The Rescue: In early June, 2009, Pamela W., a resident of Brooklyn, NY contacted Sunnyskies for immediate emergency help: two Guinea fowl chicks had been found outside a Brooklyn religious facility after a meeting--legs bound, bruised, near death. The neighbors say animals are used there in sacrificial rites. Pamela, a kind local person, took the babies home. That evening, one died. The other was barely hanging on.
This required an emergency trek to Brooklyn- Friday night- at rush hour- in the rain. Yikes! (Actual photo. By the way, did you know they're charging eight bucks toll now? A lot has changed since Bill last passed through this tunnel in 1969!)
The Recovery: We were appalled by the abuse that had been inflicted on this dear little one. Both eyes were swollen, closed and sealed, apparently blind. One wing bone was protruding through the feathers. The baby was bruised, in shock, barely able to keep on her feet, disinterested in food or water. Near death.
Notes from Veterinary visit 6/8/09:
Great news: the vet declared Brooke could be saved. Further, she was not totally blind. The right eye had been gouged out, of course, but her left eye was closed up due only to an infection. It is intact. He excised some gross material from beneath the eyelid, and prescribed an ophthalmic ointment. Her wing was chopped off at the elbow, ostensibly to prevent flight. She almost clocked out during the demanding exam, presumably from starvation and dehydration. The vet recommended chick food. Bill got some, but she wouldn't eat it. So, Bill went out and picked up some live crickets. Linda resorted to force feeding them to her by prying open her beak and inserting them. Voilà! A little while later, fresh droppings appeared. This morning, more again. A very good sign.
Over the next few days, we cleaned out the goop and flushed the eyes and applied antibiotics, and gave the bird oral antibiotics as well. We named her Brooke, for Brooklyn. Realizing now that one wing had actually been hacked off! This, done to a baby. We filled a bathtub with hay, and made this her temporary new home. Because Brooke would not eat on her own--and indeed, had no apparent interest in living--Linda force fed her crickets and a mash gruel, and even had to syringe water into her mouth for hydration. Each morning, we half expected to find her gone from this world that had treated her so cruelly--but on day four, we found Brooke standing on her own and pecking at her hay bedding. Here's Brooke several days after rescue, recuperating in our old Jacuzzi with her new "buddy", a stuffed animal:
She was coming back to life. We moved her from ICU up to her new home with Victor (our one legged Guinea fowl--another rescue, who has separate accommodations inside the chicken enclosure.
Over the next few weeks, Victor taught her the ropes, with unlimited patience. How to forage (scratch and peck), when to come inside for the night, etc. Everything a Guinea Fowl needs to know to survive in the "wild".
Today Brooke is the constant companion of Victor. They are inseparable. Best of all--they will be safe, here at Sunnyskies, for the rest of their lives. No more suffering. No more pain.
Brooke today (foreground) with Victor. One of the female Game Hens (the female counterpart to the fighting cock) likes to hang out with them.