Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Sadness

I hurried to do chores tonight, as we were expecting storms.  Even now, at 8:38, there is thunder and lightening, but, as yet, little rain. 

I found a chick peeping in the little henhouse, near a hen that just started setting.  When I reached for it, it was the little yellow one from yesterday, pecked almost to death.  It curled up in my palm, thankful, I think, to finally be at rest and not attacked.  I ran with it to the workshop and put it in a box with a warm light on it, but it was almost gone.  I went back to the henhouse to pull all the eggs finally, and heard cheeping again. There was ANOTHER tiny yellow chick, also had been attacked terribly.  I got it and took it to the other.  They peeped weakly to each other, but when I went back a third time, the second chick was sitting up, and the first appeared dead.  I dipped it's little beak in some water, and set the warming light over it.  Keith is out there now in the shop... he says the first chick is dead, but the other is still moving around.  It doesn't look like it can see. 

I went back to the henhouse a third time, crawled in through the back (NEVER will I have a building I can't reach into if I can't walk into it again) and pulled EVERY EGG from under EVERY hen I found.  Some felt heavy with chick, as if they were ready to hatch, but it doesn't matter.  They all went.  No more scenes of death and destruction when I get home from work, and today's was particularly gory.

I am posting a note at the feed store tomorrow to move the Brahma Bantams out.  The two hens are older, and the three roos.... attack everything that moves.  I've never had such feisty ones.   I'll move the Brahma/cochin crosses, too, if I can, and the two killer hens.  I'm not selling these... I'm giving them away.  I'm hoping someone who truly likes bantams will want them.  Eventually the little henhouse will be divided into breeding pens (two) for the silkies and the brassy back OEGs after it has been blasted out and cleaned good.  Ugh.

Here are the eggs I pulled today, overall 4 chicks lived, but two were subsequently killed, one, deformed, died, and 19  pipped but were killed as they were born.  I have ONE living chick from this whole fiasco, the likes of which I have never had before. 

These are the pulled eggs, but one, on the left, was just laid today.  Many are full of unborn chick, though.
Here are some of the birds who are hopefully going:

The blue silkie roo stays!


  1. So sorry things did not turn out well. Hopefully you'll have better luck when you get things set up the way you want.

  2. Oh the horrors of the hen house. I had no idea. (Well I do remember the "pecking order" film from college biology class.) Hopefully, you'll get it all figured out and the guilty will be dispatched and everything righted again.

  3. Yep, always separate breeds off for breeding. I perhaps should have let you know, sorry. There is a tendency for other hens to attack young chicks not there own.

    Its a real shame, but from past experience, we used to move hens that were "clucking"(hatching eggs) to a partitioned section of the house, found it a lot more beneficial. Less mortality, and less hassle.
    They will breed again, and as soon as the hen becomes "clucky" and has several eggs, try and move them to a sectioned off portion of the house.

  4. I have always done this in the past... moved the setting hens into a more private situation. We left them in with the flock this time, though, thinking we would have the new chicken house up faster. All has been resolved... I have pulled all incubating eggs, and am collecting all daily, though we have three still trying to set. No one else will be allowed to hatch right now. Keith is working hard on the new henhouse, and when we move the laying hens, we are butchering the excess roosters and killers.


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