Baby chick is extremely lethargic and breathing heavy

justinetaza

In the Brooder
Mar 6, 2017
3
0
40
Woodstock, GA
just picked up 5 assorted bantams probably about 5 days old. One seems much bigger than the rest and I suspect it’s not a bantam, however, she’s not doing well today. This is not my first time raising chicks. I have a large container, ventilated on top, shavings on the floor and a red heat bulb at a constant 90-95 degrees at one end. Free food/clean water at all times and plenty of space to roam and get out from under the heat bulb. That being said my other 4 bantams are doing perfect. Chirping and scratching about. After about 3 days I noticed my big girl sleeping on her side, breathing pretty heavy, and when I went to pick her up she’s limp but very much alive still. Even let out a chirp. I’ve removed her from right under the heat in case she was too hot, and offered her some electrolyte water but she will not drink. No one is picking on her or anything but she will not snap out of it. Occasionally I see her spaz like she’s trying to get up but cannot stand at all. What should I do?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,930
832
California's Redwood Coast
just picked up 5 assorted bantams probably about 5 days old. One seems much bigger than the rest and I suspect it’s not a bantam, however, she’s not doing well today. This is not my first time raising chicks. I have a large container, ventilated on top, shavings on the floor and a red heat bulb at a constant 90-95 degrees at one end. Free food/clean water at all times and plenty of space to roam and get out from under the heat bulb. That being said my other 4 bantams are doing perfect. Chirping and scratching about. After about 3 days I noticed my big girl sleeping on her side, breathing pretty heavy, and when I went to pick her up she’s limp but very much alive still. Even let out a chirp. I’ve removed her from right under the heat in case she was too hot, and offered her some electrolyte water but she will not drink. No one is picking on her or anything but she will not snap out of it. Occasionally I see her spaz like she’s trying to get up but cannot stand at all. What should I do?
Hi. :frow

Sorry your chick is having trouble. :(

Have you checked for pasty butt?

Gotta hold that babe in your hand, beak facing your forefinger and drip a drop of the electrolytes just below the nostrils and chick should gobble when it roll around into the mouth. The bend in my finger helps capture and direct the drops. I would try 2-3 drops/gobbles each 15 minutes until I see improvement. And if I have it a direct drop of liquid vitamins or poultry nutri drench.

How does the crop feel? Empty, full, hard, squishy? How's the poo? Are they on shavings?

BY the time I see this behavior, I usually consider it failure to thrive and cull instead of letting them slowly starve. Without serious intervention this chick will fail soon. And sometimes even when we do our best to help they will still fail. :barnie

For my bantams I crush my crumbles a little extra for a couple weeks.

:fl
 

justinetaza

In the Brooder
Mar 6, 2017
3
0
40
Woodstock, GA
Hi. :frow

Sorry your chick is having trouble. :(

Have you checked for pasty butt?

Gotta hold that babe in your hand, beak facing your forefinger and drip a drop of the electrolytes just below the nostrils and chick should gobble when it roll around into the mouth. The bend in my finger helps capture and direct the drops. I would try 2-3 drops/gobbles each 15 minutes until I see improvement. And if I have it a direct drop of liquid vitamins or poultry nutri drench.

How does the crop feel? Empty, full, hard, squishy? How's the poo? Are they on shavings?

BY the time I see this behavior, I usually consider it failure to thrive and cull instead of letting them slowly starve. Without serious intervention this chick will fail soon. And sometimes even when we do our best to help they will still fail. :barnie

For my bantams I crush my crumbles a little extra for a couple weeks.

:fl
Crop feels empty, they are on shavings. I have been dropping vitamin water into her beak, a drop or two about every 10 mins. She just seems like she’s fighting and hanging on but I feel you may be right about about failure to thrive. She seems to be crinking her neck to the left, but it will move freely when I go to pick her back up and doesn’t feel broken or anything. She’s just laying here breathing heavy.
Hoping she improves. Thank you for the advice.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,930
832
California's Redwood Coast
The heavy breathing may be symptom of the internal system failure. :(

What kind of vitamins are you using?

Empty crop, not pecking at food at 8-10 days old, can't survive. You can try tube feeding to get some energy on board. That's beyond my current skill set. And since I breed for vigor I won't go that far to save a chick as I don't want the weakness in my flock. But many have been successful at it, if it's important to you.

Some will use raw egg yolk as a last ditch effort, since that is what they survive on for a few days after hatch, it must have the nutrients to sustain them. Do this at your own discretion though, preferably from your own flock. I know salmonella might be a *possibility*... but if it's life and death already, I'm not sure you've got anything to lose.

Hope she is doing better, miraculous recoveries do happen sometimes! :fl
 

khind

Songster
7 Years
Jul 16, 2014
320
242
212
Norman, OK, USA
The heavy breathing may be symptom of the internal system failure. :(

What kind of vitamins are you using?

Empty crop, not pecking at food at 8-10 days old, can't survive. You can try tube feeding to get some energy on board. That's beyond my current skill set. And since I breed for vigor I won't go that far to save a chick as I don't want the weakness in my flock. But many have been successful at it, if it's important to you.

Some will use raw egg yolk as a last ditch effort, since that is what they survive on for a few days after hatch, it must have the nutrients to sustain them. Do this at your own discretion though, preferably from your own flock. I know salmonella might be a *possibility*... but if it's life and death already, I'm not sure you've got anything to lose.

Hope she is doing better, miraculous recoveries do happen sometimes! :fl
I know this is an old thread, but I'm waiting for answers and advice on my post. My 18 day old chick is breathing heavily, & its belly feels very full! but is eating and drinking. It's 90+ here. Since hatching (under a broody hen), this one has always been slower than the others in movement & kind of catching on to what everyone else is doing. And now today, labored breathing. No vets around will treat chickens. Do you have any ideas?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,930
832
California's Redwood Coast
I know this is an old thread, but I'm waiting for answers and advice on my post. My 18 day old chick is breathing heavily, & its belly feels very full! but is eating and drinking. It's 90+ here. Since hatching (under a broody hen), this one has always been slower than the others in movement & kind of catching on to what everyone else is doing. And now today, labored breathing. No vets around will treat chickens. Do you have any ideas?
Good morning!

Since the chick is eating and drinking.. it may just be a tad hot causing the heavy breathing. Be sure to keep an eye out for pasty butt.. as while many folks will swear it's caused by too hot of brooder... I HAVE seen it in broody hatched/raised chicks. The truth is it can be caused by any stress factor which could even be internal that we cannot see or assess... such as under developed organs, etc.

The thing about a chick that seems slower than others... it's the weakest link and will likely be the first to go IF there were a predator attack or illness/parasites, etc. These chicks may never catch up or be as strong as their brood mates. Even when everything goes right during incubation and hatch... someone HAS to get the cruddy genetics sometimes.

For ME (everyone has different situations).. I actively breed my birds with intent to improve or maintain my genetics.. So this chick would be on the short list to head to freezer camp once big enough or selling if it lays eggs well... as I don't want this type of weakness breeding forward in my flock. It's a hard line to draw... but ultimately any weakness invites predation and disease (internal and external parasites) to flock... survival of the fittest here.. TO a point. All are provided for very sufficiently. Nature, though beautiful can be quite brutal ultimately. :hmm

If you want to provide a boost to the overall immune system consider offering Poultry Nutri Drench in the water or Rooster Booster brand Poultry Cell product mixed into mash or on a treat... just to make sure they're at their full potential nutritionally... since that's the very base of all things health, after genetics. No supplement should be given more than 10 days in a row.

These suggestions and thoughts are presuming that you are using a flock raiser, all flock, or starter type feed that is adequate for the species and age you're working with... with oyster shell on the side for active layers if you have others.

Hope this helps answer some questions without being too negative. Please feel free to ask more questions if needed. Pics always welcome! ;)
 

khind

Songster
7 Years
Jul 16, 2014
320
242
212
Norman, OK, USA
Good morning!

Since the chick is eating and drinking.. it may just be a tad hot causing the heavy breathing. Be sure to keep an eye out for pasty butt.. as while many folks will swear it's caused by too hot of brooder... I HAVE seen it in broody hatched/raised chicks. The truth is it can be caused by any stress factor which could even be internal that we cannot see or assess... such as under developed organs, etc.

The thing about a chick that seems slower than others... it's the weakest link and will likely be the first to go IF there were a predator attack or illness/parasites, etc. These chicks may never catch up or be as strong as their brood mates. Even when everything goes right during incubation and hatch... someone HAS to get the cruddy genetics sometimes.

For ME (everyone has different situations).. I actively breed my birds with intent to improve or maintain my genetics.. So this chick would be on the short list to head to freezer camp once big enough or selling if it lays eggs well... as I don't want this type of weakness breeding forward in my flock. It's a hard line to draw... but ultimately any weakness invites predation and disease (internal and external parasites) to flock... survival of the fittest here.. TO a point. All are provided for very sufficiently. Nature, though beautiful can be quite brutal ultimately. :hmm

If you want to provide a boost to the overall immune system consider offering Poultry Nutri Drench in the water or Rooster Booster brand Poultry Cell product mixed into mash or on a treat... just to make sure they're at their full potential nutritionally... since that's the very base of all things health, after genetics. No supplement should be given more than 10 days in a row.

These suggestions and thoughts are presuming that you are using a flock raiser, all flock, or starter type feed that is adequate for the species and age you're working with... with oyster shell on the side for active layers if you have others.

Hope this helps answer some questions without being too negative. Please feel free to ask more questions if needed. Pics always welcome! ;)
Thank you for your reply and for taking the time to share your thoughts. This poor chick has passed on.
I actually read your comment a couple of days after you posted it, and replied on my phone, but maybe my phone signal was bad because I see no reply from me here.
I agree with your thinking on the big picture. My thoughts were if it were not something simple like heat exhaustion, for example, but were something like a respiratory illness or bacterial infection, the latter two could either infect the rest of the flock and/or might not be curable, just controllable (from what I'd read... and I actually can't remember for certain all the diseases I read about after all these days have passed, but ascites and aspergillosis (sp?) are the ones I can remember for sure). And if it were a genetic defect like an organ issue, that chick would always be vulnerable. And if something is just controllable but will recur, or causing a high vulnerability, I was prepared to respectfully send the poor chick on out of this life. This chick actually had seizures later after I posted. And, as I said, the chick ultimately passed.
Anyway, I might post again in the future in this thread about what all transpired, and give other details about bedding and so on, as it would undoubtedly be instructive for me and maybe for others. For now, thankfully the other 4 are still doing very well... except for a side note: I have a hunch that 2/4 are roosters, and I already have 1 in a very small flock. :( Sigh. But that's a whole other topic.
Thank you again. :)
 

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