Tag / Percy Peepers

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Sad News

Something in my heart of hearts told me to reach out to Maple Farm Sanctuary and get an update on Percy.  I was deeply saddened with the news.  Here is part of Cheri’s update:

…There is sad news however. Percy was not doing well. Her little legs seemed to be getting more distorted. The good leg didn’t seem to be able to handle the work of two legs. I had started to hold Percy up to the food and water dishes for about six times a day. If I didn’t hold her, every time she went to eat or drink her little body would fall backwards.  Her sibling was hopping out of the box to explore her new surroundings but she would always hop back in to cuddle with Percy.   Percy passed away peacefully on Thurs. with her sibling cuddled up next to her… It was amazing to see poor little Percy not grow hardly at all. Her sibling has grown at an amazing rate!  I’m sorry we couldn’t have saved Percy.

I responded to her email with the following:

Thank you Cheri.  Thank you for the update and the care that you and your farm family gave to Percy.  I appreciate your kindness and heaven has a new friend at the Rainbow Bridge.  I only hope that her sibling will become fast friends with some of your other chickens.  Percy’s sibling shows us that animals can feel compassion and love.  Thank you for reminding us all of this wonderful lesson.  

Percy Peepers was born February 2011 and passed away May 19, 2011.  She is survived by her six siblings.


Chickens Stories from Our Nest

New Beginnings, Bright Futures


My last moment with Percy


Percy and his sibling, Peanut Butter Cup, made the hour and a half journey from our home on the Cape to the new farm this morning.  Last night and this morning, I spent much time observing the chicks intereact. I ended up selecting one of the chicks that was always curious about Percy.  In fact, last night Percy spent the night next to this little chick.  As I took the time to locate Percy’s companion, the little chick came to me.  It peered into my eyes, almost as if it knew.  I grabbed him first.  Then I grabbed Percy.  I placed them in a cardboard brooder and into the car they went.  I covered the box of the brooder lightly with a towel.  I hoped that they would nap on the trip.  I grabbed a check from the checkbook and we were off.

Next, we stopped at our local feed store and picked up a new chick feeder, new waterer, chick grit, 10 pounds of chick starter, and 50 pounds of grower feed.  We were not sure if they had little items for chicks and we wanted to ensure that the chicks would be as comfortable as possible.  I was nervous driving the entire time.  Every possible worry passed through my stream of consciousness.  No, this was going to all work out fine.

After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived at Maple Farm Sanctuary.  Immediately upon stepping out of the car, I could sense peacefulness.  I quickly was introduced to Cheri and her husband, the owners of the sanctuary.  I was instantly struck by the kindness and caring heart of Cheri.  She already had love in her heart for these two little chickens, especially Percy Peepers.  She was very thankful of the donation and goods that we gave to the sanctuary.  I took some pictures of Percy’s new home and spent a few moments giving him love and more kisses.  I knew, however, that despite the ache in my heart, this was the right decision.  Percy and Peanut Butter Cup were going to have a wonderful life here amongst cows, horses, fellow chickens, llamas, goats, geese and a large pig named Johnathan!

New friends
New sights

Today was not easy for me.  I tried to create as many memories as I could about Percy.  I wonder if he will remember me?  I hope that he knows that he is loved and that I did this out of my love for him.  I hope Peanut Butter Cup knows too that I will be forever grateful for his companionship to Percy. I’m glad that they will be together.  I know that that little bird will continue to touch many more peoples’ lives.  He is a special little chicken.

Interestingly, Cheri believes that Percy Peepers is female and Peanut Butter Cup is male.  We agreed to be in email contact with one another over the coming months.  I can’t wait to hear how everything is going!  Good luck little chickens and may your guardian angels watch over you.  You will both be missed but never forgotten.


Beautiful grounds

Maple Farm Sanctuary is always looking for donations, donated goods and volunteers.  If would like to help make a difference in the lives of animals, please click here.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest


An Easter Blessing

View from above,  sleeping Percy tucked safely by the food dish.

As many of you have been following the story of Percy Peepers, I was blessed with wonderful news this morning.  I have found a farm sanctuary about 1 hour from our home who has agreed to take Percy. At the sanctuary, Percy will be able to live out his natural life, however long that might be. 

I have grappled with this decision for a very long time. I have lost many hours of sleep and cried many a tear over the entire situation.  In my heart of hearts, as I watched Percy grow and develop, it became clearer to me that he would require much more attention than I was able to provide. With Percy’s bad leg and his constant wing flapping while getting around, I would not be able to take Percy into the house.  I also knew that Percy would never be able to integrate into a new flock. Most likely, he would be seen as a weak bird and constantly tormented by the others.  Percy would need to be in a separate cage.  Chickens also need companions.  Therefore, I made the decision to send Percy with one of his healthy siblings to the farm sanctuary.  His siblings have accepted him.  I know this because they all still sleep together huddled together on the pine shavings.  Best of all, Percy will not be alone.

2 week old Dottie Speckles pays a visit to 5 week old Percy

Percy is now almost six weeks.  I will try and watch over the next 24 hours who likes to be with Percy the best.  This is the sibling that will accompany him to his new home.  I will also allow my children to name Percy’s companion.  Giving something life that was not intended to live is miraculous in itself.  I am proud to share this lesson with my children.  I am also glad that my children were able to witness believing in something that given the circumstances might not have been allowed to persever.  Our family has all been touched by Percy Peepers.  He is a brave little chicken with a big heart, courage and perseverance. 

Our trip is planned for tomorrow.

If you would like to make a donation to the farm sanctuary where Percy and his sibling will go, please click here.  Thank you to Cheri for believing.


Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest


Percy Peepers stands alone

I haven’t talked much about Percy Peepers lately.  I guess because part of me finds the entire situation sad.  Percy Peepers continues to eat and drink but does not seem to be growing much.  He is about half the size of his siblings and it seems that Dottie will soon surpass him. In addition, Dolly Mama who cared so tenderly for his special needs decided a few days ago to return to the large flock.

Percy is having a very difficult time getting around the coop.  Often, I find him alone to the side.  His weight now seems too much for his little legs to bear.  Usually I find him in a corner off to the side, observing his siblings participating in chicken life. Some stop over and say hello, but their time together is very brief. Luckily at night, I still find Percy Peepers sleeping together with the other chicks. I do not think that he will ever survive outside.

I know that over the next few weeks, I must make some difficult decisions. Some may say that he is only a little chick, but to me he has conquered so many hurdles and touched my heart along the way.  It is very hard when you love something to make a difficult decision.

Not alone for long

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Being Different

The chicks are now an entire 2 weeks old!  I have forgotten how quickly they grow.  They are starting to develop their wing feathers, while little tufts of feathers emerge through the fluff on the back of their necks. They seem to love hopping and flapping their wings wherever they go!  Even their little necks are beginning to stretch out and the baby roosters are starting to challenge each other with western style stare downs.  A pecking order is developing amongst the chicks.

Today, I tried to get some photos but I must admit, they do not like to hold still.  Everyone was on the move…

We have new wing and neck feathers.


We love to find wonderful treats among the shavings.
Mom love to remind us to eat!

…that is except for Percy Peepers.

Percy Peepers and his handicapped foot

Most of the time, Percy Peepers is found underneath the comforts of Momma Dolly.  Percy is rarely seen eating with the others.  Most times, he waits until everyone else has had their fill and then hobbles over to the food dish when the dangers of being trampled are gone.  Everyone is so fast and hops so much, that I think Percy is afraid of getting hurt.  Percy is also about half the size of the other chicks but still growing and finding feathers in new places like the rest of them.

Percy is never picked on by the others.  I believe that he is accepted leg and all. Sometimes, I find him snuggled in front of the heat lamp with one of the other chicks.  Percy seems happy and is feisty when we try to hold him, which I see as a good sign.  Percy is enjoying being a chicken even if he is a handicapped one.  It is nice to see Percy hold his own in his family.  It is also nice to see the other’s accept someone who is different.

Photo credits:  Tilly’s Nest


Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Room to Grow

I would like to say a great big HELLO to Mrs. Keenan’s class who has been following the adventures of Tilly’s Nest in their classroom!
We need more room to grow!
The chickens and Dolly are quickly out growing their space!  They were born almost 2 weeks ago.  They still had the old nesting box in the brooder.  They also continued to make a complete mess of the newspaper lining that I placed underneath of the pine shavings.  I contributed it to Dolly as she scratched and looked for goodies to share with the chicks.  I found myself constantly cleaning out the feeder and the waterer of pine shavings.  It was time to make some changes! I removed everything from the brooder and started from scratch.
Don’t mind if I do, I like this new waterer!
 I elevated the waterer off the ground to prevent the pine shavings from being inadvertently scratched into the waterer.  Soon, I realized that it was too high for Percy Peepers to reach.  They say that necessity is the mother of all inventions.  So, I remembered that I had created a device that could hang off the nesting boxes for Dolly when she was ill last Winter.  Voila!  It worked.  I made it out of a coat hanger and a small stainless steel serving dish.  Hung from the wire wall, it is just the right height for Percy!  Plus his brothers and sisters enjoy drinking from it too.


Food to the left, chicken play area to the right
I also removed the nesting box to open up more room.  I decided to place all of the food in the chillier end of the brooder.  Dolly’s food is now out of reach from the chicks.  I have it perched upon a brick.  The chicks cannot eat Dolly’s food because it contains too much calcium.  The calcium could adversely affect the growth of the chicks’ bones.  I placed the chick food in the middle and the elevated waterer at the top. Finally, I added 8″ cardboard walls around the perimeter of the brooder.  As the current walls are hardware cloth, I thought by doing so, I could prevent the shavings from flying everywhere as the chickens scratch.


View from above
It has been about 17 hours since I changed the brooder yesterday afternoon.  The chicken family seems happy.  The chicken family seems to really be enjoying the added room in their brooder.  Soon I will search outside for a perch that I can make so the chicks can practice roosting.  The waterers and the food dishes seem relatively shaving free and I am hearing lots of pleasure trills!  Life is good at Camp Broody.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Chicken Littles

We love to poke out from the safety of Momma Dolly

The chicks are becoming so adventurous now.  It is rare that I find many of them underneath Dolly.  Only during naps, do some prefer to snuggle underneath of her while some prefer to lay in front of her on the soft shavings warmed by the heat lamp.  They are also becoming faster everyday.  They are starting to develop tail and wing feathers and enjoying hopping all over the brooder.  Dolly is also becoming more protective as I try to inspect her chicks.

Dolly and her brood

Today, I had to treat two pasty butts.  She was not happy about me trying to catch her chicks.  She became frantic.  As the chicks peeped louder, she danced around in circles with her wings fully extended.  Poor Percy Peepers.  Percy was being trampled in the frenzy. Finally, I had to remove Dolly to the outside run, catch the chicks, treat the pasty butts and return them to the brooder while Dolly knew nothing of the sort!

Percy always near Momma’s side

Percy continues to thrive and does not seem to be in any pain.  Percy never ventures too far from Dolly and spends most times underneath of her.  Percy does continue to grow and develop.  Wing feathers are emerging and Percy is getting faster everyday despite having to adapt to the bad leg.  My attempts at physical therapy with Percy seem so futile, although I still think a little exercise is good, so I continue. My Pet Chicken has even offered to donate a reusable chicken diaper if Percy will need to become a house chicken.  The outpouring of support for Percy has been absolutely amazing and I am grateful for everyone’s kind words and thoughts.  I am awestruck that something so tiny as Percy, fitting in the palm of your hand and weighing less than a few ounces, can move people in extraordinary ways.

Much love and thanks,
Tilly’s Nest

Photo credits:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Chicken Physical Therapy

Well, I had to do something.  As a nurse practitioner with a specialty in rehabilitation, I had to try.  So, last night after the bedtime routines were finished and the kids went to bed, I fetched Percy Peepers from the brooder.  I found it not under Dolly like the rest of the them.  Instead, it was sleeping next to the heat lamp.

Here I am, my toes are all straight!

Waking from it’s sleep, I brought it inside to the TV room where my husband was watching the Tar Heels.  I first assessed it walking on the carpet.  In the afternoon, I had removed the splint from its’ foot.  The toes are now nice and straight.  Still, hobbling around, Percy seemed stronger and a bit faster.  Next, I moved onto range of motion.  I first took the strong leg and found out what was normal flexibility for a chicken’s leg.  Then I went over to the affected leg.  A scab remains on the back of the knee.  The leg is now stiff.  Slowly, I gently extended the knee past the area of restriction.  Over a period of several repititions, the knee started to relax and gain better range.  Then we practiced proprioception, knowing where your foot is in space and time.  Gently, as I supported Percy’s weight, I helped to support, place and guide Percy to stand correctly on two feet.  Between repetitions, we rested.  We worked for about 20 minutes together.  Finally, when we finished, I gave Percy Peepers some love.

As I laid on the couch, Percy climbed into the crook of my neck between my chin and chest.  The chick quickly fell asleep.  I even heard what I think was a pleasure trill.  A half hour passed, and I decided to return Percy to its’ family.  I brought Percy over to Dolly.  All of the other chicks were still sleeping underneath of her.  I guided Percy to Dolly’s breast feathers and Percy quickly scuttled underneath of Dolly.

Photo credit:  Tilly’s Nest