Baby chick acting strange--Help?

jaxsteph

In the Brooder
May 10, 2015
37
5
24
I am new to raising chickens and have three Buff Orpington females among my flock, they are three weeks old. Up until two days ago they were the most docile of my birds, even more so the bird I am concerned about. Two days ago she began frantically crying and trying to escape every time we would hold her. Yesterday I noticed that it looks as though she is molting. She has the spiky feathers coming through what looks to be bald spots on her wings, neck, and tail feathers. She is also shedding feathers while we hold her. She is still eating and drinking, and she shows no sign of distress when she is with the other birds. I noticed today that her feet are completely different from my other two buffs. While they have pink healthy looking feet, her feet resemble my Ameraucana chicks--dark colored, sort of dark gray with some yellow in the cracks. There has also been some strange droppings in the brooder box--watery and lighter brown. Any ideas what could be wrong? I am so in love with these little ones and would hate to lose one.
 

NatLovesChicks

Hatching
May 9, 2015
6
0
7
I would take her in and wash her feet. You might want to give her some extra water in case of dehydration. I had an Americana hen who acted the same way when she was molting, but I can't remember if her poop was different. I hope she gets better! :)
 

ochochicas

Songster
5 Years
Apr 3, 2014
2,320
308
226
Washington State
At 3 weeks old it is normal for a lot of new feather to be growing in. However, it is not normal for them to be molting. The new feathers have blood vessels and nerves in them as they grow out. Too much handling can be uncomfortable for them as the feathers are growing in.

You may have two orpingtons and a different kind of bird. If you have pictures that would be helpful.
 

jaxsteph

In the Brooder
May 10, 2015
37
5
24
Thanks for your response. Here is a picture of the three buffs. The one on the left is the one we are concerned about.

 

cafarmgirl

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
5,521
609
327
California, central valley
Different breed or mixed breed. Her feathering looks normal to me, legs are a typical color for an EE and it's hard to see in the pic for sure but looks like she might have ear muffs or puffy cheeks? And she may just be a chick that really does not enjoy being caught and held, some don't mind, some never like it. Especially with new pin feather's coming in, it's not a comfortable experience.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,200
491
Long Beach, WA
Is she losing feathers or her chick down. It's completely normal for chick down to fall out as feathers grow into replace it. You have only have two Buff Orpingtons. If the rest have green/yellow legs, they are Easter Eggers. Hatcheries and feed stores do not have true Ameraucana. Your white one already has a muff (fluffy cheeks), so definitely Easter Egger for that one.
 
Last edited:

jaxsteph

In the Brooder
May 10, 2015
37
5
24
After reading all of your replies (THANK YOU!!), I looked at pictures of different breeds. Yes, I guess they did sneak us a different breed.
roll.png
We already love her, so she stays! Anyway, that is a huge relief about the legs. As to the feathers, I think it is baby feathers that she is losing. I took a close look at the skin where it seems to be balding, and I can see spikes amidst the pink. I didn't realize that baby chicks would molt--this is such a learning process!

The only thing that still concerns me is her response to us. She was my sweetest, calmest bird before all of this. Now, I can't pick her up at all. I don't want to force her, especially if (as you say) it is uncomfortable for her. Do you think that, once her feathers come in, she will become friendly with us again? How do I make sure that she stays socialized without also making her uncomfortable? I have two children, and I have been working very hard to make sure our chickens are very used to people. Thanks again for all of your advice, you have really put my mind to rest!
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom