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Chicks Dying, Never Saw This Before

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

  I've had chickens for years, raised many. The hatchery that my feed store uses is good. I bought Naked Neck chicks and they seem to be holding their own after some died. But I went back and bought 18 bantam Silkie chicks just 3 days ago. They look fine when we select them out of the brooder. At home, they seem to lay down and never get up.. I buried 3 Naked Necks and a total of about 12 Silkies with 3 more dead this morning. I've never had chicks to die like this. They are in a big box, fresh water twice daily and chick starter feed, heat lamp with thermometer monitored by the hour, room to move to heat or cooler. It's cool in my house where they are, but they sometimes choose to move into shade in the box. I've never had anything like this to happen. I've raised a lot of chicks and can't see that I'm doing anything wrong. The feed store replaced 3 free, but these 18 Silkie chicks were bought a week later and they are the ones dying now. I do have one chick that gasps and opens its mouth wide and throws its head up to breathe, but it got better and doesn't seem to do it all the time. I gave it some of the menthol/"Vicks" smelling ointment. I'm so discouraged to pick out the chicks and then bury them 2 days later. The investment is not a tiny thing, either. I don't even want to tell the feed store because they've already replaced three. I got 3 frizzled Cochins from the same brooder and so far they are fine. Could it be that they were tiny and somehow weak and simply bringing them home was too much? The Naked Necks are several weeks old now and we can tell when one is not thriving.

"Learn as if you'll live forever."
A Texas home & yard full of plants, flowers, dogs, 1 old cat, koi, and now a happy herd of growing Silkies & Americaunas!
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"Learn as if you'll live forever."
A Texas home & yard full of plants, flowers, dogs, 1 old cat, koi, and now a happy herd of growing Silkies & Americaunas!
Reply
post #2 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoustonChicks View Post
 

  I've had chickens for years, raised many. The hatchery that my feed store uses is good. I bought Naked Neck chicks and they seem to be holding their own after some died. But I went back and bought 18 bantam Silkie chicks just 3 days ago. They look fine when we select them out of the brooder. At home, they seem to lay down and never get up.. I buried 3 Naked Necks and a total of about 12 Silkies with 3 more dead this morning. I've never had chicks to die like this. They are in a big box, fresh water twice daily and chick starter feed, heat lamp with thermometer monitored by the hour, room to move to heat or cooler. It's cool in my house where they are, but they sometimes choose to move into shade in the box. I've never had anything like this to happen. I've raised a lot of chicks and can't see that I'm doing anything wrong. The feed store replaced 3 free, but these 18 Silkie chicks were bought a week later and they are the ones dying now. I do have one chick that gasps and opens its mouth wide and throws its head up to breathe, but it got better and doesn't seem to do it all the time. I gave it some of the menthol/"Vicks" smelling ointment. I'm so discouraged to pick out the chicks and then bury them 2 days later. The investment is not a tiny thing, either. I don't even want to tell the feed store because they've already replaced three. I got 3 frizzled Cochins from the same brooder and so far they are fine. Could it be that they were tiny and somehow weak and simply bringing them home was too much? The Naked Necks are several weeks old now and we can tell when one is not thriving.


   How old were the chicks when you bought them and how long were in the store when you brought them home? I'm not really sure about your problem, but two ideas. 

  Last year my husband was waiting for chicks to come into the feed store.  They arrived two days late amid frigid weather (Slow mail?) and my husband went right in and bought some.  Until then I had never had a chick arriving live die.  Some died, the store replaced them and we wound up losing 50%.

   I thought it was strange when the clerk was selling me electrolytes and all kinds of things I don't usually use in starting chicks.

   I've found out if chicks are chilled you can have a problem from the get go.

   The other thing is you said you are losing silkies and they are tiny chicks.  If I have bantam chicks for the first few days I throw the starter feed in the blender to make it smaller.  This seems to allow the tiny bantams to eat better.  Hope your guys soon turn the corner and improve.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply. The bantam silkies looked to be maybe several days old; they were just starting to get wing feathers. I had one that gasped at irregular intervals, even sounding wheezy, but it did not seem to spread to others. Out of 18 bought at once, I now have 6 left in less than a week. The Naked Necks are two to three weeks older and are in a nearby indoor pen. I had at least one dying daily from them til this morning. One more silkie was dead today but that's all. I bought  water soluble erythromycin at my feed store yesterday. A customer there immediately recommended it when he heard my story. I can still see no reason for the deaths. Temperature is monitored, fresh feed, water changed daily. The medicine was $40 for a big bag, but I've lost more than that in chicks already. The silkies have to be watched for "pasty butt" and cleaned often for droppings hardened to their rear. The feed store owner didn't have any further input except to say he has poor luck with bantam chicks and he seemed like he wasn't supportative of me voicing my problem at the checkout counter! I've accepted that the new medicine will help and that wahtever the cause, I will have to wait it out and see what I'm lift with. It's sad and takes the joy out of selecting new chicks.

"Learn as if you'll live forever."
A Texas home & yard full of plants, flowers, dogs, 1 old cat, koi, and now a happy herd of growing Silkies & Americaunas!
Reply
"Learn as if you'll live forever."
A Texas home & yard full of plants, flowers, dogs, 1 old cat, koi, and now a happy herd of growing Silkies & Americaunas!
Reply
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