What if I didn't cull it?


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 21, 2011
I guess I'd love to hear from someone who has seen the long term affects of not culling a less-than-perfect chick. This chick is 1 week old. It hatched but was very weak and I took it away from Mom and nursed it back to life. It's back toes do not work and it took a long time to finally get its balance. It walks pretty well now. Then the feathers came in and it made no attempt to take the casings off. So I helped. The feathers are growing out in many directions, the chick shows no interest in preening but is now brighter and gets around well. The hen will not take it back, it's siblings try to kill it. It sleeps a lot but is bright and perky when awake.

Do I cull it? Will a bird like this ever be accepted by my other chickens? It will have to go in with them at some point.

Has anyone heard of the baking soda/vinegar method of culling?
I am a sucker of the first order -- perhaps what you can do to get it back in with his hatch mates is find it one friend. Mate them up for a week... then add another friend. Little by little bring the clutch to it.

The vinegar/baking soda method is easier on you, but not on the bird. If you don't have time for this baby you might know someone else who is a sucker of the first order. It isn't unheard of for someone to raise a hen by itself. Or mate this one with a friend and give both to your best sucker friend.

Good luck -- these decisions are always difficult.

Special needs chicks are heartbreaking and it is my nature to allow the ones who want try to give them the best chance. If you can't provide the home it will need as it matures you might be better off culling it.
Because of the pecking order social structure with chickens, a weak chicken will always be at the bottom of the hierarchy and everyone in the flock will pick on it, non-stop.

Is your chick going to able to defend itself once it is in the flock? I think that baby can expect a hellish life if it is "special needs" and out with a flock of healthy birds.
I've had two special needs chickens.

Lil'Bit was partially blind from hatch. She required special care as a chick, to be able to get enough to eat and drink, but I provided her with that care without removing her from her flock. Later she developed coping mechanisms of her own.
She lived to be over two years old before she was taken by a hawk.
Rowdy was my one and only chick to be harmed in the coop with adult birds. He was attacked by a meat bird. Totally my fault as I shouldn't have had the meat birds in the same coop, but didn't have alot of choice at the time. He was temporarily paralyzed. I brought him in the house and he required nearly costant attention for a few days. I even slept with him tucked under my neck; the only way to get him to stop peeping so I could get some sleep. He slowly regained use of his legs and wings again and I returned him to mama hen. He is now 4 months old and just as healthy as the rest of my chickens, though I think slightly "off" in the head.

I don't regret for an instant not culling either one of them.

Rowdy the miracle chick:

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i also have two special needs birds. they are both living quite happily and are really no more work than the others...they also grow up to be quite friendly! Tiny is blind in one eye and has one foot with folded toes. she is the sweetest girl ever even if she is sometimes picked on by the younger hens. Arizona is about 12 weeks now and he has two bum legs. they used to be worse (he couldn't walk at all, only lie on his side) and i considered culling him, but then i decided to wait a little longer and fed him high quality canned cat food for protien and even though all his toes are still folded he just started walking around on his feet a few days ago! he's a very friendly bird and he has a loving sister named Pheonix who has encouraged and helped him instead of pecking him. they will both go out in the coop soon.
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm glad I'm not the only softy out there. I have placed the chick in a small cage inside the enclosure with mom and siblings. I'm hoping they will eventually accept her. Mom keeps calling her and offering food which drives the baby crazy. But that's what mom did last time and then went after her. We'll take it slow. My main concern is that she shows no interest in grooming herself and does appear to have slightly impaired vision.

Thanks again!

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