Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring is Here!

The trees are flowering, a riot of pink and white blossoms with yellow forsythias and daffodils adding their accents from the ground. But what REALLY shouts spring to me is the incubator full of baby chicks I just brought home from the elementary school. A customer of mine is a kindergarten teacher and I loaned her an incubator and plenty of eggs to fill it with. They had a successful hatch on Monday and I just picked up the brooder with all the baby chicks in it. They had a pure white chick! The first one I've ever seen.... usually a pure white chicken is bright yellow as a chick. About 10 dark black chicks, probably Marans. Several grey ones, likely Aracaunas and several golden ones, also likely to be Aracaunas. With no set breeding pens, they are all technically mixed breeds, but I like to guess at their parentage based on how the purebreds look when I get them.

Emily and I stared fascinated for about half an hour as they ran riot in their little brooder, chasing each other and fighting over bits of leaf or straw. Watching chicks play tug of war is fun! My last batch of chicks was in November and it was FREEZING then, so not so nice to just hang out and watch them play. Suddenly, one chick's head just drooped and it fell asleep standing up. Then another. They are SO like human babies. Play hard, then crash hard. Emily suggested we should go and let them sleep, so we came inside. They are likely now in a tight huddle, all sleeping together with an occasional restless one on the outside of the heap keeping watch.

It is awesome to have chicks in the workshop again.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I am running an infirmary

Seems like every time I turn around, I am finding an animal in need of care. Our oldest rooster started the trend about 6 months ago. The other roosters started picking on him and left him wobbly, with one wing that won't flap the same way as the other. So I kept him with the baby chicks while they brooded in the workshop and now have built a little pen for him to live in by himself. His "retirement villa". Then I discovered that one of the hens has developed a cataract in one eye that has essentially left her blind. I moved her into the pen with Sonny. Then our rabbit fell ill, and his fur started falling out in huge clumps. He got moved into his hutch and brought into the living room to keep warm. I bought a Snuggie for him (it was designed for a dog). He looks ridiculous, but his ears are now warm and it relieves me to think he won't be using calories to stay warm. I am closely monitoring his food and water and giving him lots of fresh kale as a treat. He is slowly putting on weight and I think he might just make it. My job for today is to catch the rooster who is hopping around on one leg, dragging his other one behind him. I want to put him in with Sonny so he won't get eaten by a predator. I know that he can't get off the ground at night and have no idea where he's been sleeping lately. I also know in my heart that I should probably just put him down, but he is such a beautiful rooster that I just can't seem to do it. I think that all of this combined has been truly reminding me that nature and my critters are truly out of my control and in God's hands. I can feed and water, but it is God who decides who lives and dies. It is hard to feel out of control. It would be so much nicer to know that if I put the effort into curing an animal, then it would be cured. Just doesn't happen that way. Helps me accept the process of waiting on our adoption process. Nothing I do will make a difference. Praying helps advance my relationship with God and prepare me for the end result. So I'll keep praying for everything. Oh, that's right. That's what we're supposed to be doing after all. Better go feed the rabbit. And send a quick prayer of thanksgiving up for my many blessings.