5-year Old Hand-rearing an Orphaned Chick and Learning from It

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by centrarchid, May 19, 2019.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Over last week or so we isolated a chick that was about 3 weeks old. It was having a rough start by having to deal with a lot of cold rainy days and a case of gape worm. Gape worm infection caused a change in chicks voice compromising hen's bond with chick. Then hen came back into lay because was being fed too much. Chick was treated with for gape worm but seemed to have a secondary infection of some sort that took an additional week for the chick to beat. At point of treating for gape worm we brought chick into live largely in a paper towel lined ice-cream bucket. My daughter with some help from brother then began caring for the chick by taken it out to eat and drink every couple hours. For about 5 days the chick would consume nothing but live meal worms which was expensive. We invested $20 in the meal worms. Weight stabilized after two days of that feeding regimen and began to come back up. Chick still underweight and now smaller than its cousins that are a week younger than it is.

    As of yesterday the chick gets to go back outside with my daughter serving as broody hen. My daughter is learning a great deal from the process. She has three broody game hens, with chicks of their own, that my daughter must contend with as they all have over lapping territories administered by a game rooster that controls roughly 2 acres centered on the house. My daughter successfully stood off one of the broody game hens that meant ill towards the chick. That is start of what made story worth telling. Daughter and chick (Ty) are move about yard from clump of vegetation to clump of vegetation to find juicy bugs. My daughter is learning from Ty that not all bugs are good. For some reason large black field crickets should be left alone. Crane flies are good but should not be chased after unless really abundant. Cut worms are awesome! Rollie pollies are good in moderation. Earthworms are tasty, but dad says do not target those as they may be a source of the gape worms. The real game hens seem to be picky about which earthworms are good. Stink bugs smell bad and the chick can smell it when the bug is the type with a yellow belly. To my it smell like the stink bug that eats plants in cucumber family.

    Daughter is also learning where to look and how to do it when after forage. She is even slowing down and crawling so chick can forage while keeping up. Daughter is also learning the chick has considerations related to staying warm and dry that a 5-year old girl does not normally think about. And then there is the sleeping pattern and other predators. Daughter is all about shepherd that runs after vultures scanning ground for young birds.
     
  2. CaramelKittey

    CaramelKittey Songster

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    Hi!

    Wow! What an amazing story! Your daughter is amazing! I bet that chick loves her like his/her Mom.

    It’s amazing what responsibilities kids can learn by having chickens or other animals. The way your daughter knows all of the chicks needs, and is responsible enough to feed it is amazing!

    Hope your little chick grows up healthy and friendly with you daughter!

    Thank you for sharing this amazing and heart-warming story!
     
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  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    My daughter does not know much yet. She is in the process of learning with lots of guidance from me and Ty, plus she is down at level where she can appreciate what the real hens are doing. It is a different world when your head is 12 inches or less above the ground and bad guys can come from any direction. You have to focus to see the eats yet maintain situation awareness on threats. I spent about an hour with them crawling about showing both locations I know to have abundant eats. I had to show my daughter how a primate properly grooms grass to kind tasty insect forages so a chicken can eat it.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    We are visiting Barnes Jewish hospital in st. Louis for about a week. Kids and I have found a park (Forest Park) that is a good place for out door time. Buggy as hell with all sorts of bird life. Large pond crawls with night herons. When we went out at dawn I had to escort a raccoon away from where chick was foraging. Chick having little trouble realizing crop fill on insects.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Ty was having issues with some sort of bird I could not see clearly under a bush. Young Mourning Doves. Lots of them all over the place around conifers.
     
  6. Mimi’s 13

    Mimi’s 13 fuhgettaboutit

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    Your daughter is learning the stuff that can’t be found in books (best kind) and having fun while doing it. Experience is worth its weight in gold, especially at such a young age. With her keen interest, the sky’s the limit for your little one. Way to go dad!
     
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  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

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    Out to pasture
    enjoying the experience along with your daughter.
     
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  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    A walk in Forest Park.
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    Common Snapping turtle laying a clutch if eggs.
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    Daughter and even Ty messing with turtle that did not seem to notice.
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    Two more nest were just a few feet away.
     
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  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

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    Out to pasture
    Wow I've never seen that. Is the smaller turtle in above picture from some other nest?
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Only one turtle pictured.
     

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