Posts Tagged ‘die’

Starve out, or “Why won’t my new chicks eat?”


Chicks sometimes need a little extra help eating and drinking!

Chicks need to learn to eat and drink – crucial first skills to master! When you get your new babies, you should gently dip their beaks in a chick waterer and watch their throats to make sure they swallow. You should also check to make sure they are happily pecking, scratching, and eating. Their little crops will be full after they’ve had a big meal.

But what if your chicks are not eating? Many times mail ordering delays chicks’ arrival and they’ve depleted their internal supply of yolk and are too weak to eat. This is called starve out. What do you do then?

First, it is crucial to separate the weak chicks from the strong ones. Weak chicks are easily trampled and may suffocate under a pile of their siblings. Keep food, water, and heat available to both groups of chicks.

To feed a chick that is a victim of starve out, follow these steps:

  1. Moisten the feed in water and make a thick gruel that is just thin enough to be pulled into a dropper or syringe.
  2. Pull the the gruel into the dropper or syringe, and place the tip of the chick’s beak inside.
  3. SLOWLY push on the syringe or squeeze the dropper so that food goes into the chick’s beak. Administer the food SLOWLY; if you go too fast, you can easily drown a chick with the food. The trachea and esophagus are very close in the throat.
  4. Watch the throat to make sure the chick swallows.

If you do not have a syringe or dropper, put a bit of the mixture on your finger and work it into the chick’s beak.

Once the chick has regained its strength, monitor it closely to make sure it is eating. Check the chick’s crop to make sure food is getting in, and watch it to make sure it is pecking. You can scatter food on the floor of the brooder box instead of placing it in the dish only; chicks peck at the ground naturally, and if food is in the way, all the better! Once it is past this crucial stage, reintroduce it to the rest of the flock. Congratulations!

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Penny the Quail: The Final Chapter


Penny the quail passed away suddenly, though not unexpectedly, on August 18, 2010.  I was in PA with my family, when Kat of My Paws and Claws petsitting called with the sad news. She had died suddenly between 7:00 and 7:30 AM.

Penny enjoys her dirt and sprouted seeds.

Sickness

Penny had a rough July. She developed watery diarrhea and stopped eating. The vet found she was anemic, and I hand fed her for over three weeks, syringefuls of food mixed with meds. She was a sick little bird.

When she finally got back to her normal self, we’d go for walks. I’d carry her to a nice grassy spot. We’d sit outside, and she’d dust, eat grass, and do other quail stuff while I kept a close eye on her. We’d find ants on the sidewalk, and she had great fun chasing them, in a very ADD fashion. She’d see one ant and go running after it. Another ant would come from another direction, and she’d head off after that one!

In August we (Penny, the parakeets, and I) took a road trip to Michigan to see an old high school friend and her family. The girls enjoyed Penny.

Penny and the Frost family

Penny was a cheerful little bird, and I miss her early-morning progressive alarm clock noises and her energetic, cheerful, and sometimes goofy personality.

Life Lessons from Penny the Quail

Penny was patient and gracious with children. She was very easy to handle and never really put up much of a fuss about anything, unless it was getting more romaine lettuce. She ate her vegetables without complaining. In fact, the first time I gave her chopped veggies, she started scratching happily in them, and they went all over the floor! (She later cleaned them up!)

Penny and her new friend Kara

Penny was unapologetically quail. She was always herself, even though that meant being goofy and offbeat sometimes. She was always very clear about what she wanted: greens, dirt, ants, a little more time in the grass. She gave back in big ways: 16 eggs to make an omelette. And she was always willing to snuggle. There is much to be learned there.

Penny and her eggs

RIP

Because Penny was a Japanese quail and because she greatly enjoyed hanging out under the ferns in the backyard of the folks who sold me her cage, I bought a Japanese fern for her grave at the Oak Park farmers market.  The purchase was also fitting because the guy who sold me the fern keeps quail. A coincidence? I think not. She is buried under the fern in a lovely garden plot. She is greatly missed.

Penny is buried under a Japanese fern.