4 week old Houdan chick dead, GRAPHIC PICS, help??????


10 Years
May 3, 2009
Rio, WV
First, I'm sorry about the graphic pics of the dead chick but I thought perhaps they would help.

I lost one of my Houdan chicks today. It was fine about 2 hrs earlier and when I checked on it, it was lying dead on its stomach, legs stretched back and out, dead. It was 4 weeks old yesterday, appeared healthy, eyes clear, no nasal drainage or respiratory problems, poop normal, eating and drinking fine, no lethargy. It was active just like the other chicks in the same brooder.
I lost 2 Polish chicks from the same brooder at 1 wk old and 2 weeks old the same way. I posted about those chicks and it was suggested that I not use medicated feed, otherwise no real resolution about why they died. I stopped using medicated feed immediately. I have been using non-medicated poultry starter feed and they have access to fresh water all the time, the brooder is in the house so I check on them frequently, the temp under the heat lamp is 90-95' and they can go elsewhere in the brooder where it is cooler.
I have raised Silkie and Frizzle chicks and never have any deaths occur like this. Even Call ducklings, without any sudden suspicious deaths. Someone previously suggested necropsy. I don't think this is viral or a danger to my other chicks/chickens. These are the only chicks I have been losing. I have hatched out over 50 Silkie and Frizzle chicks this spring without any problems and about 30 Rhode Island Red chicks also. So I really didn't want to have to go that route.
The 2 Polish chicks I lost had nothing visibly wrong with them. The Houdan had an area on its back that never feathered out correctly and the toes count was wrong, see pics below. The missing feathers have not been plucked or fallen out, they were never there. You can see some tips of new feathers growing and thought it was odd but figured they would eventually come in.



The abdomen where the yolk sac would have absorbed looked damp and puffy. At 4 weeks old it shouldn't be noticable.

The vent looks normal and the poop normal.

Eyes and nose clean.


10 Years
May 26, 2009
who wants to know?
oh my
im sorry about that..thats sad

i think that chick probly wouldnt have been very healthy if it had lived to become an adult
i think there was just something wrong with it
but do keep an eye on the other's...


9 Years
May 29, 2010
Visalia, CA
Wow. I am sorry too, but I have an idea. Open their beaks (both dead and alive) and see if they have any strange odors or whiteish patches growing in there. Often birds on medicated feed are susceptible to Candidiasis because the medicated feed kills off their 'normal flora' or healthy bacteria that lives on the body and keeps fungus at bay. The same thing happens when you take a lot of antibiotics and end up with a yeast infection of sorts. After a horrible experience with hand feeding parrots with medicated feed I swore that I will never use it again.


15 Years
Nov 27, 2007
Dover TN
There is one thing that glares at me.

The abdomen where the yolk sac would have absorbed looked damp and puffy. At 4 weeks old it shouldn't be noticable.

This would indicate to me your problems were not caused by anything you did. The fact you have raised many chicks with no incident, indicates to me you are fully capable of raising healthy chicks. From what I've read on BYC, Houdan and Polish tend to be weaker breeds. Guess what? They are the only ones you lost.

I know the experience is heartbreaking, but you did your best.
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9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
I hate to say it, but do u have a dog? This is what my chicks looked like when my dog got them
..... (Not saying it is what happened, just thought maybe rule it out?)


10 Years
May 3, 2009
Rio, WV
Thanks for the comments and support. I guess I pretty much figured out the Polish and Houdans are more difficult. But its just so frustrating since they seemed to be doing so well. The remaining 2 Houdans have all their feathers and correct toes and they all, including the Polish, look healthy.

I checked there mouths, no white patches.

It couldn't have been caused by any dogs or cats as the chicks are inside a locked brooder and nothing can get to them.

Thanks again. It feels better to have someone to discuss this with.

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