GOT NEW CHICKS? PLEASE READ THIS! DANGEROUS BEDDING WARNING!
I have two new chicks February and Fluffy. A few days after we brought them home I noticed that Fluffy was listless, not eating and fluffed up sitting by herself. I proceeded to examine her. She had a piece of pine bedding stuck in her neck! I had lightly moistened the bedding but the heat lamp quickly dried it out. It is not good for a chick to get wet they can die quickly from wet or cold.
Upon closer examination, I found that there was a shard of pine shaving stuck in her neck! I was horrified! I put some Hydrogen Peroxide on a Q-tip and tried to get it to come out like that. It was in deep. I got my husband Rooster John to gently remove it while I held her very still. After removing it I put more Hydrogen Peroxide on it and dabbed at it with sterile gauze pad to remove any foam. When it stopped foaming I put a thick coating of Triple antibiotic ointment on it. Then I wrapperd her in a paper towel and held her for a long time, keeping her warm and close to my heart so that she could hear my heartbeat. February sat with us, watching and waiting for her sisters recovery. I watched February closely to make sure she did not pick at Fluffy.She did not. Twice a day I cleaned the wound and put the antibiotic on it. Fluffy did not eat or drink anything. I was worried and proceeded to feed her from my own mouth! I made a formula of Duramycin and Infant formula in a spice jar lid. I put it in my mouth and when it was warm, I put her beak to my mouth and tried to get her to take it like a Motherhen would.
After a small amount of prodding I did get her to take a few sips. Then I let her rest. Every two hours I woke her and repeated the procedure. It was a long night I can tell you..I could not sleep for fear that Fluffy would not make it through the night. I awoke in the morning with the rank taste of stale baby formula in my mouth. I knew if I did not get her to eat today she would die. I also knew that the infection alone could kill her. She was less than a week old..her life was in my hands and I knew it and took my responsibility as seriously as a mother to her child.
The next day she was taking the formula well. I added a small amount of rice baby cereal to the mixture of Duramyacin and baby formula, mouth feeding her because she would not eat on her own. I had to keep waking her and prodding her...but she finally started taking it greedily. I was encouraged by the thrid day she was eating the mix on her own. I knew she could not eat antying too solid because it may break the thin tissue where the hole was and her food would run out her neck. I could see from the hole through her skin as her food went down her throat!
By the fifth day, I was mashing pieces of hotdog (from the center not the outer layer), into her medicated, baby food mash. Fluffy was up and walking around.and eating on her own. I continured to clean and treat her wound. Soon she was eating small amounts of bread and mashed hot dogs. After the wound closed completely, I put a small amount of anti-fungal foot cream on it for a few days to prevent any bacterial infection. I continued her antibiotics for seven days after the wound closed. I have her on vitamins and medicated chick feed now. She is five weeks old, spoiled, sweet, friendly and loves to snuggle up and rub her face on mine and sit in my lap. Her sister February tho a day younger looks out for Fluffy as if she is a baby. Fluffy runs around the yard and tries to Fly...Gotta Love em! People need to realize that pine shaving are very dangerous to new chicks-MY rule of thumb: if they do not have feathers yet..they are not ready for pine bedding! Pine bedding works great for the older chicks, hens and roo's. I do mist it every few days to keep it soft. You have to be careful not to keep it wet and stir it well. A sharp piece of dry pine bedding can even stick in a full grown bird. I have also had this experience with Ozzie my handsome rooster.
Now I use a different method of bedding for new chicks. I make a ring with a dish towel and place paper towels under it and on top to make a nest. Then I put a wooden dowel about six inches above them and place a clean folded dish towel over it to make a tent over the nest. The paper towels must be changed a couple of times a day depending on how many chicks you have in each cage. I use a cage with a plastic tub at the bottom and cover the sides with screen and attach it with bread ties so that it can be easily removed for cleaning. The chicks love the towel tent and go to sleep at night at under it like it is the motherhen. It is so cute to see them poke their little heads out.."Sleepy baby..Sleepy baby" they cheep at me, I say it too them every night and they know it means its time to sleep. After a few days they will get under the towel on their own..and peek out.."Sleepy baby Sleepy baby" when they want a nap or the sun starts to go down!
Note: I check each chick daily and check the vent area to make sure that there are no clumps, if there are then I lightly dampen them and clean the area, then dry with a paper towel to soak up the moisture while keeping the chick warm. If there is any redness, I just apply a small amount of antifungal foot cream to the area. If neccesary I remove the vent feathers by clipping them with a small pair of mustache scissors, making sure that they are sterilized with alcohol before use. Make sure the towels are clean and dry at all times. I love my baby chicks!
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