Friday, March 28, 2008

Mama is feeding Baby #1

Yeah! A half hour ago, for the first time, I witnessed Mama feeding Baby, Babette. Yes, I have named her. Even Ray doesn't know that I've named her.

Mama flies away, comes back, arches her neck so she can position her long thin beak into Babette's beak. I actually saw the baby's head above the top level of the nest. I really believed that Baby's neck was broken because she never lifted it up.

When I first moved to the Ranch in Calabasas back in 1989, I inherited the previous owners' chickens. One of the chicken's names was Babette. Babette was great. Ray had just moved in and we both loved both chickens. Babette would come running when I called her name. I'd have a carrot in my mouth, I'd stoop down to her level and she'd waddle over as fast as she could to eat the carrot from my mouth.

Unfortunately, my dog Chamo liked Babette too. One day I came home to find Chamo feeding on Babette's back. I got Chamo off Babette only to find a round depression about a 1/4 inch deep, where Chamo had chewed down to exposed backbone. Poor Babette.

I raced Babette off in the car to the vet. The vet took one look at the bird's chewed on back and said there was nothing he could do....that there wasn't any skin to pull together enough to be able to sew the open wound closed. I said he had to find a way to close Babette up. He did and I kept Babette in our bedroom for two weeks while she healed. The doctor said that I'd have to keep her inside as any flies landing on her exposed skin would generate infection in Babette. $400 later.

I enjoyed having Babette inside for a while but only for a while. Ray and I put her outside. She was going to make it.

A short time later, I wanted to see how Babette was doing and I called for her to come get a carrot out of my mouth. Babette didn't come running. That was strange. Well, maybe she hadn't heard me. I called again, and still no Babette.

I walked around the ranch and couldn't find Babette anywhere. Chamo was by my side so I knew Chamo wasn't off with Babette again somewhere. I asked Ray if he'd seen Babette. No, he hadn't.

Days went by. Weeks went by. Many years later Ray confessed that he'd seen lots of feathers in one of the horses open corrals. The feathers were the same color as Babette's had been. Ray hadn't wanted me to feel bad so he hadn't told me. We had a resident Bobcat that I'm sure finished off what Chamo had started.

Ray hadn't told me because he knows I care too much about animals. And now I care about our birds. And I'm soooooo relieved that Baby Babette is being fed.

One more worry left.... when will the other egg will hatch?

1 comment:

akvirtue said...

Whew! I am so relieved. I've been checking your blog all day - anxiously awaiting news of your grandchild.

I read it before I read it to the girls - they are all jumping around and cheering right now (they're up WAY too late) and are thrilled that the baby has been named.

We'll wait patiently (ok - not really) for more pictures.