Chicks dying... 3 in two days! HELP PLEASE


7 Years
May 30, 2012
North/west Michigan

I just picked up my (day-old) chicks from a local hatchery two days ago. They seemed fine when I got them home, all active and drank some water successfully. Temps in their brooder are hovering between 90 and 95, they have access to plenty of chick mash and water. I used dried grass clippings for bedding. They have been huddling under the lights just a little, mostly when they are sleeping, but they run around the enclosure too when they are up. Haven't found any poop clogging up their vents.

The morning after I got them, a Leghorn died - she seemed very tired and lethargic, I got her to drink just a little water, and died about half hour after I noticed her acting sick. Then today a RI red died with the same symptoms - just lying splayed out, not active at all. An Ameraucauna chick was also found dead this afternoon, looked like she maybe had been crushed but I didn't notice her showing those symptoms.

I know it's normal to lose a couple chicks but THREE IN TWO DAYS??!?! If anyone has advice or any ideas PLEEASE help me, I don't want to add any more chicks to my compost pile :(



9 Years
Sep 17, 2010
Olin, North Carolina
Hi, It is hard to tell what may be killing your chicks. Several things may be contributing to them dying.
* Occasionally chicks are just not healthy from the start.
* Grass clippings can possibly harbor pesticides, chemicals and diseases or parasites.
*Feed may be contaminated.
Some of the things I have learned through the years might help you with your next batch of babies. I will share them with you. I hope this helps.
Place your chicks in a brooder that is lined first with 3 or 4 layers of newspaper, but add a layer of paper towels on top of the newspaper on one end of the brooder. The towels provide secure footing.
Change the newspaper every day.
Add some non-medicated chick starter to the floor of the brooder.
For the first week, feed this chickie gator-aid recipe in the waterer. 1 quart of water, 2 Tbs. of sugar, a tiny dash of table salt and 1/4 pkg. of unsweetend Kool-aid. (They love orange, strawberry, grape, and cherry)
Place the brooder lamp to one side of the brooder so that the chicks can adjust themselves to the heat that they are most comfortable with.
Assemble a chick first aid kit for sick chicks~ I keep Corid, Tetroxy HCA 280 (Oxytetracycline) and Sulmet, in my kit. At the first signs of illness, separate any sick chicks into a separate smaller brooder (Chick ICU) and start the whole group on the chick gator aid with 1/8 tsp. of the above medications in their water. Be sure to place a small waterer in with your sick chicks. Most of the time, if you catch illness early enough, you might be able to save your chicks. Sometimes, no matter what you do, they still might die. Don't get discouraged if you loose them. Just try again.
I hope this helps.


10 Years
Jun 13, 2010
Admire, KS
I think I'd ditch the grass clippings and trade them for paper towels over newspaper or white bath towels over newspaper and then move to pine shavings at about a week. They might be eating the grass clippings (for which they are too young).

Chicks do die for no apparent reason, though.

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