Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SmartPaks to the Rescue?

Remember the new chicks and their unfit mother I mentioned in my last post? Well, it came as no surprise to me that her brand new chicks are already in trouble one day later. The hen decided it would be a good idea to walk through the double fence line behind the barn that is a perimeter fence and wander in the woods over there with her day old chicks. I thought it was a bad move on her part but couldn't stop her.

Around lunch time on Monday Jason and I heard some very loud and very persistent peeping. We decide to go investigate knowing it was a chick calling for mom. We can't see him as he's in the brush, but we hear more than one chick calling. Jason somehow manages to scale the two fences and starts crashing around over there. Of course the peeping stopped. So I told him to stop moving and stay really still for a minute. He did and a minute later the peeping starts again.

Jason spots the source and starts chasing the poor chick around in the brush and the woods. He manages to capture the chick and passes him over the fence to me. He commences his search for the other chick and in the process finds two chicks that have already died. We tried for awhile to find and capture the other chick we were hearing but were never able to find him. Jason was crawling around through the wet brush and woods trying to do a search and rescue for the other chick.

Jason had to leave for awhile and I am left holding the chick. I put him in an empty muck bucket and set the bucket behind the barn hoping his loud peeping would lure the other chick over. After about an hour I did see the chick and he was just inside the fence line. I tried to sneak up and grab him but he ran away and I never saw him again.

Now I needed to set up a home for the one chick. You have to be really careful about providing water to little chicks as they drown very easily. I could not find any suitable containers and then noticed an empty SmartPak strip sitting on the trash can. Perfect, SmartPaks to the rescue! I completely removed the top liner, rinsed it out and put some water in the two wells. My next task was a trip to the feed store to get a heat lamp (chicks need a lot of warmth) and some chick starter feed. I liked my idea for the water so much I used another empty SmartPak strip for starter feed. Who knew the empty SmartPak strips could be so useful??

The chick seemed to be doing well and had a nice set up with his SmartPak dispensers, heat lap and blanket in his muck bucket home. I really had the warm fuzzies looking at him in his cozy home. Don't you have the warm fuzzies just reading about it?

He died 24 hours later. I tried so hard for this chick and I feel so guilty. He refused to eat or drink anything. Maybe he did not like using hand-me-downs for his food and water holders. I heated up some water and made a mush of his feed and fed it to him with a dropper but he wouldn't swallow it. I used the dropper to put water in his mouth as well. He seemed to have no will to live. I guess being abandoned by your mother will do that to you. I keep asking Jason where did we go wrong? How did we fail this chick?

In the end we tried our best for the little guy but hopefully he has gone to a better place. It was a sad day on the farm.

It isn't a great picture for really seeing anything but I like it anyway. O'Reilly is to the left grazing while Chili, Lucky and Lightening are hanging out.

Harmony and MyLight grazing together, both are Thoroughbred mares. Harmony is a retired polo pony and MyLight is retired from dressage.

I only took this picture because someone was actually in the shed (Missy and Buffy).

O'Reilly, Teddy and Lucky enjoying a pleasant day together. O'Reilly is an Irish bred horse and retired from the jumprs, Teddy is a Quarter Horse and retired from dressage and Lucky is also a Quarter Horse retired from the trails.

Trigger is an appendix Quarter Horse retired from the hunter ring. I love his chocolate palomino color (that you can't see well in this picture) and all of his bling.

L-R Asterik (Holsteiner), Sebastian (Connemara/Irish Draught cross), Faune (Selle Francais) with B-Rad (Belgian Warmblood) walking towards them in the back.

Winston (Thoroughbred and Trillion (Dutch Warmblood), both are retired show hunters.

The tree house for my nephews and niece extends into one of the pastures. Here is B-Rad hanging out under the tree house!
Sky looking at me over the fence (hoping for a treat)

Homer (Irish bred), Levendi (Oldenburg) and Leo (Dutch Warmblood). All were very successful show hunters.

The next two pictures are both of Apollo and Ivan. Apollos is a Hanoverian and retired from dressage while Ivan is a Thoroughbred and retired Grand Prix jumper. The first picture shows how big Apollos is. Ivan stands over 17 hands and Apollo is still so much taller than Ivan. He clocks in at a mighty 18.1 hands.


Anonymous said...

So sad about the chicks.

Thanks again for the happy horse pictures!

PhunnieOne said...

If that happens again place shiny silver coins in the feed and bottom of the water. Chickens and turkeys like to peck at shiny things, it will encourages them to eat and drink.

Jill said...

Sorry to hear about your chick(s).

A similar thing happened to us with some wild ducks who were living on our stream. The mother took them across the field and one of our horses managed to separate the last three ducklings in the line from the rest and the mother didn't come back. We rounded them up and put them in a soft bed with a little water and grain mush but two still died. I think it's the shock to the system, but I guess it could be anything as in our case, one did make it to adulthood.

Vivian, Apollo's Mom said...

It's always so sad when a little animal dies that one has cared for. It seems to me that you did the right thing, except for that coin trick which I will try if need be in the future. The Smartpak idea is terrific as the chicken waterers and feeders are all sectioned off like that. As a long time fellow chiken owner, please accpt my condolences.

RuckusButt said...

OT question - You've mentioned before that the horses don't use the run-in sheds much. I've seen this time and again here too, but some sheds seem to get more use than others. I've wondered if it's because of how they're placed with respect to wind direction etc. Do you guys consider any geographical elements when placing your sheds?

Jason said...


I've thought about that as well. I'd have to say use (or more accurately non-use) of sheds around here is about equal.

Our sheds all face southeast as that is the least likely direction for severe weather/severe winds to come from in Tennessee.

Our climate is pretty moderate most of the time. About the only weather that will see them consistently inside is 35-45 degrees, windy and raining, and not always then.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Actually I don't think it is shed placement that dictates us at all around here. All of the pastures with the exception of one have large wooded areas and the horses seem to prefer that to the run-ins. Our run-ins are large, airy, open and inviting so I think the horses really prefer natural shelter. The one pasture that does not have a true wooded area still has several mature trees and although that shed sees more use than any other it is still minimal. I see them under the trees more.