This is our first large batch of broiler chicks - 78 all together originally, now down 5 to 73 - but I don't want to start losing them in big groups - well, I really just don't want to lose ANY more! We are keeping them in a room in our barn with pine shavings, plenty of water and food. We've given them probiotics and rooster booster in their water every day. We have not been giving them medicated feed and try to stay away from antibiotics if possible. We add fresh bedding to the top of the old bedding twice a day. (I was thinking deep litter system, but maybe they are too young?) they have access to grit. Friday we lost two chicks, but it looked like they had been smothered - under the heat lamp and in the area where they were nesting. We separated our heat lamps so they weren't concentrated in one tiny area, and the temperature has gone down overall to around 80-85 degrees F, but they are all spread out nicely now and don't seem to be piling. Saturday, Sunday, and today we have lost one chick a day. They have been mostly near or under the heat lamp, laid out with legs extended, and not flattened. Skin looks reddish and their feathers look dirty. One was still alive when I found it, I grabbed it and it squawked and flapped it's wings. I ran out to get a box, but it had died by the couple of minutes it took me to get back. My husband thought he saw fluid in the nostrils when he got the body, but I did not see that symptom. I have picked up the other alive chicks and listened for wheezing, but hear nothing. Every day I spend 15 minutes twice a day watching them - no sneezing, coughing, bloody stool. Some do have diarrhea, but most seem fine. I noticed over the last two days that some of them seem to have distended bottoms, but I wasn't sure if that was just the broiler stature. Some do have dirty /poopy bottoms too, again I wasn't sure about cleaning their bottoms since we're talking about a large number of chicks all together. I'm not sure if I can post pics since our main computer is in the shop for repairs. Any thoughts? I hate coming home to dead chicks every day. That is NOT the way I want them to all go and I'm getting discouraged. I'll use antibiotics if that's the best way to control this and best for my birds' health.