2 Chick deaths today, need advice from experienced brooders


6 Years
Apr 24, 2013
I am beginning to suspect my chick starter feed might have killed 2 of my chicks. Both had an enlarged swollen area on their upper breast when they died. Their last few hours they were lethargic and did not want to eat, drink or move. I tried dipping their beaks in egg yolks and sugar water but still lost them. The chicks are just one week old now. The starter we are using has split peas that seem large to me but I am new to this. When I go to refill their feeders each morning, the chicks have eaten up all the feed except the peas. Is it possible that my 2 dead chicks were victim of a feed size too large? I had not been providing grit as I assumed the starter was safe. I have begun adding grit this afternoon as soon as the deaths occurred. All other chicks are healthy and happy. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated, thank you!
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The large area that was swollen, sounds like there crops(which is normal for baby chicks to have a full crop when they pig out all day). Were they constipated by any chance? Any loose or bloody poops?
Hi There, first off I want to say sorry for your loss. I've been there.
And second, can I ask if your feed is medicated?
Also, grit should not be given until at least 16 weeks of age I do believe.
Thanks for all the help. The feed is not medicated. It is a soy free, corn free organic starter made here in Oregon. It has lots of probiotics and other great ingredients but the split peas look out of place. The mix is mostly fine grain otherwise. They have been eating the feed down quickly but leaving the peas in the tray. I did not see any loose stools and no blood at all. We've been giving small amounts of acv in there waterers since they arrived.
Let me try this again.... Chicks need a chick grit if they will be eating more than the starter feed. As they need the grit to digest the other snacks, mealworms, scraps, etc. Just no oyster shells yet until they are older. They make a finely crushed grit especially for chicks, so I hope this clears up that subject. Hope things get better!!!

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