Not that we thought everything would go smoothly with the chicks, but man... it's been intense over here.
One of the chicks became sick -- with coccidiosis, we think -- which meant that we had to begin treating all of the chicks because they'd all been exposed. This particular chick is the smallest of the group, one of the Black Barred Rocks. The other chicks were very aware that this one wasn't feeling well, and they huddled with it and began to get pretty stressed out themselves (or were feeling sick but were stronger and so were displaying the illness differently). A couple of the chickens started pecking at two of the other Black Barred Rocks (all of whom are the smallest in the flock).
We were just trying to respond to the sick chick and figure out what to do, and then we had two more chicks that were wounded... all while we're new at this chicken stuff...
In a way, it was a blessing that there were three chicks that needed tender care. We separated these three into their own brooder, and they huddled together. The two with wounds responded well to antibiotic cream and seemed very happy to be in a calmer space. The other chicks calmed down in the main brooder.
Then we kept working with the sick chick to help her drink the new medicated water. She had stopped drinking and eating and was just breathing very heavily -- very weak. It's been heartbreaking.
I don't think we're out of the woods yet, but this one chick is eating more on her own, and she's more cooperative when I force her to drink. I still haven't seen her drink on her own, but she may be doing that. Her feathers seem to be more fluffy again, and it's clear that she has an appetite when I fill up the food dish in the "hospital brooder."
The other two birds seem fine, are eating and drinking well, and the redness on their backs has disappeared. New feathers are growing back already.
I don't want to "count our chickens before they're hatched," but I'm hopeful that all of the chickens will be healthy and well soon. We'll be moving them out into the coop today or tomorrow, and they'll have a lot more room and more outside time.