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new order of baby chicks dying fast!!!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

We got our latest shipment of chicks yesterday.  Since they arrived we lost 7 in less than 18 hours and more are dying right now!  Anyone else have this issue lately?  The babies are all different breeds and it is affecting them all:  blue andalusians, lakenvelders, silver polish, leghorns, red stars...  The chicks start out by acting tired and going down to their heels.  Then soon after then lay on their sides.  Then they can't seem to gain any energy and eventually have struggled breathing or gasping before they stretch out totally and die.  Just before they do all of this they seem totally fine.  I started them all in a great environment with good warm temps, Quick Chick in the water as well as Grow Gel in the food.  Since I talked to hatchery staff today I decided to add antibiotics to the water after the first 4 died.  She suggested possible pneumonia from travel.  What do you think? We had a terrible problem with chicks two years ago with the bad epidemic that went around to chicks nationwide from certain hatcheries and I was hoping this time would go better.  We are SOOOOO sad and disheartened.  Any insight would be helpful.  We have been raising chicks for 5 years.

Thanks.

~Shauna
(Wife to 1, Mama to 6, Living in the Wild West with 2 Horses, 6 Dogs, 5 Cats, Chickens, Parrots and Quail)

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~Shauna
(Wife to 1, Mama to 6, Living in the Wild West with 2 Horses, 6 Dogs, 5 Cats, Chickens, Parrots and Quail)

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post #2 of 18

sounds like they are stressed from shipping sad

Mom of 2 children 16 Lionhead Rabbits a dog and a cat

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Mom of 2 children 16 Lionhead Rabbits a dog and a cat

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post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi!

Would that make them die off slowly one by one?  They look so normal until the "go down".  We have never had chicks die from stress.  We are usually so careful as to not lose a single one even when they present disease...  Any thoughts on how to stop the stress if that is what it is?
sad

~Shauna
(Wife to 1, Mama to 6, Living in the Wild West with 2 Horses, 6 Dogs, 5 Cats, Chickens, Parrots and Quail)

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~Shauna
(Wife to 1, Mama to 6, Living in the Wild West with 2 Horses, 6 Dogs, 5 Cats, Chickens, Parrots and Quail)

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post #4 of 18

Are they drinking?  Have they drank much since they arrived?  I find dehydration is the worst on chicks that have been shipped or are extra stressed.  I would dip their beaks or give them drips off your finger.  Once they get dehydrated, then they wont drink and go down hill quickly from there. 

I don't know what quick chick is but hopefully it has vitamins and electrolytes in it.  You may try some honey in water too to perk them up.  You can boil some eggs if they will eat.

Good luck!
PS Which hatchery did you buy from?

My breeding flocks; Buckeyes, BLRW, Buff Favorelles, Muscovy ducks, Call ducks, Mandarin ducks, mallard ducks and Sebastopol geese.  God bless!

My bird blog:http://sherryscrazymenagerie.blogspot.com/

My swap page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-stuff-to-swap

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My breeding flocks; Buckeyes, BLRW, Buff Favorelles, Muscovy ducks, Call ducks, Mandarin ducks, mallard ducks and Sebastopol geese.  God bless!

My bird blog:http://sherryscrazymenagerie.blogspot.com/

My swap page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-stuff-to-swap

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post #5 of 18

What are you using for bedding in the brooder? If it is cedar that could be your issue, otherwise perhaps shipping stress. I don't think day olds would have any acquired infections. Elecrolytes are very important initially and perhaps some were not drinking? Hard to tell. Hope all goes well with the rest and hopefully they replace your losses.

Mom to wonderful young man in the USAF, wife to an amazing husband, owner of 2 Border Terriers, Jack and Hannah, & 1 Black Cocker Spaniel named Katie. Keeper of 2 adorable coops which house my Light and Dark Brahmas (standard and bantam), EE mixes, and my d'Anvers which I have in Dun Quail.

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Mom to wonderful young man in the USAF, wife to an amazing husband, owner of 2 Border Terriers, Jack and Hannah, & 1 Black Cocker Spaniel named Katie. Keeper of 2 adorable coops which house my Light and Dark Brahmas (standard and bantam), EE mixes, and my d'Anvers which I have in Dun Quail.

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post #6 of 18

I'm interested to know where they came from also- we had an order from Ideal (which is across the country from me) and several did the same in the first couple of days.  It didn't seem to affect anybody new, so I'm assuming it was stress from a long shipping trip, rather than some kind of contagion.  I plan to get my chicks more locally in the future.  Maybe if they had a long trip, too...

In my case there didn't seem to be anything to do for the "tired" chicks- segregate and force them to drink a little and wait.  If it is stress, anybody know how long til they could be considered out of the woods?


Edited by SeeMeShiny - 3/16/11 at 8:56am
post #7 of 18

Pressing their beak into a sugar water solution upon arrival is recommended by our supplier when they arrive after shipment.  They immediately take the water on their beak and start the drinking process almost right away.  First, they have to warm up from the trip. Dipping the beak stimulates the desire to drink and they know it is available (already been 2 days w/o water).  The sugar solution for the first day after arrival only.  Water to be 95 degrees the first two days...room temp after that.  Cool water shocks their system, they become sick and can die.


Edited by mdbokc - 3/16/11 at 9:01am
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your replies!  Okay, the bedding when they arrived is textured paper towels to start.  Then after day 2 we switch to large size shavings (nothing they can eat).  But these chicks were dying from the get go.  Quik Chick is vitamins and electrolytes.  Plus we added sugar to the water as well as doubled the dosage of antibiotics as recommended by McMurray today (where we bought them).  So far in less than 48 hours we lost 11 chicks.  We always dip their beaks and make sure they drink when they arrive.  And they all seemed efficient at drinking and finding the supply.  They all ate well too.  They are slightly more quiet than other batches of chicks we have had.   However, they skitter around and behave fairly normally up until they go down and can't seem to revive (out of the blue).  Then they refuse water even from a dropper.  They keep their eyes closed at this point and then eventually struggle to breath and gasp, stretching out their neck.  Some did not stretch out as much as others.  But they all die shortly after this process starts.  The environment is 90^ plus with areas they can go to get out of the heat if needed.  McMurray is going to replace all our lost chicks as of tomorrow when I call for the 3rd day with a final count on the losses.  They will pack the box with free roosters to keep our females warm.  I think that is a good effort.  But I worry if this is just stress related or something else that could cause the next batch to be sick???  We have never encountered an issue like this (especially because they are in their 1st days of life!).  We are told to put the new chicks with the surviving ones... Any other thoughts???

~Shauna
(Wife to 1, Mama to 6, Living in the Wild West with 2 Horses, 6 Dogs, 5 Cats, Chickens, Parrots and Quail)

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~Shauna
(Wife to 1, Mama to 6, Living in the Wild West with 2 Horses, 6 Dogs, 5 Cats, Chickens, Parrots and Quail)

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post #9 of 18

Our neighbors purchased chicks from McMurray one year and they too all died. In their case it was because McMurray shipped over the weekend and the chicks sat in the postal warehouse for almost 3 days.
But their shipping practices may have changed since then.

Hugs for the stress you are going through. sad

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

I was called to get them Monday morning.  Not sure when they actually arrived at the post office sad

~Shauna
(Wife to 1, Mama to 6, Living in the Wild West with 2 Horses, 6 Dogs, 5 Cats, Chickens, Parrots and Quail)

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~Shauna
(Wife to 1, Mama to 6, Living in the Wild West with 2 Horses, 6 Dogs, 5 Cats, Chickens, Parrots and Quail)

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