Originally Posted by kimmahoney
Just got my first babies yesterday. One has already died. 😢 I don't know if she was sick or just got trampled. I believe I have done everything by the book...large container, red heat lamp, about 90* on one end, covered other end with a towel to prevent drafts, started food, plenty of fresh water that I have changed/filled 3 times already, rubber nonslip mat, pine shavings, thermometer. I placed a brick in there for them to climb on since I haven't found anything to serve as a roost bar yet. What am I missing?
The first thing I'd do is get rid of that towel holding in the heat. More chicks (and adult chickens) die from overheating than anything else. Chicks NEED a cooler area in the brooder. A heat lamp heats everything - the water, the feeders, the walls of the brooder, the floor of the brooder, the bedding....it's just too much to have it covered too..
Pasty butt is often caused by overheating. It's where the chick's vent becomes clogged with dried feces stuck to the feathers. It is fatal if not dealt with immediately because the chick can't pass any more waste past the clump of dried poop. Check each of your chicks for it. It can come on kinda fast, so in the beginning it's not out of line to check daily. If you see it, you'll know it. Take the chick to the faucet, run warm water over it, and gently pull it off with your fingers or a damp paper towel. You may even have to use a toothpick and GENTLY pick at it, repeating the warm water as needed. When you get it off, dry the chick carefully and dab just a bit of olive or coconut oil on the vent area. This helps prevent more from sticking. If a chick's hiney is really, really fluffy, some even use a manicure or other small scissors to just lightly trim some of the fuzz off. And you may have to repeat treatment a couple of times. Usually as they age, they aren't as inclined to have it happen again.
By the way, welcome to BYC.....glad to have you!
Edited to add: Don't worry about the chicks getting too cold if you remove the towel. I brood mine directly outside in the run in temps in the teens and twenties, in a pen right in with the adults. Haven't lost or had a sick one yet.
Edited by Blooie - 2/27/16 at 5:20pm