4 day old chicks sneezing


10 Years
Jun 15, 2009
I just incubated and hatched my first chickens 4 days ago. 16 hatched and all seem to be doing really well (drinking, eating, sleeping, etc). I noticed today that 2-3 of the chicks are sneezing. Since I am COMPLETLY new to this it has me worried after reading about all the diseases and such. They are in a baby pool on a sheet. All are energetic and acting well. I am feeding them medicated chick starter. There is clear fluid that is expelled when they sneeze. Is this dangerous? What should be done? Thanks so much!
what kind of heat do they have

day old chicks need 98 to 95 degrees for the first week of life

also what are you feeding and watering with?

now this is important

where did the eggs come from?

were they from a flock that once had the respiratory disease?

if so they got it from the hatching egg

I would hope that you will get a ve to prescribe some medication for the sneezing clear fluid

being's there is fluid it is respiratory disease

are they kept cool in the night?
or do you have it so they are warm and draft free?

you need to PM "three horses" and ask her
I will send her your url on this pg

any questions email me
First off, does the sheet have any fabric softeners, etc on it? Since they're old enough now to be past the straddle leg stage, can you use shavings (aspen or pine) in it instead?

If you can help by answering Glenda's questions, we can both more accurately help you. Especially about where the eggs are from. And also if you could tell us how you're handling the temperature control, etc. Is there any draft in the area? Do you have other birds that they could have come in contact with direction or via your clothing or wild birds?

Since you probably have other birds, I'd advise you to use different clothes and shoes for each flock - and handle the babies last now. (Usually I handle them first so as not to bring adult things back to them, but now it's backwards - you don't want to bring what they have to the adults if it's a bug.)

Shoot us back some quick answers, and we'll help. In the mean time, if you go to the store today, pick up some organic apple cider vinegar, plain yogurt, and eggs if you don't have your own. Vitamin E w/selenium would also be helpful - or wheat germ (oil) capsules. A lot of people here recommend baby vitamins (without iron). You'll want to use those things instead of any vitamins/electrolytes you're using. If you're using a package, stop the package immediately. And I wouldn't recommend antibiotics until we get more info. They can devestate baby chickens' new good bacteria in their gut and cause a lot of problems.

Looking forward to your reply,
if you can't get wheat germ (Vit E) capsules get the 400 mg of human capsules
and just selinium tablets

so that id your using cooked eggs as Nathalie recommended add per chick the
1-400 mg of Vit E capsule cut end and squeeze the vit E into the cooked egg
also crush one selinium tablet per chick into the cooked eggs

if you get the Vit E tablet crush 1-400 mg into the cooked egg mixture
do this twice a day till they are okay

try and come back as soon as possible

I can't see how you can keep the temperature at 98 degrees with no top on the baby pool. This is very important for day old chicks even temperature
and yes I would do away with the sheet and go to pine shavings

any questions email me
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I am using a 125 watt bulb in a brooder lamp and the temperature directly below it is ~ 100. They are in a large baby pool inside of a spare bedroom with no windows open. I am watering with well water (nothing else in it) I am feeding them Manna Pro medicated chick starter crumbles. The eggs came from my aunt's chickens and another local man. As far as they know there chickens do not have any respiratory problems. I was using the sheet because I read that they would eat the shavings and have problems....is the sheet necessary? No other birds have come into contact and I wash my hands before and after handling them every time! This is my first time with chickens/chicks so there are no other birds. I haven't been giving them any additional supplements. Also I live about 1 hour from Wal-Mart so can't get anywhere today, but we do have eggs and Vitamin E capsules.
Here is another bit of information...I don't know if it could be related. On night 20 of incubation when they had pipped and you could hear them in the eggs the incubator was accidently turned off overnight. I was pretty devastated but immediately plugged it back in when I found it and they came out like it didn't affect them at all. The sneezing just began today. Some of their poops are brown liquid only but most are firm and grey/white.
If just a few of the poops are more brown and liquid, the probiotics should take care of that.

Medicated feed should be taking care of most cocci issues in such a clean environment, so I'd temporarily check that off the list as well.

The sheet - I use papertowels, so similar. I just wondered if there was a scent/chemical/fragrance that would be causing the sneezing. And yes - I always start my babies on something like cloth, or rubbery shelving liners, because they are less apt to splay their legs. And because of the eating issue. My babies usually start with a shallow wide feeder as their first til they figure out that whole eating thing.
Then I go to wire or shavings after about a week. So that's all fine.

About the other man, or anyone really supplying eggs, birds can come down with some respiratory illnesses and survive. In surviving, they become carriers. That's not necessarily as bad as it sounds if the flock is a pet flock and you keep your eggs for your own birds and understand that if could crop up again. However, anyone selling hatching eggs and breeders has to understand that they're selling the disease if it's one of the ones that passes in the eggs (like M. gallisepticum does). So even if a flock doesn't have respiratory problems, that doesn't mean they never had.

Many fanciers who are serious about their chickens will get a sick bird tested from the flock and then decide whether or not to cull the chicks based on that result. Testing is a good idea for the more casual fancier as well (so you know what you're dealing with) although culling isn't as much of a necessity if we again keep a closed flock, don't breed for sale, and don't sell eggs for hatching. And then again - it could come back to haunt you, in theory.

As for them being the first flock, that's good - you don't have to worry about taking it out to another bird. Note that you can also bring these things home from visiting a neighbor's flock. And wild birds can carry them as well. But since these re inside... o problem there.

If they were mine, I'd watch them carefully today. Plan a trip to the feedstore and Walmart tomorrow to pick up the goodies. At the feedstore, look for a small bottle of VetRx. It's not amedication but a breathing aid and I feel it has a small antibacterial action topically. It's great as a tonic for birds with respiratory illness and helps keep their sinuses clear so they don't get infections.

It's possible that these babies had a little bit of a disadvantage, immune system wise, from the bobble in the hatching. But it's a good sign that they all did hatch - strong babies. So who knows..

Watch the poop - you might have Corid and/or Sulmet on hand just in case. I would also consider a Duramycin package to have on hand, although normally I'm certainly no fan of the stuff or antibiotic treatment until you know for sure that what you're seeing is bacterial rather than viral. Antibiotics and young chicks, together, are problematic.

is the medicated feed you are using is medicated with amproylium

and it sounds like that you may just have a case of e.coli in the chicks with the sneezing

as for the sheet it is not neccessary and they will or should get used to pine shavings
we used to hatch 3500 bantams a yr and always put them on pine shavings or play school sand and NEVER had a chick get impacted gut
some times when a chick is newly put on pine shavings they can be interested in them
but if you have several chick feeders and waterers spread around the area they should be okay

as for the sneezing it may have been due to the incubator cooling off as it would have in that length of time

now about all you can do is either put them on
duramycin 2 tsp per gallon for 10 days and see if that helps them get over the respiratory disease the are showing symptoms of

yes as for vetrx it can be put into the water with the duramycin
put 1 tsp per gallon of water
and do rub it on the heads and under the wings
also use 1/2 tsp of vetrx per chick by using the eye dropper and letting it go into the chicks beak
do this for a week also

do not go to others chickens or let others come to your chickens
biosecurity is important

give them the wet mash and vit's for two weeks as well as 10 days of duramycin

should do the trick
any questions email me
Thank you SOO much for the advice. I really appreciate it! I have so enjoyed watching them grow and play. I just want to make sure that I am going to get the right stuff tomorrow.

Duramycin into the water
Vetrx also in the water and topically
Vitamin E/Selenium mixed in a hard boiled egg

Thanks again!

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