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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: live

We recently started a VERY small canine rescue. The idea is to adopt one black dog out of Gaston County Animal Shelter and re-home. They charge $90.00 which includes vetting and spay/neuter. Our adoption fee of $95.00 will fund the pull for the next dog and so on.

The Gaston Shelter has a Facebook group (run by a very dedicated volunteer). I browse and re-post/share dogs sometimes to help spread the word for possible adopters. There was a very pregnant dog at the shelter.

We already have one black dog available for adoption. But, I could not stand the idea of putting down a dog that was so full of pups that far along.

That dog is here now. And here is a good story from May 20, 2012.

After checking in on Penelope, I worked outside for an hour. I headed straight in to get a freelance client pitch finished. I had switched the video camera back from the mudroom to the driveway for the day. That was a mistake. Our son Dorian heard pups squeaking. I am so grateful that he did. One half hour more of me being focused on something else would have guaranteed failure in Pup #1’s outcome.

In the mudroom was Penelope and 3 puppies. One was cold, not breathing and not moving. I don’t want to get graphic about what this looked like, but she was dead.

Don’t stop reading yet!

I had just been talking to one of my chick buyers (we hatch and sell chicks for $ to buy food for our livestock) about waking up a dead, cold chick. I have done it once and her mother had done it when she was a kid. Coldness preserves the brain.

Our son grabbed the hand towel I had left on the piano for when the pups arrived. Glad that was handy! I started rubbing her to get her warmed up. This resulted in a few movements. They seemed to be electrical responses only. Again, I won’t get too graphic since it was not a pretty sight.

The project that I had been working on outside was a chick hatcher. I wanted something where the chicks could hatch and not get the incubator dirty. It was now in the living room for testing and adjustments – being homemade. I grabbed the fan and thermostat out and turned the heat lamp on. The top went on with Pup #1 in it. Our son watched through the viewing window while I went to check on the other two pups.

This is where we start to see light.

After they were cleared of goo, I went back to evaluate the situation. She was making some gasping movements like someone just pulled up from near drowning.

Gasping was still her main movement, but the rib cage had a very subtle rising and falling. She was starting to breath. After a while, she started to move. And then to squeak.

What a strong puppy!

She was brought back in to her mom. I kept an eye on her while helpig momma dog get pup sacs open and clear noses/mouths. I slept like a rock last night.

Pup #1 is FAT and full term. She also has her mother’s life saving colostrum to boost up her immune system. This pup is acting no differently than the other pups.

Here she is one day later:

I grabbed the first safe thing I saw to tag her with. It is a pink silly band – shaped like a dinosaur. We’ll check her a bit more often than the other pups, but she is eating and squirming like champ!

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So, Chance the chick lives – Amazing. I am glad that I had the focus to give this one little chick some extra TLC. Life does not always allow me to coddle a chick to this degree, but I try to do as much as humanly possible if i cannot.

Despite one’s best efforts, it is not often that these types of chick problems turn out well. It is always worth a try. Just keep in mind that if you do not succeed in keeping a chick going, nature has just had to take its own course and new life will keep coming.

You do never know. Chicks are babies. They have fragile little lives. Baby chicks can weather quite a lot, but one little thing can throw them off so much that you lose them. Their digestive system has to develop more and their feathers need to come in. They also need more weight to help regulate their body temperature. The way they run around peeping, you’d think that nothing could slow them down.

But that behavior is to get the attention of the mother hen. If a hen sits and hatches her own chicks, she will keep them warm and safe underneath her. It is fun to watch the way the group moves in unison, Mom doing a kind of half squat walk leaving little room beneath her. A young chick’s biggest enemy is temperature change.

Chick starter food and water are also essentials. I use pine shavings for bedding in some type of tub or bin and a reflector lamp with a 60 watt bulb. This set-up replaces the hen.

If I get a broody hen (one that likes to stay nesting on her eggs) this Spring, I may separate her so she can raise some of her own chicks, mainly because it is just too cute to watch…

But, here is what you’ve all been waiting for. Chance the chick chillin’ with his peeps. And drinking water all by himself!

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When a chick hatches from its egg, the leftover yolk sac, that acts much like a placenta, is absorbed into its body. This gives the new baby about three days worth of nutrition and hydration. Hatcheries send out chicks by mail at one day old since they are dry and fluffy by then and still have two days before they require food and water.

For the first time, we had a chick hatch without absorbing ANY of the sac into its belly. At first I thought it had a parasitic twin that had not developed, until I took a closer look. I carefully put it in with the other chicks after it and its sac had dried up a bit in the incubator. The sac dried up altogether pretty quickly, so I was able to snip it off the chick. I still assumed that this one would not survive.

About 24 hours later, that chick was still alive. It seemed to want to stay in the world, so I mixed up some electrolytes (water, sugar and a pinch of salt) in a tiny medicine cup. He perked up quickly. His behavior certainly was not that of your average chick, but he was trying.

Today I added applesauce to the mix – early in the day, It went down OK. At the grocery tonight, I purchased a jar of chicken, squash and grain baby food. YES, I bought a chick chicken. Meat is a reliable method of getting protein into their system quickly and chicken is easy to digest. Mixed with water, he took the new food mash from a big dropper. Every time he gets something down, he energizes.

He is a bit wet from his messy meal and the way his feathers are matted down around his eyes make him look like a zombie.

Chance - 2 days

The key will be for him to drink on his own and then to eat. Chicks are normally naturals at this. I had someone stop by to buy just one chick to put in with their turkey poults so they could learn how to eat and drink. Turkeys are not the brightest bulbs on the tree…

Here and there, time and energy permitting, it is worth a try to help a messed up chick to stay alive. Batteries would be an easier solution, but sugar water might just get this little chick going again. We’ll see what the morning brings.

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