The Littlest Chick, the Pecking Order, and the Case of the Sneezing Baby

Luma, the baby Barred Rock.

The Barred Rock chick, Luma, joined the flock last Friday night. Though she initially suffered the consequences of being a week younger than the others and a newbie to the group, everyone seems to have adjusted well to her presence. They no longer go out of their way to feed around her feet, or peck her senselessly while she tries to sleep. In fact, I’ve seen her get in a few good pecks at other chicks in the past days.

A pecking order emerges

Ironically, the chick nicknamed Mellow for its sleepiness the night we brought her home seems to have landed the title of top chick. She walks over the backs of her sleeping sisters occasionally to remind them all that she can do what she pleases, and she is fond of taking running leaps to see if she can scale the feeding jar. Kelly spent long hours on Sunday afternoon making a bigger box for the chicks  to live in, so Mellow and the others now have all the room they want to run and test their wings.

Kelly puts the finishing touches on the new brooder.

The sneezing chick

From the night we brought them home, Kelly and I noticed that Spotty (she still hasn’t graduated to her real name) sneezed occasionally. Since she seemed healthy and energetic other than the odd sneeze, we decided to wait and watch. Unfortunately, the sneezing has increased noticeably yesterday and today, and I called some chicken-loving friends this morning to get their input. They directed me to their favorite chicken vet, who was kind enough to talk with me briefly over the phone.

Apparently chicks, like humans, can sneeze for any number of reasons. Bacterial and viral infections are both possibilities, but as long as Spotty remains active and bright-eyed, without any discharge from her eyes or nares (bird nostrils), the vet said we can continue to play the waiting game, and see if she improves.

3 Responses to The Littlest Chick, the Pecking Order, and the Case of the Sneezing Baby

  1. I hope you’ll do another update on the new little one. I hate the thought of her falling ill after she has just gained some ground with her new sisters. In the photo above, she actually looks bigger than the other chicks. Is that just an illusion, or is she actually growing bigger than the older chicks?

    • Mary, little Luma is quite precocious these days (though still tinier than the rest of the flock). What you noticed in the photo was an optical illusion. It’s actually her sister “Spotty” (newly christened, “Olive”) who’s been sneezing. But more on this soon!

  2. Pingback: Chicken Update | overall gardener

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