Enveloped, that’s just a polite way to say my life has been taken over by chickens right? In my case, this chicken in particular:
This little chicken, while cute, is not particularly healthy. It was born in an incubator a few days before this photo was taken, but has a few problems that require fixing if it is going to go on an live a life with other chickens. It is part of a life cycles unit that a friend of mine teaches to second graders. It’s a great unit in my opinion in part because it includes perfectly healthy chickens and those that aren’t.
In this case, you can see two problems from this photo:
The first is that wet bottom. Chickens who are born with this problem die unless you clean them up. This chicken was cleaned up fairly easily, it just required a few sessions with a sponge and mild soap. The photo above was taken post bath, looking much cleaner. With that taken care of, it will then eliminate waste normally and grow some more feathers back there. The second problem is its legs, can you see how they are splayed? It is visible in this photo as well:
Seconds later the chick flips over to its back where it is stuck, in part because its legs are spread wrong. The problem for a chicken that gets stuck on its back is that its lungs are on its back and it will die if left like that for too long. Also, we conduct this test on the chick:
We would like this chick to write an essay and he clearly wants no part of it.
Actually, what we are looking to see is if the chicken will grasp the pencil. You can see that he does not. So at this point we bind the legs:
That’s a band-aid holding his legs in a proper position. At this point in life, the chicken’s legs are malleable, so setting them like this will hopefully get them into the proper position so that this chicken will walk properly.
So what’s next? Hopefully the band-aid will be removed after about a day and this chicken will walk properly. The next step will be to wait to see if it will grow properly. This is a very small chicken, much smaller than its hatch mates. Once it grows a bit it will head on to the farm and hopefully have a nice chicken life.
It is my hope that this chicken will stay with us for a few more days and then be healthy enough to move on. I am hoping to take more photos to document its stay with us, look to my Flickr and Twitter accounts for photos. I will write a follow up blog in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. Have any questions or comments? feel free to leave them below.