Sick Chick Is Better?

Our littlest chick, Firefly, hasn’t been well at all this week. She has been so weak and unable to stand since Sunday morning. Every evening for three days I said good night to her, fully expecting to find her dead in the morning (I even cried a bit).

It now seems Firefly may have other plans.

Firefly Doing Better?

She has been standing a lot more today. When she’s resting, she seems to have her feet under her, as though she has better control of her legs. I thought before it was her left side that was weakest, but now I’m seeing weakness in her right leg, so maybe I was wrong before? She is eating a lot of food, and appears to me to be stronger for it. I’ve seen her stand when I put my hand toward her, but also when I’m not close by. She’s been on her feet rather a lot for a dying bird, I think. I held her for a while today and she perched on my hand and flapped her wings— something she hadn’t been strong enough to do in days. She’s even preening her feathers a little.

The fact that she seems to be improving has me wondering if the other, bigger chicks were keeping her from the food. I hear that chickens will do that sometimes to a little bird, and Firefly is definitely the “runt” of the flock. In fact, while they have grown tremendously, she remains tiny. Perhaps she was just being starved to death, and now that she’s eating she’s gaining back some strength. (If this was the case, I’m sorry I didn’t notice sooner!)

I wonder if she might make it. Then I wonder if we’ll end up with a hen that can’t be with the others and that needs lots of extra care. I have to admit, I’m rooting for her.

The other chicks are huge now. They seem nearly three times the size they were when we first brought them home. They look like proper BIRDS now, and act like them too. Pecking, scratching, flying, leaping, perching, jostling to be higher than the others—they do it all now. Their favorite game seems to be Jump on Your Head, in which one chick will literally jump on top of another. That chick in turn will jump on the head of the next chick, and so on. They make quite a racket doing this.

They still sleep in a pile, which is really funny and kind of sweet. And I thought human babies were light sleepers! The chicks take many naps during the day, but often the naps are only five or ten minutes long. And once one chick disturbs the pile, they all wake up and jostle about. I’ve watched the same chicks fall asleep and be awakened over and over again in just a short time.


Buttercup is eyeing me through the wire in this photo. They pay intense attention to me when I come near, which I do fairly often to feed them and check/freshen their water.

Three chicks stand out as the most active, most dominant of all: Chestnut, Sunshine, and Lightning. They are three different breeds and they each have a “sister” of the same breed who is more docile. I’m wondering if any of these three might end up being roosters. I sure hope not.

2 Responses to “Sick Chick Is Better?”

  • Patty
    March 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Hi Sara!

    I am new to raising hens (as of yesterday!) and I am so happy to have found your beautiful blog. I’m relieved to hear that Firefly is feeling better. We’ve had our peeps for such a short time, and already are attached to them, so I can imagine how it is for your family. According to the hardware store, ours are 1-2 weeks old, so it should be interesting following their development together!


    • Sara
      March 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Patty,
      I’m kind of amazed that we still have all ten chicks that we started with on February 17. Firefly is doing better, although I’m not sure how we’ll manage reintroducing her to the others. Thanks for your comment and good luck with your chicks! They are so funny and cute, although they go through an awkward stage. 🙂


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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