A few days ago, I was walking down to the barn when my husband started calling me over to the chicken coop, saying there was a chick in the coop. I didn’t believe him, as he frequently says things like that to mess with me.
I went to the coop, and sure enough, there was a little chick in there.
Fluffers is finally a Mommy! She’s our oldest chicken, and the top of the pecking order, so I’m fairly confident in her ability to keep this little chick safe from the other chickens. Although she did promptly take her baby out of the coop and then leave her there. I could hear the shrill cries of the chick from the house and had to rush down to save the poor thing and return it to its mother. I’m going to call her a “Mother in-training”.
After the excitement the hen leaving it’s chick, I then discovered that my very favorite hen also had a little baby tucked under her wing! But I was unable to get a picture. “Little Cochin” is a sweet, kind gentle hen who I could easily pick up to see the baby. The baby however was a wily little thing, who was standing on its mother’s feet when I lifted her, something I did not know they could do.
So instead, here is my little darling of a chicken, Little Cochin, stuffing her little beak with bread.
I excitedly told my coworkers about our little chicks. It’s the first animals that have been born on our little farm, and I was very proud.
I got home from work today and hurried out to check on our little chicks. I heard cheeping, and I was lifting hens to find where the chicks were at. I could only find Little Cochin’s baby, tucked up in her wings.
I stepped back from the coop down and looked around the run. That’s where I found the little body of Fluffers’ chick. There was no apparent injury, she almost looked like she could have been sleeping. Fluffers herself was sitting on eggs, seemingly oblivious to her missing chick. Or maybe she did know, and had gone through her mourning already. It’s hard to guess what goes through chicken’s minds.
I sadly removed the deceased chick from the run, and buried her nearby. It had been so young, and full of spirit. I have a few theories, but I have no way of knowing what exactly had happened. The chick could have been left by Fluffers and died of cold, or it could have been run over by another chicken. I feel terrible that the chick likely died due to my ignorance of how to raise a hen with chicks.
I had an appointment so I had little time to dwell on the death. Afterward, I returned to the coop to check on the chicks again. While I had been gone, the hens had rearranged themselves on their nests. I raised Little Cochin to check on her baby. There was no baby. I would have freaked out, but I could distinctly hear cheeping. I searched through all the hens again, and found that Fluffers had stolen Little Cochin’s chick.
I chuckled at that, but then I pulled out the chick to take a look at it, the first real look I’ve taken at it. The little chick has a malformed leg. It’s little cheeping turned shrill as I examined it. It’s limp and shriveled up on itself.
Not I feel doubly awful. I don’t know what to do at this point. It’s clear to me that the little chick is not going to survive. It can’t even walk. The humane thing to do would be to destroy it… or would it? Is there some other option? And it’s just a tiny chick – their lives are so delicate and frail.
I either kill the little chick to put it out of its misery, or I watch it slowly die because it can’t move. One of the other chickens might even attack it and it wouldn’t be able to move away.
This is the part where I hate farm life.