Chick just died in my hand -- Sick, Cold, Trampled, Or ??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by thunderpumpkin, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. thunderpumpkin

    thunderpumpkin New Egg

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    Jan 26, 2017
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    Hi all, New to posting here, but I appreciate all the insight I've gathered from these forums in the past. Now I have a question of my own:

    Yesterday I received my 26 chicks in the mail, all happy and healthy looking (that would make them 4 days old today). They did fine all day, seemed to find their food and water easily, and looked warm and healthy last night when I went to bed. When I went out this morning, one was lying sprawled on its side near the heat lamp, basically looking dead. But on closer examination it was still breathing, so I picked it up and tried holding it closer to heat lamp, in case it was just cold. Eyes shut, whole body was kind of floppy feeling, little frequent breaths, occasionally it would writhe around a bit then flop back down. After about 20 minutes of that, I tried giving it a little warm water by resting the side of its beak in a spoon, which it immediately drank a sip, put its head back, gulped, writhed a little more, then died.

    It didn't seem to match any disease description I could find; it was cold out last night (about 40F in the garage where their box is), but I found it the same distance from the heat lamp as the rest of the chicks, so it doesn't seem like a cold issue; they were all vaccinated for Marek's at the hatchery; I'm feeding medicated chick starter for coccidiosis; I think I've done everything the books and forums say to keep them healthy. Do these symptoms sound familiar to anyone? Is it possible the others just trampled it in the night?

    Super sad to lose a baby, but I accept that these things happen. I would mainly like to know whether I need to do some serious disinfecting and/or monitoring of the rest of the chicks, or anything else I can do to prevent this from happening again. Your input is much appreciated!
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    Some chicks just aren't going to make it. There could always be something internal, physical or physiological, that makes a chick's clock run out within the first week. Just keep an eye on the rest of them. It sounds like you are doing everything right; just be sure of your temps there in the brooder since you have them out in the garage.

    I do also use a vitamin/electrolyte/probiotic mix in the water for the first week.
     
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  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Sorry you lost the baby chick. [​IMG] At that age it is really hard to diagnose what might have gone wrong. Most likely it was just a little weaker than its nest mates and didn't handle the trip well. There was probably nothing that could have been done - sometimes at that young age you just simply get a chick or two with a weaker constitution than the rest.
    On an unrelated note, I see this is your first post on BYC. If you'd like, pop on over to the New Members Forum in the link below and introduce yourself so we can give you a proper BYC welcome!
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/44/new-member-introductions
     
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  4. thunderpumpkin

    thunderpumpkin New Egg

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    Jan 26, 2017
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    Yes, survival of the fittest, as they say. [​IMG]

    Maybe you can check my heat lamp placement: The brooder box (a few large cardboard boxes taped together with inner walls removed) is large enough that they can move away from the heat when needed, and the heat lamp is close enough to the ground that there's usually a small area right under it where they don't go. They tend to huddle in a ring around it. I figured that at least for the night, it would be better to have that too-warm space in case they need it. That wouldn't cause other problems would it?
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Sorry for your loss. [​IMG]

    I think trampling sounds like the obvious answer. It can happen so fast with this size of broods. Maybe it got knocked down and well... sometimes it's hard to get back up with rambunctious chicks jumping on all your soft parts. The floppy feeling was exhaustion for the passing chick.

    I wouldn't worry about sanitizing as it really doesn't sound like illness. Unfortunately I lost one to trampling in a brood that size last year at almost two weeks. [​IMG]

    I also provide electrolyte water for shipped chicks the first week or so.... Recipe is: 2 cups warm water, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and baking soda. Stir until dissolved and serve full strength. White sugar can be substituted. If I have it I add a few drops of Poly Vi Sol with NO iron baby vitamins to this solution. Plus... a boiled smashed egg won't hurt them at all and might even help.

    Don't forget to keep a check for pastey butt! Especially for shipped chicks as it is very deadly. And your brooder should have a place where the chicks can be cool away from the heat. Chicks will peep loudly and huddle if too cold. Or they will pant if too warm. As long as you have enough variation for them, they will heat up as needed and play in the cool area. The feed stores get their chicks shipped to, but they absorb the losses before the public gets access most of the time.

    I also highly recommend that you bring in a dish of dirt from your yard for them to play in as it helps them to build immunity to the bacteria while they still have strong immune system. For that matter... I highly recommend getting them out to pasture as young as possible... when it isn't raining or high winds. I would even move the whole heat box out in an enclosure where they could access the ground. My youngest chicks to pasture were 3 days old (not shipped), and also the fastest developing because of it. Much more well adjusted. And as a bonus, the more time on pasture... the less brooder cleaning needed. [​IMG]

    To be clear... the medicated feed has a thiamine blocker agent (amprolium)that inhibits the growth of Cocci which is always present in chick poo. It may be effective enough... but doesn't guarantee anything. Keeping the water clean and bedding dry is of utmost importance. My first time with a brood that large... I didn't realize the shavings were wetter underneath than they appeared on top, until I had to treat for Cocci. Then by investigation, I was shocked at the moisture present.... and the chicks love to bury their beaks inside the shavings when they settle down to sleep. Point being, don't let your guard down even though you are using medicated starter.

    Your user name is fun! Hope you enjoy BYC as much as I have. And congrats on your new flock! [​IMG]
     
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  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Heat lamp have zones of heating... why you see chicks all at a specific range. As long as they can all fit within the zone, they should be fine. Different bulbs actually put out different shapes of the heat band. It usually shows it on the back of the package... if you have to buy a replacement ever you can buy the one you think is best. If you are using white right now... I suggest switching to red. You wouldn't believe the difference it makes in the calm of the brood.

    If the trampled one got stuck in the extra hot zone and couldn't move out, sure it would contribute. I don't see pics. But your description sounds good for your brooder. And also... your death rate sounds pretty good for shipped chicks. I always try to keep an eye out for anybody who seem extra sleepy.... those are the ones that often need help.
     
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  7. thunderpumpkin

    thunderpumpkin New Egg

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    Jan 26, 2017
    Northern California
    Thanks for the electrolyte recipe! Will do that today!

    I have been checking for pasty butt -- no sign so far. Had to deal with it in my first batch of chicks a few years ago.

    I like the dirt idea! Maybe when they're just a tad older. Problem is it's all mud right now. Could try drying it in the oven, but would that kill off the very bacteria I'd be wanting to expose them to?

    Thanks for all the info!
     
  8. thunderpumpkin

    thunderpumpkin New Egg

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    Jan 26, 2017
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    Yes, my heat lamp is red. But it's a few years old, so I might go get a second one today so I can stop worrying about the first one burning out. Thanks!
     
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Good to have a second one. I noticed in the reptile section is where I saw all the ones with either a larger warm area and smaller hot or vice versa.

    We have mostly mud to.... don't know about the drying it in the oven. But would at least bring some in to dry inside. Under our eaves and just a few inches down our dirt is still wet but no quite mud. but we are sandy being on the coast so it dries fast here.

    Good to see the sun after the past couple weeks. The outside portions of my covered runs are major mud.
     
  10. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Type up (Mama chick heating pad) way better then a heat lamp.
     

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