Raising an abandoned chick?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by pizzicarella, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. pizzicarella

    pizzicarella New Egg

    Nov 21, 2013
    South Australia
    Hi all,
    my family and I have twelve hens and a rooster. We have had the chickens since we moved to this house, and we got the rooster recently (four or five months ago). And now, we have a bit of a problem with an abandoned chick!

    - about five weeks ago one of the hens went broody, and was sitting on eight eggs. We marked each of these eggs, and three weeks later four eggs hatched, and then hen stopped sitting on the eggs. Unexpectedly, four days later, three more chicks hatched. By the time we found out, two were dead, and one was cold and dying. We dried and warmed up the chick, and then tried to re-introduce it to the hen and the other chicks. This did not work at all!! So it was put underneath another chicken who is broody and sitting on eggs due to hatch in another week and a half, which seemed fine. But an hour later the chick had been kicked out, and was again cold and limp.

    We didn't have anything to care for a chick, no incubator or chick feed. So for the first few days it stayed in a bed with the electric blanket on, and ate oats soaked in water. It survived, and it is now a week old (and very very cute, it's starting to grow pin feathers on it's wings!!) We now have it in a snake vivarium under a light - but still don't have chick feed!

    So that is my first proper question: should we go and get proper food? Or will seeds, oats, and small bits of fruit and vegetables be ok? Those are basically the things that the chicks being raised by hens are eating.

    Secondly, is there a way to reintroduce it to the other chickens? When should we do this?

    And finally, one of the chick's feet is "mangled" looking, and doesn't straighten out. It has been like this since it hatched, and we assumed it would fix itself as the chick got older, but it is still like that. Is this a problem?

    Sorry for the long post. We are all new to this!
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I have no idea how nutritious that diet is for any of them, but if the rest of the flock is doing well on it, I don't see why you would need to handle one chick differently. However, B vitamins have been suggested for toe deformities. An inexpensive way to give this in the US is to purchase infant liquid vitamins in the drug or feed store, about $10 a bottle, and pur a few drops in their water.

    I would raise the chick in a separate setup right next to the rest of the flock so they can all see and hear each other. It would be safest to put them together when the chick has reached more or less adult size, though you could try it sooner. One method is to put the loner on the roost just after dark and let them sleep together on the roost. The flock may not even realize someone new is present in the morning.

    See this thread for ideas on how to deal with the foot. These deformities really should be dealt with right away. I hope you can correct it enough for the bird to be comfortable. Good luck!

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