Rejected 3 week old chick - why?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by keiferlou, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. keiferlou

    keiferlou Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2014
    NE Oklahoma
    This is a weirder situation than the other rejected chick posts I read before posting this. Broody #1 hatched on the coldest night of the winter so far and 1 chick survived out of 2 eggs. Two days later, Broody #2 hatched 4 chicks on a less cold night, 3 survived. So I had 4 chicks with two broody hens, all very close in age. Both hens were "sharing" parenting of all 4 chicks. Weird but it was working for them. At the same time, I had another young hen go broody. Well, 4 babies is enough for right now and there's enough chicken drama going on without her hatching any more so she got booted from the nest. Broody #3 decided she had to have some chicks so she started taking part in the shared parenting that was happening. B1 and B2 allowed this. Also weird, right? So, I had 3 broodies running around mothering 4 chicks. It was working well apparently cause these are the fattest little chicks I've ever seen and feathering out so well. We're right at 3 weeks now and last night, one was straight up rejected by all 3 hens.

    When I went out to lock everyone up, I threw them a little scratch. All was calm and peaceful, chicks were pecking away and happily following all the moms around. I turned away to throw scratch to another spot and turned back to find one lying on her side, looking dead. I didn't even have my back turned for 30 seconds. I pick her up and she's limp in my hand and barely breathing. I was pretty sure she was on her way out. I was about to put her out of her misery when she popped open her eyes and tried to lift her head. Good sign, I'm thinking. So I held her for a few minutes and she recovered. She started moving her head around and trying to get away from me. So I'm thinking she's gonna be ok. I start looking her over and see blood on her feet and specks of blood on her belly and on the ground where she was laying. She has no wounds that I can see and her mouth and her little butt are clean. WTH! I try to give her back to the broody brigade and no one will take her. They all squawk and peck at her. This whole situation, from picking her up to trying to give her back, took maybe 5 minutes, yet they all rejected her.

    First, I have no clue what happened to her that caused her to be lying on the ground seemingly dead when I turned back. Both dogs, who like to break up chicken drama when they're around were right there with me and they didn't react. I didn't see or hear anything. Best I could figure is she got in the way of another hen and got tossed and was just stunned. We had a hen last year that liked to do that with chicks. She didn't stick around long. My youngest daughter suggested maybe she was kicked or stepped on by one of the roosters trying to get away from another rooster. Both are possible I suppose but why would all the hens reject her? Could she have an internal injury they can sense? She survived the night inside with us in a box with a rigged up heating pad cave and a stuffed toy for company and is pooping just fine. Fixing to try food and water. ETA: Eating and drinking perfectly fine.

    Could one of the mother hens have done this? Why else would they reject her like that? She was from the second hatch so it's not like she stands out because she's older and bigger than the others.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  2. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    Sadly in my opinion, I'm guessing she is being rejected due to some issue going on with her. illness, stunted growth,internal damage, deformity? Sometimes all it takes for rejection is a smaller weaker chick, not necessarily having a specific illness. A "runt" so to speak can get shunned from the Hens as they see its weaker and in the chicken mind don't think it will make it.So they speed up the process by not accepting it. What concerns me is the blood you mentioned.Did you notice if it came from her back side, or her mouth? May I ask how her breathing is? Have you seen her stool?? Is it normal? YOU might have to "mother" this little one until it's stronger then try to slowly integrate it back into the flock. I'm guessing once it's stronger (if that's possible) it Should be accepted.Sometimes animals,Chickens, know when something BIGGER is wrong or a miss and they shun the animal. Because it's hard to know, I would see if I could isolate the chick, nurse it along if possible, get it stronger and once it's in shape SLOWLY try to integrate it back into the flock.keep it apart but let the other birds be able to see it.Then after a week or so she SHOULD be taken back into the flock. I would give that a try. I hope this helps a little. Best wishes
  3. keiferlou

    keiferlou Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2014
    NE Oklahoma
    Other than being seemingly stunned last night, she was fine. Her mouth and her butt were both clean and I couldn't find any punctures or spots where the blood could have come from. It was so weird. After I originally posted this morning, I gave her some scrambled egg which she chowed down on and she drank some water. Poop was plentiful and normal. After she ate, I took her outside to get some air and scratch around a bit because she wasn't getting anywhere scratching for food on the hard kitchen floor. Her peeps drew the attention of Broody #2 who came over and took her right back!! Little one ran to her and momma hen started making her noises and off they went. I followed and watched for a while and it was like nothing had happened. All was peaceful again. Been watching all day and they're all a nice, cohesive little family again. Now, why in the world would she be rejected and pecked at last night but after a night away, she's accepted back like she never left? Was this a trick? Did I just get pranked so I would have to get up every two hours and turn the heating pad back on? [​IMG]
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    I've noticed with my broodies, sometimes, if I pick up one of their chicks they'll try to/will peck at it when I give it back. Maybe they were just wigged out that you had the chick and that's what they were reacting to? Who knows.

    The blood is concerning. I would be out in my coop combing over all of my chickens to figure out where it came from. Maybe the hens had a squabble, the chick got caught in the middle and the blood belonged to one of them? Hard to say really.

    Glad your chick is okay and back where it belongs :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by