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Hen abandoned 4 week old chick -- what should we do?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by goonius, May 8, 2017.

  1. goonius

    goonius Out Of The Brooder

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    We had two broody hens hatch out some fertile eggs a few weeks back. One turned out to only be sitting on a single viable egg, and only produced one chick. The other has 5 chicks. We've been having to keep both groups separate because the mamas seem to want to kill one another's chicks.

    The mama of the single chick began laying 3 days ago, and simultaneously had a frantic urge to get out into the main yard. Although we still felt her chick was vulnerable, at just over 4 weeks, we let them both out. It's become increasingly clear that she is just done with the chick and the chick is miserable. He tries to follow her but he can't keep up. He gets separated from her and peeps so loudly I fear the neighbors will begin complaining. We reunite him with mama but a few minutes later it happens again. I worry too that our two brutish buff orpingtons might catch him alone and tear him to bits -- the main yard is their current domain. We tried briefly to see if the other mama might take him in, as he seems to be comforted being around her busy nest of 5 chicks, but the other mama won't have it and is intent on pecking him.

    We've never hatched chicks before, so I was wondering is this just a normal stage they have to go through when the mama kicks them to the curb? Is 4 - 5 weeks an okay time for this chick to be left to his own devices? The nights have been getting in the 40s or 50s, and we hadn't planned for supplementary heat because we assumed the hens would take care of the chicks until they were old enough to fend for themselves. Does he still need supplemental heat -- he will be 5 weeks old in two days. Is there anything we should do to help him out or just let nature take its course?

    I appreciate any advice or personal experiences anyone is:) willing to share! [​IMG]
     
  2. TheFlyingFluffy

    TheFlyingFluffy New Egg

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    If no one will take the baby chick, it will certainly die. You might have to take it for yourself and raise it. At 5 weeks, they probably will have trouble surviving the nights and/or will be cold, scared, and tired. Take immediate action because this chick is probably in alot of danger. Once the mom has had enough of the chick trying to follow her, she might turn agressive.
     
  3. goonius

    goonius Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I hadn't thought about the mama turning aggressive. We have brought him in briefly before and he just cries and cries for his mama. It's heartbreaking. Will he eventually calm down do you suppose?
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    He does not need supplemental heat. The big issue is that he is a single chick, and has no similar age chicks to hang out with. It's normal for Mama to kick baby to the curb at this age. Your biggest concern would be that he is more prone to predator attack since he can't keep up with the rest of the flock. I would try putting the other broody and her chicks back with the rest of the flock. Hopefully she will allow the little singleton to hang at the fringes of her brood, since the other Mama is all done brooding.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. goonius

    goonius Out Of The Brooder

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    I guess I should have mentioned that I tried bringing the other mama (Pearl) and her 5 into the yard, but the single chick's mama (Clementine) tried to attack the 5 babies. Perhaps I should just segregate Clementine since she really seems to be the problem bird at the moment?
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Sounds like a plan. Trial and error problem solving. Good luck.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. goonius

    goonius Out Of The Brooder

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    Lazy gardener, I read a bit of your link on raising chicks outdoors and feel much better about the chick in regards to temperatures. I look forward to reading it all once the kids aren't bugging me every five minutes. Looks like I may find a lot of answers within. Thank you! [​IMG]
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    I can't take credit for that article. It was written by my friend Blooie. But, many of us now use heating pad brooders, and brood our chicks outside.
     

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