Yesterday I received a shipment of Cream Legbar chicks from Florida. They had been in transit for less than 24 hours. I always open boxes of chicks in the presence of a postal employee. Many sellers require confirmation from the post office of chicks arriving DOA. The postal clerk cut the zip ties connecting the lid to the box, and I lifted it off. We both gasped at what we saw. The seller had glued three cups of gelatinous GroGel to the corners of the box. Two of the cups had chicks cemented in the GroGel, one chick up to it’s neck. Both of their heads were thrown backwards between the cup and the corner of the box and neither chick showed signs of life. I could see that extra chicks had been sent, so I didn’t waste valuable time getting the PO confirmation. I pulled the two lifeless chicks out of the goo, placed them on the bedding in the box, and headed for home to try to revive them. At home I quickly rinsed them off in warm water and patted them dry. I was just beginning to see little signs of life as I began warming them with my blow dryer set on low. Of course as a chicken blogger, I had to videotape the attempt to save the chicks.
If you are unfamiliar with it, GroGel is a product that comes as a powder. When you add water, it grows in size and becomes a gel. The beads retain the water and the bright green color attracts the chicks to eat it. It also contains vitamins and minerals to help nourish them on their journey. I always send chicks with Grogel in the shipping container but I always mix it to be more granular and less watery. These two chicks obviously stepped in the cups and became entrapped. I never send this much GroGel for an overnight trip.
Here are pictures of the chicks taken at the post office after I pulled them from the goo. I always take my camera to the PO to pick up chicks. Obviously I don’t worry about picture quality.
After driving like a maniac to get home and rinsing the GroGel off, I was able to move their wings. They would be better able to breathe without the chest constriction from the hardened gel. They were still lifeless, their little heads twisted backwards. I knew that since they were so cold, there might still be a chance to save them. It is the same as hypothermia in people who drown in cold water. There is always a chance of saving them if they are found in time.
I turned on my blow dryer and my old-lady-hands went to work to try to save my babies. I warmed them, massaged their chests, and kept them stimulated to stay awake.
The process to get them from lifeless to standing took nearly an hour but I have condensed it down to 24 minutes of video. I realize most people won’t want to sit through it, but chicken people can learn from it. I am always so elated when someone lets me know that they used information from my blog to save a chicken. If you aren’t a chicken person, I’ll give you a little spoiler. These are the same two babies later in the day. If you watched the video you will know that I painted their toenails so I could tell them apart from the others. I will need to keep a close eye on them in the immediate future.
Grab a cup of coffee as I did during the video and watch as the DOA babies become little naughty girls. Yes, they are both girls. Cream Legbars are autosexing. If they were boys, they would be lighter and have a white dot on their heads. I think it odd that this happened to girls and not boys. they would be the more likely candidates for such an incident.