Hatchling Deformity

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Homeof7Heavens, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Homeof7Heavens

    Homeof7Heavens In the Brooder

    Dec 7, 2011
    I recently had eggs set for hatch and after 23 days gave up hope on the final eggs hatching. As I was removing the eggs, one of them appeared to have tried to hatch from the bottom and couldn't complete the hatch. Problem was...it was still alive inside the shell. It started peeping. I peeled the shell from it and it struggled. I don't know when it started hatching, I would assume 2 days before...but, here it is 24 hours later and it's still alive but cannot stand up. It looks like the legs are okay, but the feet are curled and unless I use my fingers to spread them out they stay that way. I pick it up about every hour to offer water and food. It takes the water, not so much the food.

    I've processed grown chickens, but babies??? I, like so many others, can't bring myself to do it. Reading many of the other posts, I know if this chick survives, it will never be part of the flock and I have a this thing about nursing animals in need.

    Please be kind when telling me that I should cull the baby! Is it possible it can indeed survive and grow?

  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I'm speaking here as someone that has raised my share of special need birds. My current special needs bird is a crossbeak hen, with a severe skull deformity to boot. Her name is Dragon and she is now a year and a half old.

    Had Dragon hatched with her crossbeak, I would have asked my husband to put her down (I'm a wimp and scared that I won't do it right the first time, causing needless suffering for the bird). However, Dragon's crossbeak didn't develop until she was over a week old and we were already attached. At that time, many BYCers urged me to cull her, but I wanted to give her a chance.

    Dragon spent the first few months of her life with her brother, the only other chick to hatch out of the batch. Once he matured and started wanting to mate Dragon he had to be moved to another coop, since she was much too tiny to be bred.

    I searched around and found Dragon a female friend to share a small coop I bought especially for Dragon. When Dragon's friend Widget hatched six chicks, Dragon stole three of them and raised them herself. Though she loves chicks, she doesn't lay eggs and couldn't afford the loss of body weight it would cause for her to be broody. Now they all live together as a happy little family. About 6 months ago, I finally found the perfect feeder that allows Dragon to eat and go to roost each night with a full crop and she has thrived.

    Dragon requires some extra work on my part. Regular beak trimmings, cleaning her face after she dives face first into her waterer and then her feeder; caking the feed on her face. Also, she wastes alot of feed. Is she worth it? You betcha. She's a life, she's a fighter, and she inspires me. Having said that, if Dragon were to start suffering I wouldn't hesitate to ask my husband to put her down. He's done it for me before with chicks that I just knew had no chance for a good quality of life.

    So I guess the answer to your question is more questions. Do you have the time and inclination to deal with a special needs bird? Do you know in your heart that the bird is not suffering from its handicap? If the answer is yes, then do your research, go throught the trial and error to find out how to help this chick survive and thrive.

    If your answer to either of the above questions is no, then end its suffering. Good thoughts to you on whatever you decide.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012

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