Behavior prior to death questions

birdlover

Songster
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
1,770
15
183
Northern Va.
Hi,
I posted elsewhere that I received an order of assorted bantam chicks from McMurray the other day and all but 8 were dead out of an order of 25. 3 of the 8 were not doing well. I kept them in the bedroom with me and basically tended to them through the wee hours of the morning. The first one began to bend it's neck/head back over it's back and died shortly thereafter. The second one started bending it's neck but it also would have peeping fits and thrash around from time to time. I began to realize she was suffering and wanted to put her out of her misery. I couldn't bring myself to wring its neck and I didn't have auto starter fluid. It was 4:30 a.m. So, I wrapped it in a clean cloth, put it in a plastic bag and proceeded to run over it with my car. I know it sounds horrible but it was instantaneous on the chick's part and I wanted to end its suffering. Then, I went back in the house and the last chick was bending it's neck over its back. I did the same thing with that one.
What I want to know is, is it normal for a chick that is about to die to go into such a strange posture? I am assuming the other chicks got cold during shipment and died and these were almost dead and couldn't be revived. The whole thing was a nightmare!! It was my first time to put down chicks...hopefully, my last. Anyway, any feedback about their behavior prior to death would be appreciated. TIA

Ellen
 

Chicabee19

Songster
11 Years
Aug 8, 2008
2,585
12
189
n/a
Ellen, I am so sorry you had to bring yourself to do that. It must have been very difficult for you.

The chicks must have all gotten too cold or something. The neck bending thing sounds like maybe a seizure prior to death.

I would call the hatchery right away and report all the details. I have heard others say their batch was replaced in similar circumstances.

 

birdlover

Songster
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
1,770
15
183
Northern Va.
Thanks for your quick reply, chickabee! hmmm A seizure...never thought of that. Thank God, the other 5 are okay so far but a pitiful number of survivors.
 

KellyHM

Crowing
11 Years
Sep 10, 2008
7,097
35
289
Lakeland, FL
If they were truly having seizures it could be a disease you're dealing with. I'd keep a close eye on the others.
 

verthandi

Songster
12 Years
May 18, 2007
1,391
10
184
Maine
Are they getting any vitamin's by any chance? Sometime the behavior you are describing can be caused by a vitamin/mineral deficiency. I'm sorry you are having such a sad time with the new chicks
 

birdlover

Songster
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
1,770
15
183
Northern Va.
verthandi,

Thanks for your post. I don't see how they could have had a vitamin deficiency when they were only 2 days old. My thought is, they had been affected by the cold, or whatever made the others die en route, and just died later. I wish I could have saved them. I gave them sugar water and made sure they were warm. Didn't know what else to do.
 

mypicklebird

Songster
11 Years
Aug 8, 2008
1,234
15
151
Sonoma Co, CA
Report the problem to the hatchery immediately, they will likely replace, or at least offer a ' in store' refund and apply it to your next order. They did that for me with my single chick that died in transit earlier this year. They want your repeat business, and will make it right.

The hatchery/post office recommends that you open the box at the post office annex (or where ever you pick it up) so you can know immediately if anyone arrives dead and can report it immediately. If the hatchery is not having any issues currently, likely they got exposed to something in transit. Chemical/gas/who knows. 2 days is not long enough for a deficiency as they are still living off of yolk. If the breeders were unhealthy, the chicks usually are too weak to hatch, not dying at day 2. The big hatcheries take good care to feed their breeders well and use burd that are not too old. Could be a bacterial brooder problem-- but then they would know that already (they hatch out vast quantities of eggs)- due to other deaths being reported- so they will be able to tell you when you call.
If you have any refrigerated bodies left, or another chick dies- you can have the remains tested by the state lab. This is typically free, but you have to get the bird there.
 

dlhunicorn

Human Encyclopedia
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
4,870
46
251
If their body has gone below a certain temp then their organs start shutting down...fluids are unable to correct the electrolyte imbalance the the posture you see is often one at death (due to result of dehydration)
 

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