Saturday, July 21, 2012

Seven (or six) out of Nine

Mother hen hatched out seven chicks!  Although after today, the number will probably be down to six.

One egg had nothing going on so I candled it and found it was infertile.  The other one had a little crack in it, but nothing had progressed for over a day so I "helped" it along a little bit.  I peeled a little bit of the shell off where it had started breaking out and there was a drop of blood, but no movement.  I left it alone again for a while, but when I came back nothing else had happened.  I opened the rest of it and the chick was dead. Not sure if I killed it by opening the egg of if it just died trying to get out.  I feel like crap now.

One of the eggs that did hatch was a green egg from my Easter Egger hens.  I've never had one of the green eggs develop, let alone hatch, so I was pretty excited about that.  But when I went into the pen yesterday morning, I was greeted with a very, very disturbing sight. The Easter Egger chick had been scalped!  As in the feather fluff & skin on top of it's head, from the eyes back to the neck, had been peeled away!  I almost yacked when I saw it, and I'm not one to get queasy by barnyard blood & massacres.

The poor thing was still alive, but peeping like crazy.  I immediately decided to put it out of it's misery so I scooped it up and set out to quickly lop it's head off.  But when I took a closer look, not only did the chick seem active, but the wound actually looked pretty much "clean".  It looked like somebody just pulled it's skin/feather hood off.  Totally gross and disturbing, but not bad when you think of it as just some skin peeled off.  I took a picture and debated posting it just to show how it's not always Rainbows and Ice Cream Cones on the homestead (you know, how some people think homesteading is), but figured my description was more than enough.

I brought the chick inside the garage (where it's warm & I won't have to supplement it with heat) and put it in a basket with some water and food.  It's not looking so good this morning.  Still peeping, but it's having a hard time standing up and probably not getting to the food and water because of it.  I've been giving it water by hand, but it's not taking feed.  If it keeps going downhill, I'll put it out of it's misery.  Which is probably what I should have done yesterday in the first place.

I have a feeling I'm going to have nightmares about scalped chickens now.  Creepy.  Really creepy.


  1. Just your description said scalping about made me gag on my coffee, matter of fact I think I might be permanently scared. And whats worse is.... I'm assuming that you are going to supplement it with heat. Because the alternative is even more disturbing than the scalping! Bwahhhaaahhaaaa!!!

    Then again scalped chickens is a pretty disturbing thought all in itself.....

  2. Rainbows and icecream? Where do I sign up? @;) I say post-it (the picture) We ALL want to share your dreams of scalped, demented chickens. Can it get any worse than Chuckie? (shuddering)

  3. it ever Rainbows and Ice Cream on the farm? ;) Only after it rains and I get out the cones!

    I say post the pic. You've got us all intrigued!

  4. Carolyn Renee,

    Do you think the rooster didn't like this baby chick?

  5. That's terrible! Poor little chick. I've never heard of that. I doubt seriously that you killed the chick in the unhatched egg. There is a lady here in town that raises a lot of birds and always shows the hatching eggs to kids. Well, I've seen her "help along" some chicks and they always finished the hatching. Something was probably wrong with the chick.

  6. Sorry to hear about those little ones. And I agree with Riverbend, I've helped chicks out of eggs before with success. I'm sure it was dead before you helped.

    As for the little scalping victim, how horrible. I did have a broody hen that attacked the little ones that I tried to introduce to the nest. No injuries, but it sure scared me and the chicks too.

    I hope that you never have that happen again.

  7. Thank you for not posting the picture. Are the chicks in with the general population?

  8. Well, the scalped chick died in the night. It wasn't doing well and I had planned on doing the "deed" this morning, but it was already done. Poor bugger :(

    The hen and chicks are in their own pen, pretty much secured from the other animals with the exception of the stinking mice (one which I saw scurry across the floor when I went in there this morning). I wonder if a mouse would have done it? Maybe the chick got it's head caught in the feeder? I have no idea. But it's over now and time to focus on the living.

  9. What a bummer about the little chick. :(
    I'm glad you got some hatched out this year though!