6 week old chick not growing, clicking when breathing, bubbles too!


Crazy for Cochins
10 Years
Apr 24, 2009
Tab, Indiana
Ok, I have a 6 week old chick, a Bantam Cochin mixed with, I believe it's Bantam Buff Orpington, and my Silkie hen hatched the chick out in the coop. When the hen was getting bullied a little too much for my liking (by overly amorous boys), I brought her and her chick inside. They've been inside ever since because the chick is not growing fast at all, and after 6 weeks all the feathers it has are the ones on it's wings. So maybe 4 to 6 feathers total. When the chick breathes, you can hear a clicking noise, and on occasion we've seen bubbles coming out of it's mouth, nose AND eyes after it has drank. It peeps like mad, is super friendly, and loves to snuggle. It's eating and drinking good. I can't put it out in the coop, it's cold now, and the chick gets so cold so easy. Can anyone tell me what could be causing these symptoms. I've read about a lot of problems in chicks, and I suspect that there is a hole between the esophagus and trachea, and that it gets liquid in it's lungs when it drinks too much too fast. This chick likes to stuff it's crop til it can barely stand up. Could this be a genetic defect? I see no mucus discharge, so I don't think it's a cold. What chances does this chick have? It's so sweet, I don't want to lose it, but it always seems like the super sweet ones are just not meant to be here for very long. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.
What is it eating? I don't have bantams, so I don't know what they eat and when, but I am inclined to think maybe an increase in protein would aid in feather growth.

You know the chick better than we do, so if you suspect it has a genetic/congenital defect then you are probably right. It sounds to me like you may have a "failure to thrive" chick, and as you know, that doesn't usually end well. I don't know how much time and resources you are willing to put into a chick with a (possible) major defect. The defect that you are thinking the chick has is not something it can survive with long term. It will eventually succumb to aspiration pneumonia.

I think you need to decide if the chick's quality of life is high enough to warrant intervention. I, myself, would cull the chick before it has to suffer through the bout(s) of illness that are probably looming on the horizon. If you feel the chick is not suffering then maybe you could try to prolong its life, but as I said earlier a hole between the trachea and esophagus is not a fixable/curable condition and will ultimately lead to its demise.

Good luck. I am sorry I couldn't help more.
Well, since the chick is inside, it eats everything, lol. Tonight it got spinach and mushroom pizza. It gets feed, bread, pancakes, you name it, and it eats it all. Should I raise it's protein levels? Right now the chick is feisty, friendly, and seems happy, so I see no reason to cull it. It doesn't appear to be suffering, it's just scary after it has eaten a whole lot or drank a whole lot. I've had more than a handful of the "failure to thrive" chicks, and I agree, most do not turn out very well, but I do give them their fair chance. This one appears to be doing better than some of the other ones in the past as far as mobility and "spunk". It's just not as big as a typical Bantam chick it's age, and it's still completely covered in down. I think I'll try to increase it's protein intake and see if that helps.
Flock grower formulas are frequently higher in protein, especially those made for game birds. I'd look at some of those and get the formula with the highest protein percentage. Adding some yogurt, scrambled eggs and BOSS to the diet would also be good for added protein.
Thanks. I'll start upping her protein tomorrow. I still can't tell after 6 weeks if it's a boy or a girl cause the comb hasn't grown, but it isn't aggressive, so I lean toward girl. I'll up the protein levels and see if she starts getting some feathers and grows at all. I appreciate your help.

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