Thursday, 22 January 2015

Day 48 - The Difference Between Life and Death

A few days ago Maite found a chick that had been abandoned while it was hatching and when she found it, it was stuck almost three quarters in the egg. She thought it was dead until he saw it move and heard the squeak. She brought it up to me in the house and we carefully took the little goo covered chick out of the shell.

Now, when the chicks are hatching – which is in the last 3 days of the 21 day brooding cycle – they need to be kept warm and the mother helps to clean the shell goo off, if the baby doesn’t eat it. We took the little baby and wrapped it up in a blanket and kept it in constant contact with our bodies, like a hen, to generate body heat. We also had to stay awake with it for the first two nights to help keep it warm and to keep it company.

When this happens – it has happened before that we find day old chicks that have been abandoned and that we have to take it in – we have a few points that we have to keep an eye out for as “milestones” so to speak, which give us some insight into how the chick is doing and they are: that the chick is eating on their second day of life, that the chick is drinking on its first day of life, that the chick poops on their second day of life and – most importantly that they Choose to live.

With chickens we can easily see what happens when they give up and when they are not willing to give up. If they give up, they get sick and they die or they just stop eating and die or even just go lie down somewhere for days until they die if there is no intervention. If they do not give up then they can get sick and just keep on going until we notice it and give them medicine to help with the sickness or they get hurt, which can be pretty brutal and they just don’t stop fighting to live, meaning that they continue eating drinking and everything while we try to help them. The simple point is that if they give up they will die no matter what we do, but if they do not give up and their wounds are not too severe they will live with our help.

This is interesting as the same principle applies to everyone. I’m sure everyone can relate to situations of feeling ‘hopeless’ – like nothing can be done or ‘we’re too far gone’ – where, it’s not that we’re physically incapacitated or physically incapable of moving, of supporting ourselves, of standing, but it seems like such an arduous task. In those moments – the defining factor is whether we choose to stand. When you look at the baby chick and what it went through – when we found her, she was in the direst of conditions – totally helpless, no support whatsoever, hanging on by a thread – but she hadn’t given up. She chose to live and today she is as strong and as healthy as any chick. If she had given up by default – then there would really be no hope, then her fate would have been sealed, regardless of any attempts of intervention.

Support given to us can only take us so far – what cannot be given to us is the decision to live, the decision to stand, the decision to change. Choice is truly the difference between life and death, between festering and recovering, between stagnation and change. Consider then, what do I choose to do with my life? Who do I choose to be?

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