We chose the laundry room as their temporary digs as it is a room I'm constantly using (much to my chagrin) and it has a door we can shut to keep our dog and cat from treating our newborns like chew toys. Now I have not earned the nickname "Martha Stewart" for nothing, and so when we had to decide on a container, my antique galvanized produce bin from an A&P was the obvious choice. Babygirl and Beans were put to work tearing newspaper into strips, I fixed up the food and water containers, and The Husband put together the heat lamp from hell. And then we all sat criss-cross applesauce on the laundry room floor and acted like poultry paparazzi.
And all was well....for around 24 hours. I noticed that while Betsy and Molly were racing around like speed addicts, Martha was looking a bit lethargic. And (hold up here...it's about to get icky) she had a rather large chunk of poo stuck in her fanny. So we did what our homesteading ancestors would've done and googled "poo stuck in fanny". Huge mistake. HUGE. We tried again with a more generic search term of "chicken ailments" and found that Poor Little Martha Washington had a common baby chick condition known as "pasted vent" and, yes, that's every bit as gross as it sounds. Basically, she was dying of constipation. I then called the feed store, talked to the Chicken Expert On Duty, and was advised to give them the feed only during the day, add some sugar to the water container, and use a warm cloth to gently remove/wipe away the stuck poo. Done. Done. And, ew, done. I was also told to hand water Poor Little Martha Washington as often as I could by using my fingertip to drop water into her beak. So that's what I did....for hours. And I talked to her, and I prayed for her, and I held her tiny little body in my hand as she died during the night.
Before we left for church the next morning, we all said goodbye to Poor Little Martha Washington, and The Husband buried her under the crab apple tree.
It is now a week and a day later and I'm happy to report that Betsy Ross and Molly Pitcher are thriving. They suck down an entire bottle of water every single day, they are quickly going through that 50lb bag of food, and are twice the size they were a week ago. Their sweet little "cheep, cheep, cheeps" are the cutest sound ever. I love sitting on the floor of the laundry room and watching as they eat from my hand and peck at my fingers. I wish they would stay this size forever. And although we are throwing ourselves into the homesteading lifestyle with abandon, I cannot foresee a time where my new babies will end up in a stew pot.
And now here's the truth about the demise of Poor Little Martha Washington:
She didn't die. She's alive and well. Poor Little Betsy Ross is buried under the crab apple tree. We just liked the name Martha the least, so we changed Betsy's name. Awful, I know, but I'm guessing that, in time, Betsy will forget she was once a chick named "Martha".