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Sick chick

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all!

I have three chicks who are about a week old. One is an Ameraucana chick and I noticed that she has been acting very lethargic since yesterday. When I bought them, she seemed like she was the largest of the three, but now, the other two are heavier than her, and have a lot more feathers starting to grow. In the pic you can see she's kind of sitting back on her legs, she's also been trying to walk like that, she can't seem to stand up straight for more than a few seconds. I dropper fed her some sugar water a little while ago, but haven't seen any big changes yet.
She's in a Rubbermaid bin with the other two chicks, with a heat lamp, food and water.
She's also keeping her eyes closed a lot, even when trying to walk, loses balance quite easily, and is much less fiesty than the other two.

Any advice is appreciated.


post #2 of 13

Your chick seems to be in trouble. It could be failure to thrive, not getting enough to eat, a vitamin deficiency, or an infection. Only a vet would be able to diagnose her.


What you can do is get her some Poultry Nutri-drench, an intensive care vitamin therapy. If it's a nutritional problem, that should turn her around in a hurry. If it's failure to thrive, there's nothing much you can do since it's genetic. If the Nutri-drench doesn't help, you might want to treat for infection, but that's the least likely of all the possibilities.

post #3 of 13
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you! She's also doing this thing with her mouth- she just opens and closes it over and over again, almost like she's drinking or trying to taste something. And she's making this tiny clicking/crackling noise.

An update from last night:
She's still doing the thing with her mouth, but she's more mobile this morning and seems to be in better spirits. I'll try treating her based on the above comment.
post #5 of 13
I had a chick who looked like she was struggling to breathe or swallow...did the same mouth opening thing. When I looked, she had a significant amount of very thick phelgm in her mouth, indicating dehydration. I gave her water by syringe drop by drop (touching the tip of her beak with a drop until it sucked into her mouth by capilary action) every hour for five hours and she improved enough to drink and swallow on her own. After she was rehydrated, gave her nutridrench to help support her through whatever had resulted in the dehydration in the first place. She did well after that.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ugh I don't know what's happening. That chick died on Sunday and last night, my second chick started acting lethargic and died overnight. I only have one left now 😞 Not only do I feel like a terrible person and that I'm doing something wrong, but I'm afraid to get more.
post #7 of 13
Originally Posted by Amynaturelover View Post

Ugh I don't know what's happening. That chick died on Sunday and last night, my second chick started acting lethargic and died overnight. I only have one left now 😞 Not only do I feel like a terrible person and that I'm doing something wrong, but I'm afraid to get more.

Please don't be hard on yourself! Where did you get the chicks? Excessive sleepiness, lethergic behavior, Puffed up apearence, foamy or runny stool can signal coccidosis. It can be life threatening. If your last chick is showing symptoms you may want to treat as soon as possible with Amprollium. The brand name is Corid. There are different strains of coccidosis and not all strains cause bloody stool so you have to take other symptoms into account. Did you get them from a feed store? The could have acquired it BEFORE you took them home. If you think this might be what's going on, treat your chick as soon as possible.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks realsis. Last one seems fine so far, but I bought nutri-Drench to give her. Do you think I should?
I bought them from a feed store that carries a bunch of different breeds.
post #9 of 13

So sorry for your loss Amy. I would go ahead and buy some friends for your little one, but I'd also pick up a bottle of Corid (Amprolium) and assume that it was something infectious (most likely coccidiosis) that killed your chicks. Your remaining chick is at risk, and any new chicks you bring in are at risk, but treatment with Corid is really easy, you just add the dose to the water. I felt like I paid too much for Corid ($20 for a jar way bigger than I need) but it can be used for the life of your chickens if they show signs of diarrhea in the future.


3 out of 5 of my chicks are growing at a slower rate than my healthier 2, yet only 1 out of 5 chicks had classic signs of coccidiosis (excessive sleepiness, wet/pasty butt...). All of them were doing well after a week of Corrid. My two thriving chicks each have a full sister who is not doing as well, since they're the same genetic stock born at the same time I think infectious disease is the most probable explanation and coccidiosis is the most likely ailment affecting chicks. When I started Corrid I went with electrolytes and probiotics (powder packets from the feed store) instead of Nutri-Drench but I've read great things about Nutri-Drench and I'd stick with that.


I would also reevaluate your heater and space to make sure it was warm enough, change the water at least daily, and change the bedding daily (with a potential parasite you can't risk prolonged exposure). It's likely you did NOTHING wrong with your first batch but it's still worth looking for some opportunities to improve so that you can reassure yourself that your new baby chicks will be fine.

Edited by AngeliqueR - 4/29/16 at 3:03pm
post #10 of 13
I got three polish chicks last week. This week, I lost two. No explanation or symptoms, just came into feed and found them dead. "Luckily" the third chick was sneezing and scratching at its nose last night, so now I have a clue. Started him/her on appropriate therapies for a respiratory infection and doing much better today. None of the other chicks are affected, so I think they must have been incubating something from the farm store where I got them. The other two polish just must not have had the reserves to fight off the infection and died quickly.
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