Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chicken Chaos Continues with an Injury!

Yesterday I posted how I separated Mama hen Charlotte from her 7 chicks and mixed her 7 and the 3 reject chicks into one pen, so the 3 reject chicks had time outside being treated normally.  If mama hen is there, she tries to kill them.  All went fine with the 10 chicks being together, no issues.

However, an issue arose with Mama Charlotte being mixed with the general chicken population.  Little Dottie hen attacked Charlotte.  I locked up Dottie in the coop to keep her off Charlotte.  But a few hours later I realized Charlotte had been injured!  No!

Charlotte's wattle had been torn and was bloody.  No other chickens were picking on her, but she looked bad.  I brought her inside, cleaned her up, put antibiotic ointment on her wattle, inspected for any damaged to her neck (there was none), and put sugar on the wattle to stop the bleeding.  It bled for quite a while.  Luckily the only injury was to the wattle.  She was kicking it and had blood on her foot and on her face from kicking herself. 

Charlotte spent a couple hours calming down inside the bathroom in the dark.  She was fed some treats and water and was inspected again.  The bleeding ceased, so she was cleaned up again and then was put in the coop to sleep with her 7 chicks, who were missing their mama hen very much.  The 7 chicks refused to settle down at nighttime when mama wasn't with them.  I separated the chicks last night, 7 and 3, because I didn't want mama hurting the 3 overnight, and mama had enough stress for the day.  The 3 chicks were exhausted, anyway, and are used to sleeping with a stuffed animal (a moose) - they sleep under it's big floppy antlers, so all was quiet overnight.

This morning I put Charlotte back into the big chicken pen, locked up Dottie and Cheryl, who also was aggressive to Charlotte, and released all the chicks together in the neighboring pen.  The chicks love to be outside, especially the 3 reject chicks.  I'm concerned that I'm going to break Charlotte from her mothering tendencies by separating her from her chicks too early like this, but I want the 3 chicks to thrive, also. 

I never thought having chicks this summer would be this much work.  The first spring batch of chicks was no work, but this batch is more complicated.  This will be the last chicks of this year, as the flock is getting bigger than we need.  We have 15 older hens: Of these about 10 older hens that don't lay at all and 3 that lay routinely and 2 hens that lay sporadically.  We raised 9 pullets and 1 cock this spring (the cock was a mistake, we were told her was a pullet at the store!) to bring our eggs back to about a doz/day by fall.  Then we had a crazy and fun idea to raise some mixed run chicks to see what we got just to add some variety to the flock.  4 of these chicks came from our own hens, and 6 from the farmer's market to bring them up to 10 even.  What a mistake it was to raise these last chicks.  And you know, I bet that most of them turn into roosters, after all this work! :( 

Such is life...  Have a great July Sunday!


JosephAlsarraf said...

Sorry to hear about your chickens! I hope Charlotte's gobbler gets better. Lol! I like that you name them.
: )

Mary Ann said...

We raised only three chicks this year (because of issues like yours)... and though we need flock replacements, we got two pullets and a cockerel of course! Satisfied with them, though, I admit it.

John Gray said...

They are buggers aren't they?

Farm Girl said...

I hope Charlotte gets better today. I have had those same thoughts this year. Like what on earth was I thinking. My big hens are older too and while I might get 7 eggs a day it isn't enough. This has been one of those summers for me too, so much work out in the heat trying to keep everyone cool and nice. Trying to keep chickens split up and trying to keep chicks safe. I feel so sorry for you because I know you have work and having to worry about this is just hard. I do hope things work out for the best.

Leigh said...

Raising chicks and integrating them into the flock is such a challenge. We had a predator this year, for the first time, which was frustrating.

With all my mama hens, I've noticed they have to reestablish themselves in the flock pecking order. I've further noticed that the challengers always seem to be those who were previously lower, has it been the same for you?

My mama keeps her chicks mostly away from the flock, but it isn't as bad as previous years. This is the first year that I set up a brooder area in the coop, so the older chickens hopefully realize the chicks "belong" in the coop too. They seem to accept that although they aren't willing to share food. Still, I'm hopeful for a better integration this year.