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Poultry NICU

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(Warning-this chick update has some pictures that squeamish people may find very icky. Nothing gory, though. But be warned. Some people will be grossed out, others fascinated.)This hatching experience has been insane and ridiculous. The two chicks that were pecked on and we had to bring inside are doing very well. They still have to be separated because the brown one will peck at the yellow one.
I'm interested in you, I'm going to peck your beak
However, both are eating a little bit and drinking and seem quite lively.  Brown one seems all healed up, though is fluff is still flattened from dried something.  Yellow one’s neck is not attractive but looks like it will heal up.
This week has been a bit of a madhouse, what with getting ready for vacation, dealing with the chicks, and also handling the last week of school. This afternoon we were out doing many errands and when we got home Tabby ran into the garage to visit the two mothers and chicks. She came running out to get me and showed me a chick she found in the hay. It was a wet, floppy chick, hatched and ignored. I picked it up and ran it inside and held it in my hands under the heat lamp. After a few minutes it stirred, then it opened its eyes, then it stretched out.
That was pretty exciting. I gave it a little water and a cozy bed and we waited and watched. It was never able to stand and several hours later it quietly died. Which makes me a little sad, but at least it had a nicer death in the warm bathroom than it would have in the hay where it would have frozen and been stepped on.
So, while we that one was inside I went back out, determined to rid the garage nest of all remaining eggs and see if there was anything else in there. Let me tell you-that was an unpleasant task. First of all, the white hen just kept attacking and pecking me. And second, I was a bit worried about what I would find and was pretty certain it would be gruesome. I did indeed find an old buried egg that had started to hatch and whatever was inside died. However, I also found an egg in the process of hatching. I brought that inside and determined it was still alive, but likely having some trouble. I decided to help it out (did a little internet reading) and picked away at its shell. Here it is:

Can you believe how tightly folded into their shells they are??
I’ve been checking in on it and also trying to keep it from drying out. Although it peeps and is breathing, I doubt it will live to the morning. It just doesn’t seem to be able to unfold or stretch out. In my brain I know that there’s a reason defective chicks don’t hatch and maybe it’s kinder to let it just die in its shell, but I couldn’t just leave it out there.
This is exactly the sort of trouble you get form having foolish hens keep adding their eggs to someone else’s nest. The next time someone is broody instead of just trying to fence them off I will flat out cage them in so that the other chickens can’t mess with their nest.
Chick Infirmary


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.

One response »

  1. Great blog, keep up the good work.


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