It was a chicken emergency. Blossom and Fern noticed one of our Rhode Island Reds, sweet Maple, was twisting her neck in a funny way. She would stand still for a long time. She wasn't acting like the other two-month-old chicks.
They whisked Maple into the house and examined her on the front porch. Her baby-size comb looked good, but her eyes were rimmed in red. And her crop was hard. Out came the chicken guides. Off we went to Backyard Chickens.com.
The diagnosis: She might be crop-bound. Maybe her crop was so hard because she had been eating long grass.
The remedy: A drink of warm water and a massage.
Fern put the warm water in a syringe and let the little hen drink her fill. Blossom gently rubbed Maple's crop. Maple made some funny noises and anointed the newspaper with some very grassy (and wet) poop. And soon she made happy-chicken noises and settled down into a nice nap.
Thank goodness, she's been happily eating beetles and ticks ever since. Once again, though, it reminds us how fragile our little flock is. We can play the radio to keep the fox away (thanks, Emma and Grace, for that great tip!). We can rush out every morning with fresh water and food. We can let them be free to stretch and scratch and run. We can keep the chicks separated from the grown flock until the little ones are less susceptible to disease. We can entertain them with rides on our shoulders (and hair buns). But nature is still nature.
Blossom with Rosie in her hair