The coincidence of warm Spring weather and the shipping of new chicks has finally merged, and many of our local folks are getting shipments of new baby peepers, often for the first time. I am seeing that gleeful anticipation is tempered by nervousness about raising the babies, especially if anything goes wrong.
Some friends of mine from our local meetup backyard chicken list (http://www.meetup.com/stlouischickens/) just got their first baby chicks. Sadly, they were all lost in the mail for 4 days, and one chick arrived with splay leg and subsequently died of the effects of being without food and water for four days.
Does this story have a happy ending? Yes, the rest of them are all thriving and playing with their toys and their obstacle courses that I had my friends provide for them. Fluffy running, jumping, peeping, flapping, sleeping ... I call this "Chicken TV for Humans".
Splay leg, however, is a very treatable condition if caught early enough. I spent 11 years working in an avian veterinary clinic and saw many such cases. Another mutual friend to the one mentioned above sent these excellent web resources:
Normally I recommend going instantly to a veterinarian who is experienced with birds, who are few and far between, but these two sites offer good information as a starting point for helping this little chicks recover to lead full and normal lives.
Got new chicks? Consider joining our local chicken meetup group, and let us know how you heard about us! We are collecting zip codes so that we can maximize the most effective collection of members in the same area to share coop and garden tours. These are really fun, and the thoughts and knowledge that flow back and forth between visitors are worth their weight in gold.
Off to get the Poultry People up for the day–I am getting turkey and chicken complaints about sleeping in late on a beautiful Saturday morning. oops.
Hug your chookies!