Chick catastrophe :( Advice needed

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by calisilkies, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. calisilkies

    calisilkies Hatching

    Aug 6, 2014
    Bay Area, CA
    We got baby chicks earlier this week that were 3 weeks old, all born at a hatchery on the same day. 1 Ameraucana, 1 white silkie, 1 buff silkie. The buff silkie was a tiny little thing. With further reading on this forum, I guess maybe she was a runt because she was so tiny and wasn't as active as the others. The white silkie was much bigger than the buff and the Ameraucana was much bigger than both. This morning my 5 yr old daughter woke me saying that the buff silkie was "all black and dead looking." :( I wish she hadn't been the one to find it. It was definitely dead and all of it's feathers gone. There weren't feathers in the brooder, so I was at a loss for what happened. Then we brought the 2 remaining chicks outside to get some time in the yard and the big Ameraucana chick was being really aggressive with the white silkie and started pecking off feathers from her feet. So then I started thinking OMG, did this ameraucana eat all the feathers off the dead silkie? I don't know what to do at this point. I talked to the lady that I purchased the chickens from and she said she would take the Ameraucana back and let me get 2 new silkies, so I'll have 3 silkies the same age and similar in size, so hopefully there won't be huge size differences.

    Can I please get some advice here? Obviously I'm scrambling, unsure what to do and in need of advice from people with more experience.
  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    Hi and [​IMG]
    Do it, do it, do it! Thank the breeder for being so considerate! Get that aggressive bird out of there. Separate it from the Silkies right now.
    Even if you need to keep it in a shoebox overnight with a cup of water
    and a saucer of feed.
    Karen in western PA, USA
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
  3. calisilkies

    calisilkies Hatching

    Aug 6, 2014
    Bay Area, CA
    Thank you, Karen! I did separate them right away after doing a lot of reading on these forums and realizing that my ameraucana is a feather eater. I didn't realize that chicks would do this!
  4. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Crowing

    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    Chickens can and are cannibalistic at times...some more so than others.
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    How big is their brooder and coop? I know they are/were only 3 weeks old but being in cramped quarters really brings out the worst in them.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Chickens are like little velociraptors at times; they are omniverous, and can be aggressive. Silkies are fragile little guys that take special care; many people keep them separate from 'normal' big chickens. I would have separate facilities for them too. Mary
  7. calisilkies

    calisilkies Hatching

    Aug 6, 2014
    Bay Area, CA
    Thank you all for your replies.
    Cafarmgirl - the 3 chicks are in an XL storage bin brooder at night and during the day, I bring them outside in a portable run to let my kids interact with them. The ameraucana was unhappy every day going back into the brooder. She would try to fly out and chirp loudly and clearly preferred being outside.

    I was really nervous mixing another breed in with silkies, but thought that if I did it with young chicks it might work out better, so they'd grow up together. Lesson learned, I guess.
  8. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Songster

    Jul 4, 2014
    Mixed breed flocks aren't necessarily a's the personalities of individual birds that can be much bigger problems though there are some breeds that are more aggressive than others. Also, if there is a major size difference, even amongst birds that are the same age...the smaller birds tend to be targeted. I'm glad the woman you got them from is being so accommodating.

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