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Gah! Everything is Dying!!

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Here’s the chick update: We went outside this morning and the little golden one had both eyes closed-possibly glued shut with dried blood-and had clearly been picked on some more. The hens were happy to take the two black and white chicks to eat. I dabbed its eyes with a damp cloth and put Bactine on it. It was then able to open one eye.

Then we went back out and were very excited to see the chick that had hatched in my hand yesterday. Yesterday it was a damp, bald looking embryo, today it was fluffy and yellow! So cute! I saw mean Quicksilver start to peck it and picked it up. And then we saw what the mother hens had done to it. The whole back of its head/neck were bloody and raw. I actually thought it was decapitated. That was pretty horrifying. Tabby saw it and immediately started crying. I was resisting taking the chicks to put them under the heat lamp and raise them myself, but I just couldn’t bear to leave them to die.

And that is why now we have two injured chicks peeping in the shower stall of the downstairs bathroom. I’m hoping that some Neosporin and isolation will allow them to live and grow. We’re going on vacation soon and I hate to leave the housesitter to deal with this, but I suspect that they will either die or thrive fairly soon. In the meantime it looks like I need to add to my list of chores today to go out and buy some chick starter feed.

The other bad thing is that while one of our beehives has thrived and done very well, the other one has failed. Paul talked to lots of bee people and I think the result is that rather than let the remaining bees join the good hive, lest they infect it if they are sick, he’ll let that hive die out. That’s a total bummer to me. In part because who likes to fail and watch things die? And also because beekeeping has a fair amount of startup costs!

I have no pictures because no one wants to see pictures of sad, bloody chicks. And the mean old mother hens don’t deserve any photos! Oh, and as to why they are picking on those chicks, it could be that the chicks are defective in some way. But it could also be because, and this is news to me, sometimes they will attack chicks who are a different color! And once blood is drawn chickens have a tendency to go nuts and continue pecking.

About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

4 responses »

  1. I didn’t know that mother hens would do that, but I have seen similar things..
    My cousin has a farm and sometimes her sheep reject their own babies.
    Last spring, one mom of triplets refused to nurse the smallest one—kept pushing it away.
    Soon after that….the mom deliberately walked on the poor little lamb. It didn’t survive.
    Very sad for me to see this. Certainly, it is a rough world sometimes. .

  2. Goodness! I have heard that chickens can be vicious to one another, but I hadn’t imagined it with chicks. You are amazingly strong to deal with all of this!

  3. So sorry to hear this Sarah, its very distressing for all. Ive never heard of this happening. Poor chicks and poor you, fingers crossed for the two survivors. So sad about the bees also

  4. Thanks everyone. I think things are finally evening out here, but my goodness what a flurry of stress that was.


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