4 week old chick losing weight, but unsure why . . .

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by graygiant, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. graygiant

    graygiant Out Of The Brooder

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    We have 5 chicks who are all 4 weeks old. Four are Buff Orpingtons and the fifth chick's breed is unknown--she came from my child's classroom at school.

    At week 2, everyone was doing fantastic.

    At week 3, classroom chick and 3 of the Orpingtons were doing great, but 1 of the Orpingtons became somewhat lethargic and began losing weight rather than gaining. She also had a tinge of blood in her droppings one day. The "chicken expert" at our local farm supply store told me to give them medicated water for 6 days (the medication is sulfadimethoxine) to treat them all for coccidiosis. Sick chick was still eating and drinking just as she always had. They are on chick starter but they have grit available at all times because they love going outside each day for short periods. We watch them very closely outdoors as there is a flock of vultures that enjoys watching them, too. Little chick has only ever eaten a fly that she caught. No other insects, no grass or other plant material. Everyone else pigs out on flies and nibbles on the tips of the grass blades.

    On day 2 of the medicated water, I didn't see her crop enlarging and had not been able to see her eating on her own. I made her some mash (just their starter with some of that medicated water). She loved it and for being lethargic and potentially not feeling well, she ate it pretty well for me off of a spoon. We also got some small meal worms for the others and when sicky saw them eating them, she went crazy and wanted out of our hands so she could get a mealworm, too. She ate 2 and was very happy with herself. She was really wanting to be held and cuddled, which I did for 1/2 hour and then she wanted down to get a drink and she also got some grit at that time. (She refused to take the grit even from my fingers immediately after eating the mealworm.) The next day, she seemed slightly less lethargic and a little more willing to eat the starter mash from the spoon. I watched to make sure she ate a bit of grit, also. Then, she pooped out her 2 mealworms . . . still intact, but darker in color than when they went in. Her poo was mostly watery with some white, but no sign of blood.

    By day 4 of the medicated water, her poo was back to normal--looked perfect. And she was wanting to move around with the others more when outdoors.

    Today is day 6 (the last day) of the medicated water, and sicky is much more energetic and is back to eating their dry starter and she drinks well and she gets grit on her own. Her poo still looks excellent.

    The problem is . . . she is still losing weight! Last week, she had lost 1/10th of an ounce . . . she was sick, so that makes sense. But, this week, she has lost another 2/10th of an ounce! I don't know how she's still kickin' to be honest. Everyone else's weight gain is fantastic. One of the other Orps is very small compared to the other chicks, but her weight gain is steady and she is happy and active.

    What can I do for little sicky to help her gain weight? I'm getting very worried about her. I have been watching them eat and no one is preventing her from eating . . . the 5 are actually getting along beautifully. Our biggest one sometimes steps on the others in her excitement to chase spots of light in the brooder and wandering flies, but everyone is being allowed free access to the food. I'm always prepared for baby animals to die--just in case . . . but, this is week 4 so it would be quite a shame to lose her after this long and with the improvements we've had now.
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    The only thing I can think off right now, that may help, would be to give her a little ACV (apple cider vinegar) in her drinking water, after finishing up the medicated water. I use a ratio of 5 tablespoons ACV to a gallon water, or roughly 1 teaspoon to a pint. This helps chicks and older chickens in numerous ways, with nutrient absorption, etc. Some extra high protein foods such mealworms, cooked eggs etc should hopefully help a bit too. Fingers crossed for the little one!
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Do what Sumi suggests plus get some Poultry Nutri-drench, a powerful vitamin formula just for chickens. It will jump start her digestive system if it's genetically normal. I say "normal" because she may be a failure to thrive victim with genetic abnormalities in her organs.

    I've also had huge success with such a chick as yours by feeding crumbled tofu sprinkled with Nutri-drench. I allow all the chicks to eat it so it stimulates the sickly one to want to compete for food. Feed it in addition to the crumbles.

    It sounds to me like your chick is fighting hard to make it. Maybe the Nutri-drench and tofu will get her over the hump and on her way.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. graygiant

    graygiant Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2016
    Thank you for the ideas! We'll get her started on those today. :)
     
  5. 16 paws

    16 paws Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would give scrambled eggs right away.
    Good luck
     
  6. graygiant

    graygiant Out Of The Brooder

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    I cooked up a scrambled egg first thing this morning and when it cooled off, I served it to the whole group together . . . at first they were all leary of it, so I offered each one a taste from my fingers. Space (named by the 7 year old) did take a taste, but she thought it was weird. The others got a taste and then went bonkers! They loved it! Space did get in there and grab a couple bites, but she didn't eat them. She just tasted them then left them. I pulled her out of the brooder and offered her a bite by hand to see if she just didn't want to bother with the commotion, but she still didn't want to eat it--just taste it. She also got several good swallows of water while I was watching (just plain water this morning as I have not purchased ACV yet--the nearest store is 20 miles from us). She then curled up in my 22 year old daughter's lap and took a long nap. When she awoke, she was the most active that we've seen her since before she got lethargic! She was just walking all over the place and exploring and checking out every shiny thing and gently pecking at my daughter's freckles . . . I'll keep offering her the scrambled eggs and also get the apple cider vinegar this evening when I have to be in town anyway, along with some tofu (which my daughter likes) and some Poultry Nutri-Drench.

    I explained to the little chick that in our family, it's survival of the fittest when you're an animal, but that I don't allow dying . . . maybe it meant something to her? [​IMG]

    I sure do appreciate everyone's advice! I'm sure I'll have many more questions before we get these girls raised up and probably still more once they're strong, healthy, adult chickens! [​IMG]
     
  7. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I second the Nutri-drench. If they have Pro-Bios powder (they should, it just may be in a different section), I would get that too as establishing a good colony of gut bacteria will help make most foods more digestible...and since the medication she just got finish shed with is an antibiotic(as well as having anti-protozoal effects), it may have wiped out any good bacteria that she had already. You can do ACV in am and PB in pm in everybody's water if you like.
     
  8. graygiant

    graygiant Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh, yes! Thank you for the reminder that probiotics are good to give after a round of antibiotics. :)
     
  9. graygiant

    graygiant Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi everyone! Just wanted to update you on our little Sicky . . . she's doing really well! We got vitamins & probiotics into her and today we're starting raw Apple cider vinegar. Everyone but her loves scrambled eggs! She still tastes them, but will not eat them! Ha ha ha!!! She is much more energetic & her chest has filled out a bit so I know she's gained weight. Today is "weigh day" so this evening, we'll know exactly how much. She's also far more spunky--she liked/wanted to be held . . . now that she's feeling better, she wants to be free! :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  10. graygiant

    graygiant Out Of The Brooder

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    I am so happy to report that Spacey has had a weight gain of 3.0 ounces since last week! Such a relief! Thank you again to each of you for your suggestions!
     

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