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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dead Chicks

On Tuesday, when exbf was here, I took the chicks in their cardboard box outdoors. It was very hot, no wind and sunny. My intentions were to let them have a half hour outdoors in the grass and then fix a new box and bring them inside. The day was beautiful, and the little chick (Maxene) just went wild, pecking and scratching and running through the grass. So, they stayed out about an hour or so.

The larger chick (Patty) had been ill for a week, at least. It first it was just sort of staggering. Then, the stagger led to falling. But, she got up each time as the condition got worse and worse. Finally, on Tuesday it could no longer stand or flop. Nothing I had done was helping. The little chick (Maxene) would run about exuberantly and then come and sit close to the sick chick (Patty). At one point Maxene sat beside Patty and extended her wing to its fullest and put it over Patty. That was heartwarming and emotionally overwhelming. I think Maxene knew Patty was ill. However, I did not get a picture.

During their stay outdoors exbf and I would watch them as we went in and out of the house and around the yard. He came indoors and I asked him to get the chicks a new box and paper, bring them inside, and leave their dishes outside. I wanted to start anew with everything clean.

He was outside for a long time, came in, and cautiously announced he could not find the little chick--Maxene. I rushed out and looked with him. I thought she had gone under the grill, but she was not there. He wanted to look far beyond where we last saw her. "No, she could not go that far. Besides, we could hear her cheeping like she was lost if she were far away." She was gone.

Sophia, the neighbor's cat loved to watch the first ten chicks I bought 4 year ago. She hangs around all the time. I know she got the little chick. But, I don't blame her.

The sick chick had not moved for awhile, but she was alive. I asked exbf to pinch her neck and put her out of her misery. He did. So, she is gone too. She was so close to death that she only barely moved one foot. There was no struggle.

I hope I don't get any comments from the judgmental people in Britain who said I should have spent close to $200 for vet care for Fancy. I am not financially capable of further care if my methods don't work. They said that Americans don't care, that animals were like children and need medical care and implied I would not take children to the doctor and do all that was humanly possible, spending large amounts of money to save chickens.

Before, I bought ten chicks and they all lived. This time? I just don't know what happened. The mortality rate was 100%. The first was stomped to death (I suppose) and the one was taken and the other was mercifully killed. I did all I could.

When I come into the room, I miss them. Since I really want eggs continuously, I am torn between not getting more chicks and getting more and trying again.  Thelma no longer lays through the winter, so I am betting on Lucy for eggs this winter. Thelma still lays as many eggs as the much younger Lucy does during these long days.

So, it's over for this time. The Andrew Sisters are gone.

Your turn
Have you ever just not managed to keep chicks alive? Or, any other animal? Has anyone blamed you for not spending money and preventing deaths of animals?


  1. I wouldn't have taken her into a vet, but did you try calling the feed store or wherever you bought the chicks from? They might have some ideas as to what went wrong. We have raised our chicks in the garage for the past 30 years. Just a couple months ago a weasel got in and killed seven week-old chicks. I would never have thought that would happen. We went right out and bought 7 more to keep the one surviving chick company. I don't she would have survived otherwise. I'd check with the chick supplier to see what might have gone wrong and maybe you'll have better luck with the next batch.

  2. Jane,
    I bought them from an Amish guy who takes other people's eggs and incubates them. I don't know what their business arrangement is. They are not inoculated and do not eat medicated food. But, I had them for three or more weeks before this happened.

    I asked at a farm store that sells chicks. He said a neurological problem or just ill, maybe needing more vitamin or minerals. That was Tuesday. I think it may have been too late since she could not walk that day or even sit up, just lie down. If she was ill, the little one did not catch whatever it was.

    I am going back to buy more chicks, probably from the same place. It's about 20 miles out, so I may go the six blocs to a farm store and buy more.

  3. Sorry to hear that, we have losses too. Over the years, I've just concluded that as long as I'm keeping them out of their own manure, and have fresh water and feed available... there isn't much a person can do. The transition from brooder to outdoor life is always tricky for me.

  4. Ron,
    Thanks! Keeping them out of manure and keeping manure out of their water and food is a real challenge with chicks! I had no trouble with the first 10 chicks I got. Leaving the chick unattended for just a moment was a huge miscalculation of Sophia's hunting and stalking skills!

  5. Linda, Even professional chicken farms do not use vets, and most vets do not care for or specialize in chickens. (Even my farm vet doesn't) The best you can, or probably should do for a chick who is failing, is provide gatorade (orange or lemon) in a little dish near their water. This will help many of them. The ones that pass would likely have gone on to have additional medical problems and to have suffered more or longer.
    For those of us who love chickens, a loss or two is always hard.

    1. Jane,
      Thanks. I did not know professional chicken farms did not use vets. I was going to give her some of the Gatorade or whatever I tried with Fancy when I brought her in.

      It was hard losing two, and the last two, all at once.

  6. Sometimes it doesn't matter what we do, things still die. It's always sad so hope you are doing OK with it.


    1. Barb,
      Yes, I know it in my head, but my heart was sad. Yes, I am okay with it now, even more so since Wendy at Little House in the Big Wood lost her father suddenly and posted it just now.

      I am going to get more chicks, maybe Saturday. Maybe I will get older ones instead of day old chicks. It is too soon to go through babyhood again. Thanks.

  7. Do you have Craig's list or a similar service in your area? I see chickens that are for sale and sometimes just given away on our Craig's list.

  8. Janet,
    There is Craig's list here, but I rarely ever go there. Usually, the things for sale are too far away. I only paid $1 for the chicks. There are other forums here that sell chickens much closer to me.

  9. Could it be bird flu?
    Did they have the runs?

    I like the eggs and we always had chicks in summer.
    None ever died though. My grand mother kept a nice rooster we gave her and he grew up into a huge monster.
    lol She kept him under her porch and he took care of all the yard intruders.She fed him house left overs like bread veggies maybe some grain.
    So it's not like he needed special care.He was certainly and beauty.

  10. I doubt it was bird flu. None of the others were sick.

    A rooster under the porch would be a shocker for company. Big chickens are rarely trouble. I am quite sure he was a happy rooster.


Okay, hoping the annoyances have gone away.