Reflections

“A meaningful life is made up of a series of daily acts of decency and kindness which ironically add up to something truly great over the course of a lifetime.”

Journal Entry: River Falls, WI

December 11,2008  Yesterday I went into the coop and was startled to see that the baby chicks were not in their new enclosure that Chris had made. I honestly thought they could have been eaten by the big chickens. (That is about as realistic as when I wondered how long chicks need to nurse before they start eating food).

When I first walked into the coop, the baby goats followed me, and they immediately went to the feed bags. They were jumping all over them. I shooed them out and started my search for the chicks.

I started to hear peeping coming from behind the feed bags. The chicks were all huddled up between the bags. The first chick I pulled out seemed fine. The second one, which is our runt, did not. She was limp and barely moving. Every few minutes she would stretch her neck out and open her beak a little. It looked like there was gooey stuff in her mouth. I felt so sad because she had such a difficult start to her life. Her egg was so little. I couldn’t believe that a chicken could be inside there. We knew it was bantam chicken and most likely an Old English.

On a previous day, when I went out to the coop to check for new chicks, that same chick was all curled up in the back of the nesting box, newly hatched, looking very dead. Cranberry, her surrogate mom, was not quite keeping her warm enough. It seemed like she did not even know she was there. She could have been just born. I took her inside the travel trailer, and told the girls she probably wouldn’t make it. We laid her in our makeshift brooder to keep her warm while she passed away. We continued to hold her and talk to her, and then things started to change. Her eyes opened and she started to peep very loud. That is when I knew my assessment of her health was very wrong. Within two hours, she was moving around the brooder and making new friends. It was so exciting to see her transformation.

When I saw her current condition, I was again so certain she would die very soon.  I wasn’t sure what to do with her body because she was still alive, and she was getting trampled when I put her back with the other chicks.

Caroline, Chris and Sabrina came in the coop soon after I had made my discovery. Caroline held the dying baby and I left and went and sat in our warming car. Chris made the decision to put the dying chick with a hen in one of the nesting boxes. The hens name is Bumblebee, a beautiful white Silky who has never had her own chicks. Chris said that when he laid the chick next to Bumbles, she immediately took her wing and pulled the chick underneath her. That is so sweet.  It made me feel better to think of that baby dying warm underneath such a kind hen.

We then went to Minneapolis at about 2:00 for my Chiropractic appointment, and spent some time after at my mom and dad’s house. We returned  home at about 10:00 that night. The girls and Chris rushed out to the coop to see if the baby chick was still alive.  They were very surprised at what they found.

Chris looked in the nesting box that Bumblebee and the baby were in, and found that neither of them were in there. He then searched the nesting box below to makes sure that he hadn’t mistaken which one he put her in. Empty…

Then, they all turned and saw something miraculous There stood the baby chick on top of the feed bags, looking healthy and strong. Chris placed her back with her friends and she took a drink of water and went about her business like nothing had ever happened.

When I went out to the coop today, there she was running around with her seven other buddies. Lessons learned: Never assume anything, and pull someone under your wing every once in a while, even if you don’t know who it is. It could make all the difference in the world.

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