Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nighty night

The chicks have successfully made it through their second day home (first full day for number 19). It makes me think of that show on TLC, "Bringing Home Baby," where they follow a couple for their first 36 hours home with a newborn baby...although in this case I have 19, and no middle of the night feedings!

Number 19 reminds me of the Little Engine That Could. He or she is nearly a full 24 hours younger than its fellows, so is smaller and still a little tottery, compared to the other 18 who are busily bebopping here, there, and everywhere. This morning I dipped its beak in some lukewarm sugar water for some extra energy, and I've done that a few more times as well, just to be sure its getting some water. I discovered this morning it was showing signs of pasted vent, where their droppings stick to the feathers, harden and make it impossible to poo. They can literally die of inability to poop. How sad is that? I brought the little thing back into the bathroom for another Q-Tip bath to remove the pasted droppings as well as clean off some more dried egg membrane that were limiting its movement. It's still a little hesitant and clearly weaker than the other babies, but I've watched it eat a few crumbles each time I've fed everyone, which is a good sign. After cleaning the waterer and refilling it with fresh water, I redipped its beak into the waterer so it learns not to rely on me and my forced sugar waterings for moisture. Hopefully it'll make it through another night.

I've fed everyone several times today, and replaced their soiled paper towel flooring three times as well. Tomorrow they will graduate to pine shavings on the floor and a normal chick feeder to hold their food, now that they've practiced their pecking reflex and can recognize what is and isn't food. I might move my cardboard partition back, too, and give them a little more room. I discovered this morning that the temperature in the brooder dropped just below 80 degrees overnight last night, which isn't good, so tonight I've shut the cracked open window and put a piece of cardboard over the screened top portion of the brooder to hold in more heat. I'll see how that worked when I check on everyone tomorrow morning.

This is fun...and a delight to see those little black eyes look up at me!


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