A short story...
Couple days ago, walking through our friends’ barn, I saw one of their kittens in stealth mode. It was cautiously looking for something, and pawing at some loose hay in the dirt, near the barn gate. I didn’t pay much attention to it. I was busy with another task and the kittens spend a lot of time in stealth mode, stalking dandelions, horse tails and each other.
I walked on into the back horse lot to finish my task and returned to the barn. While I was securing the barn gate, I noticed the kitten was still pawing at the straw. I stepped closer and heard a faint squeaking coming from the ground near its little paws.
Shooing the kitten away, I moved a handful of straw and a shallow hole beneath. In the hole I was a tiny, nearly naked, baby bird. It’s cheeping had been so faint, I barely heard it and wouldn’t have realized it was there if the kitten hadn’t alerted me to it. I scooped it out then noticed a broken nest blended in with the straw. I called for my sister to come have a look for more since my hands were full, cradling the one I’d found.
My sister stepped over to see if there were any other babies in the hole. She found an egg but no more birds. We realized the baby was one of a clutch that had crashed landed two days prior when their nest had been blown down. Two of the babies had died and we didn’t realize a third had landed in a hole and somehow been covered up with straw.
I got upset when I realized the poor thing had ants crawling all over it. Alicia added to it when she realized other insects, about the size of the pointy-end of a straight pen, were steadily covering my wrists and hands. I worked quickly to get the ants off the little body but could barely see the other insects, which were probably mites that many wild birds carry.
The little bird was likely in agony so we rushed it outside, into better lighting near the pump stand. Nee (my sister Alicia, of On Story Street) gave the bird a gentle rubbing with diatomaceous earth. She dusted it everywhere except near its mouth, eyes and little ear holes. Then I set it in a bucket Nee had lined with fresh hay.
She hosed my arms and hands, washing away tiny red bugs that had moved halfway up my forearms. Thankfully, they didn't stick. Next, we got the bird and washed it off, too. We sat it back in the fresh hay, that was dusted with the D.E. (diatomaceous earth) from the bird.
The weather had been warm, and the baby had been without food and fluid for two days, as well as serving as a snack for insects. It needed food and fluids quickly.
Our friend C., who owns the farm, helped me look for worms. The weather has been dry long enough for there to be cracks in the dirt at the farm. After turning over about fifteen boards and looking under several other objects, we didn’t find a single worm.
Thankfully, C. happened to have a little packet of all natural applesauce. It seemed to be the ideal thing to give the little bird, and it worked. It provided some sugars and hydration and after several helpings from my fingertip, it settled down into the hay and got quiet.
Just that fast...
The little bird had been in the bucket with the hay and the diatomaceous earth for no more than 20 minutes before I arrived with the applesauce. I expected the mites to show up again soon as I scooped it out of the bucket. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a tiny, red bug anywhere on the bird. No ants either. The D.E. had worked that fast, wiping the insects out before we ever washed the bird off.
We took it home, where I set up a spare cage to keep it in. I couldn’t bring it in the house because of Jade, my little parrot. Jade’s been raised indoors and has never been exposed to wild birds. That makes him likely to be vulnerable to diseases caused by microorganisms that wild birds might carry. This baby also came from the barn, where there’s a nearby chicken coop, which presents a similar problem.
I set a shelter up on the screened-in back porch where it's safe from weather and predators. I wash my hands thoroughly after feeding it, to prevent spreading any microorganisms to Jade, and cleaning the baby bird’s shelter with vinegar and water.
We’ve not seen even one insect, big or tiny, on the bird or the cage bedding.
D.E. worked that fast to get rid of the mites and Nee used less than a teaspoon to treat the bird with.
D.E. in the barn...
Alicia keeps diatomaceous earth at the barn to sprinkle it into the animals’ food. It works as a nutritional supplement and an antiparasitic. It also works great to dust animals and bedding with to prevent insect infestations. As well, it provides healing and support to animals with certain types of digestive trouble.
There’s much more I could share with you about the things D.E. is good for and how to use it. Since I want to keep this short, I’ll give you a link that gives an excellent breakdown of the whys and hows of using it via Dr. Axe’s website. Just click here to be impressed!
Diatomaceous earth is incredibly inexpensive. In our area, you can get a 20-pound bag for about $12 USD or less. It’s all natural--doesn’t require a prescription, even for the product in food grade quality.
It’s great stuff and considering how easy it is to get and use, I hope you’ll consider keeping your own home stocked with it.
The little bird has had a tough time recovering, but it’s already grown since it arrived three days ago. In the pics below, it looks very small, but is taller, wider and heavier than Jade.
The lone egg wasn't a Robin's egg, so we're not sure what sort of bird this is. Guess that will be part of the surprise once it gets bigger and its feathers fill in.
It’s lively, loud and strong and is finally processing the baby bird gruel a bit better. It doesn’t seem to be in any pain, and spends its time either sleeping or squawking for food. I’m giving it food and shelter and praying for it, and hoping that provides an atmosphere for it to thrive in.
I'll keep you posted with a follow-up in a few weeks. If you pray, please say one for the rescue. It needs all the help it can get. :)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26 (NIV)
That's it for this one!
God bless you, thanks for visiting and have a wonderful week!
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