chicks dying after being perfectly healthy

Minniechickmama

Senora Pollo Loco
12 Years
Sep 4, 2009
7,135
704
431
Minnesota
I just got 10 chicks from a very well-known breeder the other day. I know they came from a good healthy place. The 2nd morning I went down to the brooder in the basement, plenty of room, plenty of warmth but plenty of space to get out of the heat lamp, plenty of food and water with minerals and vitamins, even gave each one a small drop of PolyViSol when I notice the first one was getting weak. So, I went down and saw the first sickie on its back and gasping. I picked it up and put it on its feet again, gave it the drops, made sure it got a little water and left. I came back later and it had died. It was not trampled or anything, just laying there dead. Now, I have a Standard Brahma who has been the healthiest looking chick and has been running around and barging in on the food and water and doing just great. Then this morning, it was laying on its back gasping too.
What gives? What would cause these perfectly healthy little fluff balls to just turn downhill? Any thoughts, please share. I did look into Congential Tremors, but that doesn't seem to fit, there are no tremors or twitching of any kind, just the gasping. When I pick them up they can walk a little and wobble and can start to cheep a little too.
Thanks for any ideas.
 

ranchhand

Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
13,295
90
291
SC
What kind of bedding are they on?
PolyViSol without Iron?
Feed?
Actual temps?
How well ventilated is the basement? No leakage from furnace, cooking fumes?

Sorry, just wool gathering to see if something pops up.
 

bock

Songster
11 Years
Oct 10, 2008
2,281
26
191
Northern CA
This is happening to me too. Out of my 24 chicks, 14 have died and 2 more are dying right now. Someone else suggested Congenital Tremors, but I am still not sure. It is really horrible to deal with, I feel for you!
 

chickenmadnessainmind

Chirping
8 Years
Feb 19, 2011
101
1
99
The lying down and gasping thing has happened to me before but none died it was due to high temperature! so i reckon its that
smile.png
 

Gypsy07

Songster
9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
2,286
70
193
Glasgow, Scotland
Quote:
The first ones died when it was 94F in the brooder. I raised the temp to 97F, and they are still dying.
idunno.gif


97F!?!?! I'd say that was WAY too high. When I used to use heat lamps (I've swapped to Brinsea EcoGlows now), if my chicks were healthy and bright looking, I'd start them at 95F and lower it to 90F at the end of the first day. IMO a lot of people keep their chicks far too hot for far too long.
 

ranchhand

Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
13,295
90
291
SC
I have to agree, which why I asked for specific temps. I start mine at 90F, and reduce from there. I have reduced temps so fast one would cringe to think of it- never have had a problem, though.
 

bock

Songster
11 Years
Oct 10, 2008
2,281
26
191
Northern CA
I have always read and been told to start chicks between 95 and 100 degrees.
idunno.gif
Then you lower it 5F every weak.

Here is a paragraph from MY Pet Chicken about caring for chicks:

A heat source
Baby chicks need to be kept pretty hot. Think sauna! The first week of their lives they require an air temperature of about 95 degrees, the second week 90 degrees, and so on - going down by 5 degrees per week until they're ready to transition to "outside". A 250-watt infrared heat lamp is the best way to achieve this, placed right in the middle of their living area and suspended off the ground. The height of the light will depend on what it takes to achieve your target temperature.

We recommend a red heat bulb for a few reasons: one, with a bright white light constantly glaring it can be hard for them to sleep. The red light is darker and provides them some respite. Two, red lights help prevent them from pecking one another. We sell both red and white heat bulbs plus the brooder lamps.

Pay close attention to how your chicks behave. If they're all crowded together directly under the heat source, they're cold. Lower the heat lamp or add another one. If they're around the edges of the brooder, avoiding the heat and each other like the plague, they're too hot! Raise the heat lamp. A happy flock will happily be exploring all around the brooder.

And please do not listen to anyone that tells you a regular old 60 watt bulb will suffice! We've seen chicks die from this bad advice. They really need a lamp intended to produce heat, and as we've mentioned, we recommend the 250-watt variety.
 
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