A sad first

January 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

Rose at 12 days old, 9 Jan 2014We had a very sad first on Thursday – our first chick death. Rose.

I’d opened up the broody in the morning, like usual, and just generally noted the chickalanche that followed, before heading off to feed and muck out the rest of the flock. It wasn’t until I got back to the house that I realised Poppy was a chick short. I opened the house and there she was, dead in the nest. I’d say she died overnight, tucked under her mum. There was no sign of any injury, or illness (although the chicks have been a bit sneezy – not at all unwell, just sneezy. I am too at this time of year), so I have no idea what happened. There was maybe a hint of blood on her cloaca, but nothing fresh, and it didn’t look like internal bleeding from some trauma or other. Her growth rate had been good – she and Freya were neck-and-neck for biggest chick.

Rose, profile at 2 weeksObviously it’s been a fraught couple of days, wondering if it was the first of many. And I make a point of counting the chicks every time I go past them. But so far everyone else seems absolutely fine, so there doesn’t seem to be anything more to do. Just “one of those things”. Apparently a death rate among chicks of up to 5% is perfectly normal. We’ve raised seventy-five chicks now (sixty hatched out, and fifteen bought as day-olds – the Sammies and the Disco chicks), so only one death in all that time is probably better than we have any right to expect.

Poor little one.


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