Contact Me

Sunday, May 12, 2013

There's a Chicken in My Bed

Chick bath

Last night, I was so tired of my little investments' chirping. I was thinking it might be a good mental health strategy for me to buy grown hens or pullets. These two chicks are $3 worth of stress right now. I do believe they cheep more than the 10 chicks I got the first time. I went over to see what was going on after it sounded like one threw the other over its shoulder and slammed it against the wall of the box.
The larger chick was focusing on the nether region of the tiny chick. Ooops, poop on the feet? It was gross and impeded the little chick from running away. The large chick tried desperately to peck her awful feet.

poopy toes out of the water
All the toenails on the left foot and two or three on the right foot are grossly coated with concrete made of poop and cornmeal. I put her in the sink with the water running very warm, almost hot. Oh, she peeped and peeped and struggled. Then, her little body relaxed so much that I had to hold her head out of the water. Her eyes sort of closed.  The picture above is after fifteen minutes of soaking and trying to get it off.

poopy toes in the water
I had already solved the pasty butt problem by picking and pulling and raking as she soaked. I used the paper/cloth covering that come on Kotex pads. They made nice cloths to go between my fingers and the poop as I worked on her problem areas.

clean butt
Every time that I lifted her from the sink water, she trembled with cold so that I felt sorry for her and tried to put her back in the sink quickly. She was so drowsy I had to hold her head out of the water. She had been chased for hours.
I had been standing for far too long, leaning on the bathroom sink, leaning on my elbows and using the make-shift, disposable "wash cloth" on nails that were hard as rocks. I finally started pressing my nails on the hard poop rocks, pressing them against the bottom of the sink--gently and sometimes a bit harder.
We needed a rest. The only towel I could see was the largest, whitest, plushest towel I own. So be it. I have a washing machine.
warm chick
I am holding a basketball-sized bundle of towel and chick.  She is very content, not flapping or cheeping as she did in the water if I lifted her to the cool air or let go of her. She seemed content in the sink as long as I had my hand around her as I did in the first picture.
Since only one toe had been freed, we went back for a second session. Eventually, she was free of the encumbrances. Poop balls were in the water. Yuck! Now, we both needed another rest.

very clean and sort of wet
Remember, she was practically naked when wet and the few feathers were plastered together. I could not get a better picture of her because she is in a bundle that is not wrapped properly. I could not move away from her or put her down. Plus, handling a camera with one had is not my best skill these days or ever. 

hiding whole face
As soon as I covered her back with the towel so only her head showed, she tucked her head down into the towel. It was sooooo cute. I fell in love with this baby. If I disturbed her, she would put her head right back down, covering her face. Eventually, she sort of borrowed out of sight. When I uncovered her from her completely covered position, she burrowed even farther into the towel.
I pondered how to get her dry before returning her to the box. The hairdryer on low would be cool. On high it would blow too hard. So, I just sat, hoping she would dry in the towel.
Finally, about 5:00 am, I was exhausted and so was the chick. Of course, she was sleeping; I was not! I decided to take her to bed with me. Yes, I know I am probably the first person to take a chicken to bed. I was going to put the wadded towel in a tote bag, but could not find one immediately. I think they are in the car. A plastic bag came to mind, but that seemed to dangerous--not enough circulation. I kept looking in the towel and she cheeped and burrowed deeper. She was one content chick!
Settling on a large paper grocery bag, I stuffed the whole towel with chick in, hoping I had her right side up. With the top scrunched down, I carried the bag as I got ready for bed--into kitchen and back to tv and then to bathroom, finally to bed. Since I had had fingers in poop, I needed to spend a bit more time cleaning my hands.  So, as I got ready for bed, I heard no cheeps, a good or bad sign.
The paper bag and chick went right into my bed, up near my head so I could hear if the chick...what? quit breathing? Cheeped for me? Accidentally was upside down?  I carefully covered the bag with my blanket under which I was sleeping,  and I went to sleep. Hours later, I awoke and went to the bathroom. When I looked into the bag and towel, the chick awoke and was totally dry, looking just like a yellow Easter chick. I reunited the two chicks in the box. 
The little one I washed has been so much calmer today when I reach in with water or food. Maybe I should be more attentive to gentling them.  A bath a day could be a good gentling tool. They get really warm and trust me.
Being a chickie mama is sooo emotionally exhausting.
Oh, did you miss the post where I name the chicks? Her name is Maxene.
UPDATE: When the first five minutes in water did not clean the poopy feet, I did give the bath water a shot of shampoo, nice pink shampoo that smells delicious. I use it in my hand soap pump to wash my hands.  
Your turn 
Have you had chicks with pasty butt? Did your chicks ever get the messy balls on their toes? When was the last time you took a chicken to bed?


  1. Did you ever see the show on PBS about people who love chickens as pets? You probably should.

    1. I did see the woman who lived in the upscale home and had a diapered chicken in the house. It was after I fell in love with chickens. However, that is the only one I have seen. I had a chicken, Fancy, that I rescued from death by other chicks when she was little. That chicken came to talk to me all the time. She would come to the back door and call me until I came. She snuggled with me on the swing. I really loved her.

  2. It was about five years ago that I placed a chux in the bottom of a small solid box and brought the chicks to bed with me. They slept better and so did I. I was very surprized at what fabulous pets those chicks grow up to be. Now, they are the mothers of about a hundred chicks and roosters we have here.

    1. Jan,
      Okay, maybe bring chicks to bed is actually more common than I thought. I am not surprised they grew up to be fabulous pets from being brought to bed. I should have guessed you would have done this, too.

  3. Linda - that little Maxene is sooo cute! and i am glad that you took the time to clean her all up - i am sure that she appreciates it! anyway, i am stopping by all of my internet friends' blogs to wish them a Happy Mother's Day. and since you were up all night being "chickie mama" it certainly is fitting - teehee!

    your friend,

    1. Kymber,
      Oh, as distasteful as it seemed before I started, I knew she would die if I did not clean her up. Thank you.

  4. She's really cute, but I've never raised chicks and don't think I could handle it. Raising two human children (who managed to grow up decently) and now having three dogs is plenty.


    1. Janie,
      This is easier than raising human babies. I could not stand having a dog in the house. My sister's dogs in the house so annoyed her that she said she went upstairs to get away from their demand. She said raising dogs is like raising a child that never gets older than two-years-old.

      Like I said, these two are getting on my nerves more than the ten chicks did four years ago!


For the present, I am taking comment moderation off the blog.