On Christmas day 2015 my daughter Haylee and her boyfriend Trevor surprised me with 3 baby chickens. They were so cute and I was so nervous that I was going to do something wrong given that I had never had chickens before, let alone chicks.
I followed all the instructions as to their food, water, heating and light to the letter to make sure I didn't get it wrong.
I was worried about the tiniest chick from the beginning and watched for signs of bullying from the other two bigger ones.
She always seemed to be falling asleep and on the last day of the year I checked them in the morning only to find she had died.
Her tiny body lay in an awkward position, the kind of position that you just know they are not in the land of the living any more. I checked for signs of breathing and as I suspected there were none.
I checked again and again but no miracle saw her return to life. I removed her tiny body and placed her on a bed of saw dust in a tiny empty box.
My baby chick didn't have a name yet as I was waiting to observe their personalities as they grew older.
My baby chick was between 10 and 13 days old, such a short life.
Bumpy's growth looked horrid but caused her no pain
Bumpy just before she disappeared. Her feathers had the most gorgeous sheen.
The inseparable pair - Bumpy and Bruno.
I know you shouldn't have favourites, but I hold my hands up - Bumpy was a favourite of mine. I think you do have favourites when it comes to chicks you've hatched yourself.
Bumpy hatched on 1 May 2013. She was supposed to be a Speckled Sussex and she came out of a cream coloured egg - and she turned out to be a Black Copper Marans. She was - as chicks are - a cute, fluffy bundle of black and yellow.
She was called Bumpy because when she was about a day old, I noticed she had quite a large growth on her neck. It was so big that it was nearly as big as she was. I took some advice from people who know what they're talking about and none of them could tell me what it was.
Some said I should have her 'put to sleep', some said leave it alone. In the end I decided to leave her alone. She was chirpy and happy and the bump seemed to worry me a lot less than it worried her.
As she grew up, Bumpy became inseparable friends with the other Black Copper Marans I hatched. They went everywhere together and when one was out of sight of the other, they would cheep loudly until the other came back into view again.
And then one day in July, when Bumpy was just eleven weeks old, she disappeared. Just disappeared off the face of the earth. There were no tell-tail feathers, no bones, nothing. She just wasn't there any more.
The chicks had gone into the Big Girls' Coop just that week. They'd all settled down remarkably well but there was some bullying as they sorted the pecking order out. The only thing I can think of is that Bumpy flew (she had beautiful flight feathers by then) over the six foot high fence into the jaws of a fox.
We certainly have foxes. Bumpy could certainly fly, although I'm not convinced she could fly that high - but you never know. It's not an ideal explanation though, because she was the most timid of the chicks so why she would choose to fly outside the coop, I have no idea.
So now her little Marans companion Bruna (or it might be Bruno - I'm still not sure whether she might be a he) stands at the gate to the coop and cheeps. It's the saddest sound I've ever heard in my life.
I know people say "Get a grip - it's only a chicken". And I know that given the problems some people are facing in their lives it's not the greatest heartache in the world.
This is about my six chickens who were very close to me. They died from a raccoon attack when the raccoons reached in and mutilated them.
These chickens were 3 Silkies, - rowdy, peckers, and perfect - and my Americauna Stella-Luna, my Plymouth Barred Rock, Baby-Bird, and my Astrolorp, Penguin.
I got my Silkies on Christmas Day, and they were one week of age. Rowdy was my rooster, who was named by his craziness when I first held him. Peckers was named for pecking my ring when I first held him. Perfect was my "model Silkie", because she looked picture perfect. These Silkies were corn loving, which I would hand feed them. Peckers had a giant feathery head.
My other chicks were even more special. Baby-Bird was named for being so docile, because he would follow me around and treat me like mommy-bird. Stella-Luna was a beautiful bird, so I named her a beautiful name. And Penguin looked like a penguin.
I loved these chickens with all my heart, and was absolutely devastated. Even though it was only two months it was special.
Do not use normal chicken wire - get the thick wire with small holes to protect your chickens - make sure you save your chickens' lives!
I'd wanted chickens for a while. I made sure I knew how to take care of them; I read a lot, spent just about every night reading up on them for at least a year. I wanted to know how to look after them without "accidentally" killing them by doing something dumb.
Specifically, I wanted Silkies. They are adorable. I planned on getting two chicks. I ended up with three. I had picked two silkies, and ended up with one pekin. Little Pro was the pekin. She was a blue cuckoo with a white/grey patch on her head, and a white bum. I had a little song for her within a day of having her:"I have a black head with white fur, beautiful grey wings and a ... white bum!"
I thought she was cute and adorable even though I had no idea she was a pekin at first. She was a curious and smart little thing. She had the loudest call of them all; she would call her loudest and knew that I'd come along to give them a cuddle if I was around; I hardly left their side for the first week.
The three of them would jostle at naptime and bedtime for a spot. It was funny how they would arrange themselves for naptime. They pushed and shoved, wormed around, dug their heads under each other, and even jumped on each other, leading to loud and shrill chirps. Lately, I'd taken to letting them nap on my lap while I am on the computer in the afternoons.
After that I'd take them out to the garden for supervised play. Little Pro would always find a tiny piece of something that the other two would want, they would squabble over it and play tug of war, accompanied by noisy little chirps of protest. Their play always put a smile on my face, and sometimes they really made me laugh.
They all loved their food. Little pro wasn't too fussy. She was the first to play "knock the lettuce over".
I could see them all growing. Little Pro's tiny little wing feathers were adorable; black with white stripes. Sometimes she would sleep with one wing fully opened and I would sit and admire her cute little feathers. She'd give me happy little chirps when she woke or if she saw me coming.
I miss my little chick; I'd barely had her for a week. Goodbye my darling little white bum. I'm glad I got to meet you and give you all the love and cuddles that I could in that short time.
The first chick we ever lost was Ninja. I believe her name started out as 'Chicklet', actually, but she was the least social of our first flock, ran fast, and wore a black leg band, so ninja it was. She died suddenly while broody.
A while after her went Lief Erics-hen, a social chickie who demanded to be picked up and held every time someone went out into the yard at the threat of yelling, and climbed up on your shoulder when you let her perch on your arm. Sadly, she died of egg yolk peritonitis. She was a family favorite and will be missed.
Shortly after her Honey passed away of the same thing. She was a sweet, big hen known for trilling like a songbird instead of clucking. We've missed the music in our yard ever since.
Recently we lost the first out of our newer flock - Cream Puff, a friendly, poofy chicken who would climb into your lap for pettings and would probably stay there forever if you didn't make her move.
She wandered a yard too far and we got her back in a black garbage bag that smelled so badly of dog poop that we couldn't even bury her. She was my favorite of that flock, and I still miss her badly.
We know they don't live forever. We know they die due to predators, to reproductive disorders (they're bred for eggs, not longevity), even to things we have no clue about.
But it's so hard to raise a creature from tiny, peeping fluff to lovely bird, to feel the pride and wonder of seeing them in the yard for the first time or getting the first eggs, and then to watch them pass of things we can't always fix or prevent.
It's so hard to remember that we made them happy in the short time they had, and in our hearts they'll always be our little feathered babies.
Why did God burden me with loving animals so much!?!
This is a hard morning. Last Saturday on my weekend to work my husband picked up two Blue Cochin chicks that I had ordered. One wasn't acting right and through talking to others and some research I came to the conclusion that I had a blind chick on my hands.
I was told if it made it to adulthood it would do well so I gave it a fighting chance and spent the last several days hand feeding it. I even gave away a work shift so I could stay home with it today.
Other than not being able to see, it started perking up and acting normal. Yesterday it even drank on its own with guidance. I've never had to deal with a sick chick and although I've been silently preparing for the possibility of it dying it proved to be more difficult to accept it now that it's happened.
Unfortunately when I woke up and saw it sprawled out in the brooder it wasn't already dead; it was breathing and trying to peep. I held it and started crying like a little kid. This ball of fluff was my precious baby for the last week.
I called my husband hoping he was close enough to come home from work and do what I couldn't but he wasn't. As I started researching quick methods to dispatch a chick (there's no way I could smash it or shoot it or ring its neck and risk not doing it all the way), as it lay in my hand I looked over and it opened its eyes real big and took its last breath.
I named him lil Blue and he's getting buried by my silver lace vine that was planted last year next to my chicken coop.
I had a month old chick named Pingu. She was a beautiful white Silkie who loved mealworms and was the "alpha" or more appropriately, the top of the pecking order.
Last night Pingu was strong and happy, but today around 1pm (it is now 7), my mom went to my bedroom to find her in her brooder on deaths door. My mom held her and she died in her hands :(
There is two other chicks in the brooder with her who also look healthy but now I am worried.
Pingu's sisters were her best friends and I am happy that she got to spend time with them. Pingu really was a lucky chick! She had a nice and warm (not too warm though) brooder with always fresh water, her best friends, and chick feed with occasional mealworms.
She's the third chick I've lost in a month (the first two the same week I adopted them). I feel like it's my fault but when I look at all of the facts I know that I did all that I could.
She is the white one on top of the others in the photo I attached. This was how we transported them to our house from the store!
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