We now have 15 little chicks in the brooder!
Yesterday, one little chick was having trouble finding his feet & was just flapping about in the sawdust. It's motion was attracting it's stronger brooder mates & they were pecking at it's flailing feet. So last night I sat in the shed gently giving the little fellow some 'chick physiotherapy' to get it to flex it's feet & straighten it's back. I was very gently & the little chap looked up at me with a look in it's little eyes that somehow made me feel as if I was doing the right thing. When I popped it back down it managed to take a few steps! Then it plopped down again. So I let it take a nap & then again gently massaged it's feet & back. The second time I put it down I knew it was going to be just fine. It wibbled & wobbled a bit but it managed to stay upright! I wept tears of joy as it teetered about, standing up tall & no longer looking vulnerable. Today it looks as strong as the rest of the chicks that hatched at the same time.
There is just one more little chap I'm worried about now. It seems weaker than the rest, but have managed to get it to take a sip of water & when I checked in on it just a little while ago it was definitely looking a little better. It is managing to get to it's feet & is cheeping well, so I have a much better feeling about it. Of all the eggs it has been the Chamois Polish Frizzles that have been the most problematic. I have to confess to helping 2 of the chicks hatch, despite lots of people telling me not to intervene in any way. However, the book I've been following suggested it was OK to assist a little providing the chick had pipped & they had both managed to make a good sized crack in their eggs. However, no progress had been made for some time & I could see that the membranes & feathers looked very dry & I guessed that the chicks were dehydrating. So I carefully took them out of the incubator, dripped warm water onto them to help moisten the membranes & release the feathers that had become stuck to them. Then I gently tore a little more of the now softened membrane & chipped a little more of the shell until the chicks rallied & began cheeping at me. Then I popped them back into the incubator lying against some moistened kitchen paper & let them do the rest. They both then managed to make it out and I was so relieved & happy. But it's one of these chicks that I'm worried about, so I'm hoping & praying I didn't do the wrong thing by intervening. I will find it hard to forgive myself if I have brought this little scrap into the world just to die a little later. It's so difficult to know what is the right thing to do when you have incubated artificially & you feel that those little lives are completely in your hands.
The rest of my little darlings are eating & drinking & looking more & more adorable by the minute. Despite the little worries, I'm in a perfect place right now - feeling full to the brim with joy & wonderment!