Goodbye sweet April.

April and her surrogate chick, a Black Copper Marans, a few weeks ago

This is April, my only Buff Orpington. She was a surrogate mama this winter and the last of her babies had been adopted out to a lovely couple that drove eight hours from Pennsylvania to get them. April disappeared the next the day. Part of me thinks she was despondent and took off to parts unknown trying to find her chicks or brood some new ones. The realist in me knows that in allowing my chickens the natural joys and benefits of free-ranging, nature will claim some of them. That is the circle of life and I accept those risks. My acceptance of the risks or not, it was still awful to lose April and I am heartbroken that she is gone.

Orpingtons are one of the most friendly breeds I have ever had in my flock. April laid 3-4 eggs per week and was a diligent broody, although her bark was worse than her bite. The moment I realized that April was missing, I knew I needed another Buff Orpington, not to replace April, but to continue to enjoy the beauty and demeanor of the breed.

Orpingtons are one of the most friendly breeds I have ever had in my flock. April laid 3-4 eggs per week and was a diligent broody, although her bark was worse than her bite.

As a result of my hatching addiction this winter, my flock became primarily black and blue. While my chickens are beautiful and include Blue and Black Ameraucanas and Black Copper Marans, my flock is just not as diverse as I would like it to be. It was no mistake that I found myself at the feed store today. I knew they were getting a new shipment of baby chicks and I had my heart set on some more Buff Orpingtons. What I returned home with was a box full of different colors and feather patterns.

For the first time ever, I purchased chicks that were vaccinated for Marek’s disease and coccidiosis. When chicks are vaccinated for cocci, they should not be given medicated chick starter feed as in doing so, the chicks would be rendered unprotected.

Dark chick=Columbian Wyandotte, the chick in front is a White Orpington and the other is a Buff Orpington.
Dark chick: Columbian Wyandotte, the chick in front is
White Orpington and the other is a Buff Orpington.
Left to right: White Orpington, Columbian Wyandotte, Buff Orpington.
Left to right: White Orpington, Columbian Wyandotte, Buff Orpington. 
The chick on the far left is a Speckled Sussex.
The chick on the far left is a Speckled Sussex.
The chicks adapted naturally to the EcoGlow Brooder. I got a chance to try out my new, Happy Hen Deluxe Chick Corral and I love it. It's huge and a breeze to set-up.
The chicks adapted naturally to the EcoGlow Brooder.
I got a chance to try out my new,  Happy Hen Deluxe Chick Corral and I love it. 
It’s huge and a breeze to set-up.
Speckled Sussex.
Speckled Sussex.
While it’s always a joy to welcome baby chicks, the arrival of these spring chickens is bittersweet. They will always remind me of April.
Goodbye girl, you are missed.
While it's always a joy to welcome baby chicks, the arrival of these spring chickens is bittersweet. They will always remind me of April. Goodbye girl, you are missed.
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Comments

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TheChickenChick
Guest

I'm very sorry to hear it. There really isn't anything you can do to help the flock get past the stress.

Bug03
Guest

I lost my baby girl to an opossum tonight. I'm a crying mess. Is there anything I can do to help the trama of my other girls?

Beth
Guest
So sorry for your loss! I am a chicken love also. I never grew up around them so didn't know anything til my father-in-law got some. Then about three years later when his flock was nearly gone I decided to try my hand at raising my own, so I got 6 golden comets. Then got 13 more the nest year. Then some dogs came and killed the remaining of my father-in-laws flock and 3 of mine, and possums killed several. Finally I got them secure and the dog problem solved and I was left with 11. Then one died from… Read more »
Lia
Guest

My condolences for your April. My 2 Buffs are my loves.

TheChickenChick
Guest

Thanks Peggy.

Peggy Schoenbeck Farley
Guest
Peggy Schoenbeck Farley

So sorry to read about another loss! But this article was fantastic as usual.

TheChickenChick
Guest

Personally, I don't add anything but baby chicks fresh out of the incubator to bring into my flock. The disease implications are just much too risky. Regardless of the age of the chicken (as long as they are older than 12 weeks) integration would be the same: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/06/integrating-new-flock-members-playpen.html I hope that helps!