Ups and Downs of Flock Management - Need Reassurance

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by C&C Chickens, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. C&C Chickens

    C&C Chickens Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 28, 2010
    Bay Area
    We have had a small flock of chickens since last June (2010), and are feeling a bit frustrated having had what seems to be more than our share of setbacks since starting.

    First, we bought four pullets last June, one of which was a Polish who immediately got depressed and wouldn't come out of the hen house. We had to bring her in and nurse her along for a few days. We got another polish from the same farm to keep her company, which worked great, until we finally realized that she was a he, and so we had to find a new home for him when he started crowing. At that point only one was laying (our Silkie), but soon our Cochin started laying, and they were all getting along fine. Then a few months later we lost our Silkie, who drowned in a bucket of water that should never have been left in the yard (we felt absolutely awful), and were down to three chickens, only one of which was laying. Finally the other two started laying and we were happy to finally have 2-3 eggs a day. Then our Cochin started brooding, so we were back to only two laying. We got two chicks from a local feed store in January, and fortunately have had no problems with raising them. Our Cochin finally came out of brooding and started laying again, but three weeks later she decided to go broody, again! Meanwhile, we integrated the chicks and things seemed to be going well (although our egg supply was dwindling), when our Polish up and died suddenly yesterday. She was completely normal and healthy the day/night before, but was clearly sick the next morning and died within a few hours of us discovering her in this condition. Needless to say we are in shock and heartbroken. Our chickens are like pets to us, and we get attached. I'm starting to feel like we are the kiss of death to our chickens or something. We are down to two from our original flock of five in less than a year of being chicken mini-farmers, and only one is laying every of day or so. Does my tale of woe seem as out-of-the-ordinary as it seems to me? I would love to hear about others' experiences.
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I don't know about the woe, but one thing that jumps out at me is you're concerned about how many eggs you're getting, yet you don't have breed known for being prolific layers. If it's eggs you're wanting, you need to go with a production type bird, a barred rock, orpington, some type of red layer or a sex-link, along those lines. The "pretty" birds do lay well on occasion, but aren't bred to production standards like the other breeds.
  3. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    First: I am sorry, for your loss.

    Second: Chickens die. Besides pooping, it is what they do best. [​IMG] They are not the smartest of creatures, and tend to panic, which only hastens impending doom. Silkies especially. There is a reason one hen will sit on 15 eggs twice a year. It's because 90% of those chicks are probably going to die embarassingly. ie- going the way of Narcissis- gazing too long at their reflection in a bucket, zoning out, and falling in.

    Third: It sounds like your Polish (and/or flock at large) have something else going on. Without a more comprehensive list of symptoms, I couldn't begin to guess what is up with them.

    I am not trying to make light of your losses, beleive me, I have been there. I have had plenty of tragedy to go along with all the wonder the chickens bring, but I still think it is worth it. Most days. [​IMG]

  4. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    I am sorry about your losses. I too, have had quite the chicken experience. I started with 6 chickens, got 6 more,one died mysteriously, lost 8 (in 4 hours) to a fox attack. Then when I went to get more birds, I got a few adult hens....that came with respiratory problems. [​IMG] Now my entire flock, which has grown thanks to the broody hens, has the upper respiratory. They had been doing very well until I forgot to treat them for 2 months and just had 4 die in the last week. And maybe one more cause he looked pretty bad this morning. Now I am stuck with 8 roosters and of course, the only ones that pass away are hens [​IMG] (not that I don't love my roos).

    I wish I could say you had a wierd/odd experience but I think we all go through this (hopefully not the upper respiratory illness in particular), I suppose it is a learning process for all. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  5. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2011
    Panama City, FL
    It seems like you're doing things right, but agree with donrae.

    Maybe get some sturdy Red Stars for eggs and keep the others as pets?
  6. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009

    Of my first 12 chickens, 8 were roos.

    fast forward: had a respiratory thing come in--probably from the tweetyrat birds in the city--and kill off 50 of my birds over 3 months. None of the medicines worked, and I lost my entire next generation.

    My husband was out of town, and I needed to put down a chick. Well I tried, and tried, and tried--and the darn thing would not die. I ended up wandering around the neighborhood at 9pm, trying to find someone who would help me. The neighbors all think I am nuts now....

    Last week: my dog (whom I have had no issues with) attacked my turkey tom. I DID MAJOR TURKEY SURGERY. He was recovering, and the dog pulled him out of the cage. It was brutal, and the tom died.


    Incubating and hatching.


    Broodies who carry chicks on their backs.

    Banty Broodies who try to brood meaties.

    Snuggly hens.

    Lap roosters.

    Meaties trying to run for treats.

    Turkeys who lay eggs in the Jeep.

    Egg customers who bring their kids over to experience a "farm" in the city.

    New layers.

    Pullet bullets and fart eggs!

    Dust bathing.

    Helpers in the garden.

    Effiecent garbage disposals.


    The Egg Song.

    OEGBs who think they are the size of a great dane.

    Kids who are not afraid of animals.

    Kids who want to do chores.

    4 year olds who can explain why a fertile egg is only the potential for life to a vegan.
  7. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Quote:Oh I love your list!
  8. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    Quote:Oh I love your list!

    X2 [​IMG]
  9. C&C Chickens

    C&C Chickens Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 28, 2010
    Bay Area
    Quote:In re-reading my post, you're right, I come across as mostly concerned about how many eggs we get. My main point in the post was how frustrating it has been to have as many challenges as we've had, and how that affects our morale as well as how many eggs are laid. I knew that our breeds were never going to be prolific, but I figured we'd get enough eggs to keep us happy. I didn't expect to lose chickens so soon after getting them, and to have broody hens who stop laying for weeks at a time. Perhaps I was naive. I was just looking for reassurance that our experience wasn't too far out of the ordinary.
  10. C&C Chickens

    C&C Chickens Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 28, 2010
    Bay Area
    Quote:Thank you for reminding me of all the positive things we experience in having chickens!

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