see she’s getting weaker, she almost looks tired.
Last night when I was locking up the ladies I heard peeping and I actually thought I heard 2. I realise that must’ve been Peanut peeping away. So she made it through the night but obviously at this point it looked very grim.
I positioned her so she was sitting up and she opened her eyes a bit. I dipped a syringe in the water and dropped a drop of water on her beak, she lapped it up and then went back to sleep.
As I was talking to Hubby this song was playing:
and as I finished I looked down at Peanut on my lap, and she lay still. I checked her little chest.. it wasn’t moving anymore. I knew then and there that she was gone. Poor lil Peanut was now sleeping.
So in such a short short life this furry little ball of fluff made 2 grown adults cry a little bit. Life is ever so fragile and as simply as it can come, it can go in a blink of an eye.
I called my Mum who is on the way now, to let her know what happened and I guess we’re just going to have a little funeral for Peanut. We’ll do the same tomorrow for the unhatched eggs aswell and bury them somewhere in the garden as for Peanut i’ve chosen a place in my front yard near the roses to bury her.
I guess it’s just the way that it goes when it comes to Chickens and hatching. You’re thrust into the space of reality where there is life there is death. Definitely hatching chicks is not for the weak hearted. If someone were to ask me though if i’d ever do it again my answer would be a defiant yes. I would not have missed out on seeing Pip for the first time yesterday or looking after Peanut. And yeah.. maybe in the future if one of them Rosie or Scarlett ever decided to go broody again i’d put in the eggs for them again but knowing that its a continual learning process.
As for the unhatched, reading up on the forums people say it’s a good idea to do an ” Eggtopsy” so to speak.. but I don’t think I could deal with that. I guess just knowing that it was not meant to be is a good enough reason for me at this time.
We still have Pip and her Scarlett and Rosie, and in the meantime the potential for 3-4 other little chicks to add the little family. I’ll introduce them to you tomorrow as well as the new developments in my temporarily potted vegetable plants.
It’s bittersweet. But as they say and I can’t phrase it better ” It is.. What it is”.