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|November 25 - Laurie Macha|
We are hand-rearing 415 chicks and they are absolutely beautiful. My first “official” day started this morning at 8am when I worked in pen area three, which houses four sub-pens. To ensure that the chicks are receiving proper nutrition, we started tubing 60ml darrows to each chick, force fed three pilchards, tube fed 60ml water, tube fed 60ml formula, followed by another force feeding of at least three pilchards. There are approximately 80 chicks in pen area three and I think I tubed at least 400 times, making it a long day.
I already have my favorite chick, #600. I think it must be a boy and he's picked up on swallowing the tube a little easier than some and eats pilchards on his own. He’s a very boisterous chick. To keep things organized, we separate each sub-pen in half and sit on one side while we systematically work with each chick to move them to the opposite side (the fed or tubed side). When #600 is on the fed side, he keeps trying to hop back into the unfed side, jumps into the feed buckets and is always under foot. When I grab the syringe and stomach tube he bites my hands....every time! He's got spunk and is very aggressive. The chicks give a good bite, making my hands pretty sore today.
In between all of the feedings, we scrubbed and disinfected the night pen and moved each sub-pen to a new day pen. Each day, the night and day pens rotate so a thorough disinfection can be done. I’ve met so many wonderful people who volunteer at SANCCOB daily to help the folks and chicks out. It has been a great day and it’s so heartwarming to see my SANCCOB friends, Venessa, Nola and Margaret.
Tonight I’m celebrating Thanksgiving with the South Africans. They remembered that it’s our holiday and want to celebrate it with me. It was beautiful when they all came up to me and said "we are thankful for you being here!" I am thankful that I have the opportunity to help these wonderful chicks.
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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