4 Day old chick clinging to life

StephC78

In the Brooder
May 24, 2019
16
31
44
We had a bunch of silkie/frizzle eggs hatch with broody hens. The majority hatched about a week ago then had one more hatch a couple days later the hens rejected it as well as another that got stuck out of the pen for a bit. The last one hatched is struggling badly. We brought the two inside under heat lamp and started trying to get the one to eat and drink. No luck. The other is doing great and acting perfectly normal. I have been giving nutra-cal in water using eye dropper as well as egg yolk diluted in water also in eye dropper. It is very tiny and weak. Doesn’t move around much but is fighting for life as best it can. Is there anything else I should try to do to help the poor thing get going? Today is the worst it’s been. Was laying on side in cage and breathing in short shallow breaths through beak. Took a full dropper of egg yolk/nutracal/water. Thanks For any advice. I can’t kill it because it’s been such a fighter since birth. I’ll fight as long as it does. Most chicks wouldn’t make it more than a day or two but this little one won’t give up. Thanks again.
 

Eggcessive

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I would give some Poultry NutriDrench or Poultry Cell vitamins 1-2 drops daily. It sounds like you are doing as much as you can. I hope the chick makes it.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
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Sep 26, 2015
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We had a bunch of silkie/frizzle eggs hatch with broody hens. The majority hatched about a week ago then had one more hatch a couple days later the hens rejected it as well as another that got stuck out of the pen for a bit. The last one hatched is struggling badly. We brought the two inside under heat lamp and started trying to get the one to eat and drink. No luck. The other is doing great and acting perfectly normal. I have been giving nutra-cal in water using eye dropper as well as egg yolk diluted in water also in eye dropper. It is very tiny and weak. Doesn’t move around much but is fighting for life as best it can. Is there anything else I should try to do to help the poor thing get going? Today is the worst it’s been. Was laying on side in cage and breathing in short shallow breaths through beak. Took a full dropper of egg yolk/nutracal/water. Thanks For any advice. I can’t kill it because it’s been such a fighter since birth. I’ll fight as long as it does. Most chicks wouldn’t make it more than a day or two but this little one won’t give up. Thanks again.


Any chance it could have the double frizzle gene? That can cause health/viability issues - not only weak feathers, but organ issues from what I've read.

Good advice above - if you have warm hands and the time to be still, I would hold it - set it on your chest and make your hand(s) a cave. I'm sure there's no "real" scientific basis/reason, but when a little is struggling, I try to provide the physical contact it would get from a broody - whether it's the type of heat, or the sound of a heartbeat it might find comforting. I also keep those microwave "animals" - cozy(ies) - or whatever they're called - usually the kind that you'd put over your neck - and I make a circle with it, and put a dry washcloth in the circle (as a buffer and to keep the item clean), and the chick in the middle when I have to go do something else. Something to physically warm lean on/into instead of laying flat.
 

StephC78

In the Brooder
May 24, 2019
16
31
44
I had no clue there was a double gene like that! It’s very possible since all my breeding birds are sizzle, frizzle or silkie. Sadly the little thing passed away over night. I am sad but glad it’s not struggling or suffering now. I have two older hens that hatched last year that lost almost all their feathers and I thought it was a molt. They have never grown back and I’m thinking they may have the double gene too. Thanks for letting me know about that.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
5 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,391
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Portland OR
I had no clue there was a double gene like that! It’s very possible since all my breeding birds are sizzle, frizzle or silkie. Sadly the little thing passed away over night. I am sad but glad it’s not struggling or suffering now. I have two older hens that hatched last year that lost almost all their feathers and I thought it was a molt. They have never grown back and I’m thinking they may have the double gene too. Thanks for letting me know about that.

Sorry to hear about the little, that's always hard.

Yes, the frizzles/sizzles should be bred to smooth feather partners to avoid a double frizzle. Of course, that means that the progeny will only be 50% frizzled, but it avoids the problem. Now, if they're reasonably healthy, you could bred those two hens with a smooth feather rooster and - if they are truly double frizzles - you'd get 100% frizzled chicks. Worth a shot - if nothing else, to confirm they're actually double! If they're not double, you would see 50% frizzle/50% smooth.
 

StephC78

In the Brooder
May 24, 2019
16
31
44
Wow that’s absolutely incredible. I don’t have a smooth feathered roo but they aren’t around our rooster as he is their dad. Only one rooster in our flock. Thank you all for the advice. What’s the best method to re introduce the other chick that is healthy? The hens ran it out the same day the other chick hatched. I kept it with the sick chick in hopes it would teach the other to eat and drink but it never got a chance since other was too weak to much of anything.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
5 Years
Sep 26, 2015
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Portland OR
Wow that’s absolutely incredible. I don’t have a smooth feathered roo but they aren’t around our rooster as he is their dad. Only one rooster in our flock. Thank you all for the advice. What’s the best method to re introduce the other chick that is healthy? The hens ran it out the same day the other chick hatched. I kept it with the sick chick in hopes it would teach the other to eat and drink but it never got a chance since other was too weak to much of anything.

In my experience if they've rejected a chick, they're done with adding to the family. If you were going to try again, you could try slipping the baby under one at night, which will either work, or could end very badly for that chick.

Personally, I would find the other chick a friend or two to grow up with, and raise them separately for a while... maybe see if you can find an unrelated smooth feathered chick or two one of which you might be able to use to cross back with your present group of chicks if it turns out to be a boy?? :D

When the broody hens are "done" and have started roosting at night with the babies, I would start introducing them to the broody-raised group - then they can figure things out from their new friends.
 

MANNA-PRO

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