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6+ Dead Chicks & Broken Eggs

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi all.
I went out of town on Saturday, and that afternoon before I left one of my eggs hatched. I have two broody Silkie hens that have been sharing a nest and eggs for about a month now. I also found a dead chick right before I left, which was sad but these things do happen so I didn't think much of it. I separated the hens from the rest of the flock with chicken wire stretched along the front of the coop(the girls were nesting under there). My mom called me the next day and said two more chicks had hatched, but one looked like it died soon after hatching. So, that meant two live chicks and two dead ones in about 24 hours.
I came home today to find four dead chicks under the coop. I was only able to reach two of them - I'll have to crawl under the coop and get the other two tomorrow. The two I were able to grab were cold and limp.  I lifted the momma who is sitting on the remaining eggs, and found that there were only 3 eggs under her. Two live chicks, plus 6 dead ones, plus 3 eggs does not = the 14+ eggs that they were sitting on Saturday morning. Possible that my mom found and disposed of more dead chicks, I'm waiting for her to return my message regarding that. I was told that it looked like something got past the chicken wire, as it was all out of place. I noticed this, too, when I returned home this afternoon.
The dead chicks all look like they died shortly after hatching - some of their feathers are stuck together like they are shortly after emerging from the shell. They were covered in dirt, as the girls decided to nest in the dustiest area of the yard, however I did not see any visible marks on them. It looked like they simply hatched and died, not like something killed them. There are still two live chicks, who are happily peeping and pecking up chick crumbles, then snuggling up under the smaller momma without eggs when they get cold. Mommas seem to be doing a good job caring for them, and they seem healthy as can be.

When I checked on the girls today, I also looked inside the coop. I saw half of an egg in the middle of the coop - on it's side, with the top half gone & the insides mostly gone (I am assuming eaten). Another egg in the nest box had a decent sized hole in it, but was not eaten at all.

Any idea what could be going on here? Such a terrible thing, to return from vacation to immediately find dead babies. :/ I had been so excited for this hatch, as I've never before had broodies hatch out chicks. I had been checking the nest for babies at least twice a day for several days, waiting for chicks to appear.
I've put the flock into the coop/run(which is protected on all six sides(above and below included) with hardware cloth, shut the door, and will be telling my family not to let them out until further notice.

"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?"
I am a proud vegan that hates PETA. I own & foster Border Collies, I love these crazy dogs.
My flock: 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Light Brahma, 1 Blue Andalusian, 1 Splash Andalusian, and more joining the flock soon...

Reply

"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?"
I am a proud vegan that hates PETA. I own & foster Border Collies, I love these crazy dogs.
My flock: 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Light Brahma, 1 Blue Andalusian, 1 Splash Andalusian, and more joining the flock soon...

Reply
post #2 of 3

So the hens were brooding under the coop and not in it? Are they permanently confined to the run or is a door to the yard open at all during the day? The egg in the coop with a hole, does it look like a hen pecked it?

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Correct, the two girls decided to put their nest underneath the coop - there's about 3 feet of vertical space under the coop. The coop has a metal gazebo frame in front of it, and both the gazebo and the coop are surrounded by hardware cloth - including under the roof and buried beneath the coop. We spent a lot of time and money making sure it was a sturdy, safe coop/run. Normally the door to the coop/run is open, however I've now closed it and won't be opening it again for a while - so they're stuck in there for the time being. As for the egg with the hole in it, I'm not sure if it was a hen or not. It looked like it certainly could have been a bird, but I'm not positive - especially considering the fact that I didn't see the other half of the egg shell from the broken open egg. 
I'm just a bit stumped as to what's going on here! :/

"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?"
I am a proud vegan that hates PETA. I own & foster Border Collies, I love these crazy dogs.
My flock: 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Light Brahma, 1 Blue Andalusian, 1 Splash Andalusian, and more joining the flock soon...

Reply

"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?"
I am a proud vegan that hates PETA. I own & foster Border Collies, I love these crazy dogs.
My flock: 2 Speckled Sussex, 1 Light Brahma, 1 Blue Andalusian, 1 Splash Andalusian, and more joining the flock soon...

Reply
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