Saving Penny

wildflowerfarm.orgThe chicks arrived about a week ago now and what a week it has been. The first night home we lost a turkey. The following day two chicks and another during the next night. I am ok with animals dying of old age, however the world will stop when my dogs go but that’s another story. I’m also ok with animals being butchered to feed the family. I have a hard time losing animals for no apparent reason especially baby ones. By the way, each of the birds that have past on have been buried six inches under, with a quick blessing in the raspberry patch.

As I was laying in bed the next night it was killing me that there seemed to be nothing I could do I keep the little birds alive. Then it dawned on me, sugar water my give them a little energy to get up and eat at least and honey has some healing powers. The next morning the first of our layers looked like she was going to be the next casualty. I decided to try my theory, it couldn’t hurt anyway.

I made her a box of her own and began feeding her honey water, rough guess a tablespoon of honey to 3/4 cup water. You can’t just set the dish of water new to the bird and expect it to drink in this state. She wouldn’t open her eyes and couldn’t lift her head, let alone stand up to drink. So to get her to take the water, I held her in one hand and lightly dipped the bottom of her beak in the water. Doing this I gave her a few sips every few minutes, gradually spacing the sips out. This process started early in the morning and by the end of the day she was up and doing better. I put a couple of the calmer chicks in with her to get her used to the company again before sending her back to the rest of the flock.

Since then we lost a few more meat birds during the night. I did catch one this morning that was going down and began Josephine on the same deal. It’s still alive this afternoon but not bouncing back as fast a Penny did. So far all of the chicks we have lost have been our meat birds which are a heritage breed Gold-Laced Wyandotte. I would expect casualties from a modern, GMO, market bird but not this many from a heritage breed. But in talking with others losing six out of a hundred is still pretty good.

“As for us, our life is like grass. We grow and flourish like a wild flower; then the wind blows on it and it is gone- no one sees it again.” Psalms 103: 15-16

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  1. I’m so sorry for your losses. Did the chicks hatch at your place or did you get them from a breeder? If the latter, I might be placing a polite but firm phone call.

    1. This batch was from a breeder. Losing a couple will usually happen no matter where they are from, hatching at home I think has a better chance. I’m sure the shipping process is a little over-whelming for the little ones.