Topic of the Week - "Special Needs" Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sumi, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Pic by sumi

    By request I'm starting a topic of the week discussion this week for "special needs" chickens.. The flock members with crooked beaks, foot and/or leg issues, the stunted chicks, the blind chickens. The birds that some chicken keepers want to give a chance at living regardless and the ups and downs and how to's of taking care of them.

    I know that many chicken owners feel that birds that are in any way physically challenged should be humanely euthanised, while others feel they should live, provided they can have some quality of life. The purpose of this discussion is for the chicken keepers that fall into the latter category. So let's keep this thread and discussion positive and educational, please.

    To get the discussion going, tell me about your special needs birds and how you take care of them and how you provide and work around the basics such as housing and feeding them. I'll share my own story in the thread.
  2. scottcaddy

    scottcaddy Overrun With Chickens

    Sumi's telling a story :wee:ya :woot
    :caf :pop
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    This little pocket pooper was called Joy and she was, for the 5 months we had her. She was my special needs chicken. Joy hatched in 2011 from an abandoned broody hen nest, some time after I gave up on the eggs and should've discarded them. Broody-non-broody keeping the nest warm at night and the hot summer temperatures during the day seem to have been enough to keep this baby incubating, though she took a long, long time to put in an appearance. Imagine my shock and surprise them I found a pipped egg in there one evening, 2-3 weeks after giving up on the eggs… I'm not sure why I left the eggs where they were.

    I let it hatch under a heat lamp and waited to see what happened. Perfectly normal, strong, happy little chick she was, but it didn't take long to realise she was stunted. She didn't grow nearly as fast as the other chicks we had, who soon outgrew her by miles. Since she was so tiny and motherless, we let her have the run of the house and everyone, chickens she came into contact with included, spoiled her and babied her. I remember our other young chickens, especially the pullets, calling her when they found a tasty treat, letting her have it. Crickets usually.

    Joy suffered a stroke, for lack of better description, when she was 5 months old. And another soon after. She passed away shortly afterwards, peacefully and happy, happy right until the end. My last memory of her cheeping those little cheeps she did to let me know she's content.
    DSC01633.JPG .

    Joy catching a ride

    For a complete list of our topic of the week threads see here:
  4. scottcaddy

    scottcaddy Overrun With Chickens

    Thank You Sumi
    Farmer Connie, Suzi18, sumi and 2 others like this.
  5. The Angry Hen

    The Angry Hen Flock Master

    Dec 17, 2016
    Dirigo! (Maine).
    Hello There,

    What a wonderful thread! I believe...
    Every chicken/adult chicken should have a chance.

    He may not be "special needs"
    but here is a story about my rooster...

    2012 - 2017

    Rusty, the Buff Orpington rooster.


    Rusty was a very sweet rooster. He was the sweetest baby, (he did attack my leg once)... But he had issues. He had many strokes, he was infertile, his circulation was a wreck, he had no toe nails, his spurs were reeeeeeaaaallly long, no matter how much i cut them.

    He never got to be a Dad, it was a very sad thing to experience. His one hen "Lucy" tried to go broody and took sick, she lived, but mad at him for not having babies.

    He lost many of his hens. His meanest hen pecked at his tail, it was the smallest tail. His comb had frostbite... I considered him special needs.

    But he sat on my Dad's lap, he followed us around. He did his first and foremost job, protecting his girls. He was special, he lived a life in pain... But he lived through it.

    "Everyday above ground, is better than under."

    I can't wait to see the stories on this thread, thank you for reading mine.
    Wonderful story, @sumi, wonderful.

    The Angry Hen
  6. andreanar

    andreanar Overrun With Chickens

    May 16, 2014
    Upstate NY
    I'm not sure if one of my little Faverolles would be considered special needs, but something is really not right in her world! Shes approx. 14 weeks old we named Rosie, for ring around the rosie. She spins in circles. She is on the bottom of the pecking order and just a few days ago started joining the flock instead of staying by herself. She will be walking and then stops to do a spin or 2. She also does the spin before she starts walking anywhere. It looks like her head will jerk to the side and she just follows it into a spin. Shes been like this since we got her 5 weeks ago. Otherwise she is fine. She eats and drinks and is growing fine. Shes just special.
  7. The Angry Hen

    The Angry Hen Flock Master

    Dec 17, 2016
    Dirigo! (Maine).
    Ha ha! I have a SF (Salmon fave) hen that is at the bottom of pecking order... She has crooked toes too... When some one messes/pecks with her head, she RUNS backwards!

    Rosie sound cute, (I love the name too!)

    The Angry Hen
  8. Brittany Proffitt

    Brittany Proffitt Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 18, 2017
    I have a scissor beak chicken whom I absolutely love!! When he/she was a baby the beak was perfectly normal but as he grew his beak started to change. I was so worried, but the more I read the more I understood that this is very common in Easter Eggers. He doesn't need a lot of special attention, the food is raised up so that he can scope the food, but other than that he is the same as the rest just much much smaller.

    He is one of my favorite chicks. He follows me everywhere I go, he doesn't mind if I pick him up and hold him, he is always by my side. I love the little guy.

    Attached Files:

  9. RodNTN

    RodNTN Hatchaolic Premium Member

    May 22, 2013
    Serving Jesus
    My Coop
    My former hen "Rose", a Black sex link hen given to us by a friend. She was healthy some of her life.

    She was attack by an opossum when she was only a year old, the opossum damaged her beak, wattles, and comb. So she lived with a scissored beak for the rest of her life. She survived egg yolk peritonitis.

    And her last few months she had lots of trouble breathing, it wasn't a respiratory infection. She just had a very weak immune system. But she was a fighter and proved it. She was so sweet, and loved to be as loud as possible :lol:

    I loved her very much :)
  10. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Little doggies in tow Premium Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    Phoenix AZ
    My Coop
    @sumi that is such a cool story. Thanks for sharing.

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