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Sick chick saga

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickRVT, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. chickRVT

    chickRVT New Egg

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    I am looking for any suggestions here...

    My0 Phoenix went broody and the fertile eggs I set under her did not hatch so I purchased two chicks (Jersey Giant and Gold-Laced Wyndotte) day old chicks for her. I partitioned off part of the coop and placed the chicks under her. River was thrilled! They were both doing great - active, eating and drinking. Then last Wednesday I went out and the Jersey (Happy) was on the other side of the partition, cold, weak and looking like death. Other one (Bee) was fine - active and eating. So I took Happy into the house, warmed her up, offered yogurt, water and a warm mash - did great - fluffed back up, vocal (excessively) and crop was full but not distended and felt better so late that night I popped her in under River (the mom) and all was good. The next morning I went to check on them and both were active, eating and Happy was still really vocal. I came home from work later that day and found Bee dead. Cold and dead - when I picked her up, she felt very thin and her crop was empty - like she had not eaten in a day or more eventhough I say her eat that morning. Anyway, Happy was fine.
    Last night (almost a week after the last incident), my husband came home and found River in one of the nest boxes above the partition and found Happy under the feed dish. River flew done and tucked her in under her - Happy looked small and dishevielled to my husband but River seemed to be taking care of her. When I came home late last night, River was again in the nest box and I could not find Happy but could hear her - after searching for 10 minutes, I found her buried under almost 8" of shavings under where my husband said he left River with her. Needless to saw, Happy again looked like death but I gave her a bath and dried her with the hairdryer, she drank water from a syringe and started eating within an hour of being warmed. Again very vocal - like screaming almost - even after food and water. When I was examining her, I found her to be very thin and has not grown alot since last week. This morning, in her box with heating lamp, she has eaten and drank from the dish and is a little less vocal but not much. BMs are small and frequent without blood or abnormal colours. So my questions are the following:
    1). Do you think Happy will be ok?
    2). Do I put her back with River? Or keep her in the house until much bigger?
    3). Do you think River is just a bad mother or is there a reason that she keeps abandoning her chicks?
    4). Personally, I think there is something wrong with Happy I just do not know what to call it...any ideas?

    FYI - the partition was just some chicken wire draped down from the nest boxes so it was not like it was Fort Knox or something, more like a deterrent for the older hens to keep away from the chick starter. I have successfully had baby chicks be raised in the coop this summer with my Ameracauna Minnie - she seemed to be a much better mom than dear River. Where I purchased the chicks had alot of birds and did not see the other chicks directly and they were not vaccinated but neither has any of my chicks.

    Thank you so much for reading my chick saga and if you have any suggestions I would live to hear them!
    Sara
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    I can't predict whether Happy will be OK or not, but I think I would remove her from River's care. River has proven time and again that she is not up to the task of raising babies as evidenced by the death of one and the frequent abandonment of the other. I'd keep Happy inside and possibly get her a small friend to join her. It is better for chickens to be raised in groups because they are flock animals, and they are easier to integrate if there is more than one being integrated at a time. Just because River went broody doesn't mean she will automatically be a good mother. She may be inexperienced or stressed by the whole undertaking. If Happy has failure to thrive it will show up sooner rather than later. If she continues to fail inside then you know it is a problem with her rather than with River's abilities as a mother.

    Good luck with them.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I agree, raise the chick separately, with another chick if possible. If not, I'd add stimulation and distractions -- a little roost, small stuffed animal, little toys, plus take her outside when possible, etc. It should be a good candidate to handle a lot and make a pet of, too, if you wish.

    Some chickens, even broodies, just don't seem to have a mothering instinct. I've had several broodies raise chicks in with the flock, too, but I also had one kill her chicks as they hatched.
     
  4. chickRVT

    chickRVT New Egg

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    Thank you both for your suggestions. I was thinking the same thing. Currently Happy seems to be holding her own at the moment and River seems to be ok too. No worries about turning her into a pet [​IMG]
     
  5. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Careful! We all say that... and then we end up with a pet. [​IMG]
     

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