Our Mama Hen Died This is the worse possible thing that could have happened. She had a failed hatch and we got her some day-old chicks. I wrote all about it in another thread. Wednesday: The Day old chicks came. Thursday: We gave the chicks to Mama. They bonded very well. Friday: Mama's last egg failed to hatch. We moved Mama and the chicks outside. Planned to leave them in the run during the day and the brood box in the hen house during the night. Saturday morning: Mama didn't want to get out of the nest box. I pulled her out and put her and the chicks into the run. She wasn't her usual self. She would just stand in one place. The chicks huddled around her, peeping, trying to jump on her back, but she didn't do anything. I brought out some yoghurt. With past broods, she would bring them over and show them what it was; she'd spend the day showing them how to scratch, etc. She did these things with them Thursday and Friday. But she paid no attention to the yoghurt. When I placed it near her, she stepped away. She wasn't eatting or drinking. I brought in the big metal waterer, thinking maybe she didn't want to drink of the chick waterer, but she didn't pay any attention to it. I noticed she had some creamy diarhhea stuck to the feathers beneath her vent. I called my "chicken mentor" who told me she was likely to die. She suggested I try some ivermectin for cattle in case she had internal parasites. I called around and found it at Tractor Supply. We brought the brood box back into the basement and put the ivermectin on her back. We cleaned up her back feathers. I saw her drink some water from the chick waterer just before we brought her in and she would take a few sips when we held a saucer of water up to her. Today (Sunday): She was up and down in the morning. I would think she was making progress and then she would backslide. I diced up some tomato and put it on a small paper plate. At first she ignored it, and so did the chicks. I kept trying to coax her with it. Finally, she took a bite, and then called the chicks over. They went wild over the tomatos once she directed them to it. A little later, I brought some yoghurt, but I couldn't get her to pay attention. Every couple of hours, I would offer her water and she would take a few drinks. Around 3:30-4PM, she went into the nest box and things went downhill from there. I started noticing she was wheezing. The chicks got in the nest with her, but she didn't seem to pay them any attention. This evening, she came out of the nest box, but she just laid down, eyes closed and breathing heavily. She got worse fast. The chicks were climbing all over her. They were pulling on her; when one started to pull on her eyelid, I started to pull them out, but she seemed to get alarmed at their loud peeping and I left them. A short time later I noticed a chick peck at her beak and pull out some mucus. I quickly pulled out all the chicks and took them out to the garage. They are back in a bin, originally peeping loudly, but now just cuddled together in the corner. I went back to Mama in the basement and the mucus coming from Mama's nose/beak increased. She died shortly after. My husband plans to bury her in the morning. She will be the first chicken we've honored with a grave. We've always said she was our most valuable chicken and this is the most difficult loss we've ever had in the flock. She was always the leader among the hens when we didn't have a rooster. Our first rooster was dispatched because he attacked her when she wouldn't submit. She's the only one of our hens to ever go broody, 3 times in 3 years. Last year, when she had chicks, she stood up to a hawk while the rest of the flock hid (the rooster was a chick at the time). My husband always said we should buy an incubator and make sure we hatch some of her eggs, but it's too late now. Last year's hatch was from our eggs, and it's possible one of the 3 pure bred Barred Rocks could be her offspring, but we will never know for sure. It's unlikely we will ever know what killed her. Our theory right now is we left her in the hot hen house too long during the heat wave. She wanted out of the brood box and I kept trying to keep her on the eggs. Maybe it wore down her resistance and made her susceptable to a respiratory infection. And I didn't recognize she was sick soon enough. I'm sorry to ramble on so long. We have several "favorite" hens, but she was the top one and this is a very hard loss. These are some pictures I took today. They are bittersweet. Good to have them, but so sad to know she was dying. Her death is a terrible blow at any time, but now is particularly difficult. I gave 5 hatchery chicks a mother. They had 2 good days and bonded very well with her. Now they just have me and my husband to raise them. My best memories of our flock is Mama raising chicks. She was such a great mother. We bought 4 chicks from the local feed mill this spring. They are not catching onto things or blending into the flock nearly was well as Mama's chicks always did. I was thinking how much better these 5 Buff Orpington chicks I got for Mama would have it. Unfortunately, it was not to be.