Injured chick won't eat or drink


Oct 11, 2018
We recently had our first batch of chicks hatch (incubated by their mother). The first one to hatch had holes pecked in its head and died shortly after. So we separated the rest of the chickens from broody momma and her eggs. The next 2 are healthy and doing fine. The forth was injured when we found her. All the feathers (and possibly skin) was pulled from the back of her head. Momma wanted nothing to do with the chick and was pecking her. We brought her inside and she is alive, but very weak. She has gotten better but still cannot stand up. She is able to crawl around a bit. I have been using a dropper to give her water. Is tried wetting some food but she doesn't seem interested. I tried to give it to her with my finger. She wouldn't take it and I didn't want to force her. Any advice?

Also, the wounds seems to be healing. I am worried about the potential for infection. I thought about rinsing with hydrogen peroxide (I am sure she won't like it), but I am not sure if that is a good idea. Would soapy water be better?

Edit: This chick hatched yesterday morning so she is almost 2 days old.


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I sympathize with you. A few weeks back, I had one chick hatch and later it was injured much like yours. It didn't make it.

At two days old, your chick isn't hungry yet. It can use the hydration, though. So keep trying to get drops of water into it and electrolytes would also be wise if the chick is in shock. Most important, it needs warmth.

Years ago, I had a two-week old chick injured when it shoved its head through the fencing and another chicken scalped it. I wrote about my treatment and the chick's subsequent healing. You might get some tips from reading it.

Since then, I've learned that hydrogen peroxide is okay for the first wound cleansing, but after that, it interferes with new cell growth. The most important things are to clean the wound daily and keep the wound moist with an antibiotic ointment.

Be aware that injuries to the head of a fragile new hatchling may result in brain damage. If the chick can't stand or maintain balance after it's had time to recover, you might assume brain damage. I hope your chick shows signs of improvement come morning as it likely will.
I'm sure it's possible. It would be more out of curiosity than aggressiveness. But other strange things can happen. Mice or rats can injure new chicks. A broody hen can be overly zealous as well as misguided, and she can cause injuries, too. Chickens are not driven by the same sort of maternal instinct to protect and to nurture their babies as humans and other mammals are. Hormones are the sole driver. Among the flock, if they have access to the nest of chicks, they can be expected to react with their own drives to inspect a possible food source.
I figured another chicken killed the first chicken. That is why we separated her from the rest of the flock. Unfortunately this little one didn't make it through the night. Thanks for your responses.

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