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Woke to dead chick this morning

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm still relatively new to chicken raising, but am finding them as addictive as described.  Our first 6 chicks matured with very little excitement, one case of straddle-leg that I treated successfully and ended up with that particular chick beginning to crow about 4 months later.  The 5 hens began laying in December and we're enjoying them all enormously.I purchased them from the highly recommended Portage Bay Grange.  After learning they purchase their chicks from Baxter Barn, and researching them, I decided to cut out the middle man and a second transport experience for my next chicks.


I picked up 7 one-day-old chicks from Baxter Barn last Saturday morning.  After an uneventful weekend I woke to 4 of them (an Easter Egger, Blue Wynadotte, Barred Plymouth Rock and Golden Brabanter) with pasty butt on Monday morning.  Two (the Wynadotte and Brabanter) fairly minor, one a bit uncomfortable  (BPR) and the last (Easter Egger) who was very blocked up and amazed me with just how much poop her tiny body could hold after I'd softened and removed the blockage. Her relief was evident.  I've stayed on that and by last night only one (a Golden Brabanter) required any intervention.  All the chicks, including the Brabanter, were active, eating, drinking and seemed perfectly normal last night when I tucked them up for the night.


But this morning I woke to a dead chick, the Blue Wynadotte. I'd not have been so surprised if it had been the EE, even though she'd been fine since I cleared her severe pasty butt on Monday morning, I'd have just assumed her tiny body had just been pushed into toxicity that night before I discovered the problem in the morning.  But the Wyndadotte had only had a slight case and has been fine since then. They'd been receiving Baxter Immune Boost in their water for the first few days to help manage the stress of transport and settling in, and are now receiving Ampro as a preventative. They're on the same organic feed they started on at Baxter Barn. I use a Brinsea brooder, and they've all loved the thing. We wash our hands before and after handling them or the adult chickens. All have been vaccinated for Marek's and they're from breeding stock vaccinated or tested for  Pullorum-Typhoid, M.Galliseptrium, M. Synoviae, M. Meleagridis, S. Enteritidis, Salmonella, M. Gallisepticym, M. Synoviae, Avian Influenza, Marek.  


I realize no one can tell me anything for sure, but I'm still new to this and perhaps it's just not that unusual?  Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome, though.  I've given the 6 surviving chicks fresh water (treated with Ampro), and food and replaced all of their bedding.  Anything else I should be doing?

post #2 of 11

Welcome to BYC. It sounds like they had pasty butt for awhile before you got them. Possibly you saved all but the one you lost. It might have just gone on too long. Sorry for your loss.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

They hatched a week ago, on Friday, and were only one day old when I brought them home on Saturday morning, the pasty butt didn't appear until Sunday night/Monday morning.  We have another sick one this morning, but no pasty butt, she's just lethargic.  We've removed the bedding, which kept getting in their water, so the others are all on shelf liner over paper towels and just in case have been moved to an entirely different container (large, wooden woven laundry basket with plastic liner) with the Brinsea brooder, food, water and grit.  The weak/sick baby is being cared for separately.  I'm not home, my SO is caring for her, holding the baby in his very warm (he's a human furnace) hands, while sitting near our wood stove, occasionally dipping her beak in water. From the photo he sent me I believe the weak one this morning is the Brabanter.  She had gotten chilled on the trip home from the hatchery and I held her near the warmth of the wood stove for a couple of hours, eventually got her to drink some water and after a couple of hours she suddenly perked up and began eating, and has been fine - apart from a minor bit of pasty butt - until this morning.  I wish I was home with them instead of at work.  

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

The second one just died in my SO's hands.  It was the Welsummer, she'd not even had pasty butt, not even a little bit.  I don't know what's going on.

Edited by CailinRua - 3/18/16 at 10:19am
post #5 of 11

Electrolytes and vitamins in the water, and dipping their beaks or dripping the water into their beaks as often as possible for any stressed chick is what I would do. Sorry for you loss.

post #6 of 11
I'm so sorry for your loss. When we got our first shipment of chicks two years ago, they were 5 days late in delivery. Only 3 of 15 chicks were still alive, and all of the nursing and care that I provided couldn't save them. One by one they died. They were well beyond all hope, but I tried anyway. Are you certain that their delivery to you wasn't delayed? Maybe they were too chilled during the trip. I wish you all the luck in the world.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

they weren't delivered, I picked them up myself from the hatchery. We've lost 3 of the original 7 and I am at this moment holding the Golden Brabanter who is now barely able to stand. I've managed to get some water in her but she won't eat and just curls up in my hand, dozing, rousing to chirp a little every now and then. I've talked with the hatchery, and we seem to be doing everything right but they're still dying.

post #8 of 11

What type of brooder lamp bulb are you using? Do you have a thermometer on the floor of the brooder? 85-90 degrees F i about right for the warmest spot with a cooler spot to escape to. In the past, there have been reports of using teflon coated bulbs that give off lethal gasses.That is probably not the case, but just wanted to mention all these things in case.Also double check the mixing of any electrolyte solution if you are using it. Someone recently lost most of their chicks by the wrong strength of them.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

They're under a Brinsea Ecoglow, not a bulb, so it's radiant heat and does little to warm the air itself.  There's plenty of space in the brooder box for them to get away from it if they're too warm.  We've now removed one end so they can choose to press up against if if they want, or go to the raised end and have warmth but not as direct.


A fourth chick died on Saturday, the Golden Brabanter.  


They've had Baxter Barn Immune boost in the water since I brought them home, and had no change in food.  They're in the house, it's too cold in the basement where we raised our first 6 without any issues.  We are baffled and saddened (although it touched me to see my big, burly SO sobbing over the chick that had just died in his hands after we'd spent all day Saturday fighting to keep her alive) and still trying to figure out what has caused this.  The owner of the hatchery is guessing the stress of the trip home (it took a total of about 3 hours) and their brief (about 20 minutes) sojourn in the basement brooder, even though they were under the Brinsea the entire time, while I was scrambling to prepare a more portable brooder that I could keep upstairs stressed them enough to start them down this road, even if they appeared fine for the first 3 days.  I just don't know.


The last three appear to be doing well, although the Barred Plymouth Rock is still very tiny.  She's eating, drinking and active, and I have provided them with ground up raw oatmeal for the pasty butt.  The Buff Orpington hasn't shown any signs of illness or upset throughout the entire ordeal with the others, and the EE, who I wouldn't have been surprised to lose since she had the worst pasty butt of any of them, hasn't looked back since I cleaned her up the first time and is growing as fast as the Orpington.  This has been a heartbreaking experience, and may have frightened my 8-year-old stepson from our plan for him to help me raise these chicks and then I'd get him 3 bantams of his own to raise this summer under my direction.  Hopefully not.  His father and I have decided that in the future we'll only bring chicks home during the summer when we know we can safely raise them in the basement/garage since that location has proven to be successful in the past and we have been unable to determine what caused so many of our chicks to so quickly sicken and die.

post #10 of 11

I have found with trying to hatch or raise some of the more rare breeds that they can be weaker, or that I have poor hatch rates. I don't know if that can be your problem, but some breeds and chicks can be more vigorous.

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