Our little yellow chick didn’t make it through the night. She was the loudest when they first arrived, cheeping angrily while everyone else settled in. She slept more, and didn’t grow as fast. We discovered she wasn’t eating, and after a day of experimenting, we found she’d eat cooked egg yolk if we hand-fed it to her. But she was still small and weak. Too weak, apparently.
So we’re down to five chicks. Our little yellow one was such a great contrast to the others, and I had become most attached to her with all the time I spend holding and feeding her.
When a chick never learns to eat on its own, it’s called Starve-out. This is more prevalent the more stressful and long the trip through the mail is for the chicks. We wonder if we could have saved her if we’d known more. The idea that our learning curve causes death to little ones we are responsible for is horrible. We’ll probably lose others to predators as we figure out how to make a chicken tractor predator proof. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not fools, but there is a difference between what you can learn from books, advice, the internet and actual experience. What high prices are paid for gaining that experience.
I tell myself to be happy that our other five chicks are all doing great, whether it is because of or in spite of us, they thrive. I wonder if my soft heart is up to this adventure, whether I am willing to let it toughen up.