Saturday, June 21, 2008

Look, Ma, Real Feathers

Hard to tell from earlier photos, but compared to just 2 days ago, the babies are all showing some wing feathers. This is the wing of a Maran. In general, the Marans are feathering out the fastest, but are the smallest and least hardy looking of the chicks.

This is my little lame girl. Her right foot is definately deformed and pretty useless. Yesterday I gave her a few hours sectioned off from the other chicks with access to water and food without competition from her flock-mates and that seems to have made the difference between her being able to compete and her getting weak and trampled on. Now when her flock-mates try to walk on her she can push back. Also,now that her wing featers are growing in, she compensates for her lame foot by using her wings to balance with. She also uses her wings to "hold" on to the feeder until she gets her head in the hole. I was worried that she would be one to die, but she is looking pretty robust.
The Ameraucanas seem to be the hardiest and fastest growing of the three types. They also seem to be the most interested in learning to fly - yes, at 5 days old (they hatched on Monday, even though they didn't get to me until Wednesday) they already like to run around with wings flapping. This is a photo taken during "pasty butt" inspections. Nearly all the Ameraucanas were "fluffy butt", however a about half of the Marans were "pasty butt." Those in need got a good butt washing.
One disconcerting thing about baby chicks is that they all look dead when they are sleeping. Those of you with human children remember how angelic and cute the babies were when sleeping (even if they were little devils while awake). And, of course, nothing cuter than a sleepy-eyed puppy. But cute, fluffy, bouncy, happily peeping chickies look dead when sleeping. I know they need their rest, but it makes me want to poke at them and make sure they are alive. Ameraucana above, Maran below.
On a separate sad note, the smallest Maran is going to pass away (Not the one pictured above - that girl is quite healthy). I can't get her to eat or drink water. I tried separating her from the flock to give her a break, but then she used all her meager strength to cry at the top of her lungs. I put her in a large margarine tub in with the flock and she settled down and seemed much happier with the chirping of her flock around her. I imagine she will be dead in the morning. At least she is not getting stepped on or pecked on by the others. She seems comfortable and at peace. It's the way of the world. I will burry her under one of the apple trees in the garden.

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