Chick Not Able to Stand Upright


11 Years
Oct 7, 2008
Horsetown USA
I have a 3 day old chick who stands and walks for a few seconds and then crouches down and rests its head on the ground.

It has not eaten as far as I know, I have tried hardboiled egg yolk. I have dunked its beak in the water but the bird does not do any of this on its own.

It had a messy butt but I cleaned it and applied vaseline.

It chirps and runs around but not for very long.

What could be the problem?
I'm thinking he doesn't understand eating, maybe? Can you make a wet mash from his chick food? Is he alone? Try grinding the chick food finer and sprinkle it around.
Chicks sure do sleep alot, and they just fall over and sleep.
I've never had a chick refuse yogurt on my finger.
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I will try anything at this point. This chick is alone in a brooder. We had it on newspaper but he was sliding too much so now he is on wire with a washcloth bed. Sometimes I will come in to check on him and he is laying flat on his back, he doesn't try to get up he just waits for me. He looks like he is sun bathing. I laugh but I am thinking there is something wrong.
You only have one? And you have heat over him? He just sounds extra weak and tired. They will normally run around all over the place and randomly fall asleep. It worried me at first but all the newly hatched chicks do it. They'll fall asleep standing up and just start to pitch head first before either jerking awake or ending up practically face planting and sleeping where they land. They shouldn't be doing it that much by 3 days though unless they are weakened by something. Try scattering some food around on the floor and then tap it with your finger. Do the same with the water. Especially if you only have one. They will copy your motion and peck. The last chicken hatch I had one really active one that would just go ballistic when I tapped anything and attack my finger and whatever I was tapping. His excitement got all the others going so they learned to peck at and eat or drink things. With my buttons I just hatched I had 2 weaker ones I had to seperate out and show them what to peck at many times before they got it and dipping their beaks didn't really help. It got them a drink for the moment but didn't teach them how to get water themselves. Tapping at it worked much better.
sounds like it might be spraddle legged. (and lonely) as far as getting it to eat, try tapping the food like a beak pecking like his mother would teach him to eat. Try softly flicking the food around under its beak so it will instinctively peck at a moving object. Dip its beak in water just in case it is thirsty, and if it is spraddle legged, keep it in a cup for an hour or so at a time, and over night. Might help it to get its legs under it and strengthen the right muscles. I have one like that right now, just hatched this morning. After spending the afternoon in a cup it has gotten up several times and eaten already and run several inches before crouching down. Looks like it might make it okay. Good luck with yours. Also, I am helping it a little bit by holding its legs under it right next to the water when i think of it so it can drink without losing its balance.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but please don't be surprised if this baby doesn't make it. It sounds exactly like a baby that I'm working with right now. My experience is this...if the baby doesn't start eating and drinking ON IT"S OWN within 24 hours of hatching, there is something wrong. You can keep dunking it's beak every few hours, but short of opening it's beak and forcing in wet feed (hard to do) you cannot make it eat. After 3 days, it no longer has any stores of nutrition and unless it begins to eat and drink soon, it will not survive. Sorry....I'm going through it right now too.
I have a chick like that I just saved. But I didn't wait three days to start treating so if you care about the chick you should start treating immediately. What I did is I mixed a little dry milk with water, a pinch of sugar, and three drops of Polyvisol, which is an infant vitamin formula (you can buy it at Wal-Mart, etc.). I then turned the chick over in my hand so that its beak was pointing upwards and dropped the mixture into its beak a tiny bit at a time with an eyedropper. About 3/4 full eyedropper at a time, a few times a day. If you don't have an eyedropper you can probably do it with your finger. After about a week of this, she was running around like a normal chick. After that I gave her wet dog food smashed up real good and she loved it! I also got her a friend....another chick from a neighbor.....cuz she was peeping real loudly whenever I put her down. Best thing I could have done for her. She is now four weeks old, eating and drinking normally, growing quickly, feathering out, running around like a knucklehead and generally having a ball being alive. Incidentally, I didn't get much help on this board when my chick was first born so sometimes you just have to go for it without waiting for the "experts." I don't pretend to be an expert but if I know the answer, I will help in any way I can.
Thank you all so very much for the advice and instruction. Sorry to say though that this little chick didn't make it. I tapped my fingers like there was no tomorrow but he wasn't interested. We're sad!

I am so glad to have found you all though! Again thank you!

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