Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The squashed chicks and abandoned lamb......

So, what is Lester up to?
Feeding a male lamb which had been rejected by his mum.
Still touch and go as to whether he will survive or not,
but at least we are trying.
We had hoped to get him back with the flock today so that he can make friends with other lambs and have a frolic in the sunshine with them,  just so he can be part of the their world rather than ours.
...... on his way out to the field,

Well it looked like a plan, but it was not to be, because the rest of the flock decided to not like Lester getting too close to them and galloped off across the field en masse.
Oh dear.
So Plan B is to put the lamb into the paddock so he can hopefully join up with everyone when they come in for the night, meanwhile we shall continue to bottle feed him.
Migrating birds flew overhead today, flying northwards.
A great long skein of them, which must have meant many birds were in flight.
It is now the evening of the day, and the lamb is still with us,
but happily staying out in the paddock.
All the sheep and lambs are now in from the field,
and he is nowhere to be seen,
so he must be inside the barn with some of them.

At least he has company.
And then there was the hen who took it upon herself to lay a heap of eggs.
In a secret place she did this, so we knew not where it was.
Having not seen her for a quite a long time we assumed a fox had eaten her,
but no, 'twas not a fox that did her unto death,
it was a hay bale that had done the deed,
the hay bale inadvertently encouraged to do so
by Lester needing to feed the cows and sheep
so he opened this particular bale
and took what he needed in his usual manner.
(December 2015, .... the bail on the right has now been eaten)
Now once hay bails have had their confining strings cut they tend to go floppy,
which is a good thing in some ways because it makes it easier to get the hay off them,
but not so good in other ways because the hay bail can collapse into a heap,
and thus render any small living being totally squashed beneath the weight of the hay.
Which is what happened to the hen.
For she had parked herself up at the back of the hay bail on the left in this photo,
close to food, but hidden from view which meant she could not be saved from her fate because no one knew she was there.
And so it was that last week it came to be the end of another day,
Lester was sitting on the steps of the Tall Barn ( seen in the lower corner of the photo)
filling up the water buckets for the cows to have a drink from.
He heard some faint twitterings,
thought that a hen was hatching eggs nearby,
was able to push the hay back sufficient to have a look,
reached down and pulled out the very squashed corpse of the mum hen,
so thoroughly dead that she was stiff like a plank of wood.
Adhering to the underneath of her body were bits of broken eggshells,
which must have become squashed as she got squashed.
.....And yet there, in amongst the mass of eggy glunk
were three little chicks,
with another one mostly out of its shell but with  a body half flat.
Swiftly were they were taken inside the house and heated up.
A week later, and they are still with us.
The half flat chick is on the right, but is now no more,
but the others are holding on.
They seem to growing alright, but at a slower rate than normally hatched chicks.
But they are still in life.
 Lester is out milking the cows at the moment,
it is 8 in the evening, and it has been a long, but productive, day,
so I need to go out to the barn and keep him company, just for a while,
so, bye for now,


PioneerPreppy said...

I usually take and put the bottle lambs in with the flock for a few hours every day. Generally speaking I have never had any of the other lambs run away from the bottle babies but the ewes on the other hand never really like em. Still I have a couple of ewes that have been known to steal lambs and will kinda take a bottle lamb under their wool so to speak. That's really weird with the hen. I can't imagine those little chicks have been hatched too long I am surprised. That must have been some razor thin timing.

Rhodesia said...

Glad to hear that the lamb is apparently mixing with the others, sounds good. Shame the poor hen, those bales are really heavy I am amazed any eggs survived. Hope the three remaining chicks do well so something comes out of losing the mother.
Hope you are drier than we are here. it just keeps raining! Have a good evening Diane.

John Gray said...

Give em time..they'll be ok..... Give em some bread and milk tney love that xx

Cro Magnon said...

I presume the flight of birds were Cranes. I haven't seen any yet over here. I love to see them returning. We always wave goodbye to them when they leave, then wave welcome home when they return.

We used to have hens laying all over our huge barn. They'd then suddenly turn-up proudly showing off their dozen or so chicks. Lovely.

Vera said...

PIONEERPREPPY, I was hoping that maybe the lamb would attach to another ewe meanwhile we would keep bottle feeding him. Difficult sometimes to know what is the right thing to do! As for those chicks, you are was 'razor thin timing', another hour or so and they would got too cold and then died. A little miracle, I think!

DIANE, oh dear, sorry you are having so much rain. We are drier down here, sunny spells and showers mostly. Lamb and chicks still with us, although all are quite frail, but hopefully they will continue to build their strength after such traumatic starts to their young lives.

JOHN, ....bread and milk, now that is a good idea! They are having pasta cooked with milk this morning, but will try your idea later on today!

CRO MAGNON, I wondered if they were cranes, so they must be on their way up to you. We also wave them off as they fly south, then wave them back again when they make their return. Lovely to see them.
There is nothing like seeing a mother hen with her clutch of new born chicks, especially when they all climb aboard her to keep warm! It is such a delight seeing lots of little heads peeping from out of her feathers!

LaPré DelaForge said...

"Migrating birds flew overhead today, flying northwards.
A great long skein of them....."

CRANES... they are on the move North according to Grus Grus... the LPO monitoring site...

Shame about the chooks...but animals will hide away to nest or give birth...
at least you've three where there was one!! She did her job... now you've got to do yours for her!!

Vera said...

LaPré....thanks for the link, I am so in awe of the migrating birds which fly overhead! As for those three little chicks.... they are just starting to grow some 'proper' feathers!

Dawn McHugh said...

Bottle feeding is such tie I hope he continues to thrive flat hen and surviving chicks bit of a lucky break for the chicks

Sol said...

hey Vera, do you have any other ewes due tolamb? section her off, rub some towels all over her, when she lambs put the orphan in with her after rubbing him down with the towel. dont let her out distract the ewe with food and dont feed the orphan when you see signs of her labouring. then hopefully the orphan will follow the new born and suckle. do notleave them alone incase of rejection.

worth a try? you could read up on it

hope you are well

Vera said...

DAWN, the lamb is still holding his own, although is much smaller than his sister who is still with the mum. The chicks are also still with us, but are very slow in growing as well. Hope you get BT sorted out soon.......I miss your blogs.

SOL, thanks for the info, but I think he is the last of the lambs this year so I shall remember your advice for next year. The only problem is that most of our sheep have twins, so I am not sure if a ewe could feed three littl'uns. Worth having a try though! Lambs without a mum to look after them are very forlorn little creatures!

Kerry said...

Goodness me, those chicks are lucky and look very cosy in their box. Hope your lamb makes friends quickly and continues to thrive x

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Vera i'm so shocked at those squished chicks! for heavens sakes! arent chickens amazing? we had a hen get stuck between the wall and some hay. she had to have been there for a while. i cant believe she lived but she did. they are amazing creatures. also, that pic of Lester and that little lamb is just perfection!

Vera said...

KERRY, the lamb is still thriving, although still very small. But he is skipping and hopping about now, so is in good spirits!

OHIOFARMGIRL, the very squashed chick did not survive, but the other three are starting to grow bigger now after having had a very slow start......being squashed most certainly slowed down their rate of growth!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

My goodness those are some miracle chicks!