Just some thoughts and considerations from an experience that was both intense and still, confusing and profound – because I didn’t cull that injured little chick.
Saturday, the weekend of Memorial Day in the USA, was hatchday …and she had hatched during Friday night, still not completely dry in the morning. Her sibling had hatched a day early and was fine, another egg had pipped. As I checked a few more times, just listening fro sounds and hoping for chick sightings, I noticed chick distress peeping, and that is unusual, and decided to take a closer look – shocked to see the black baby chick badly injured. At first I thought she had rubbed herself on the wire hardware cloth bottom of the nest box, but later I came to the conclusion that the other chickens had pecked her from below the box. First lesson learned the hard way: no matter how much straw you put into the nest box under the eggs, the hen will get down to the wire. And even if all went well a few times with hatching…that does not mean it will again….always put something over the wire.
I took the chick with me, set up my brooder again, and put her in after it warmed up…but she was mostly distress peeping in there, despite the warmth and the little plush toy….but was quiet when I held her.
Despite chicken’s almost miraculous healing abilities when it comes to injuries, some of which I have witnessed, when baby chicks are involved and the skin is broken – chances are slim to none because there is that infection that happens – by day 4 usually. And she was in a bad way, I didn’t even really appreciate how bad till the end of the next day.
I got some non stick gauze, had some none-lidocaine antibiotic ointment, made normal saline, used koi med (which I had used to treat bumble foot with) , warmed everything up prior to each use, fed her save a chick and even mixed in egg yolk starting day 2 and in the last 2 days, used honey and coconut oil on the wounds – but that is just a summary or the stuff over 3 days. It really was a 24/7 job.
But first, I had asked in an online chicken group what the best way is to cull a chick.
I got these: put it in a bag and then in the freezer. Bag with baking soda and vinegar. Sharp shears or scissors and cut off the head, hit head with brick, instant death. Reading up some more, freezing does kill, but can hurt, and CO2 – unless done right, it can end up being like suffocating them. I was not sure the shears were sharp enough, ripping off or bending the neck backwards might be an option, and I know they are so fragile.
I had wrapped the little chick in a clean sock after putting the ointment on and the non-stick gauze and carried it against my chest….and that is where it lived 24/7 for 3 days. Once I just for a few minutes put it back in the incubator but the distress peeping started again…
My back hurt, I was tired, I didn’t get much done, walked, talked and moved differently ….it was a bit of a challenge.
And there was always this: just take a brick and hit the head, get those sharp shears and cut the neck, don’t be s whimp…..no way it can make it, put it out of it’s misery …. and maybe it was in pain, at least when it came to dressing changes….
There is definitely a time and resource consideration in trying to help and safe a little chicks, vs just “taking it out of its misery”, which can for sure be used as an excuse to quickly kill it. However, judging by the sweet sounds it made when it went with me …everywhere – there was more than just misery…much more.
It had such live force, …and, must have felt ok and safe next to my heart, because for 3 days it delighted everyone, in between the baby chick naps, who got close enough in the house to hear it, with the sweet little baby chick peeps and chirps. We went visiting the coup, the mama recognized the voice and vice versa, it talked…it responded to the siblings, my voice, and I heard more variety of chick sounds than ever before.
It got to hear music, and hear clear light readings, gentle humming and singing and guitar sounds…it felt like it felt safe ….and it got exposed to the workshop spaces of a spiritual school.
It even briefly stood on it’s feet on day 2, even tried to peck some egg yolk once.
Once I realized the extent of her injury I also saw that only suturing would have given her a chance, if at all ….and finally, too late for her and overdue – I made that order for medical supplies I had planned to make for some time. None of the supplies have come in yet, but if you were around like you were on the first 2-3 days, I’d go all for you when they do….despite visions of needing to build you a special little coop.
I also found out about Manuka honey, the best raw honey for wound healing.
So yet, there was pain, and I was torn, having internal considerations….about just ending the life, saving her pain and myself sleepless nights, a sore back and a pounding headache …but then …it sounded so content.
The last day, today, she peeped a few times at 1 am, I got up for a dressing change, she took some water from a dropper, but not like before, but mostly on Tuesday, it was quiet, no more sweet peeping and I knew it would end. The breathing changed, she didn’t move much any more. We listened to the clear light orb over and over and in the end, Little Black Beauty took her last breath to the sounds of the Clean Light Reading – it was just before noon. I was working on making special amulets.
Even then, would it have been better to take it outside and kill it? I had gone over it in my head …it would not be so hard…but was it right? I kept her as comfortable as I could…and she passed to the sounds of the clear light readings from the clear light orb.
Life can be painful, in fact, I know of no one that has not experienced it. The worst distress for this chick was being left alone, not held, though there was pain when I changed the dressing. It was amazing how much honey and coconut oil disappeared.
Nature would have dispensed of her as soon as the Mama hen left the nest, on day 2 to 4 after hatching usually, and she would have served as food for some other creature.
In the end, her life had a different meaning, but it had meaning – she taught me about listening to certain of my perceptions….about doing things in a timely manner – listening to the same intuition. I learned even more about the life force and resilience of little chicks. because of here I learned more about coconut oil, Vitamin E and raw honey use on skin (no on the vit e) but especially found out about Manuka raw honey. She touched people who heard her chirp, or see her peek out from the top of the tank-top. She made me go through considerations about a baby chick’s life and death and what is generally considered the best thing to do, about the possibility of being too whimpy ….and/but …
And – it also was a bardo trip for us.
Instead of having a short painful life after all that work getting out of the egg and then getting injured and soon meeting a brutal death – this little chick actually got to experience something else too – feeling safe, hearing a heartbeat, being in the electro-magnetic field of a human loving heart for 3 days, hearing sounds of music, karma-wash orb – which I love, and clear light reading orb, touching people who had never heard baby chick sounds with her delightful chirps and peeps – so in the end, despite the pain there might have been, I am glad I didn’t take a brick and smash her head upon seeing that she was so badly injured. Looking at her, I even think there was some non-related difficulty with one of the legs to start with. I hope the honey and coconut oil, the non stick dressing and being wrapped and held in a sock, lying against my chest – made it ok enough for her – in any case, she made lots of sweet chick sounds during her short life, including a soft thrill sound I hadn’t heard before from a baby chick.
I saw her take her last breath.
There are bardo, or macro-dimensional aspects to this experience, but they would lead to far for this blog.
Thank you, Little Black Beauty, or Manuka, as I would call you now. Yes, I make sure that the broodys who insist on being in a nest box get extra cover under the eggs…and yes, there will be perennial flowers where your little body found it’s rest. You are free now. And I am sorry if this was the wrong choice …but it seems it was the better one….you had a more balanced life in the end, and with meaning – serving in way that a quick dispatch would never do.
What will I do next time …I don’t know till then, but I am better prepared.