Chick disaster

Sleeper on the right!

Today was terrible.  I found something that described the symptoms of coccidosis roughly as “birds become listless, lose interest in food, then expire”.  So they were sick, and I thought they were ok because I hadn’t seen any blood in their shit, the symptom I knew to look for.  The last two probably didn’t need to die.  Hell, only one or two “should” have died; I’m sure that they arrived sick, and the medicated feed wasn’t enough, wasn’t in time.  Not at a week old.  Very frustrating to realize.

Then, as I was carefully cleaning out their pen (urgent and essential when coccidosis appears), I tipped over a board and crushed two of them.  One of them was fine, one was hurt.  My favourite one, too, the most beautiful.  I felt so terrible.  He/she’s seems to have an appetite and energy still, but the pathetic limping around breaks my heart. You can’t tell how badly it hurts, when it’s a bird, so I don’t know if he/she’s got a broken leg, but it’s so painful to cause harm to another creature, even accidentally.  Now he runs and hides behind the water fount when I come in the coop, and I feel awful.  I hope he makes it, but maybe it’s worse to make him live in pain.  I don’t know. I hope it’s a bird sprain, and he can bounce back because they’re growing so strongly.

Otherwise, they’re thriving, and today was the first with no death, so perhaps the medicated feed will be enough to stave off the coccidosis.  One of the big ones has sprouted two odd shoulder feathers, like epaulets, sticking out by themselves. Now I know the big ones come and go from the box at will, although they spend most of their time with the flock, and I caught one tightrope walking the edge of the board, although turning the corner is still risky business.  They’re so funny!

I offered them perches yesterday.  Dual height options.  It’s supposed to be developmental stage-appropriate, in their learning to be chickens.  They’re hopping over it, hurdling it, ducking under it, and pecking it plenty. Haven’t seen any perch on it.

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