Why Do I Have 1 and 3/100ths Chickens in my Living Room?

And how does one bandage a badly injured chick?

As most of my readers know, I have bantams – tiny chickens who weigh less than a pound fully grown. And they tend to be prolific, which means no matter how hard I try to collect every egg every single day, we always end up with chicks.

This year is different. I’ve scoured the barn, the run-in, the horse trailer, the coverall, and the coops, grabbing every egg I could find and sending mothers-to-be squacking. I am the pariah of chickendom, worse than the foxes and hawks, the evil gatherer of children-to-be.

A few weeks ago, I found two hens sitting on one nest of eggs, side-by-side. Every day I collected all the eggs, leaving just one between them. This was so the hens would stay where they were, rather than hiding a nest in the woods where I wouldn’t find them until they showed up three weeks later with a bazillion chicks. The other hens in the flock quickly replaced the ones I took, so the sitting pair usually had 6 to 10 eggs beneath them.

What are the odds that I’d leave behind the same egg every day for three weeks?

Very good, apparently. Three days ago a chick hatched.

One chick isn’t a big deal. I bought chick starter, cleaned the coop, and shoved fresh shavings and hay in the nest. Hen #2 didn’t much care for the chick, and she pecked at her every time she ventured out from under Hen #1. So I moved chick and mom to their own nest.

That evening, I returned to find that Hen #1 had returned to the original nest, and the chick had been horribly injured – presumably by Hen #2. Without going into gory detail, well, there was a lot of real estate with no skin. An awful lot.

I tried one of those magic bandages – the Johnson and Johnson Advanced Healing Pads I’m so fond of – the ones that form a second skin. But it was too thick to wrap around something that weighed less than half an ounce. Feeling defeated, I slathered the chick with antibiotic ointment, put her in a cage with her mom (in the living room, of course), and hoped for the best.

Yesterday morning I found her glued to her mom’s feathers. She was very weak, didn’t look at all like she was going to survive. I cut her free with scissors and spent the day feeding her sugar water and raw egg through an eye dropper, and slathering her with more antibiotic ointment. I knew if I couldn’t figure out a way of bandaging her, she wouldn’t have a chance. But I had no idea what to try.

Then I had an idea – what about the membrane from the inside of an egg shell? It’s kinda like skin, thin, flexible, porous.

I cracked open an egg, carefully peeled the membrane away from the shell, and cut it into little pieces with cuticle scissors. Then I soaked the strips of membrane in salt water to kill bacteria. After slathering them in antibiotic ointment, I pressed them against the chick’s wounds, slowly covering all the exposed stuff that shouldn’t be exposed.

Amazingly, it stayed in place all night and all day. Today little Frankenchick is running around, eating, drinking, and looking as if she might just survive.

Yay!

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7 thoughts on “Why Do I Have 1 and 3/100ths Chickens in my Living Room?

  1. Holy crap, Nancy! That’s more ingenuity and patience than I will ever have! I don’t know what your history is with New Skin liquid bandage, but I’ve been using it with scrapes and bites on my own legs. The only thing is that sometimes it stings, and you don’t want to use it over huge areas of skin. And you have to let it dry or else it adheres to other surfaces. I’d hate for the chick to get super glued to Mom again.

    • Becky! How the heck are ya?

      It was more than a square inch of exposed muscle, probably nearly a quarter of her entire surface area. Kinda beyond New Skin. I thought she’d be dead by now, but I’ll be darned. She’s getting stronger and stronger (and louder and louder).

      Not out of the woods yet, but thankfully chicks are remarkably resilient. 😀

  2. Oh how I love this post! You go girl! Saving a life is hard work but you did it! I love your crazy blog and am now a new follower. I would love it if you had the chance to stop by my blog and give it some love because Lord knows it could use some! Looking forward to reading your other posts and receiving your new posts =)
    Wishing you abundant blessings,
    Kimmy
    http://www.withoutalabel.me
    (I put my website here because it is not linked to mu WordPress account. The one that is linked is one that I guest author for <3)

  3. I subscribed to your blog yesterday, Nancy, and saw today’s (June 24th) post about how well Frankie was doing, so naturally I had to look back at all the older posts to find out what had happened to her in the first place. So, I’m in the process of reading ALL your blog posts, in order. It may take me a while, but I will get caught up eventually. In the meantime, you might be interested to read three blog posts of mine, in which I chronicle the journey of how I developed a fear of chickens, and how I cured that fear.

    Why I Was Afraid of Chickens: http://www.beeskneesbeekeeping.blogspot.com/2011/07/day-288-grandmas-chickens.html

    Meeting a Chicken Flock: http://www.beeskneesbeekeeping.blogspot.com/2011/08/day-293-wholesome-country-farm-chickens.html

    Kissing a Chicken: http://www.beeskneesbeekeeping.blogspot.com/2011/08/day-296-chicken-pictures-i-promised-you.html

    I know I’ll thoroughly enjoy this journey of yours. Thanks for sharing.

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