Day Old Success Rate Question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by howtogrowanegg, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. howtogrowanegg

    howtogrowanegg Out Of The Brooder

    32
    0
    22
    Mar 4, 2009
    Vermont
    Hi All,

    Good new and bad news ... yesterday got our first chicks ... 22 (ordered 10 Australorps and 10 Easter Eggers). Obviously got a couple extra. One was doa. So given 21 we had one that was definitely lethargic. I tried making sure she got as much water as possible.

    Within 12 hours we lost 3. Then over night lost another 2. 2 more this morning show signs of weakness. I've tried with droppers of water and they swallow, but don't really seem to perk up. The losses have mostly been the Easter Eggers. Are they more fragile?

    This seems like a very poor (unlucky) chick success rate. Is this normal? What kind of success rate do others have? I'm going to call the hatchery this morning and see what they say, too.

    Brooder (in our living room) has been warm enough ... temps of 90+ with a 250 watt red bulb. I've been checking for pasty butt and cleaned as necessary.

    Water has been changed a couple of times (I've used ACV). Paper towels have been changed a couple of times already, too.

    Not sure if I've done something wrong or just got some very stressed chicks.

    Something I thought was odd was the shipping box lid had most of the poop on it, implying the box was turned over most of the time. The chicks were in transit for only a day ... they shipped on 3/30 and got them at 7:15am on 3/31.

    I'm taking it worse than the kids. Any body have any suggestions or comments?

    Thanks,

    Scott
     
  2. HidingInTheHenHouse

    HidingInTheHenHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    393
    4
    131
    Jun 21, 2008
    Indianapolis
    Sounds like they were stressed during shipping. If they were exposed to too much heat or too cold, that can stress them enough that some will die for a few days after you get them. I've only had that happen once. Usually, they arrive with none or only one DOA, and the others do fine. I would definitely inform the hatchery. Also, see for how long they refund for dead c h i c k s since some will only refund losses for 24 hours after arrival, while other will refund losses up to 72 hours after arrival. If enough die, and the hatchery is a good one, they will send replacement c h i c k s.

    Do you have a vitamin/mineral supplement? I usually put that in the water for the first couple of weeks just to get them off to a good start. Also, I will give them sugar water, no food for an hour after they arrive, then replace with the vit/min water and c h i c k crumbles.
     
  3. howtogrowanegg

    howtogrowanegg Out Of The Brooder

    32
    0
    22
    Mar 4, 2009
    Vermont
    Thanks HidingInTheHenHouse,

    I just called the hatchery. She insisted we make sure the brooder is at 95 degrees.

    The chicks are not directly under the light. Should they be?

    I'm pretty sure that where the chicks are hanging out is at least 90 - 95 degrees -- according to our thermometer.

    We are using a "home made" brooder of a kids small plastic swimming pool (48") with card board for the sides. Most of the chicks are either running around eating / drinking or sleeping. But now we're paranoid whether or not they are sleeping or just weak. If we try to wake them most chirp and go scurrying off so I think they are OK.

    She also commented that the lid on the box should not have had much poop on it.

    How do I insist on replacements when she is trying to claim that we don't have the brooder temperature correctly at 95 degrees?

    Thanks,

    Scott
     
  4. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

    381
    0
    151
    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    the lid should NOT have had poop on it. That tells me that the box somehow wound up making most of the trip upside down!

    If that is the case, the chicks were probably sandwiched between the bedding straw and the cold(er) top of the box. It's amazing any of them made the trip.

    Remember a heat lamp heats with infra-red radiation, so a thermometer is only a rough guesstimation of conditions in the brooder. You need to observe the chicks to know if they are too warm or too cold.

    Edited to Add: this sounds like the USPS's fault, but I would call the hatchery back and INSIST you are doing everything right and get either a replacement or a refund on the babies you lost.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  5. HidingInTheHenHouse

    HidingInTheHenHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    393
    4
    131
    Jun 21, 2008
    Indianapolis
    I don't think I would insist on replacements yet. How many from the original number have died now, and how many hours from delivery are you? Did they offer to refund for the dead ones?

    I always go by the way the c h i c k s are acting, not by a thermometer when it comes to brooding c h i c k s. From what you describe, yours are comfortable. They will go to the place in the brooder at the temperature they need. It is important to provide warmth, but also cooler spots as well. If they were huddled under the light, then that would indicate they were too cold, but when they are running around, with some in one spot, and others elsewhere, then that is good. I've brooded at least 150 c h i c k s in the past year, so I have some experience with that. Also, if they are panting with their mouths open, they are too hot. Usually that is only an issue with meat type birds this early on.

    Ch ic ks will sleep a lot. They are babies. When I walk by a brooder, if they look too out of it, I will tap on the side. The healthy ones will all look up or run around. I also spend some time just watching the chicks a few times a day to see if they are eating and drinking. You can feel their crop on the right side of their chest. After they eat, it will be a bulge or lump there, and that is a good sign.

    Weak c h i c k s will sleep more than the others, be unable to run, may stumble more and seem off balance, spend much more time just lying there, and may lie in strange positions. Sometimes the other c h ic ks will step on or peck on weak ones as well.

    When you talk to the hatchery, I would tell them that there is a 95 degree area in the brooder and none of the c h i c ks are showing signs of being too cold.
     
  6. packmomma

    packmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    354
    0
    129
    Mar 10, 2009
    Argos, IN
    HI, I just got my chicks yesterday. I was paranoid all day with mine. I tried the heat lamp at 95 and it was too hot for them. Mine are quiet and comfortable around 92. I didnt realize how much sleep the chicks needed. Today they are much better and not as sleepy. I did try lowering temp to 90 but they were clumping together too much so upped it back to 92. I didnt have any losses overnight so I am hoping I"m good to go. I did have trouble with them taking in water at first..they didnt understand. I saw they paid attention to me when I grabbed food so (hope this wasnt a no no) I sprinkled a little food on the water. Almost all the chicks started drinking then. Once I was sure most knew where the water and how to drink, I washed it out and gave them new. Havent had a problem. I had two chicks I was sure was going to pass during the night but they are fine so far. They are so tiny and slept ALL day pretty much. Once they started getting food and water and a good nights sleep they perked up. Hope your chicks start doing better.

    P.S I use a red infra red so temp may vary like the above mentioned post.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    460
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You don't by any chance have them on cedar shavings, do you?
     
  8. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    4,639
    26
    256
    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    Karo syrup, a couple to three drops per weak chick. Sugar water is NOT as effective. And electrolytes in the water really help weak chicks - pedialyte works in a pinch. If you don't have Karo check with your neighbors most people have white karo sitting on a shelf somewhere and it never goes bad.

    Karo causes less digestive upset than sugar water, so less pasting.

    Electrolytes are best because they help more with metabolic balance.

    Do not use raw honey it contains dangerous bacteria to young animals and infants and toddlers.

    And when something is wrong with a shipping container take pictures. Take pictures of the chicks NOT huddling in the brooder. Document. That way it's not open to interpetation. And call them back, ask for a supervisor and tell them that you want a refund for the ones that died the first day and the doa at least.

    I wish you'd asked sooner, karo and electrolytes might have saved the others. Weakness in chicks must be addressed immediately or they die.
     
  9. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

    381
    0
    151
    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    Quote:Packmomma,

    Did you dip their beaks in water when they arrived? I have always done that and never had a problem with my peeps finding water. I usually take them from the shipping box and dip them before they even touch the ground for the first time.

    +1 on the cedar bedding question too. If you are using cedar bedding GET RID OF IT and use pine shavings or another safe alternative.
     
  10. wrenheninn

    wrenheninn Out Of The Brooder

    20
    0
    22
    Feb 23, 2009
    I usually can expect to lose 10% of day olds, but not that many. Sounds like they were shipped upside down which means they had the bedding on top of them the whole time and possibly were upside down themselves. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by