Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chickens: Boo Boo Chicken

Recent events regarding an injured chicken bring back memories of my very first chicken experience. (Cue Flashback) 

Spring, 1995:
It was back in what we referred to as the Blue House in Colesville, Maryland. Back in those days Mr. Farmer was Mr. Antique Car Repair Go-Fur, and I was Mrs. Pregnant and Big as a House. During that time, our landlady, who ran a string of daycare centers, allowed the children to hatch baby chicks as a project. As is common, however, she didn't think very far ahead about what to do with the chicks after they hatched out. That's where we came in.

Mr. Go-Fur was hired for the job of building the chicken run and coop on the animal-loving landlady's property. Until then, the baby chicks needed a place to brood. Our unused upstairs bathroom seemed like the perfect place. We installed a warmer lamp in the shower stall, and the vinyl flooring was easily cleaned.

I could not do the cleaning of the floor, considering my condition, but I could feed the chicks and change their water. I did so every day. Baby chicks need feed available almost constantly, and water without fail. Within a week or two, the babies started roaming away from the light and all over the bathroom. Once they were mobile and could easily get over the low ledge of the shower stall, they quickly started to run to the door when they heard the knob turning in anticipation of being fed. One day, when I opened the bathroom door, one of the chicks got too close, and her foot got caught under the door!

I felt really bad about maiming the chicken. I closed the door most of the way as gently as I could, and I pulled the chick out from under the door. Her foot was clearly broken, but it was too small to do anything about it. She limped a little, but she had no trouble getting around or getting food, and the other chicks did not bother her. I endured an almost never ending ribbing over the event, and the poor chick got nicknames ranging from Boo Boo Chicken to Gimpy.

All the surviving chicks (we only lost one or two) were moved to their big new pen just a bit later. They gave the landlady years of happiness and amusement. Occasionally she would have to rescue them from her dogs. Once or twice she was unsuccessful. But in the end, it is my understanding that Boo Boo Chicken was the last hen standing, and died of natural causes.

Our Chicks, 2010
Safer Brooder Than the Bathroom

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