We suffered our first urban chicken tragedy last night.
It all happened so fast. Well, relatively fast.
Our chicks are 5 weeks old, and getting along swell. But yesterday morning one of them seemed a bit sleepy, even while the other two were racing around gobbling up the little crumbs of bread we tossed in as a treat.
By 5:30PM the chick was dead.
The kids took it especially rough. They cried all through dinner. They decided on their own to wear black to school today.
As first time chicken owners we realized quickly how little we were prepared for something like this. I mean, they've quickly become "pets" even if we do plan on raising them for their eggs. But we'd only had them for 3 weeks and it's not like the birds run around the house with our cats or anything. But still, I wasn't exactly shocked to see the kids upset.
We tried calling some vets. Of course, finding vets that know anything much about 5 week old chickens is tough.
We had difficult decisions to make and questions to face:
Is it "worth" $160 to get a necropsy of a $4 bird you've had for a total of 22 days? Couldn't we just buy 40 more of the suckers and let the odds work for us?
But what if it died of some disease we could prevent from harming the other chicks?
Would it be better to pay half that amount to have the two live birds checked out by a vet?
We want to get a new chick, but will the other birds accept one if we find a new bird about the same age? What would happen if we got a one or two week old chick?
Ah Peepers, we'll miss you.