Help! Where is my Mummy?

We had an unexpected drama last night. Multi-tasking, I was on the phone and stacking the dishwasher simultaneously, when Georgia (daughter #1) came up, "There is a rat under the couch and it's squeaking," she told me. "A RAT??" I said. Snorting at the absurdness of her suggestion, I shook my head and resumed the conversation and the dishwasher stacking, silently hoping there really WASN'T a rat in the house. Not 10 mins had gone by and she was back, telling me that there were chicks at our back door. The 'rat" she thought she had heard were the cheeps of baby chicks. "What sort of chicks?", "Umm, small, black, fluffy ones", she said. Phone conversation over and intrigued, we headed outside, slowly and quietly. Two tiny, tiny swamp hen chickies were scrambling over chook circle bed #1 (remains of potatoes), looking very uncoordinated and cheeping incessantly. Mother was no where to be seen. Not sure what to do, and tempted to let nature take over, I watched them for a few minutes. They were heading for the dam, it was getting dark, they had no feathers, just soft downy fuzz and NO MUMMY! Decision made, I grabbed the closest thing - a bucket and scooped them up into that. Their cheeps would be enough to stir any mother to come running, so we walked around the dam with the bucket of chicks, waiting for the mum to show herself. Fifteen minutes. No mum. Their cheeps were getting louder and they were obviously cold and stressed. We made a quick makeshift nest for them in a cardboard box and placed them in the warmest room of the house. This morning, only one chick remained, unfortunately the other one didn't make it.

Our little friend didn't look so well. Worried that he (?) hadn't eaten, I mixed up a weak sugar and boiled water solution and as I didn't have an eyedropper, had to use a long, skinny child's paint brush instead. Success! Little chick seemed to enjoy this tasty delight. More came his way. Next, tiny portions of finely grated apple, extended on the lengthy paintbrush. Gobbles and tiny chick snorts. Signs of survival. A lamp to keep him warm. Within an hour he had started to cheep again and was walking around the box, stumbling every so often. I am amused by the irony of the situation, I find swamp hens pesky and annoying, eating my newly planted seedlings in the vegie garden and stealing chook food, and now here I am nursing a youngster. You have to admit, the little guy is kind of cute, in a prehistoric sort of way.


  1. Hey Christine, I am suitably inspired. I think I am going to try the blue berry muffins and then soap . My tomatoes have been slow even with the greenhouse. Ithink they dont like pots and will put in raised beds in glasshouse next year. Looking forward to selecting our "joined doe" in the nest week. Watch this space, hope the boys are nice to her.

    All the best


  2. Hi Wombat, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of your 'joined' doe too!! Can't wait to see her, Christine

  3. To mum,
    the chicks are really very cute.
    love beffy


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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