First I would like to say I am so, so sorry for what you guys had to go through.
It is certainly true that when all seems at its worst you appreciate little miracles so much more. I guess this isn't so much a chicken story as a cat story, but its actually the story of Miracle. You see, we got two kittens and a cat from our friends a few hours away. They lived on a large farm and had a lot of barn cats and feral cats that lived on their property. We chose three cats there, Milly the teen girl, a black and white female, and brother and sister pair Tiger-tail (cream-point) and Scardy-cat (Patched Tabby and White).
A little while after we got them, however, we lost Milly to the road. We get a lot of traffic in the morning and in the afternoon and she was coming for food. It was very, very sad, but Scardy and Tiger learned quickly how to avoid cars.
Before we got the two fixed Scardy became pregnant, the father being a large orange tabby down the street. We tried to set up a pen for her outdoors (as we have allergies to cats in our family) but she didn't like it. So, one day when I went out to check on them, I saw Scardy coming happily to get a drink. She was covered in blood and I thought she had been injured somehow! However, I realized then that she had had her kittens and ran to tell the other family members. We found them out in the open, near a hay-bale.
The blood came from the fact that she had not been able to easily give birth to such large kittens. Two of the orange tabby kittens had died, a black and white kitten was nearly frozen to death from the cool air, and then there was a healthy little grey tabby and a third orange tabby.
We brought them and Scardy inside and put them in a box. We got some formula to help feed the kittens, but the difficult birth and probably poor bottle-feeding skills led to Sherbert, the only remaining orange tabby, to get pneumonia and die. However, Pygmy the black and white kitten made a full recovery and Tabby, the little grey cat, continued to do well.
They moved out into the barn when strong enough and grew up there. Scardy got fixed, but before we did the same with Tabby she got pregnant with a feral tomcat named Chester. The day before she gave birth we brought her into our basement and set up a box for her to have her kittens in. I went down to spend time with her and she seemed different then usual. She pressed up against me and was having contractions.
I realized she was giving birth and went to get my mom. We found, in the box, a little grey kitten that was still wrapped in its sac and was not breathing. Mom took it out, cleaned tit up and breathed into its mouth. The little kittens began to move, it came back to life and by the next morning Tabby had 6 healthy kittens, including a little girl named Miracle. At four weeks of age, however, the vet gave the kittens their shots too early and we believe this is what caused Gracie, Puma, Chester Jr. and Sammie to pass away. Miracle and her bother, Buggsie, survived. Buggise got adopted out at the shelter but we kept the precious little girl.
Even though we lost so many kittens to get her, she was worth the wait. She even got to live inside, as she didn't cause allergies like the other cats did.