Thought I would start another thread to hopefully connect with others who have had chicks with birth defects. I decided to allow one of my hens to hatch out 3 chicks around Christmas time. Since this was my first with hatching chicks, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was quite surprised when all 3 chicks hatched. Long story short, one of the chicks was born with one wing. During the hatching the innards of the egg that was left on the chick without a wing got stuck to the hen. During the process of the hen sitting a second chick got caught up in the mess and the two chicks became tangled around one another and tangled up in the hens feathers. Since I had read (and been told by numerous folks) that you should leave the hen and chicks alone during the process, I had stopped cleaning out her box and checking the eggs about 5 days prior to the scheduled hatch date. By the time I noticed what was going on, we had a real mess.
I was able to separate the 2 chicks from the hen by removing her belly feathers (poor Hashbrown.. she was a trooper through the whole thing!). And through the use of warm water. I quickly rushed the chicks over in front of the heater to warm up again. One chick died from exhaustion or possibly a broken neck? The hen had been dragging the two chicks around. The 2nd chick could hardly stand, but I thought I would let nature decide the outcome and wasn't expecting the little one to live.
I watched as Hashbrown held her chick up to eat and drink by pressing her breast against its' back. My two roosters also worked to help show these chicks how to eat and would feed them like the hen. (<--- I didn't know roosters cared for chicks like this!!) The two chicks that survived will be 10 weeks old tomorrow. The hen is still protective of her chicks, but now it seems that I'm running into another issue... My other 7 hens take turns picking at the poor thing. They will knock it over and start pecking at it. Super sad to watch. This began about 3 weeks ago and now seems like it's almost an everyday occurrence. I'm not sure if they are trying to help her or hurt her. I'm guessing if they were trying to hurt her, they would have ended this whole ordeal quite some time ago. Between Hashbrown, a protective rooster father and myself we have been able to keep it alive. I'm hoping here in a couple more weeks that she will be large enough to fend for herself or at least be able to dish it back to them. Not really sure if there's a right answer here..
I have tried separating them from the flock, that doesn't work. Hashbrown flips and the chicks don't like it either. Has anyone else had this issue? What was the outcome? What did you do along the way? Also, my husband bought me some books about raising chickens and various ailments not too long ago to use as a reference. The part about raising chicks says not to leave the roosters with the chicks because they will hurt them. My roosters have been as helpful as the hens in raising their offspring. Is this common or do I just have roosters with good temperaments? I have included pictures of the chick with one wing, Hashbrown, the rooster daddy and the other chick from the hatch. Thank you in advance for the advice.