Newborn chick being pecked by mothers or 2 week old chicks?

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9 Years
Jul 7, 2010
Lebanon, PA
I recently had six little chicks hatch naturally with two broody hens for mothers watching them. I slipped five more eggs under the one hen two weeks later from a specific hen so I could get some crosses and didn't see that there should be any problems as low as the mothers stayed on the eggs. They took turns watching the hatched children and sitting on the eggs and I've been so proud to watch them (this is the first time I let them hatch chicks and they are doing fantastic so far!).

But this morning, my mom went out and found a freshly hatched chick with blood on it. When she examined it closer, she found that it had been pecked all across its neck from eye to eye so that if you pushed on the back of his scalp, it would push towards his face. Thankfully the little guy is still alive and kicking (chirping angrily!). We rinsed the wound with a mild baking soda and water solution and put him under the heat lamp by himself.

Am I doing everything okay so far? Is there something else I can do for him?

I'm thinking that once the wound scabs over and I can be sure that his eyes are okay, I'm going to take him back to our mini coop that we have set up for the chicks and their mom's and put him in the other side (it has two "chambers" separated by a wall, each room having its own door to the outside that can be closed) with one of the mothers. If she takes to him and doesn't peck at him (since we don't know who has been doing the pecking, would the 2 week old ones do that already?) I will move her and the eggs to that side and let the other mother handle the toddlers.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?
I don't know about re integrating the chick, but I would put some antibiotic ointment on the wound twice a day. That will help it heal a lot faster. Sorry, I hate when things are seemingly going well . . . then POW!
Thanks, I'll do that. That'll help keep it from cracking too if it gets too dry, right?

Not everything has gone perfectly smoothly, but I knew going into hatching out chicks that things wouldn't go perfectly. I think I lost 3 chickens to unknown causes. One was found in the coop dead freshly hatched and two others were found in the run seemingly freshly hatched. My mom saw the 24 eggs under the girls and thought "oh boy, that's a lot of chicks" but once I did the math for her, she was shocked...because I figured not all the eggs are viable in the first place, say 18 of them are viable, but then due to complications, only 12 make it to the point of being fully grown. Maybe 4 will have problems during hatching or right after being born. That brings it down to 8, not all of which will make it to adulthood and around 50% will be male...that leaves us with 3 or 4 hens....out of 24 and that's about where we've ended up. I didn't even bother candling the eggs, but if the hens kicked the eggs out of the nest, I gently shook them to check the air pocket and either put them back or threw them out.

One chick escaped the run and some of the hens pecked her eye so badly that I'm completely unsure what to do. I've let her run around with only one usable eye for now, but I know I have to do something about it or she'll be blind in that eye. I tried soaking it with water, but the chick flails so much that she shakes the water right off or ends up soaking wet and I don't want to stress such a little chick that much. Another chick is dying of something or other and had to be removed.
Wow, you have really had a rough time of it. I have a smaller coop I put my broody in with her eggs. They are supposed to hatch out next Tuesday. Does your chick with the problem in the eye - is there any infection or is the eye totally still there? You could always take a dropper of water and wash it that way. Maybe with some eye wash solution (as long as it is watered down). I agree that you should put some antibiotic on the other chicks neck. Good luck!
I've tried using a washcloth and I've tried the eye dropper method...the little one just don't hold still and the flailing makes it so difficult, plus it SCREAMS horribly and I can only stand to wash the eye for so long before I'm sure she's ready to die of terror. There is no infection, just black caked over eye. I'm not sure if the eye is still there or not and she is getting around just fine. She's always been a bit...dumber? than the rest. For instance, she would just sit in the run chirping her head off while the rest hopped right back into the coop. She wasn't getting it and would just sit at the door screaming. She actually got pecked on the top of the head by the one mother a couple of times, probably because she was such a darn annoyance and couldn't do anything herself at all. All the other kids would come running in and out of the coop, probably making fun of her, or else trying to show her how to do it. It's not really a surprise that she found herself with only one eye to use, I'm just confused as to how this helpless, pathetic little creature who couldn't make it into the coop figured out how to get out of the run entirely! In any case, she's doing very well for having only one eye...she can hop a full four inches now and altho she's still the smallest of them all and looks like she's hardly grown even in the slightest, she's eating and drinking normally and acting like a crazy little chick just like the others.

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