Cons: 11 of my 35 chicks from McMurray so far have died!!
We received an order of 35 chicks from Murray McMurray on Monday, April 30. Our four children were so excited! The White Crested Black Polish chick was dead on arrival, but the rest seemed healthy. We are first time chicken owners, so we had all the chicks vaccinated for Marek's disease and coccidiosis as we thought that would ensure our chicks would be as healthy as possible. We followed the instructions for brooding chicks to the letter, having two red heat lamps, corn cob litter inside an 18" cardboard draft shield, two thermometers -- one under the lamps and one to the side for room temperature. We have two waterers and two 18" feed trays. The chicks received Gro Gel during their first day, and Quik Chik electrolytes in the water until we used up the packet. All went well until Saturday morning, five days after the chicks arrived, when we found the Silver Laced Polish chick dead. One of our two White Langshans died later that morning, while the second died the next day. We have been losing one to two a day ever since, with the blessed occasional day without a death. My children are devastated; it seems all their favorites with the most personality are the ones we lose. McMurray said they would refund our losses, which is nice; I haven't asked for refunds for the latest three, but we really wanted chickens, not death on a daily basis. After a week of deaths, McMurray finally recommended that we give the chicks Duramycin, "to help the chicks recover from the stress of shipping." Being new chick owners, we aren't positive what is going on, but we feel that the live coccidiosis vaccination has infected our flock, and at this rate, we'll be lucky to have any grow to maturity. The deaths continue even now. We found our Buff Laced Polish chick suddenly dead in the brooder yesterday; it seemed strong and healthy just that morning. Then today, the White-Faced Black Spanish chick was dead; she was a favorite, because any time the kids put a hand in the brooder she hopped on wanting to be held and hand fed. It's been a very depressing experience so far!
In addition to the ones I mentioned, we have lost our Silver Laced Wyandotte pullet, Partridge Cochin pullet, White Polish pullet, Buff Cochin pullet and Blue Andalusian pullet. The Lakenvelder and the Silver Laced Dorking pullets are hunched under the lamp with their eyes closed now. That's the way most have looked the day before they die, except for those we just suddenly found dead with no apparent symptoms. Such a different experience than we hoped to have!!