My girlfriend has a mixed flock of chickens and ducks
reds, austrolops, amerucana, little bantams seabrights and cochin, and roan and pekin ducks
They all get along very well, and no real fights even with 5 roosters (only one full size rooster)
We had not intended on hatching any but they hid some eggs and they hatched a couple.
2 little chicks, one was a red, and one was the tiniest little silver grey thing, must be one of the mini's
Long story short, the small seabright hatched the eggs, and she was being mama, keeping the chicks under her etc.
None of the other broody hens seem to have much mothering skills nor even much hatching skills, they like to sit, but they dont turn or manage the eggs.
The chicks were looking at a nest box next to where thier hatch mother is, and one of the large red hens, who likes to pull others out of nests picked that time to want that empty nesting area, and threw the chicks out.
My girlfriend was picking up the chicks, and the red hen suddenly pecked the tiny grey one in the side of the head
right about where the ear would be.
The chick immediately flopped limp, and blood and what looked like some brain came out of its poor little skull.
My girlfriend held it and was crying, and we thought it was dead on the spot.
But it was still breathing.
I put it in a little basket to keep it safe.
I noticed that it took what i call an avian fetal position, neck s curved back, head folded back touching its back.
I monitored the poor little thing for 24 hours.
It would peep, and respond to touch and could move its legs, but it appeared to have no motor control at all of one wing
Its neck remained in that backwards curve (like you find small dinosaur skeletons in) and it would roll itself onto its back even if you propped it up properly.
I came to the determination that the poor little chick had suffered irreversible brain damage from it's injury that it would never heal from and that it would never be able to have a happy healthy chicken life, and it was just some cruel trick of fate that the injury wasnt enough to kill it outright.
So, i put the little chick down, which was the most horrible thing to have to do, no vet to do it, and no nice meds to do it with.
It about wrecked me to have to kill this tiny little thing, no matter how much i told myself i was ending its suffering.
But now i keep thinking, was i right? should i have waited longer?