Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Lost Chick

There was another little drama in the barn last week.

A white hen had a clutch of new chicks. The morning after they hatched, one of the chicks, who we named Marco Polo, fell out of the nest. He couldn't climb back in, so he got separated from the others and squeaked shrilly. I found Marco cowering alone in the corner of the barn, looking like he was going to collapse. 

I picked him up and put him back in the nest. The hen accepted him immediately. When I visited the barn the next morning, the hen and all her chicks were out of the nest, including Marco Polo exploring out front. I sketched them in watercolor as they rested. 

9 comments:

June said...

I love a happy ending :)

renate said...

I can see hear and feal you're a great annimal lover. Hurray for you! Lovely sketch!

K_tigress said...

You don't need candy after that.
Just looking and reading the story is enough. :)

Madame Curatrix said...

You should've named the little guy Marco Pollo. (At last my nearly non-existent knowledge of Spanish comes in handy!)

Lovely story. :)

Scorchfield said...

i dont speak very well english language... lost ... what?

James Gurney said...

Scorch: "Chick" means baby chicken. It's also colloquial for "girl," prompting my friend Andy to joke that I was "picking up chicks."

Madame -- very good, I wish I had thought of that.

jeffkunze said...

I've always wondered if that was a myth that mother birds will not accept babies back if they've been handled by humans.
Perhaps you're a kindred spirit and the mother hen recognized that.
Or maybe you aren't human? hmm....

James Gurney said...

Jeff, yes, it's a myth. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: "It's a myth that parent birds will abandon young that have been touched by humans—most birds have a poor sense of smell and are probably unable to detect the scent of humans on their eggs or nests...If the bird is not injured, the best possible thing to do is to put it back in its nest as soon as you find it."

Laura Breza said...

YAY! BROODY MOTHERS AND CHICKS!! XD Nice painting and story! I need to paint some of my chickens now....