tragedy... what happened???

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by farmergal, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. farmergal

    farmergal Songster

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    Jul 21, 2008
    Nor Cal
    I am so, so saddened and confused. A week ago, my bantam broody hatched out 1 chick on her own (the eggs had originally started under another broody who abandoned the eggs, hence the low hatch rate), and I grafted 6 others from the feed store onto her. She'd been broody for over a month so it wasn't like she wasn't ready for the eggs to hatch. And she accepted the new chicks happily, and for a whole week seemed totally smitten with her brood... leading them to food and water, snuggling down with them at night, etc. She totally treated them like her own.

    Then, this morning, we found 4 of the 7 dead. Clearly killed -- on a couple of them the organs were protruding and they had peck marks on them. It seems she targeted certain color chicks, too: she killed all three of the barred rocks and the darkest of the Ameraucanas. (The original chick she'd hatched out was a splash orpington.) [​IMG]

    Has anyone had this happen before? I understand that some mothers won't accept grafted chicks, or that chickens won't accept chicks if they haven't been broody for at least 21 days. But that didn't seem to be the case here. She accepted these chicks, and then suddenly killed them. I am so confused, and feel terrible for those poor little babies. Needless to say her parenting privileges have been revoked, the surviving chicks have been put in a brooder and she's back in the coop with the other chickens.

    What the heck happened? Why would she do this? I don't know what to think but I feel so guilty [​IMG]
     

  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    chickens will cannibalize a dead chick or chicken- I just had 4 of my babies drop over dead, I was able to remove them before any pecking started, chicks die suddenly- they younger they are the quicker a problem becomes accute- and maybe those all were carriers of something and she couldn't pass up the free meal.
     
  3. farmergal

    farmergal Songster

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    Jul 21, 2008
    Nor Cal
    She didn't actually eat any part of them, though, as far as I could tell. I've raised probably 150 chickens from chicks and never lost 4 at a time like this. They were completely fine last night, no signs of illness whatsoever -- could 4 really just instantly drop dead like that? I've never had that happen before and I've been raising them the same way that I have all the others (except with a broody hen instead of a heat lamp).
     
  4. oesdog

    oesdog Songster

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    Jun 7, 2010
    Ireland
    I have not lost chicks like you. But I have had something happen that made me think a bit about what you said about targeting certain coloured chicks.
    My broody hatched 5 out of her 6 eggs. Actually the 6th exploded all over her not nice but kind of funny at the time!
    She hatched 4 ok but the 5th wouldn't move about like the others and I lifted her off it to look. The poor thing had been born with its stomach on the outside. So we had to take it away and it was sadly culled. - You know there was a deffinate moment bettwen Bertha and I. She just looked at me all sad and I knew she knew- it was just one of those things. I felt terrible but it was the right thing to do. We have two other chicks that don;t have a mum in the brooder. Sometimes if the weather is good we put all the baby chick together outside - supervised of course. IN the brooder we have a yellow one and a black one. Bertha drove the yellow one away at first but when I held out the black one she took it instantly without a problem ( and then the yellow one as well as they are inseperable chicks. ) The thing is it was black - the chick I took from her , the one that died was black. It was like she remembered and thought I gave it back to her. She also had a little moment when I swear she thought she had miscounted the chicks. Now she takes them all but the weaker two don;t ever stay out at night with her and they are never left with her alone.

    Oesdog [​IMG]
     

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