Friday, October 16, 2009

Adventures of Charlie the Chick

I would love to introduce you to Charlie J. the Chick. Named by my grandmother who hopes Charlie is a girl. Charlie is quite adorable, one of our 12 new baby chicks born last month. She is part Rhode Island Red and Buff Orpington. Originally one of the 12 eggs the boys and I held every day, waiting for them to hatch. One of the 12 eggs we held as it hatched, watching the tiny wet baby chick emerge to this new exciting world. However, like Mike the Headless chicken I blogged about a few weeks ago, Charlie has had a tragic accident.

Notice that Charlie's right leg is not in the proper place. Honestly, it is amazing that little Charlie is even alive. Last week I was in the chicken pen with Imp (my 2 year old). Blackie, the mother hen, and her 12 little chicks are in this huge rat and snake-proof cage that was placed up on a piece of plywood a few inches off the ground due to flooding fears.

This day was a dry one and I wanted to put the cage on the floor so the little chicks could have fun scratching in the dirt. The floor of the cage is pretty wide chicken wire so they can get at the ground. I usually just tip the cage, the chicks run to the far corner (that's covered in tiny chicken wire to keep the varmints out) and then I can drag and drop it down.

As I was carefully moving the cage, Imp started screaming "ants!" and I glanced over at him and noticed his boots were covered in fire ants. At the same time I felt ant stings on my feet and legs and realized BOTH of us were standing in fire ants. I quickly dropped the chick cage and grabbed Imp and rushed us out of the pen and frantically brushed off the hundreds and hundreds of fire ants covering our lower extremities. Luckily I was quick to respond and we only suffered from a few dozen bites each.

Remembering my little chicks, I ran back in there (sitting Imp up on a bench safe from ants AND Zebra the rooster who has some attitude) and heard a little chick peeping frantically. Unfortunately little Charlie's leg had fallen through the wider part of the bottom of the cage and he was trapped. I lifted the cage and gently removed him and realized he was probably going to die from internal bleeding. I noticed he could not move his back leg and he appeared dazed.

So little Charlie was brought to the house. I told Duke and Imp that she was probably going to die because the cage fell and crushed him. Duke said he hoped Charlie was a rooster because he didn't want a hen to die. Imp kept on saying "Chicken died, chicken died".

A few hours later Charlie was still alive and in good spirits and was car-lifted to my grandmother's house. She loves to doctor little animals and she recently lost her beloved little dog, so she wanted something to nurture. And amazing enough, Charlie lived!

As you can see Charlie's leg is probably never going to be perfect, but she can move his toes and use it to support herself. My grandmother gives her twice daily physical therapy (which involves moving her leg gently to keep it from stiffening and making her grasp her fingers with her toes). She doesn't walk but can hop short distances. She eats and drinks (and poops) with gusto and gets excited when we hold her. Not to mention that every day she gets stronger. She isn't in any pain and manages to get around quite well.

So we are going to keep Charlie the Crippled Chick. Hen or rooster, this little chick is going to get plenty of love and a safe home in our coop. I will report back later on her progress. The funny part of this story is little Imp loves to go up to people and say "chicken died, chicken died". They look at me puzzled and I tell them that he is telling them a story about the day that Charlie the Chick almost died.

I have been working on a few new actions and will be posting those in the next weeks! I have plenty of other goodies coming out, so keep visiting the CoffeeShop. :-)


  1. I loved your chicken story. I use to visit my grandparents farm when I was very young and would help my grandfather take care of the chickens while there. I loved taking care of the chickens and playing with the chicks so much he "gave" me one to call my own...a white chicken I named Pete. :) Each year before our family arrived, he always made sure he had a white chicken on hand before we got there. I hope Charlie grows and grows so we can hear more of his (or her) adventures.

  2. That is so kind of you.
    He or she will at least be taken care of ...

  3. What a sweet story! When I was a first grade teacher we hatched chicks in my classroom. One of the chicks in the bunch was born crippled and we had a nice teacher that took her home and nursed her back to health. Your story brought back my fond memory of our classroom hatching!

  4. What a great story! I hope little Charlie lives a long happy life! Love the pics! (just tell people you taught Charlie the splits!;))

  5. What a great story! I hope Charlie lives a long happy life!
    (just tell people you taught Charlie the splits! ;))

  6. That is impressive! Poor little thing, good thing she has a chicky grandma to give her tender loving care :)


  7. I know very little about Buff Orpington chickens, but have had Rhode Island Red chickens for years. They are known to be aggressive towards each other when kept in confinement. A wounded chicken does not always fare well in such a group and will be the biggest target. I have kept many wounded chickens because they do become really good pets. Hope Charlie has many joyous adventures.

  8. I LOVE this story Rita!!! I used to have a pet chicken years ago who was a Rhode Island Red as well and we named her Chickie. I can share countless memories of her and your story brought a smile to my face. I'm glad that Charlie's living and is in great care. Your photos are amazingly beautiful. Thanks for sharing this story.

  9. Poor little Charlie. We had a similar thing happen to our budgie. She was out having a fly around and our rather portly cavalier spaniel, who wants to be friends with everything, belly flopped on her. We were amazed she even survived the night but now 3 months later she is as hale and hearty as ever but with one gammy leg. It's amazing how such little tiny things can survive big things happening to them. I hope Charlie end up being a she has a long and egg filled life.

  10. OMGosh!! That is the saddest/cutest story!! I'm so glad Charlie is OK!! Hmm can't wait to find out if Charlie is a he or she LOL!!

    By the way I love your blog, I read it all of the time!!

  11. This is a sweet story. I love chickens but don't keep any myself. Although I keep threatening my husband that I will get some hens some day.

  12. poor charlie... hope he/she feels better soon!

  13. Oh my. That is such a story!!!! Poor little guy. or girl. But, though I have never experienced fire ants, I hear they are awful, you did the right then! We scream ants, and that's because annoying black ones have raided the kitchen after it rains. They too, are mystified by the wet stuff, we don't see often.

  14. Such a sweet story! Can we get future updates on Charlie???????


Thank you for taking the time to leave a message, I love reading them! All comments are personally moderated by me and I will post and answer them them as soon as possible.