Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jumpin' Jack Spraddle

I've already been accused of being a "Gentleman Farmer" by my co-workers. Now they're going to have to add "Country Doctor".

Approximately two days after hatching, it became apparent that one (let's call him Jack) of the 20 surviving chicks our recent brood was spraddled. That means the legs are spread in a way that makes walking impossible.

What made it really apparent was that the other 19 chicks were really zipping about on their legs, while Jack was laying, limp and listless, letting his siblings peck and trample him.
Heidi kept him alive all day by feeding, watering and holding him so he could rest. But when she left last night for an event she had planned, I got to looking at Jack, and thinking....that I don't know the first thing about caring for chicks. So, I did what any sensible gentleman farmer of the 21st century would do and consulted Google.

Within minutes I found a technique involving a matchstick and a band-aid to fix the problem.
So, I cut the matchstick to a respectable length and taped it in place between Jack's legs with a band-aid. The advice said it could take up to a week to fix the condition.

I replaced the chick in the galvanized tub with the others, only I set him in his own box with walls that were taller than any of the chicks, so he'd be safely alone with no one to pick or peck on him.

This morning, before leaving for work I saw that Jack was already standing in his hobble and looked well rested. Then I saw him try to jump the wall to get to his buddies, then peck at his hobble in irritation as he correctly identified it as the impediment to his athletic prowess.
I smiled, confident that the sticky band-aid would withstand the puny pecks of a chick for the day.
"We can take off the hobble tonight, when it has been 24 hours" I said to Heidi, soberly prescribing the chick a day of confinement for his own good.

However, Heidi, returning from errands at 11:30 found that not only had Jack managed to slip his hobble (it was floating in his water dish), but somehow he had also managed to jump over his wall to rejoin his fellow hatch-lings.

Despite Jack's disregard for doctor's orders, I am nonetheless pleased with his progress. And he appears ecstatic to be "one of the guys" standing on his own two legs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When I Grow Up....

...I want to be David Attenborough.

We watched The Life of Birds last night; the "Songs and Signals" episode. The final bird they featured was shown mimicking the sound of a camera shutter, with and without the motorized film winding. It also was able to sound identically like a chainsaw from lumberjacks it had previously heard.

There have been a lot of very cool things in the series thus far, but the fidelity of the impressions done by that bird knocked all of our socks off. It was fun to see the boys so enthused and amused by that remarkable bird.