Thursday, March 27, 2014

Baby Chicks, Dealing withChick Deaths, and Helping Chilled Chicks

We recently got some new chicks and a new chicken coop.  We bought nine which is a few more than what we needed due to the fact that you often loose a few.  Our old chickens are almost 4 years old and are getting to the end of their laying lives.  Surprisingly they are still laying very well.  We have 7 chickens and get 7 eggs a day almost every day (except when they succeed in getting out to hide their eggs).
We got a mixed bag of hen chicks
This one will either be a white hen or a golden
And then disaster!  This morning I went out early to check on the chicks and saw immediately that the heat lamp was out!  This was very bad news especially since last night was extremely cold.  I rushed and opened the door and saw the dead chick below.  The heat lamp above had somehow shattered in the night.  We got lucky that it didn't start a fire that could have spread to our house!
Another one that was under the pile of surviving chicks.  It was most likely crushed to death.
I immediately brought the survivors in who were severely chilled and put a heater fan above them.  They are doing fine now but it just goes to show you how fast you can loose chicks due to the heat lamp going out.
Here is Bremmer who thus far has had little exposure to them.  He has been fascinated all morning.  He has been laying next to the box in herding guard dog position.  He won't let the cats get near the chick box.  Samson our golden retriever is totally uninterested.  He came over for an inquisitive sniff and then went and laid down.  He has never had more than a polite interest in our rabbits or chickens.  I just watched Bremmer watch Samson go over and sniff above the chicks and chase him away.  He is a great protective herding dog.
He did this same thing when my daughter brought home a newborn kitten that had been abandoned on a road. I have never seen anything like it because we have never had a herding dog.  He literally never left the kittens side and protected her from our other dog, and our parents in law dog.  He groomed her and licked her bottom and followed her around the house.
This morning its a trip to the feed store for a new heat lamp and two new chicks.  The kids are very sad and today we are going to bury their chicks, the thought of just throwing them away shocked them so we have to hold a memorial service.


  1. Sorry for your loss, but chicks this young should have been in the house to begin with, if it was that cold outside. You're running the risk of a fire every day by leaving a heat lamp unattended...

    1. No more risk than running a heat lamp in our house and then having an even bigger risk of fire in our actual house instead of in a chicken coop thus endangering my children's lives. Chicks this young must have a heat source. They have to stay at 95 degrees for the first week of life reducing by 5 degrees each week. Chicks hatched in winter or spring need a heat source for at least 8 to 12 weeks. So unless you like to keep your house at 95 degrees your going to use a heat lamp or some other heat source. And unless your going to post a guard on it 24 hours a day it will be unattended. As I am a stay at home mom I check the chicks several times a day as it is.

  2. This breaks my heart, Sarah. I am so sorry. I would encourage you to use a safe heat source for the survivors. An EcoGlow brooder is safe and will save not only lives but a ton of energy.

    1. I have actually considered this Kathy, thanks for the link :)! I have always been uncomfortable with heat lamps even though this is my first problem with one and we have brooded chicks 5 times now successfully.


I love to hear from my readers!