Baby chicks itching/scratching - what do I do?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BWchicken, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2009
    My 12 bantam chicks arrived Wednesday from MyPetChicken. After treating a few sticky butts and a little shipping stress, all are now very lively and seem healthy. But now, at 4 days old they've started scratching themselves like crazy. They scratch their faces/necks especially, but also their chests, wings, and hips. It seems to have started all at once. I have black chicks and white chicks so I figure if there were lice or mites, I could see them. And I've repeatedly checked them extremely closely from head to toe, down to the skin and I see nothing at all on their down or skin.

    They are in a new brooder (very large cardboard box) never used before, and are in the house. I use a 100-watt red heat lamp and they seem comfortable with the temperature. They're on layers of paper towels with aspen shavings underneath and they have fresh water and medicated feed available at all times.

    The only thing I did different today was when I changed out the paper towels, I took them out of the brooder and they were in a smaller box without the heat lamp for about 4 or 5 minutes. The temperature inside the room was about 85. That was about 10 hours before the itching started. If they were chilled, could that have made them itchy? Or do baby chicks normally itch at this age when their wing feathers are starting to come in?

    I'm also wondering if chicks can have inhalation allergies that causes itching like dogs do? Like scents from perfumes, soaps, etc.
    I appreciate any suggestions or ideas on what is going on with my babies.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  2. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Hopefully some of the BYC experts will have an answer for you. I have never used Aspen. I have always used Pine Shaving that I get in the pet stores or pet department in retail stores. I have never noticed my chicks scratching. Only a thought.
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Feathers growing in are definitely itchy. I recall mine doing a fair amount of preening, too.

    But then I've heard of birds getting mites from shavings bought at the pet store. Some mites live in the bedding, feed on the birds at night, and then hop back off, so you wouldn't necessarily be able to see them.

    You could discard the box and the bedding (including any leftover bedding from the same bag) and start over with fresh materials. I can't think of anything else to do.
  4. Sugar Sand Farm

    Sugar Sand Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Florida
    When I first got chicks someone on here asked that question. I forget who advised but they said to put alittle sand in a box for them to use as a dirt bath. It helps with the scratching. Also if you have any DE put some in the sand and it will also help. I know when I put fresh sand in my brooders that the first thing they all do .
  5. walkerchic

    walkerchic New Egg

    Mar 20, 2013
    I know this thread is a few years old but.....when buying bedding from pet stores it is always a good idea to freeze it over night first. This will kill any lice or mites. I learned the hard way, with my chics but with my sons pet rat.
    1 person likes this.

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