Caring for an injured chick...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Senrik, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Senrik

    Senrik New Egg

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    I took an injured chick home from school yesterday. One of it's wings is broken, and the leg on the opposite side is also possibly broken, with much of the feathers and some skin torn away from the area around the leg. I've been putting bagbalm on the featherless areas once or twice a day since I brought it home. But I'm a bit worried because all he seems to do is sleep! When he IS awake however, he's quite lively, going after my fingers when I'm adjusting the food/water dishes and rolling around since he can't quite walk. But he's only ever awake for a few minutes before he's back asleep for a few more hours.

    Is this normal? If not, what can I do to help him? I'm giving him medicated chick feed and sav-a-chick mixture mixed with the proper amount of water, and since I don't have a heat lamp I have a space heater gently blowing warm air into his box. He seems content enough when he's awake, but I'm still quite worried that I'm not doing something right. It's my first time ever caring for a chick, so please help!
     
  2. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

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    There isn't much else you can do.

    This chick is unlikely to survive long-term. If it does, it may need special care for it's entire life and probably will not be able to be integrated into a flock. Handicaps attract attention and other chickens will likely attack it, bully it, and may even kill it. It sounds like it may already have been attacked if there is skin torn in addition to the other injuries.

    Unfortunately, though harsh, death is not the worst thing in the world and generally this chick would be culled.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
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  3. Senrik

    Senrik New Egg

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    That's actually what happened. This little guy was attacked by the other chicks. The teacher and my long-time farming neighbor both said that if I take proper care of him he'll survive, and I'm planning on keeping him even after (if) he recovers. He's the only bird that we have, so he won't be in danger of any other chickens.
     
  4. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

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    Just keep doing what you're doing. Keep it fed, watered, warm, and clean. If the leg has an obvious deformity, you can try to make a splint with something - bandaids maybe - for the leg. Keep it quiet and somewhat confined to a small space for a while - maybe even a month or more - to try to let the fractures heal.

    You never know what will happen. And as long as you can make the long term commitment to care for it if it can't go back with other chickens, then it doesn't hurt to try. [​IMG]
     
  5. California_chickie

    California_chickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with bnjrob...it really is going to be a tough row to hoe for both you & and the chick if it survives. However, if other people you trust are telling you the chick can be saved & you're willing to put lots of time, love and energy into it-- miracles do happen! Just try not to get your heartbroken too badly if the chick doesn't pull through. It's not your fault.

    I had a close friend "save" a chick, and she nursed it back to health. It was also the only chicken she had. They were incredibly close!
    I recently had to cull my first 2 chicks EVER & I was pretty much hysterical. Kept them alive for days (even though I knew they were miserable) with round the clock care- every other day it would be good-then bad. In the end, my BF had to tell me that I was making the WRONG decision by keeping them like that. He culled them in a very humane way, I balled my eyes out. Looking back, I wish I would have done it sooner.

    But...let's look to the positive! Here's what you should do:
    -Contact a vet that works on poultry. Usually if you approach them politely & in email format, they will respond to you for free. Its always nice to have a professional medical resource if you need it.
    -Stick to checking out to BYC forums, lots of people have been through this before & its a great way to educate yourself about how to give your little chick a healthy happy life when it grows up.
    -Buy a heatlamp. It's worth it, not that expensive, and a poultry basic. It's also waaaay cheaper than a space heater (unless of course you don't have to pay your PG&E-- if that's the case, crank it up!)

    Good luck and send some pics! I'll be rooting for you[​IMG]
     
  6. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm with you. I'm used to being able to do more for our animals but there is only so much you can really do for birds. We lost our first chick the other night - and my husband is a veterinarian! It is horrible! Making a decision to euthanize an animal is the absolute worst. We do it, but we sure aren't happy about it and I am always praying that they will just fall asleep and die in their sleep so I don't have to make that decision.
     
  7. Senrik

    Senrik New Egg

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    I've borrowed a heat lamp from aforementioned neighbor. But now I've come across another problem. He simply refuses to eat. The only way I can get him to drink water is to set him down next to the bowl and gently dip the tip of his beak into the water to let him know it's there. After that he drinks plenty, but it hasn't worked out too well with the food. He'll occasionally peck at it if I set him down next to the food, but he never eats it. It's medicated starter chick feed, and not a cheap brand at all. I have no idea why he won't eat, and no idea how to make him eat! He just doesn't keep his eyes open long enough to eat anything. After standing up for a few seconds he just kind of konks out and falls over! If it wasn't so worrying it'd be quite comical. Is there any way I can get him to eat?
     
  8. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

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    Putting electrolytes in the water (gatorade or pedialyte if you don't have access to the chicken stuff like Save-a-Chick) can help give nutrients. In a pinch, a little sugar dissolved in the water can help give them some extra energy.

    It sounds like he may have other internal injuries.
     
  9. pinkribbons4

    pinkribbons4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Being new to chicks I can't offer any advice, I just want to say I'm so sorry you're little guy is going through this [​IMG]

    Wishing you the best of luck!
     
  10. Senrik

    Senrik New Egg

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    In his water I've mixed in the sav-a-chik dissolvable powder, which has various vitamins and minerals and electrolytes as well, and he's been drinking more than enough of that, but how long can he continue doing that without eating actual food and still stay healthy? I've read that I can feed him special food through a syringe in the beak, but I really don't want to do that. Is he okay not eating his starter chick crumbles? If not, how should I get him to eat? Sorry that I have so many questions, but it's my first time caring for a baby bird and I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can for him, y'know?
     

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