15 July 2015

Five Little Orphans (and five more pets!)

15th July 2015

Monday afternoon we  (myself, husband and daughter) drove to South Molton (bread and milk needed, I had some US currency to change back to £ sterling....)
On the way back we turned into our (narrow) lane. It's just wide enough for one car, even walkers have to squash into the hedge.

This part of the lane only leads to our house and our neighbours, so the only vehicles are the residents', delivery vans (i.e postman) and the occasional farmer seeing to livestock in the fields (though Frank usually walks.)

as you can see the lane is quite narrow

Therefore, very limited traffic and what there is doesn't go very fast,
We were saddened to discover a dead hen pheasant. She had very obviously been run over, so it seems that a delivery van or someone unfamiliar with the lane had driven down.

Rather than squash her even more, we got out of the car to remove her - and were dismayed to discover a couple of dead chicks underneath her. The poor lady had obviously been trying to protect her babies.

Then we heard a forlorn 'peep-peep-peep' coming from the bottom of the hedge. A live little chick, very frightened and wet from the rain hiding in the undergrowth. We managed to catch him (or her) and off came my hat as a safe place to put her (or him). More 'peep-peeps' - another chick? I followed the sound down the lane - yes! Ron and Kathy found another one! And another... and then a fifth. They were all frightened and cold, all calling for their Mummy - but they seemed to like being inside my hat.

At home we found a temporary 'house' (a hamster cage) and stuffed some straw in it. Kathy had visitors coming so we thought best to leave them to recover (the pheasant chicks, not the visitors!)
When I checked the babies, one was still wet and looking very poorly. Other measures were needed! A warm hand (sorry I drew the line at putting it in my bra) fresh straw and a cardboard box (with air holes). Ron prepared a hot water bottle which went under the straw. We found a soft toy owl (right-ish size and colour to Mum Pheasant) and tucked the brood up warm and safe.

Never expecting them to survive to e honest.

But by the evening they had pecked at a bit of mashed-up hard boiled egg and chick crumbs (our hen's food) and were running about quite lively!

(16th July:
sadly, this little one didn't make it)

So sweet to see them all cuddled up and going to sleep in daughter Kathy's lap.

fast asleep!

Tuesday morning they were all doing fine - even more lively.
We got hold of some live meal worms, which they gobbled up - so they were all eating and drinking, There's hope they will survive!

Wednesday - still all OK.
Eddie our pup is fascinated by them - so here's a very short clip of the Orphans and their watchdog Chick-sitter!
(you may need to turn the sound up - the 'peeps' are fairly quiet.

These are not our chicks - but very interesting videos.

1st August update:

The remaining four chicks are doing very well - getting big now 
and will soon be ready to be released back into the wild

6th August update