I love to hear a Bobwhite Quail in the evening, but it has been years since I have heard them. So I recently purchased some Bobwhite Quail eggs and put them in our incubator. I’ll say early on that quail are not easy to raise – the hatch rate is low and so is the survival rate.
This batch of quail has been no exception. The hatch rate was barely higher than 50% and I’ve lost close to half of the chicks in their first six days of life. A baby quail is so tiny. Its body, not counting the fluffy feathers, is smaller than the first joint of my thumb. The eggs aren’t much bigger than a marble. I thought I was going to lose one more chick today as I found it lying on its side and kicking. It couldn’t get up and walk. I decided to try something different to help this chick.
Wow! I am amazed at the difference a little bit of time made in this tiny chick’s life. It seemed to me that this little chick needed help in strengthening the right muscles and getting a better grasp for how it feels to walk. So I held the little chick in my hand for a while forcing it to stand on its feet. After about 15 minutes or so, I put it by itself in our older incubator with the straight sides and wooden base and watched to see what might happen. I was amazed to see the chick stand for a little while and take a few steps before it toppled over. I helped it get back on its feet several times and made sure it found the water, as I’m sure it was probably dehydrated from not being able to get around. The chick then leaned against the wooden sides of the incubator to help it stand, and it followed it around from side to side.
The tiny chick peeped constantly. I believe it was lonely for the other chicks, as quail like many of our feathered friends thrive in flocks. I put one other chick with it so it wouldn’t be alone. The first one I put with it pecked at it, so I put that one back and got another one. When I checked back later, I was happy to see both chicks moving around quite well. If the previously lame chick hadn’t been pecked on earlier by the other chicks, I doubt I could tell which chick had been lame.
I can imagine many parallels between my little chick and a child with a disability or with low self esteem. What can we do to help our children get a glimpse of what success feels like?
Encouraging words are so needed by many children. I know because I was one who grew up with very low self-esteem. I remember the rejection of classmates at an early age. I even had a teacher who made me sit in her lap and called me a baby quite often. I was a prime target for that thanks to un-diagnosed A.D.D. Living in a family with two working parents and little parental supervision and intervention meant my siblings and I picked on one another with seldom a thought of building one another up.
We need to be intentional in choosing to reach out to children and youth, even adults sometimes, who have problems in building healthy relationships with others.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to introduce them to Christ, the great healer. But before they will listen to what we want to say about Spiritual matters, they have to know we genuinely care about them. Who needs your encouragement today?