Baby chicks died symptoms are unclear

bruce springsteen

In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 16, 2008
I ordered 15 1 day old Polish chicks 1 week ago, 5 Silver laced, 5 white crown blacks, 5 golden laced. I recieved 16 from the supplier, 1 golden laced chick died a few hours after delivery. The chick seemed very groggy, could stand up but was always falling asleep and did not walk around much. Basically just acted very sleepy. It appeared to be taking deep short breaths and then it died (abut 3-4 hours after arriving).

The other 15 chicks have done very well, energetic and healthy looking until this morning another golden laced chick had the exact symptoms of the first one that died, it just seemed really sleepy. It would drink when I dipped its beak in the waterer but then it died. I saw no abnormal signs from any of the chicks last night so these symptoms came on quickly over night. I check them often throughout the day.

Is this normal that i would lose a couple chicks from a mail order like this or should I be taking more action than just wait and see. It seems as soon as I see any symptoms it is too late to do anything. They have fresh water 2 times a day and medicated chick starter feed. While they are small I am keeping them in the bathtub with a heat lamp that I change the elevation to keep the temp btwn 90 and 95 (95-98 when they first arrived). Is it a coincidence that the two that died are both gloden laced?

Please let me know if anyone has any advice if I am experiencing something unusual or if this is not to be unexpected. The rest of the chicks are full of energy and appear healthy right now.

Thanks in advance
I am sorry you have lost chicks.

It is not uncommon for there to be a loss of shipped chicks this time of they year. Chicks can easily get chilled during shipment which results in later loss of life.

That is one reason I never order chicks before May.
I have heard that it is "common to lose 5-10%" of hatchery orders although I doubt anyone on here experiences losses like that. Losing 1 or 2 chicks is not unheard of. They go through Heck with a capital H before they get to you. Very rough handling at the hatcheries to be sexed and separated and long VERY cold/hot (winter/summer) delivery routes etc. They ones that make it and are healthy and thriving are always such a miracle to me. I am really sorry you have lost two, I know it is heartbreaking, but more than likely all the rest will do just great. Enjoy em while they're little, they are so beyond cute!! And post pics, we would love to see them. Good luck!!
It's not unusual to have a couple of losses with shipped chicks.
If you lost ALL, then I'd be more concerned...

The "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" says "The typical death rate is 5%(!) or less during the first 7 weeks, up to half of which are likely to occur during the first 2 weeks."

Because Polish are a "light" breed, they have a bigger tendency to get stressed easier than say an Orpington or a Rhode Island Red.

If the others seem okay then I'd just keep doing what you're doing...
Just keep an eye on em.

Good luck and welcome to the wonderful world of Chickens.
This is my first time to ever order chicks and I did not know exactly what to expect. I was pretty sure that the first one that died either had something wrong with it from birth or it just had a really tough trip. The one that died today, about 5 days after they arrived was as energetic and healthy as the others last night so I assumed they had recovered from their trip.

I am just scared that I may have missed a sign that could affect the others.

Thank you for your response
Wow, three more responses while I was writing my last one. Thank you all so much for your advice, It puts my mind to ease a little more but I still hate to think of losing any of the little guys for whatever reason.

My little Polish friends and I are much appreciative.

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