This year, we have decided to take a break from Broiler chickens (meat birds) to focus on other parts of the Ranch.
Well...Savannah was having some pretty intense chicken with-drawls. So, she decided that 20 laying hens would solve the problem. That means home-grown, freshly-laid eggs for you as well! 20 laying hens; they're sturdy and slow growing, compared to our 300 broilers we usually raise -- This ought to be a breeze!
We received the chickens in the mail and all was well. We raised them from day-old chicks to about 4 weeks old in our little brooder room, under the light to keep them warm and grow to a healthy, feathered 4 weeks old, so they could go out to pasture.
At the beginning of the fourth week we entered the brooder room to see a sad picture —some very sick chicks.
It’s a tough life out here! In my experience; the smaller the animal, the harder it is to save once they become sick. As I’m sure many of you know trying to save those little critters you come across is not always that easy. (From pre-mature calves to rabbits caught in wire)
So we did what we normally do; gave electrolytes through a syringe six or eight times a day. Savannah would check on them, stimulate them, clear out the drool pooling in their beaks...Things were not looking up.
Things had gotten serious -- Savannah decided it was time for 24 hour surveillance. I had my doubts and to be honest I wasn’t for the option. But Savannah had made up her mind, so we now had three chickens in our house.
My biggest hesitation towards the idea of having chickens living in our house, is really based on experience! When I was about 10 years old I decided I was going to start an egg business. I ordered 100 chickens and had to put them somewhere. At that time we didn’t have a nice little room for them to grow up in and stay warm. So we got a few big refrigerated boxes and put them in my room for about three weeks. If any of you are interested in doing that -- it does work great, it’s just the cleanup afterwords, which was awful! There was about a half an inch of dust around my whole room and it smelled of chickens for quite some time.
Still, to this day, I am amazed that my mother let me do that. I went on selling eggs for about five years and it was a great business for a young farmer.
Anyways... we now had three chickens in our house.
Savannah would take them outside under the tree to get some fresh air and sunlight. Then they would go back to the bathroom. Savannah would water them through a syringe, electrolyte water every 2 to 3 hours. Savannah decided it was something they ate, and wanted to wait 24 hours before offering food. She gave just a bit of yogurt and probiotics, which they did not want. She was persistent-- I have to give her that.
All of us here at Date Creek had some serious doubts that they were going to make it. Every-time we have had a sick chicken, it has ended the same.
NOT THIS TIME! With Savannah’s persistence and dedicated care and after about five days inside, they pulled through. They were back to about 80% of their health. We were all thoroughly impressed with her dedication to these little birds. At this point the other ones were already out in the pasture in the chicken tractor. So she decided it was time to let them out.
UPDATE: It’s been about two weeks now and all three of them are completely healthy and doing well running around. Sometimes trying to save animals can be a very discouraging task. I’m not gonna lie the majority of the time they do not survive. But this is our job and we do it no matter the odds. And those times you do succeed is the best feeling in the world.
I’ve got to say Savannah went above and beyond for these THREE LITTLE BIRDS (Bob Marley). And her persistence paid off. We couldn’t be more proud of her.