Well, Stumpy has made it to 5.5 weeks. He has been stepped on, man handled, dropped once, his tail pinched and fed suppliments from day one. Stumpy came to us on May 2nd, one of four Australorps. From the first time I set eyes on him at the breeder, he was always laying down. However, when things got exciting, you can bet Stumpy was the first one to get running with his little penguin waddle. Of course most 1.5 weeks olds waddle so I didnt think much of it. He struggled and kicked as well as the others so there was never a thought of any trouble. I packed them all in a little box and carried them 20 kl to my home over gravel roads and potholes galore. When the little guys came home, they all huddled in the corner of their 33 litre tub and peeped, and who was the loudest? Stumpy. In the first week all the little guys ever did was peep and poop and eat and peep. They huddled in a ball and stayed warm under their light. It seemed to be a game with them to see whoo could hide under the others better. Who was best at it? Stumpy. After a week, the other birds were up and running, peeping and eating, scratching and preening as thier new feathers came in. Stumpy remained in his corner, peeping forlornly. By this time his new Momma knew there was something not quite right. He never got up to play with the other chicks and he seemed to never get any peace because he was being trampled every time he tried to eat or sleep. So he laid there and peeped sadly in his little corner. After 1.5 weeks, the chicks were just too big for their little box so Momma built them a nice big wooden box. Their little box made them look big but the new big box made them look even smaller and more fragile then before. At first the big box was scary and full of scare things, like that big bar over thier heads that Momma called a Roost. And there was the metal stuff that kept the huge orange furry big eyed predator out. Of course the cat never introduced himself, his years of acting like a kitten had long past. As he neared his 16th birthday., he found the little birds very annoying because Mom and Pop paid more attention to them than him. Soon, the other chicks began to charge across thier brooder box, squawking and hopping and trying to fly. Stumpy watched on and peeped. Momma soon noticed that Stumpy was deffinately not normal. At times he got a glazed look in his eye and his little head would roll back and nearly touch his back. Sometimes he would peep and shake his head trying to stop this strange thing that was happening. So Momma took action. Stumpy soon found out what was outside the big box. Set on an enormous lap, he was offered mushy food that made a mess of his face, but he loved it. Three times a day, despite his fear of heights and being lifted up out of his comfy box, Stumpy would be offered a nice thick mash of tasty crumbles. It tasted so good, but he didnt like eating from a dish, it had to be from his Mommas fingers. After a week, the strange head thing began to recede. Soon it was was only happening once every so often, if at all. Momma had worried about Stumpy. She had started to wonder if he was going to make it through whatever it was that was making him so sick. She even considered sending him to chick heaven. But her DH spoke up, and for a big man, he cried a little and said, "Give him a chance, he hasnt given up on us, so we should not give up on him. When he gives in, then we can let him go." So Momma gave Stumpy a chance. She intensified his vitamin fortified feedings and gave him as much as he could eat. Sometimes five times a day he would be stuffed with the mushy goodness. And a wonderful thing happened! Stumpy was starting to grow. His feathers were poking out like quills and he was able to stand for short periods of time. He was able to move when the other birds started to play. Though he was not able to actually play with the other birds, at least he could move around where he wished without the threat of being stampeded. Stumpy began to discover things, like hair, noses, fingers and of course meal worms! One of Stumpy's favorite things is to stretch, so he will roll over, nearly on his back and kick out is little leg and stretch his wing. Despite his permanently stunted legs and his slightly deformed face, Stumpy has improved ten fold! He does not peep in distress constantly, he nibbles at whatever his little beak can find. He complains still at being lifted, but he is soon learning that people = worms and he is starting to like his little moments out of the brooder. Now at 5.5 weeks, Stumpy has grown very well. There may still be a bright future for Stumpy. Though he will never run, he can still at least enjoy a nice mash filled life of love and treats, and most of all worms!