We hatched our first baby chukar. It was adorable. But at about half the size of a baby chicken, it seemed frail to begin with. It died 3 days after it hatched. Hence, I wish we had a good mother chukar. So what went wrong? Human error strikes again. The first ever egg was laid in our aviary by my daughter’s chukar. Chukars are in the partridge family and are used mainly for hunting purposes. My daughter thinks they are cute, and she is hoping to raise some to eventually sell. So we excitedly put the egg into the incubator and waited our allotted 23 days. After the first egg went in the incubator, she laid more subsiquent eggs. Then they too were put in, making all the hatch days different. So all the eggs were carefully marked and moved to a separate incubator on day twenty, therefore taken off the egg turner and we could increase the humidity. So all was well, and the little guy hatched on schedule. After it was all dry and cute, off he went to the barn, where heat lamps, food, water, and fresh straw were waiting. It’s behavior seemed off from the beginning. It just hid under the straw, unlike other chicks we have hatched out that seemed more energetic and curious. Then, much to our dismay, 3 days later it died. My only conclusion is that because chicks are meant to be raised together, the little guy just couldn’t function on his own. If he would have had a good mother to teach him the ways of chukardom, he would have been alright. The instincts however, of most american birds have been literally bred out of them. They no longer know how to hatch out their own eggs, or care for their young. Humans have been taking their eggs away for so long in order to maximize productivity, broodiness (the sitting instinct to hatch out eggs) has been lost. One more silent casualty of our industrialized world. Another single chukar chick hatched today. We have some 2 day old meat chickens, so we made the call of putting the new guy in with them… at least he would have some birdy friends that could show him the ropes. His friends are almost giants in comparison, and I am worried he will be smothered under a fuzzy pile of yellow chicks, but we had to try a plan b. Plan c that we should have started with, is to hold all the eggs we receive for the week and put them into the incubator at once, resulting in more chicks on one day. But, like with most things, we learn the hard way. Hopefully we can learn our lesson and move on, and maybe even teach someone else what not to do with this story. I’ll keep you updated with our chukar/chicken roommate situation. Thanks for reading!
*update the chuker put in with the meat birds also died…I think it was crushed. We did hit a turning point when we had an adult quail “foster ” the next little guy and he survived. The rest hatched in groups and have been great. Please learn from my mistakes and don’t incubate a single egg. It doesn’t work out well.