A day-old chick

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Dorothy has a soft spot for animals and now she has 5 acres…

One beautiful early spring day our first year on the ranch I made a fatal decision.  It all started guilelessly enough with an innocent walk through a shopping center, while spring fever surged through my veins.  One display window in a feed store featured the sweetest, most precious looking day-old baby chicks imaginable.  I thought to myself,  “We have five acres of ground.  If the chicks aren’t too expensive, I can buy several and we can have eggs of our own.”  This sounded plausible to me as I went in to inquire the cost of the precious little darlings.  I was so amazed to learn that the chicks only cost a few cents each, so I wound up with one hundred and fifty chicks. I bought the suggested feed, several books on raising chickens, and made my way home.  Upon arriving home, I found cardboard boxes, lined them with flannel, put in feed and water, and rigged up electric lights to keep them warm and installed my chicks in their new home.  This happened to be in the confines of the pantry, as we had no other place for them.  They were so small that they took up so little space.

The following morning my sister Betty dropped over for a visit and I went into the pantry to get something, and emerged white-faced.  Betty asked, What’s the matter?  What happened?  You look awful.”  “I feel awful, Betty.  I just stepped on the head of one of the baby chicks.  Do me a favor and pick it up and put it in a little box, set it up on a shelf and Ted can bury it when he gets home.”  I couldn’t even look at it I felt so terrible.  I could feel its bones crunch as I walked on it bare foot.  Being the person Betty was, she complied.

The following morning, Ted came into the kitchen and asked me why I had isolated one little chick without food or water.  “Oh, I forgot to tell you last night, but I stepped on the poor thing’s head and saw going to ask you to bury it for me.” was my reply.  “It’s not dead.  Come see for yourself,” he answered.  “Don’t tease me about a thing like that, I feel bad enough about it.”

“Really, Dorothy, it is alive and it looks good and strong to me, except for his poor little head,” Ted told me.  “Come and have a look.”  Against my better judgement, I looked and to my amazement, the chick was hopping around and looked great, except for his head.

Half of his head was crushed in and from then on, nothing was too good for that little chick.  I had read that, incase of injury, the natural instinct of the other chicks would be to peck at the unfortunate peer, so he was kept isolated for the rest of his life.  I don’t know how much of his apparent intelligence was the result of living in the house away from the other chickens, how much was due to a natural unusually high intelligence, and how much was due to the right scrambling of his brains when I stepped on him.

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