Need orphaned chick advice, please!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by renay, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. renay

    renay Chirping

    Jul 27, 2014
    I have a free-ranging flock that consists of 2 roosters and 13 hens. As of yesterday 2 were broody hens who brood in the coop with the entire flock. AngryBird had hatched a chick one week ago today and MaryAnne has been brooding on her eggs for 12 days.

    AngryBird was killed in the night. Now I have a week old chick who is happily sitting under MaryAnne. But MaryAnne is a devoted egg hatcher and she won't get off her eggs until every one of them hatches. How is this going to affect the development of this orphaned chick? Is there something I should do?

    I am worried that this chick will start exploring on her own, and have no one to protect her from the world (or the flock).

  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Your instincts are telling you this lone chick needs protection from the rest of the flock. So figure out a place to move MaryAnne where she and her eggs and adopted chick will be safe from the others with room so the chick can come and go and explore its space and eat and drink.

    You will need to show the chick how to drink by dipping its beak in water. Make sure the water is in a container that the chick can't fall into and drown. Show it how to eat by sprinkling chick crumbles on the ground and pecking at them with your finger.

    It's okay for MaryAnne to eat the chick food the entire time she's brooding and afterward. It's entirely possible the chick will hang around after the eggs hatch and get along fine with the new babies, but you'll have to keep an eye on things as they develop.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    It's also possible that broody will leave her eggs to take care of this lone chick. Since you are dealing with a hen, and can't read her mind, either scenario is possible. In the event she abandons her eggs, and if you want them to hatch, you might want to search around and see if you can find an incubator to borrow, and familiarize yourself with it's use. Read "hatching eggs 101" for a good education on the incubation process.

    Have you done what you need to do to see that MaryAnn doesn't meet the same fate as her broody sister??
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
  4. renay

    renay Chirping

    Jul 27, 2014
    Thanks for the advice.

    I think I may have panicked a little when I found AngryBird dead this morning and realized that I neglected to close the pop hatch door last night.

    We have been dealing with raccoons and I have fortified the coop and outdoor run to keep the flock safe at night....but it doesn't matter if I forget to lock them in! This is the first bird killed by a raccoon since I began keeping chickens 2 years ago. Normally the raccoons just steal the food...What a horrifying way to learn my lesson. :(

    I'm very lucky the chick survived unharmed. And I'm very lucky to have a second broody hen who adopted that chick right away.

    I feel better having some idea of what to do if MaryAnne struggles with the new orphan. Thanks again!

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