Meet Little Bit.
She is the one chick I have left from the four I got with the mama bantam in the summer. Her brother died two Sundays ago. I loved him. He was a sweet and beautiful rooster, but I lost him to a mite infestation that I couldn’t beat. It was a hard loss.
Then Little Bit got sick. Presumably from the same thing, mites, as she and Little Man were inseparable. She was really down--no energy, not eating. It was bad. But I had to try to save her.
So, I pulled her out of the flock and kept her in the sun in a crate. After dusting her with Diatomaceous Earth to kill the bugs, I gave her extra minerals and feed to try to strengthen her body, . She improved, so I put her back in the coop. But sometime Thursday, she went missing. I spent all afternoon hunting her, with no success at all. She was gone. So, I had lost two of my favorite chickens in the same week. That was hard to take. My heart was burdened because I felt like I could have prevented the problem if I had just been more watchful. If I had just been more careful for them.
I assumed the cat had caught her and eaten her and that I was never going to find her little body.
But on Friday afternoon, I went out to check on everyone, and lo and behold, there was Little Bit!! Alive and well. Well, I thought she was well. I was elated. It was like the story of the lost sheep in Luke 15! I had found her!! And my heart was full of joy!!!
Saturday, when I opened up the coop, Little Bit didn’t jump out like normal. She just laid there, really weak. Again. So, I picked her up and brought her in the house and put her in the mud sink. I dusted her again, gave her yogurt and mineral water, hoping she would show signs of improvement. She was pretty bad, so I wasn’t expecting much. But, because I couldn’t just give up on her, I did all I could. I forced fluids and offered her food. She mostly just laid there with her eyes closed, not even having enough energy to open them. Throughout the day, she just pretty much laid there.
I checked on her through the night and gave more fluids.
Sunday, I woke up expecting her to have passed. She was still holding on. So, I did the treatments again, left for church, and expected her to be gone when I returned.
She was still alive. She was actually improving. So, I kept checking on her every few hours, forcing fluids and offering food.
She took a bad turn again, and it looked really bleak. But, I kept giving her fluids, thinking there was just a small chance that she could get better again. She did.
Monday morning, she was okay. Not great, but better. By Monday afternoon, her head was laying limp on the blanket and she was gasping for air. Nearly dead.
By Monday night, she was alert, eating a lot of yogurt and feed and taking the fluids (and added essential oils) I was pushing.
Today, she is still showing signs of improving. I have been shocked at her resilience. And I have been emotionally drained by the whole process.
I know it is a chicken. A little bitty tiny chicken.
But she is my chicken. I love her. I am her caretaker. I have nurtured her from when she was a week old. I have fed and cared for her for all these months and I can’t just “let go”. That isn’t how this farming thing works.
You have to be willing to go the extra mile (or five) for even the smallest in your flock. You have to be dedicated enough to give it all you have, even when you think it’s hopeless. Because as long as there is life, there is hope.
And that makes all the difference.
HELLO & WELCOME!!