Anyone else had a bad chicken year??


Mar 28, 2008
NC - paradise!
I'm no pro at the chicken raising thing, but have been at it 4 years or so. Haven't raised any babies in a couple years because I didn't need to... the hawks last summer wiped me out so I needed to replentish this spring. A good friend of ours raises many breeds, and gave us 20 chicks in March... supposed to be Amerarcaunas... well, maybe not so much! They incubate their eggs at another friends house, and that friend also incubates other friends eggs... well, you can probably see where this is going
! While I did get a bunch of cute babies, turns out the incubator guy must have gotten some trays mixed up because while I'm not sure what all I've got, I'm sure they aren't what I thought
. In May, I seperated out the one's I thought were pullets and took them down to the coop - out of 20 chicks I had 5 for-sure roos. 3 of the roos are Silver Laced Wayndottes (which our friend does not raise), one of which has golden neck feathers and some gold feathers around his tail - he is BEAUTIFUL - but not an Amerarcauna. Ended up with a SLW pullet, too. Got one Dark Cornish roo (again, friend does not raise), and a pullet that has Cornish somewhere in her but is grey and black instead of brown and black - again beautiful, but not Amerarcauna
. Have a few with white/grey legs, a few with yellow, and one has black legs and beak. A few with pea comps, a few with singles... it's a BIG MESS, that's what it is what it is plain and simple
! Seems like every day I go to the coop, someone else down there turns out to be a ROO - which you would think would have been obvious by now, they are almost 6 months old! But not so... A few weeks ago I saw a couple of my favorite pullets "facing off" in the pen... which I did think was strange, but didn't worry too much about it. Until this morning when one of them stretched out "her" neck and started CROWING
! WHAT??!! Didn't understand it, still don't but it is what it is...

Meanwhile, back at the coop... I only had one laying hen left and missed my fresh eggs so I bought 8 Amerarcauna hens to keep up the egg supply until the "babies" grew up. They were from last springs (2010) hatch and were consistent layers. I got them from someone else we know, but apparently they know less about chickens than I do! The girls looked a mess, and the rooster in with them even worse (didn't want the roo, but he ran into the crate with the girls so they threw him in for free)
. Said they were "molting"... okay, again maybe NOT! Turns out they are feather pickers - the whole lot of them. And their favorite "victim" is the poor roo... talk about "hen pecked"! Live and learn... got them home and they promptly pulled the tail feathers off all my babies
! Put them on higher protein feed, and it's settled down but GEEZE! Put the poor roo in a sererate pen so he could recover, and he has recently reintrocuded himself (flew over the 6 foot fence in his other pen) and it seems to be okay for now... but now that there are SEVERAL roos down there I'm thinking there's trouble brewing...

I don't care that I don't have a bunch of pure bred chickens, but I do care that they are such a mix of mutts that I can't tell a roo from a pullet until they CROW!! The breeds I had before I researched, I KNEW what to expect. All I wanted was some pretty colored eggs and chickens with muffs! Chicken mixes, who knows!! If I had something to guage it by it would be something entirely different... but I don't and it is really irking me

When these are grown and gone, I will go back to what I know... what is familiar and predictable... and that's all I can say

Toast n Jelly

12 Years
Jan 29, 2007
I have to agree with you it does sound like a mess and I feel bad for you
. I quess I'd avoid that hatcher and buy from a known source or maybe hatch your own. Good luck!


Rebuilding my Farm
9 Years
Dec 30, 2010
Sparta, MI
Sorry that you had to go through that mess. I too, had a bad year, I have to cull my entire flock of around 200 chickens, 10 guineas, 6 peafowl to Coryza outbreak.
The disease came from a Amish hen that my Grandparents gave me for my 14th birthday. My hens would have the mild cases every other year or so, but this year, it was so bad that it killed off some of my birds, not knowing what was going on, so I posted in the Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures section, and a lot of helpful people helped me figure out what was going on in my flock. After I have culled the last chicken, I will have to disinfect EVERYTHING!
I am starting over with hatching eggs from different BYC members.


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
I've had my worst chicken year ever. Hardly lost a chicken before and this year I've lost so many I've lost count. Mostly chicks caught by predators and some stolen hens... one sick hen that died so quick I couldn't do anything.
To top it the state vets are onto me for keeping chickens in an area with ostrich farms. They are convinced my chickens will make the ostriches sick. When my hen got sick and died they actually came and collected her for autopsy! Phoned me later to tell me it wasn't Newcastle, (I've vaccinated them!) and then gave me this long story about how my hens will make the ostriches sick (how exactly?) blah blah blah. Ironically I've not had a sick chicken in all the yers I've been doing this, up 'till now with that hen who got worms from somewhere and I think I know where. Even more irony: I went to buy some dewormer and they gave me ostrich medicine!
Anyway, two years ago I ordered and paid quite a lot of money for 100 2 week old RIR pullets. After a long battle with the hatchery I received my chicks who turned out to be day old mixed breeds. 25 Died and I got many roo's, only 42 hens out of the survivors. Now when I order chickens I ask for a receipt detailing what I'm buying etc, so if there's problems I have the prove.


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
14 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
Yes, I lost three hens this year due to our record heat. I had to cull my older rooster Thor for a chronic leg problem - hated to do that.
Re-homed a couple of cockerels that were driving my hens bonkers.

Oops, a total of 4 hens lost. A brahma (egg peritonitis + the heat), two SFs and an EE. Not quite sure what caused the EEs death. It happened quickly.
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Spam Hunter
12 Years
Nov 6, 2009
Worse year ever. Hatches are bad and when I do get chicks I get cockerels. I've had great hatches and put chicks out in the brooders only to have them end up being cat food. Happened twice since February. Lost some of my older birds and haven't been able to replace them. Started raising quail and those little suckers can soak a whole brooder 20 minutes after I clean them and they pile and drown eachother in wet shavings. I'm getting so many chicks DIS it's heartbreaking.

Garden? I still have some of the dead one from last summer. I let it die after my husband died and this year I never got the boards drug to the back for raised beds to start over. I need to do it though, cause these birds are eating better than we do and I need to raise some things to feed them over the winter. I want to at least grow some black sunflowers for them.

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