Some would call us irresponsible, launching into this whole chick rearing thing in such a go-with-the-flow manner. In our defence, The Renovator had read an article on it in a back issue of NZ Lifestyle Block , The Farmer had seen chicken babies as part of his off-Homestead work, and The Goat Herd had undertaken a bit of good old googling, but there’s only so much you can learn second hand. Besides, there wasn’t really much room for any human input; Quilla had it all under control despite undertaking no research whatsoever.
By Tuesday evening, seven of the nine eggs had hatched with all but one resulting in the expected cheeping, fluffy bundle. The other was jettisoned from the nest in a very Circle of Life/you win some, you lose some/no nonsense manner by Mumma Quilla. The two remaining eggs still snuggled, full of promise, in the middle of what was now effectively a maternity ward.
Wednesday was The Bean Counter’s birthday so the morning was a little more slow moving. By the time we hurriedly crunched down the path to answer the collective call of the hungry menagerie, a change of address had taken place in the birthing unit. Mum and six chicks were now very much at home in Duckingham Palace leaving behind one very unhatched (and, further investigation has since proven, unhatchable) egg and one shrilly cheeping half in and half out baby. What to do, what to do…
Some of us pushed for the let nature take it’s course option while others were a little less David Attenborough. In the end, the chick was freed from it’s shell, placed in front of its mother and then us humans went out for a birthday lunch while time took care of everything.
Except it didn’t.
Intervention occurred in the form of a hot water bottle, an old merino top and some warmish oatmealy water (it just seemed like a good thing to dispense, alright?!). A hearty cheeping soon had those on grave digging duty standing at ease but all did not appear well in the chicks hind quarters. Googling informed us the chick was suffering from Spraddle or Splayed Leg, an easily corrected condition (apparently) where the legs bend outwards (think a beginner ice skater) which was in all probability caused by its over-extended battle to exit the egg shell.
So, long story shorter than it could have been, we now have an indoor chick housed in the old aquarium in The Renovators room.
While its nest mates have moved through eating, drinking and foraging lessons and are now onto dust bathing for dummies, little Kormie (don’t ask) is finally, thanks to a band-aid splint, standing unaided and can now eat and drink without toppling into its meal. We’re being careful not to count whatever it is you shouldn’t once the chickens have hatched but you’re unsure they’re not on a visitor’s visa. What we’re hoping, however, is that one day soon the playing field will level out and Kormie will be able to be integrated back into Quilla’s flockette in a manner befitting a made-for-TV Disney movie, probably starring Kurt Russell, circa 1972.
And if that doesn’t happen…we’ll take full responsibility for it.