My Little Angel

by Suja
(India)

Brought 3 chicks in March 2020, out of which earlier yellow coloured chick died after 2 and half months.

Within 10 days another chick died. This chick was the youngest of the three and had a special attention from me.

Initially when these chicks were brought, I didn't like it as it was white in colour. The other 2 were coloured chicks. Later it was the chick which grabbed more attention as it has a unique way of doing things.

When I scatter the food, she used to pick up a small quantity and run away chirping and come back again. She walks like a model and it was fun watching her like that.

But for the joy they have given me, I have given her pain in return and I can't forgive myself for that. One day on 23.05.2020 I served food (cooked rice) that was hot. Generally they were interested in table scraps and other things and don't eat cooked rice unless they don't find anything else to eat.

But that day my little angel came running and suddenly drew herself chirping loudly. I didn't take it seriously that time. Later I found that though she was eagerly coming to eat the served food, she could not eat. She just keeps pecking on but unable to swallow. Even if she could pick up the food, it too got stuck in her mouth sometimes.

It went on for 3 weeks. It was always sleeping in standing position with its head down and its beak almost touching the ground. It was never found sitting except while sleeping at night.

We felt sorry for her as she was not taking rest and always in standing position. The last 2 days it almost lost interest in food. We thought we could place it in sunlight so that she may recover a bit and waited for 5 minutes holding her in basket. Then we brought her inside and I wanted to click a photo of her tongue to see what is wrong with her tongue.

Whether she has a canker or tongue problem? We touched her beak and I could get some pics and video. There was no cankers in her mouth. But immediately she was like screaming in pain constantly but without any noise. It went on for one hour. I was afraid whether she lost her voice but then she squeaked once very low and flapped its wings twice and then it appeared to be dead.

My sister's kid found some video on YouTube where an almost dead chick was revived by wrapped in a towel to make it warm. He wrapped it in a towel and we were handling it with towel. There was no movement for 2 hours.

Now again I'm having a regret whether it was dead as we didn't handle it barely and we could not make out her shallow breath in wrapped towel. Her head didn't fall back but was falling on either side while holding.

I'm feeling so much regret that how I could serve hot food to her and Im completely responsible for her suffering and starving (as it didn't eat properly for 3 weeks). Except for the tongue, everything else was normal.

She was walking, pecking even before 1 hour. Why it died all of a sudden within an hour after taking her outside.

Does it get sunstroke because she was not so serious though not completely fine? I mean she could live for few more days and may be if she eats well then she would have survived longer happily.

What could be its problem? with hot food she could have burnt the tongue but how the tongue was severed partially?

Now I'm having lot of questions. What exactly happened to her tongue? Why was it partially cut? Was it because of hot food? Was it sunstroke that killed her suddenly? Why she was constantly opening and closing her mouth for one hour before dying.

Do you think it could have survived in this condition?

Comments for My Little Angel

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Rest in peace my little angel
by: Suja

Thank you Cath, I appreciate your idea of starting chicken memorials, I'm in deep guilt and pain. Here I could understand that there are many other people who love their chickens. Chickens are really cute and innocent pets just like any other pets but ignored by many as pets. Wish they could also become popular as pets.

RIP Angel Chick
by: Cath

Hi Suja,

I'm so sorry to hear about your little angel chick. You're obviously distraught that she died, and I feel for you in your loss.

Sometimes, in grief, we blame ourselves for what has happened, although in reality it's not our fault. and I think that's what's happening for you.

The fact that this was not the only chick to die - you say another had died ten days previously - tells me that there was probably something wrong with that batch of chicks. it's too much of a coincidence.

The way you describe her as standing with her head down does suggest to me she had something wrong, not related to rice. That kind of stance is common in chickens who are sick. It's very common for baby chicks to become ill and it's always very hard to diagnose what's wrong.

Chicks and chickens will not eat food if it's too hot for them. They instinctively know not to touch it. And chicks and chickens are able to eat rice. As long as she had grit with her food, that will not have been the problem.

It's right to say that chicks have a hard time controlling their temperature, so if the weather was very hot and she was panting (opening and closing her mouth), then it may have been heatstroke. But it may not. It may have been some disease the chick brought with her.

All we can do when one of our flock dies is to learn from the experience. If this chick died because she was too hot, then next time you will know to make sure your chicks have a way of keeping cool. The information I have on this page of my website might help.

But overall, you cared for this chick well. She was loved. Don't be so hard on yourself. Allow yourself time to grieve.

Sending hugs to you in your sadness.

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