E has croup, again. We took it easy for the first half of the day, but I think we were all needing to get out of the house on this very wet and dark afternoon for a little field trip. Being outside in the moist air is really beneficial for E's tight air pipe.
I have mentioned the feed store in Monroe where we got Petunia, it's a great family run place that has the largest selection of chicks I ever dreamed of (ducklings, turkeys, and guinea fowl too). E was in heaven. She moved slowly from bin to bin exclaiming how cute they all were and picking up the little fluff balls to get her little fuzzy fix. We were pretty much the only visitors so we stayed for a good 1/2 hour or so.
I was in the middle of a relatively lengthy conversation about waterers and feeders with the clerk when I felt a tug at my jacket and heard an obvious concern welling up in E's raspy little voice. "Mommy! I need to show you something!" This wasn't giddy excitement, she was worried. I excused myself from the conversation and she led me to the bin of chicks that she had been fawning over and pointed to a quiet little peep, "That one is pasted up!"
Alright, poultry talk: *Pasting up : "a condition in which their droppings cake up and block their vent opening, preventing them from passing any more droppings." It is deadly if not dealt with promptly, and E knows this. She is visually terrified. Alright, this is tricky. This store obviously deals with chicks a lot, they're a probably a dime a dozen, each one isn't too valuable (some of these are being sold for the table anyhow, very few I imagine will have a long drawn out life the way our backyard flock will, our pets). God knows I do not want to tell someone how to run their business...conflict is not a strong suit for me. Do I take care of the sick chick myself, do I lie and tell E that someone who works there will take care of it...do I get involved? I chose the latter; to ask for help on behalf of the sick bird and my wide-eyed girl. My daughter needed to see action. I walked back to the young clerk I had been talking to and quietly asked if they cared whether or not we had spotted a pasted-up chick? She affirmed that they did and asked E to show her which one it was. She scooped it up, cleaned it's fuzzy little bum, and was able to relieve that little body of some serious built up droppings. I'll admit it wasn't a pretty site, but when she set that chick back down and it quickly scurried away and into the flock, I felt a huge sense of relief, we had made the right choice. Who knows, it may die tomorrow but my daughter was able to experience a sense of justice for one of God's smallest creatures and that kind of empathy is something you cannot really know without experience. I was so proud of her, and I told her so. We talked about how perhaps that very chick may be a pet that will make someone happy for a long time, and how maybe someone had helped one of our girls in their first week of life. It was a very sweet car ride home, and I was so happy we had made the trip.
*Definition provided by the good people at My Pet Chicken.