Twenty chicks are more than a week old.
They live in a hot box in the barn under heat lamps. We visit, watching a half hour at a time from a peephole in the enclosure. Their scurrying, scratching, constant preening and micro napping after frolic are endless entertainment.
“I want to be a chick too, so I can run and play with them,” proclaims Princess.
So did those chicks who suffered deformities caused by my forgetting to plug in the egg turner, which exercises the embryos.
First, I searched for alternatives online for the crippled chick dilemma, and found stories of people who taped toes to straighten them, or made little braces with toothpicks or band-aids, and although I tried my hand at such contraptions, the constantly thrashing chicks soon walked them off, and we made no progress.
It seems when something’s wrong with chicks, the concerned party never shuts up. It peeps loud and shrill, instantly identifying itself, and no matter what you do with it, in only days or hours, it’s dead.
I don’t know how much of this applies to people. This is certainly no commentary on handicap situations in humans. But there may be some connections made for emotional and interpersonal development.
I overheard Farmer trying to explain to my son: “Your Mother was always trying to change me, but she hasn’t changed me yet. I am what I am.”
I smiled to myself but didn’t comment.
He’s right. I once spent a good deal of my energy trying to change the tone in which he spoke to me (let’s call it gruff).
He’s challenged my “political correctness” politics in general, worldview and culinary practices (“Don’t ever put that [expletive] on my food again!”)
It is easy to judge one another because we have different points of view, but to make another person wrong because he chooses differently doesn’t help anyone.
When I told Farmer about the deformed chicks he said: “snuff them.” Snuffing isn’t my style.
But I realized eye-drop feeding them would only be prolonging their agony, so six chicks met the cats and these cats simultaneously fell in love with me.
Years ago I’d have pondered whether this choice made me bad. Presently such questioning seems as inappropriate as beating myself up.
Raising livestock is not for the squeamish. Not everything lives and not everything is pretty.