Happy Peeps

April 16, 2011

Gotta Vent?

So, one of the first things I learned from the smattering of magazines I went out and purchased on chickens (yes, they publish magazines on raising chicks -- more than one! amazing) is that baby chickens can be a bit fussy to maintain. The premise isn't difficult: feed them a couple times a day (we do first thing in the morning and again after work) and that includes a special mix for baby chicks you can purchase at any farm/feed store like Agway, Tractor Supply, or locally here, Country Max. It also includes plenty of fresh water, and for both of these I purchased specially made feeders designed to keep the chicks from soiling the water and the food -- because they will walk over, on, around, above, under, any which way they can. In this way they are very entertaining and comical to watch. I've spent hours already watching these little gals/guys. But one of the things you have to watch out for is that their "vent" doesn't get clogged up with poop. You basically pick them up and inspect their behinds; the little hole there which spews all that lovely chicken manure (good for your garden) is called a "vent" and if you can't see it because it's crusted up, you have to try to get that cleaned off pronto, or they will get very sick and die. Well, this happened with one of ours and since I had already read about it, I sprang into action. I brought it upstairs and wet a paper towel and just kept moistening and moistening and moistening again....it wouldn't soften. I started picking at it a little and moistening, and picking at it, and moistening, and finally that worked, but it left my poor little chicky with a pink, swollen vent that was visibly throbbing. When I placed him back in the box with the others, they ran around pecking at it like it was some kind of worm on his butt. I felt horrible. Thankfully, they lost interest and he lived to tell about it. So yes, I saved a chicken's life. (No applause necessary; a gift card to Country Max would be nice though.)

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