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listless chicks

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Help!  I had chickens in the past, but have been without a flock for a few years.  I just bought 30 chicks, a variety of layers, to start a new flock.  They arrived four days ago, and all was well until this morning when I found one dead and one looking listless.  The listless one perked up with a bit of yogurt, so I bought some electrolyte/probiotic formula and added that to the water.  This afternoon, however, the listless one died and another is sick.  All three who have gotten sick are production reds (out of six reds in my total flock).  Should I be thinking that there was something wrong with that batch of chicks?  The others all look fine, though I become alarmed now anytime I see the others stand still too long, or not seem to react quickly.  Is there anything more I should be doing?  I've isolated the sick chick and changed the litter in the box of the others, though I had to use the same container.

 

The one that died this afternoon first got listless, though she would take a little food and water with prompting, then she lay down and her breathing became labored, then she had several spasms before she died. The chicks are on medicated starter feed, have fresh water each day, are in an interior room (not in the barn) with heat.  Stools look normal, and no pasty butt. 

 

Any advice is appreciated!  I've raised chicks before and never had any problems, so am at a complete loss as to what to do.

 

Autumn

post #2 of 6

Welcome to BYC.

 

Can you post some photos of your brooder setup and the chicks?

Panting can be a sign of too much heat, so make sure the heat source is in one spot only, let the rest of the brooder be cool. Provide enough ventilation and room for them to move freely without piling.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

 

Thank you so much for replying to my post.  My third sick chick hung on for a day and a half with hand feeding and watering, but eventually died.  A real heartbreaker as I'd gotten hopeful when she made it through the first night -- and of course I had gotten especially attached to her taking care of her. Thankfully no one else has gotten sick.  So I'm feeling optimistic, but I won't feel really good until a week has passed.

 

Here is my brooder set-up. It has been warm here during the days, so they don't hang out under the lamp too much, but they like to sleep in the glow at night.  I don't think the sick chicks were too hot.  In fact when they got sick that was what they would do -- go stand under the lamp with heads down and wings out.  The labored breathing wasn't really panting, their beaks were closed, I could just tell by the way their little sides moved that their breathing wasn't normal.  I still wonder if, since they were all a single variety, if they came with some sort of virus or other bug, or if it was something genetic (since half got sick and half were fine).  I figure in another day or two, if no one else gets sick, I'll let the hatchery know what happened, just in case there is some problem. 

 

Autumn

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnFall View Post
 

 

Thank you so much for replying to my post.  My third sick chick hung on for a day and a half with hand feeding and watering, but eventually died.  A real heartbreaker as I'd gotten hopeful when she made it through the first night -- and of course I had gotten especially attached to her taking care of her. Thankfully no one else has gotten sick.  So I'm feeling optimistic, but I won't feel really good until a week has passed.

 

Here is my brooder set-up. It has been warm here during the days, so they don't hang out under the lamp too much, but they like to sleep in the glow at night.  I don't think the sick chicks were too hot.  In fact when they got sick that was what they would do -- go stand under the lamp with heads down and wings out.  The labored breathing wasn't really panting, their beaks were closed, I could just tell by the way their little sides moved that their breathing wasn't normal.  I still wonder if, since they were all a single variety, if they came with some sort of virus or other bug, or if it was something genetic (since half got sick and half were fine).  I figure in another day or two, if no one else gets sick, I'll let the hatchery know what happened, just in case there is some problem. 

 

Autumn

 

I'm sorry you lost your little one.

 

They look nice and spread out in the brooder like they should be:)

 

It's hard to tell with chicks when things go wrong, but as you suspect since they were all the same breed, it could very well be that they had some type of illness, genetic/developmental disorder or stress from shipping. I would contact the hatchery to see what they say.

Continue with the vitamins/electrolytes for a few more days.

 

I do hope the rest stay healthy and happy.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your interest.  All the rest of the girls seem well.  The reds do seem to be the smallest of my chicks (along with the black sex links), so it occurred to me that it could also be that any sort of stress on the flock (even just the shipping) could have simply hit them the hardest. 

 

By the way I like your avatar of the barred rock.  They were always some of my favorite birds in my past flocks, and I made sure to have a good number of them in this one.

Thank you again for your kindness.

 

Autumn

post #6 of 6

Your welcome:)

 

I do like my Rock Girls, they are nice birds.

 

I hope that you encounter no more problems, if you do, please let us know.

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