Destination

Snowingamanda

Songster
Apr 14, 2019
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This year I’ve tried to learn to raise baby chicks. I was down in the ruts and they were so happy and alive, an made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.. but god, it turned out to be a freaking Chick Final Destination movie:( They don’t stop catching me by surprise in many creative and freak ways they die. I do my research and play it safe, I think I’m 2 steps ahead of the game, but Death is a freaking Kasparov in this match I’m losing :(
I was meticulous about brooder conditions and checked for pasty butts twice a day. Proud to say I have not lost one chick to unknown causes, and I had over 60 of them, of different ages. The ways I’ve lost chicks so far:
* Hawk (a netting went up the next at and haven’t had that problem since)
* Strangulation (lost a teenage ducky, cried for 3 days). And I thought I chick-proofed the garden! Took care of that hazard
* A chick escaped through the fence and got lost! Let out 26 chicks into the fenced garden, at dusk collected 25. No idea where he went or who ate him but one part of my garden stinks so badly we suspect it can be there somewhere but repeated searches did not turn up anything
* 3 chicks (4-5 weeks old, flying chicks!) drowned in a water container that I would have not thought was that deep!

In other fatality and maiming news:
* Hatched 25 of 26 quail chicks, left the last egg for extra 36 hours, then opened it thinking it was a dud only to find a fully formed chick inside :(
* Despite the red light and plenty of space in the quail brooder and treating splayed legged ones, one lost half a toe as a snack to his siblings.

Earlier this summer:
* Lost a flock of 6 chickens (layers) due to heat because of a failure to unlock the coop (measures were taken to avoid similar situations in the future but many tears were cried for those girls)
* Lost 2 of my best layers due to heat in a freak bullying accident (sounds weird, I know)
* Lost a flock of layers because accidentally electrical fence got unplugged and predators got them.

Earlier this year (before electric fencing):
* Lost about a dozen layers to various predators.

In sum, it’s been a year of me trying to incubate and keep chicks and chickens (and ducks and quail), staying sleepless nights by incubator to keep constant temperature, and then dote on them, give them yummies and water with electrolytes and vinegar, get them medications and vaporizers when sick, wipe their butts, buy them toys, let them graze in my garden, sweet talk to them, cradle and love on them. A year of chick-proofing and fortifying chicken runs and coops and many play areas. And a never-ending depressing loss of life. Not to mention that I have 12 hens, all under 2 years of age, and I get 3 eggs a day ...
So, if anyone read that far, my question is - am I cursed to having chickens? Despite best efforts and all the love and care, - should I get rid of them for their own sake? Am I the only person that terrible at keeping poultry alive? Like, what’s wrong with me? Or will it ever get better?
 
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DiYMama540

Crossing the Road
Jun 25, 2019
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That is quite the string of bad luck...I am so sorry!

On the bright side, it sounds like you've learned (the hard way :() along the way. Make your coop and run as predator proof as possible. As for the heat, is relocating their coop to a shady spot in your yard an option?

Hoping for better days and better luck for you and your flock moving forward!
 

gtaus

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2019
2,866
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Was this your first year with chicks/chickens? Sounds like you have had some real lessons from the School of Hard Knocks. From what I read, most of your losses were due to predators. That's not bad luck, that's bad management, which you have identified and already put in place corrections.

So, if anyone read that far, my question is - am I cursed to having chickens? Despite best efforts and all the love and care, - should I get rid of them for their own sake? Am I the only person that terrible at keeping poultry alive? Like, what’s wrong with me? Or will it ever get better?

You are not cursed, you don't have to get rid of your chickens, lots of people have a similar learning curve on how to raise birds that works for their setup and location, nothing is wrong with you as you seem to have identified the shortcomings in your setup and made corrections, and things will get better as you gain more experience. That is not to say that you will not suffer losses in the future, but I am sure you will continue to find ways to minimize the number of birds you lose.

We have to make decisions on how we want to raise our backyard flocks. I would love to have my chickens free range in my yard, but I know that I have heavy Bald Eagle and hawk concerns. I live out in the country, and have all kinds of predators at night to worry about. So my chickens are confined to a chicken run with bird netting during the day, and locked up every night in a Fort Knox coop. My chicken run is not predator proof, but it is predator resistant. My coop is locked tight.

Having raised small livestock, on and off, for over 40 years, I have learned to live with, and plan for, loss of some of my animals despite my best efforts. This is my first year with laying hens. I ordered 10 chicks this spring hoping that 6 hens survive our Minnesota winter. So far, all 10 girls are still alive at week 22 and I have not had any loss yet. But I'm sure something will happen and I will have to think about changes needed.

This summer I talked to the head 4H poultry advisor who has been raising chickens for 40+ years. He told me that some years you just get birds that find ways to die you never thought of, and that you don't have any control over it. In your case, I think once you get the predator problem under control you will feel much better about yourself and your birds. Don't give up on yourself. It sounds like you have already learned a lot. Better days are ahead if you keep at it and don't give up. Learn from your losses and move on. Best wishes.
 

Snowingamanda

Songster
Apr 14, 2019
141
223
112
Was this your first year with chicks/chickens? Sounds like you have had some real lessons from the School of Hard Knocks. From what I read, most of your losses were due to predators. That's not bad luck, that's bad management, which you have identified and already put in place corrections.



You are not cursed, you don't have to get rid of your chickens, lots of people have a similar learning curve on how to raise birds that works for their setup and location, nothing is wrong with you as you seem to have identified the shortcomings in your setup and made corrections, and things will get better as you gain more experience. That is not to say that you will not suffer losses in the future, but I am sure you will continue to find ways to minimize the number of birds you lose.

We have to make decisions on how we want to raise our backyard flocks. I would love to have my chickens free range in my yard, but I know that I have heavy Bald Eagle and hawk concerns. I live out in the country, and have all kinds of predators at night to worry about. So my chickens are confined to a chicken run with bird netting during the day, and locked up every night in a Fort Knox coop. My chicken run is not predator proof, but it is predator resistant. My coop is locked tight.

Having raised small livestock, on and off, for over 40 years, I have learned to live with, and plan for, loss of some of my animals despite my best efforts. This is my first year with laying hens. I ordered 10 chicks this spring hoping that 6 hens survive our Minnesota winter. So far, all 10 girls are still alive at week 22 and I have not had any loss yet. But I'm sure something will happen and I will have to think about changes needed.

This summer I talked to the head 4H poultry advisor who has been raising chickens for 40+ years. He told me that some years you just get birds that find ways to die you never thought of, and that you don't have any control over it. In your case, I think once you get the predator problem under control you will feel much better about yourself and your birds. Don't give up on yourself. It sounds like you have already learned a lot. Better days are ahead if you keep at it and don't give up. Learn from your losses and move on. Best wishes.
Thank you for the encouragement! I’m trying my best. Good luck with your hens amen i hope they all grow to maturity and lay plenty of eggs for you without any losses!
 

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