1st Chick Batch - Learning Curves


Chicken Cuddler
9 Years
Oct 7, 2010
Conroe, Texas
I have made a sort of chick diary on my blog as this is the first batch of chicks since from when I was a kid. I don't remember all the details of raising chickens as a kid so am considering this a first batch. I ordered this adorable blue Wyandottes from Privett Hatchery.

I did a lot of research ordered the chicks and am going through the learning curves of raising baby chicks.
This morning we discovered we lost 4 chicks. 2 died overnight and 2 died this morning. There are 2 more I am worried about. 1 has a hard time drinking and one can't seem to stand up. The rest are still looking pretty healthy.

If I give them a scrambled egg would that help them get a bit of a boost? I read other forum comments about giving them eggs.

I am a bit sad over the losses and am hope hope hoping that the rest will make it through this stressful period. (ie, hatching, vaccinated (ouch), stuffed into a shipping box, shipped (can be scary), and then stuck in a new environment which some giant sticks their beaks in water and food. The chicks did seem quite freaked out when we set them in their new home yesterday. I kept checking on them like a nervous hen the whole day, monitered the temperature to make sure it was correct and steady, and watched for any signs of trouble. Yesterday only 1 had issues with it's hurt leg the rest were very healthy looking and running about between napping. I did notice yesterday that some chicks settled in better than others. Some were very curious and took well to eating, drinking, asserting themselves with their siblings and coming over for headrubs and one even liked to peck my finger and make cooing kind of chirp sound. It is really cute. There were others that just fussed alot and hanged back from the rambunctious ones.

another one died as we tried to revive it.
I have a bad suspicion that the vitamin water that I gave to them yesterday was mixed too strong even though I followed the directions; but noticed it was a bit chalky still. I did the rookie thing and gave it to the chicks anyway as all the books recommended giving this to them. I think it made them sick.

I changed the water to clear water and gave them some scrambled egg. This alone has revitalized the chicks. They were very enthusiastic over the eggs and was drinking the clear water. I noticed this perked them up. The race was on to see who could gobble up the most egg. One chick even started power scratching the plate. I wonder if this one will be a roo?

However, the 2 I was worried about did not perk up. As stated above one died and the other is not doing so good. My dad gave it droplets of the fresh water which did make him perk a little and start chirping some. But the tiny chick is still lethgargic. Keeping an eye on him and trying to help but we may loose him too.

I feel bad that I may have caused these little guys to be sick from the vitamin water. I hope that it is all that was wrong with them.

The healthier chicks were still running about looking for more scrambled egg and eating their normal rations. I will give them another scrambled egg again tomorrow.

I read all these books and am still cluesless.
I wish i could help you. I have herd to give them sugar water, or electrolites, but I do not know for sure what to do. what are you feeding them besides the eggs?
the feed is correct.

maybe do a search on here about sugar water or electrolites and see if you find something. keep offering it water like you said your dad did. it my just need a little jump start -- the sugar water would help with that.

i will see if i can find you some links.
I have found repeatedly that the recommended temps are too high. I had one "L" shaped brooder (taped together out of cardboard boxes) with a thermometer and the heat lamp at one end of one L. They consistently went as far as they could to the other end. I would cool it off in there.

The brood hutch we are using only has the brood lamp on one end and the other end is cooler. The chicks actually move about the whole hutch and none appear to be avoiding the center area under the lamp.

I just read the forum on pasty but that made some good points. Some of my chicks do show to have runny poo. I think that the stress combined with the vitamin mixed water I gave them was a double whammy.

Should I go ahead and give them a tad bit of yogurt for the bacteria? And does the yogurt have to be plain or can you give them a bit of flavored yogurt?
Well, I lost the other 2 weak ones.
The good news is that the others perked up more. Hopefully this means that they are out of the worst of the woods.
There is one chick that is very fiesty and is showing alot of spunky personality. I really hope this chick makes it to pullet stage and is a hen.
I wanted to take more pics but realized I need to charge my cameras battery.

I am going to pick up some plain jane yogurt tomorrow to try the suggestions from the pasty butt forum to see if this also helps the little ones out. I noticed a few of the chicks with poop stuck on them the majority have clean bottoms.
I'm sorry. But glad the others seem better.

I suspect your losses may have ended. It may have had nothing to do with the vitamins, esp. as you followed directions. Some chicks respond to shipping stress much, much better than others, and it's not uncommon to get one or two with a congenital problem that you never see or identify, too. It may have all been completely out of your control. I had losses, too, some during shipping, some over the next few days, and then, thankfully, it was over and the perkier ones thrived.

Yes, best to go with plain yogurt, to avoid the sugar, and not too much of it, as they don't digest milk products well. You could also use probiotics. Do get live culture yogurt, though.

And don't beat yourself up.

I'm glad your brooder is big enough that they can choose their best temp, and that this was not an issue. I worry about the recommended temps on here; every batch I had found them too warm, and my chicks moved away to cool down.
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Please don't feel bad about the loss of those chicks, so early. It happens. It's heart-rending, but it happens. Shipped chicks, as you listed all those things, go through a lot of stress. It's one reason why I have never bought chicks on-line - I only bought feed store chicks. Y'see, the feed store gets its shipment on Thursdays, I go in on Saturdays, so the early dying off has already occurred.

I also choose chicks that have been there a week already, if at all possible (from the ones I wanted to buy). Sometimes it wasn't possible and I brought home chicks about 5 days old. I've still lost a couple......

Now I'm hatching chicks. From shipped eggs, so the "die off" happens long before they're peepers.

Everything else you're doing is fine. Welcome to the wonderful world of keeping & raising chickens.

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