Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chicks, Vines, and Guineas

Last I left you a week ago the mother hen, Charlotte, had not accepted the new chicks I gave her.  She hatched 4 of her own, and I bought 6 additional chicks, which she did not want.

Since then we got Charlotte to accept all but 3 of the new chicks.  So, sadly, 3 chicks don't get raised by a mama hen.  It's a sad situation.  The 3 don't eat very much on there own.  They want mama to tell them to eat.  They are separate from Charlotte and her chicks, but they can see Charlotte and the other chicks, and worse, they can hear her clucking to her babies.  But they are the outcasts.  It is truly so sad that she will not accept them.  Charlotte tries to kill them if we add them to her babies. 

This weekend I've been letting Charlotte and her babies outside into the pen, so that the 3 lone chicks have the run of the coop.  That way they don't have to see the other babies or hear the mama that hates them clucking to the other chicks.


On the same sad note, Charlotte abandoned 3 eggs that did not hatch.  She abandoned them 3 days after her babies hatched.  We had our hands full trying to get Charlotte to accept the new chicks, so we set the 3 eggs aside for a day without any heat.  We assumed they were not viable eggs.  Finally we cracked open the eggs expecting to see that they were just rotten eggs, but, to our horror, we saw they were chicks who were much further behind in the development stage.  They were already dead.  We should have put them in the incubator back when the mother abandoned them.  But now it was too late for them.  How very sad, it broke my heart.


Sometimes farm life is sad.  I don't know what else to say.


On a much different note, I've spent this weekend and last weekend weeding, cutting down brush and bushes, and removing vines.  It's been raining every day here in Maryland/Washington DC/Virginia, and the weeds and vines have taken over.  I fill up the dump truck in the Mule tractor with weeds, vines, trees, brush, and dump it out in the woods.  I must have dumped about 7 loads.  I love the little Mule, it is a handy vehicle for a farm.  Work around the farm never really ends.  When I have a free day, it's always a decision of what will I do today, not what needs to be done.  The list of things that need to be done is too long to keep track of!

I found some poison ivy when I was pulling vines down off the house.  I thought I was very careful not to touch it, I was wearing gloves.  I'm not highly sensitive to poison ivy; I don't catch it just from being near it.  However, when I was pulling it off the house and putting the vines in the Mule, the cut part of the vines must have ran across my arm and deposited it's oil on my arm.  Three days afterwards the worst poison ivy rash I've ever had appeared in a perfect line on my inner right forearm.  It's a line of huge blisters, it looks like a small mountain range on my arm, and it itches like crazy.  I haven't been scratching it and have been putting all sorts of treatments on it, keeping bandages on it so I don't scratch it by mistake or rub it on something.  Five days after it appeared, it's still there, all inflamed and blistery and huge, a mountain range looming across my inner arm .  I also got random poison ivy blisters on various places, one on my arm, a couple on a leg.  They aren't bad because they are just one blister, and they're going away.  I hope the mountain range doesn't leave a huge scar...     

To attempt to make this a happier post, here's a picture of one of the guineas saying hello to a woodchuck in a field.  Actually, the guinea was telling the woodchuck to leave now if he wanted to live.  The guinea quickly brought backup and they chased the woodchuck away.  our guineas are possessive and demanding birds, and they don't like to share.

This morning two male guineas were chasing each other around, running circles around each other.  They make me laugh, at least.

Happy Sunday.  I hope you have a great week!


Gail said...

I do understand the work never ends.

Did you try putting the chicks under her at night? That always seemed to work for us...but Charlotte may be different.

The babies will be fine. You can tap the floor to get them to eat and stick their beaks in water. They will learn to scratch.

Having lives on a farm always has a bit of sadness but there is much joy too.

Ronna said...

Very sad about the wee chicks but you can't save everything I suppose. You do such a good job and you only have so much time to spend with your critters!

Farm Girl said...

I love what you have been doing and I would love to have a mule like that. I will try and remember what it was that my Mom used to put on her poison ivy stuff. It worked wonders.
I read in my chick book that if a hen abandons her eggs after 3 days and one didn't hatch. Just let it go, one year I had a hen do that but it was so hot the eggs hatched on their own. The first chick had something wrong with it. It died even though I tried to save it. The second grew up but died at about 3 months. The last couple just died for no reason I could see. I really tried to prove my book wrong but I had to decide they knew what they were talking about.
Still it is very sad.
I loved the advice Gail gave you in your comments. She knows so much. I will remember that. I hope your arm gets better soon.

LindaG said...

Sorry to hear about the chicks. *hugs*
I learned about poison ivy the hard way, too. We were clearing the fence line in December. I thought the ivy was dormant. I had gloves on, too.
a few days after I had the worst poison ivy rash on both arms.
Went to the doctor and they gave me prescription strength cortisone cream.
Hope you get over your rash soon. Take care. ♥

Country Girl said...

So sorry to hear about the abandoned eggs, but maybe the others were right. Maybe something was wrong with them. Also sorry to hear about the three orphans. I am sure they will grow up strong and feisty. Too bad there are no other hens that would take them. Hope your poison ivy gets better soon. Very soon! You are quite a busy lady!

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Awwww, life in the country! Ups and downs, but I sure wouldn't trade it for life in the city! So sorry about those three abandoned chicks. Hopefully they'll get the idea to fend for themselves.