Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Orphans

Picture shows chick #5 (with stripes) and chick #6, 24 hours younger and not having an easy time of it.

Sunday morning I got a surprise: chick #5 was flapping around. He was almost dry--probably several hours old. I picked him up and tried to place him under Mama Buff. She wanted nothing to do with him! Hackles raised and grunting in warning, she finalized her rejection by pecking at the chick. We moved him to a cardboard box with a brooder lamp.

Sunday afternoon I tried once more to "graft" the chick onto MB. Another failure. I kept #5 with me for the rest of the day, in hand, on my lap or cuddled between my chin and chest as I lay on the couch. It was hard putting him back in the box for the night! Sunday we also observed an egg breached from the inside. Another chick was coming! Monday morning we awoke to peeping from inside the brooder. Chick #6 is grayish/buff...possibly a product of a Bozo and XO, the Cuckoo Maran rooster. The Bozos are a group of chicks given to us last year on the 4th of July. We ended up keeping the two females. They're a White Leghorn - RI Red cross. But it's possible that #6 is a Buff Orpington - Cuckoo Maran cross, like chick #3. Chick #4 is pure Buff Orpington for sure. Chicks #1, 2 and 5 are all either RI Red - Buff Orpington crosses, or Patridge Rock - Buff Orpington crosses. Time will certainly tell. That's the problem with mutts. You're never really sure...

Chick #6 did not have a good first day. I thought he was paralyzed on one side or something. He was definitely not showing the spryness of chick #5. I was almost ready to euthanize him, but Zack persuaded me to give him one more day. Zack did erect a cardboard partition to separate the two chicks in the box. Chick #5 was treating #6 like a tasty morsel. If #6 was going to have a prayer at being normal, he'd have to survive his box-mate.

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