Turns out there are quite a few sayings that can be attributed to chickens: Aunt Betsy flew the coop; the kids came home to roost; birds of a feather flock together; to which we would like to add, “The best laid plans.”
Falling far too in love with the first brood, we were determined to just number the second batch of chicks as they came out of incubator. Turns out only one came out (not a great return on five eggs, we were hoping for three.) Despite her coming out with only one eye open, we refused to take pity on her and named her #21. (Second batch, #1.)
When she fluffed out we put her into the brooder box where she just hollered. This was not chirping, it was screeching. We had read that often a single chick will die of loneliness but we persevered. Unfortunately, I had to work in the same room as #21 and her screeching. Losing my ability to cope with it, and assuming she was crying out of hunger (despite being shown the dish multiple times she still wasn’t eating although she would drink on occasion) I picked her up and held her while she ate from my hand.
Chime Warning Bell #1.
I figured that #21 was having trouble with the feeder so I put a shallow dish in the brooder box and crushed some food up for her. She much preferred dining from the dish; soon I was transferring feed from the feeder to the dish multiple times a day.
Chime Warning Bell #2.
Remembering how our previous chicks would sleep in a lump like a litter of puppies, I put a pair of wool ski socks into the brooder. #21 immediately investigated (she is much more adventuresome than any of the other four), pecked it a few times and then crawled into the middle and fell asleep.
Chime Warning Bell #3.
She has now been with us a week. She’s had her share of sticky butt and does not enjoy the remedy. But she does like to be held and is getting stronger every day; despite being alone, I think she is going to make it.
And so we started out with a plan of getting three more chickens to be used primarily for meat and ended up getting our hearts stolen by a one-eyed grey fluff-ball.
Her name is Pirate.
PS: Her second eye opened around Day 3, but the name has stuck.