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What Do You Think She Died of?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ClareScifi, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am heartbroken. I was trying to raise an offspring of my favorite Barred Rock hen, who will be 5 in March. A friend's broody hen hatched one of my hen's eggs for me on October 15. The chick was an only chick, but it was doing fine and seemed so healthy and happy. The chick was found dead in its nest yesterday, just 3 days short of 8 weeks old, fully feathered. I am trying to figure out what could have gone wrong...

    Could the mother hen's egg have had a problem? She is almost 5, after all. Could it be that just as older women tend to give birth more frequently to children with birth defects, could it be that older hens are more likely to have chicks with defects? I have researched this, but I can't find any information. Does anyone know an expert in the matter?

    The rooster who fertilized my hen's egg is 3 years old and is not related to the mother hen. None of his offspring who have hatched have died, except this one.

    My friend, whose hen hatched the egg for us, took such good care of the chick. She would let it sleep inside her house at night until recently, when it was fully feathered. Her husband complained that the chick was making too big of messes on their wood floor and wanted it to start sleeping outside in their coop. The weather here recently has been uncharacteristically warm for December-- no lower than the 30s at night.

    Do you think it more likely that the chick was killed by the cold shocking it or by a birth defect?
     
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chick who died was outside during most of the day. My friend brought her in only at night.
     
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess no one has a thought on this.
     
  4. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How long had the chick been sleeping out in the coop? A couple of days, a couple of weeks?

    Were there any problems with the other hens - if it was a single chick, was it bullied or picked on by the other hens? I wouldn't have thought that this would be a problem if it was hatched by one of the hens in the flock, but I am wondering why your friend kept it in the house at night instead of letting stay with its broody mum. Usually if a chick is hatched by a broody she will look after it and keep it warm at night until it is fully feathered and can keep itself warm - there is no need to keep it inside or in a brooder, as mum does all the hard work! Was it rejected by the broody, or was there another reason that your friend chose to keep it in the house?

    Also, what about temperatures recently? If it has been unseasonably warm and then suddenly dropped to freezing temperatures then I suppose that could have an effect on a young chick who has no siblings to cuddle up to.

    Finally, did the chick display any signs of illness before it died - unusual poop, runny nose, lethargy etc?
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    The first thing I am always suspicious of with sudden death in chicks that age is coccidiosis.
     
  6. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree with cafarmgirl..!
     
  7. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your responses. I had taken medicated chicken starter food for the chick to eat. I hope my friend was continuing to feed it to her. I hate to ask her questions, because she feels bad, and will think I am pointing the finger. But I had bought a 25 pound bag of chick starter that she had and I'm pretty sure she was feeding it to them. There were NO symptoms of illness-- no runny poop, nothing. I think my friend was merely trying to get the chick good and tame. She did say a while back that she was afraid the chick was cold at night outside. She has raised chicks in the past, so I don't know whether she was afraid because the chick was a sole chick. The stepmama hen was very gentle with the chick. I think she HAD started to distance herself from the chick a bit. Early on a few of the hens HAD tried to peck at the chick, but the stepmama wouldn't allow it, and kept them away. It was observed that the chick that is now dead had been jumping on the backs of some of the adult hens-- do you suppose that is the sign of a rooster at just 7 weeks? Or could it have been merely seeking attention? The chicken had been sleeping in the coop for about 2 weeks, I would say. She did bring the chick in on nights that were below freezing. She was trying so hard to protect the chick for me, I think.

    We had tried to pull a switch when the chick was about 5 days old-- bringing her to put under my broody (the chick's REAL mother) one night. My hen was stepmama to two other hens' baby chicks, almost a week old at the time-- just a bit older than the now dead chick. However, my hen rejected the now dead chick, realizing she was dark and not blonde like the chicks she had been sitting on. The stepmama to the now dead chick, on the other hand, accepted the blonde chick okay. When we realized my hen was going to try to kill the dark chick, we switched them back. My hen nearly killed my rooster when she hatched him 3 years ago-- pecked him hard, and I had to rescue him and raise him by hand. He has grown up to be a fine rooster. I researched it and hens won't accept switched chicks if they are a different color than the ones they've been sitting on. Hens are smart about this.
     
  8. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, my friend kept the broody hen in the house at night with the chick, too. I forgot that there had been a weasel in their neighborhood that had killed my other chick, when it was less than a week old, as well as its stepmama, the broody hen of another friend who is this friend's neighbor. This friend had killed that weasel, and she didn't think weasels would be a problem because she has dogs. But I think she was a little bit worried...
     
  9. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do remember my other friend whose hen got killed by the weasel telling me something in September about how a friend of hers had said it wasn't necessary to give chicks the medicated chick starter, that they could eat the regular chicken's food. I told her I didn't want to take any chances, that the medicated chick starter was for preventing coccidiosis, and she said she'd save the bag of chick starter for my other friend, and I do recall my other friend telling me she was going right over to get it when this 2d chick hatched. But whether she continued giving it to the chick or just let the chick eat the grown chickens' food after a bit, I do not know. Do you think it would be traumatic if I asked her? She feels really bad. I know she is following the thread about my chick on my FB page. Perhaps I should just post the comment about how a couple of people in my chicken group think in cases of sudden death it might be coccidiosis.
     
  10. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also recall that last time I was at my feed store, I was in a hurry and went to buy medicated chick starter for my two other chicks who are just fine. The sign by the bags claimed it was medicated chick starter, but the bags said nothing about having medication in them. It turned out the store had put the bags under the wrong sign, and they had NO medicated chick starter in stock of that brand. I pointed out their error and they said they're replace the sign with a correct one right away. Do you suppose I could have picked up NONmedicated chick starter back in September, due to their erroneous signs? I am asking my friend who had my chick who died to check the bag of chick starter to see whether it says medicated on it. This is supposed to prevent coccidiosis. Wouldn't it be ironic if I bought UNmedicated chick starter when I thought I was getting medicated?! Poor little chick would have had no chance.
     

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