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What happened to my babies!?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ky chicks, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. ky chicks

    ky chicks In the Brooder

    Apr 23, 2009
    Last year I had a broody who was a fantastic mother to 5 adopted chicks. She has been broody again since last month, so I decided to get her a few chicks. I got 3 chicks, snuck them under her at night, and checked on them in the morning. All was well, with all 3 snuggled up under her, and she was fluffed up and happy. The next morning (Wednesday), I found one dead--uninjured (that I could tell), just dead in the nest. The day after that (Thursday), another one was dead. I have food and water right next to the nest box, which has very low sides, and I know that last year the hen got the chicks out of the box to eat and drink. Yesterday, since I haven't seen her do that this time, I got her and the remaining chick out of the box, and dipped the chick's beak in the water. I moved the nest box a little to make space for them on the floor of the coop by the food so the little one might eat and drink if mama isn't helping. When I checked on them later, the hen was back in the nest box, and the little one was on the outside. I decided to bring it in the house, but it died last night while I held it.

    I have a couple of ideas:
    The chicks were from the flea market, and super tiny. Maybe they weren't well to start out with.
    What I really think is that the hen was waiting for more. How many does a hen need? She accepted the chicks, but kept getting back in the box like she was incubating eggs, and was more focused on the box than the living chicks. I feel awful that I didn't take them after the first one died, but since she seemed to accept them I left them alone. I'm afraid I left them to starve and dehydrate.

    One more thing:
    For a little while before the chick died, it was laying down, leaning its head back, and opening and closing its beak. It wasn't making any noise. I don't know what that means. Was it sick? Dehydrated?

    This is a little long, and I can't help the chickies now, but I would just like to know what happened. And I guess I'll have to break that broody. Any opinions would be appreciated!

  2. LovinChicknFarmn

    LovinChicknFarmn Chirping

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Carolina
    There was probably something wrong with them as far as i can guess. Our babies peeped from nearly the moment they hatched. I think one was peeping before it even got completely out of the egg. As for the number of chicks a hen needs, it doesn't make a difference to them whether it's two or ten, just as long as the eggs are all gone. If there were still unhatched eggs underneath her, that would explain why she wouldn't get up from her nest.
  3. ky chicks

    ky chicks In the Brooder

    Apr 23, 2009
    No eggs were under her! We don't have a roo, so I collected eggs every day. These were flea market chicks that I got for her so I wouldn't have to break her broodiness, and she was so good with adopted chicks last summer. These chicks were active and loud when I got them. I thought I had read somewhere that sometimes a hen will want a certain number. Who knows how many babies she expected from an empty nest box. Right now she has no eggs or chicks, and she's still sitting in that box. I feel awful for the chicks, and wish I'd brought them in sooner.
  4. shober

    shober Songster

    Aug 8, 2011
    Don't beat your self up about it! It happens. Next time, dip them in water with the quik chick mixed in or you can use sugar for extra energy. [​IMG] Its always traumatic to have babies die. I've had it happen more than once with wild jungle fowl drowning in the horses water. I learned to float a piece of wood in there to avoid that happening again! I got the quik chick from Murray Mcmurray hatchery. The grow gel is great too!
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    They could have already been on the downhill slide before you brought them home. How were they kept at the flea market when you got them? Were they in a cage with food and water? Is it possible they got chilled while they were waiting for someone to buy them? I always keep my feed and water next to my broodys nest, so she doesn't even have to get up to show the chicks where it is. Sorry about your chicks, sometimes they just don't make it [​IMG]

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