Lost 3 of 4 chicks :(

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by jessa_lee, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. jessa_lee

    jessa_lee New Egg

    Jun 18, 2008
    I just needed to vent my pain in a place where others would understand my grief.

    I am a brand-new chicken owner. As a matter of fact, so new my oldest chick is 7 weeks old. But I have spent time everyday holding and talking to each of my chicks. Over the weekend I built a sturdy, yet light-weight coop for them (found the design on Mother Earth News - Mini-coop). I moved them in on Saturday. Everything was great. They were happy eating grass and bugs. The fencing on the sides was about 2x4" and top and bottom of chicken-wire all secured with wire - impenetrable, I thought. The ends were openable by a small flap area on top held down with several bungee cords on each end.

    Last night when I went out to say goodevening to my chickens and ensure they had plenty of feed and water, there was only one chick left in the coop where there had been four. There were some feathers scattered about on both ends (outside) of the coop... but no blood or parts, and no bent wires or opened flaps. I cannot even begin to figure out what has gotten in to my chickens and managed to get them out?!?!

    My heart is broken. I feel like I killed them by moving them outside. I thought they were safe. I cried myself to sleep last night. And now I'm at my desk at work but I cannot even focus on my work because my poor chickies are dead somewhere... by some violent act. I moved the last chicken back into the house with me, who appears completely unharmed (although scared to death and didn't want me to put her down after I took her out of her solitary coop). I'm beside myself. I feel so helpless. And no one understands my desire to raise chickens here and they think a chicken loss is trivial and silly. But I'm a wreck and I just want to sob for hours - but it won't bring them back.

    Has anyone else gone through this? Is there anything I can do to ease the pain? When will it stop hurting so much? I just want my little chickies back in my arms. They loved and trusted me, and I "fed them to the wolves".
  2. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Oh No! [​IMG] I am SOO sorry for your loss! My chicks are only three weeks old and already I am very attached to each one of them. I just PRAY this does not happen when I put mine out. I think I will lock mine in all night and let them out in the am. I hope that your able to get more chicks. It has to be hard...I never went through it but I know IF one of my chicks would die I would be heartbroken! [​IMG]
  3. MiniDriver

    MiniDriver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2007
    I'm so sorry for your loss, it must be heartbreaking.

    Are you sure they didn't squeeze out and are hiding in the bushes? 2x4 is a pretty big hole and some chickens are excellent escape artists.

    The thing that makes me thing they might have escaped is that most predators operate at night, and it seems like the disappearance happened before you tucked them in for the night. So look around when you get home, and see if they might be cowering in a bush or under a porch.

    The minicoop plans call for be sure you get the 1-by-2-inch mesh wire fencing for the pen’s side wall, with good reason. Rats and other predators can get through 2x4 mesh.
  4. jessa_lee

    jessa_lee New Egg

    Jun 18, 2008
    I went searching throughout my one-acre and through part of the neighbor's one-acre, calling and searching for them last evening after they had gone missing. I would think I would have heard their little chirp if they'd been nearby. I even went out again after dark with flashlights to look for them.

    I would have thought they would have come back to their "safehouse" coop at dark... which is why I am assuming they were snatched and not just run off.

  5. hazelton farms

    hazelton farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 4, 2008
    Do you have snakes in your area? Sounds like a good sized hole for snakes to go through.
    Sorry for your loss. It doesn't always go this way... [​IMG]

  6. blueskylen

    blueskylen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2008
    I am wondering what kind of animal could possibly take the bungees off and open the doors?? I know some can open a flap door, but one fastened? scary stuff!!

    I am sorry for their loss. I had to give my 2 ducks away, and cried the whole way home, and really miss the little poopers - so I know how it feels.
  7. FloridaChickenChick

    FloridaChickenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Lake County, Florida
    Racoons can open just about ANYTHING. There's a reason their little hands look so much like ours.

    I'm so sorry about your babies. My advice would be to take what you've learned and find more chickens.
  8. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Jess, things happen... I know it sucks. Over the past few years, we lost one as a pullet to a falling box fan and then we lost most of our flock to the neighbor dogs, and I was caring for the neighbor dogs while they were on vacation... We've lost another two in the past few weeks.

    While I enjoy having them around, I try not to get too attached and warned the boys not to name them because I knew things would eventually happen. For the most part they've been nameless and we can't tell one from another. We did have one that was hatched out here that everyone called Loudmouth. We lost her with the neighbor dog incident. My oldest son took that hard, because that one had become sort of a pet to him.

    Don't give up. It sounds like a critter pulled them through the wire. Beef up the security and get some more.
  9. jessa_lee

    jessa_lee New Egg

    Jun 18, 2008
    Thanks to everyone for your encouraging words.

    I am definitely going to learn from this experience. ALL coops built from now on will ALWAYS be built with CHICKEN WIRE and nothing bigger-holed, and will have solid doors secured with locks.

    I held a small memorial service for my chickies and promised them that their death was not in vain and that I will learn from this and build a strong and secure coop for all other chickens and the new coop will be built "in memory of them". Maybe I'm taking it too far, but they were really precious to me and I feel so responsible for their deaths (even though it was due to my lack of knowledge).

    I'm able to move on and I will be getting more chicks as soon as some come available. I appreciate everyone's support and I'm SO glad I found this forum to help me move on, learn, and grow with others who share my newfound love for chickens.

  10. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    You may need something better than chicken wire. Chicken wire can keep chickens in, but doesn't always keep the critters out. Try 1/4" or 1/2" hardware cloth for the coop and a secure run where they can stay when you're not around. Save the chicken wire for the areas where they can run when you're around or to keep them of the gardens.

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