Mail order chick arrived sick and splayed


In the Brooder
Nov 26, 2020
The worst possible outcome other than dead chicks in the mail... I mail ordered a small batch of chicks to pad my hatched batch (only 4 hatched; I ordered 8 more). 7 were exuberant and healthy. One was splayed and sickly. It made me sad but the complicating factor is my 11 y.o. daughter. Putting the chick down was out of the question. She was determined to nurse it to health. Well it lasted 1 day then it passed. How do I stop the tears? I've been telling my kids as we start this chicken journey that death is going to be a part of [suburban] farm life. I am annoyed we received this chick but it is what it is and now it is at peace. Ugh! I think we will have the first of many chicken funerals tomorrow 😑
You are the parent.
Chickens are livestock, they are living things, living things die. It's a fact that is sometimes hard for people to swallow.
Tell her that she can have one good cry if it dies but no funeral ( that humanizes the chickens and will make the next death worse) and if she's still whimpering about it after a few days then you can't keep chickens anymore.
Kids understand and can cope a lot better than adults think, and you can soften the blow but there will still be an impact with the loss of any animal.
You have told them this, but experience is the best teacher
Poor little one RIP :( Losing chicks is all ways sad but she needs to be prepared that some of the chicks might not make it. (I agree with the comment above this).
It will always be hard for kids, the first time. You can't rush them, I mean, it isn't possible to tell someone how they "should" feel, it won't stop them feeling that way, that isn't how emotions work. It just teaches them to stop coming to you to tell you how they really feel.

I know you are frustrated as she has only known this chick for 24 hours lol. And it is... sad but, also a part of the process. But we have to remember she isn't use to this, and she is no doubt going through other things in life, especially if she has been isolated at home doing online schooling. It is important she learns to say goodbye and not fester on it. It will get easier with time. A funeral to me isn't an issue if she plans it and talks at it and you explain to her that a funeral means saying goodbye.

I was able to sit the kids down the first time we lost chicks and negotiated how funerals are really for animals you have a connection with, a funeral is a way to honor the bond you have and to say goodbye to a loved animal,a cat or a dog or a loved hen, did they really feel a connect with 7 day old chicks? Just be there for her, check in with her how she is emotionally feeling about "everything" right now, try to talk to her about things she is looking forward to, raising the chicks left? Christmas?

You are doing a good job and she will learn how to regulate her emotions, she is just little and she needs you to remind her about all the good things she has to focus on, she has lots of chicks to care for that are healthy.
I have mixed feelings about this. She may need a funeral right now. This may not just be about one little lost chick. She may need an outlet for all her emotions about all her losses from this horrible year. The chick may just be a symbol, the last straw, the one last thing, that can open up the dam to unlock all the tears she may need to shed over this whole crappy year. It may be therapeutic. I'd let her do it, and hold her while she cries. Maybe she can pour out her soul to you and feel better afterward.
Follow your heart and intuition. Over the years my family has held funerals for cats, bunnies, guinea pigs, hamsters, toads, and even gold fish. Pet funerals offer children a positive way to say goodbye and arrive at closure. Your participation and empathy can also go a long way in helping her move forward, and will leave a lasting impression and memory of your caring.
This happened with us. But with eggs and day old chicks. Only the kid in the situation was my husband. We had a chick hatch with splayed legs and wry neck. I knew she had little hope. We seperated her, gave her vitamins and taped her legs. We also stuck her right under a heat lamp. Then we left her alone. Because she couldn’t get away from the heat due to her splay she died. My husband, and children, were devestated. I held a funeral. He needed it. It gave him closure and helped him let go.
We have a small amount of chickens so most of them are like pets to all of us. We do funerals around here, even for unhatched eggs, because to me I’m returning them to the earth. Just throwing them away seems disrespectful to me. I’m a bit of a hippy though. But I do believe that children need closure. With any death.
I already answered, but I'm going to add something. It's only natural for an 11-yo to be tender-hearted and emotionally invested in a way that most grown-ups are not. Cherish her sensitivity and cultivate it. Life may make her grow cold and hard soon enough. Let her be little and sensitive and sweet while she can.

Edit: and with that, I will say, good night!

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