Chicks bought from feed store dying over the last week--can't figure out what to do

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by moonflowerfarms, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. moonflowerfarms

    moonflowerfarms In the Brooder

    Jan 15, 2012
    Golden, CO
    Hi all,

    I got 25 chicks last Saturday from our local feed store. I've gotten chicks from them before with no problems, only a few losses. But these are not doing well at all. We lost the first one Saturday night some time, and I have lost 1-2 a day almost every day since then. I know they're getting sick when they huddle under the heat lamp and don't move much when I walk up to the brooder. The rest will run away. I've found that about 1 day after they start doing that, they die. I have a 9x4 foot brooder with lots of ventalation, warmth, water and food. Most of them walk around the space and scratch around doing normal chick things. But when I see some starting to huddle and not run away very quickly, I know they're about to be down. I've given them nutri-drench in their water (worked well for me last year when I had a lot I ordered from the hatchery with shipping stress), and cleaned everyone's pasty butts. The ones who die don't have pasty butts. I am figuring its contageous since it keeps happening a week after we got them. I went to the feed store today and the owner said that he hadn't had any problems, but some employees walked around the corner and said that a lot of customers had been calling and coming in saying they were loosing a lot of chicks. If the looks from that owner could kill...lets say I will be going to a different feed store from now on.

    But can anyone offer any suggestions on what it could be or what I should do? I'm thinking I should get some anti-biotics, but I don't know if I can get them here fast enough if I buy online, and we don't have a chicken vet nearby.
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    Do you know which hatchery the feed store ordered that batch of chicks from? How long they had been at the store before you bought them? Are their any odd poops? Eating and drinking fine?

    Is it possible you're brooder is contaminated with cocci? You can actually introduce it with your hands, clothes/shoes or any soil added to the brooder (if you add dirt for dust bathing, which I do and I've never had a problem). Did you feed medicated starter (some breeds/chicks don't seem to tolerate it all that well- like my Silkies, I've has issues everytime I've fed medicated feed to them, so I haven't for a looong time)? Any chance there is some bad feed hiding somewhere in the brooder? Is your whole brooder heated, or just one spot?
    It could be any number of things, really. But, I think I would start with a complete clean out of the brooder to make sure it isn't some kind of environmental thing (though likely not, since others are reporting lots of deaths too). Unfortunately, some chicks simply fail to thrive, as well. That could be an issue with the breeding stock at the hatchery, or with their incubation practices. Or, you could check and see if the specific hatchery the chicks came from has had a salmonella outbreak recently, though I have heard of any.
    Anyway, sorry you've lost some. That's never a fun thing to deal with, although it is an unfortunate part of raising chicks sometimes.
  3. moonflowerfarms

    moonflowerfarms In the Brooder

    Jan 15, 2012
    Golden, CO
    The ones who have been dying are younger--a week old today. The brooder is in our sunroom, and it has been very warm the last week. The one chillier day we had a heater in there in addition to the heat lamp. They move around freely with no bunching away or too near the heat. They have lots of water with nutri-drench in it, and Purina medicated food. The stools don't show any coccydosis. I don't think the brooder was sick, because I raised a bunch in there that were perfectly healthy last month. I cleaned it and spray bleached it and let it dry before setting it up again. I've lost chicks every time I've gotten them from the feed store, but never this many.
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I would make sure that they are TOTALLY ISOLATED from your other birds, coop, etc, because they may have a contagious disease. That would not be good, hope not. Contact the hatchery, and the store owner, and see what kind of response you get. If your set-up is good, something else is going on, either from the chicks, or from your flock, if not totally separate. Save and chill some dead/ dying chicks, and have them necropsied, hopefully by a poultry expert, as the state vet lab. Good luck! Mary
    1 person likes this.

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