I'm confused! Yesterday evening my chicks were healthy and rambunctious and this morning 3 of 4 were cold and catatonic. Since then one has died, one is unchanged, and one is starting to make little chirring noises. Because they were all cold to the touch, I immediately tucked them (fearfully easy to do in their desperate condition) under my shirt and next to my skin, brought them in, and put a blanket over my chest. The result is as above. I see no drainage, there might be a slight noisiness to the reviving one's breathing. Now the second one is peeping - it's been about 30 minutes. These are hatches to my Speckled Sussex, who was so broody I gave up and got her some eggs. She is kept in a small coop with her 4, which is divided to make a second area for my Red Leghorn and her 3 fosters. Those three were all in fine fettle this morning, as was their mom. Cassie, the Sussex, looked glossy and well and her 4th, while sluggish, was up and eating and drinking. The coop is built of a dresser of drawers with every other drawer missing as an opening to get into the one below. These girls sleep on shavings in the bottom drawer with their mom. They have a lid on their portion of the run, and my buff orps sleep on the lid, refusing to graduate to the big coop with the big girls but staying where they started. It gets into the fifties here at night now, or high forties. The coop is against a fence, filled with DLM pine shavings. The one that died was sitting out in the run, the other two were in the drawer. Could they simply have gotten too cold? Health history of my flock: The coop sits in my backyard, where my mixed flock free-ranges during the day. This summer we had a heat wave with the temp going up to 108 degrees. I nursed the flock, including 3 Buff Orpingtons, with ice blocks and frozen grapes, a wading pool and frequent checks. Afterward, maybe a week later, my big 18-month old (reported age, unconfirmable*) RIR came down with a severe respiratory illness. First it spread to her companion RIR, then to my (reportedly) 18-month-old Delaware, then my (reportedly) 18-month-old Barred Rock. After 5 days from the first signs of illness with modest but not complete recovery, I put the flock (except the moms and chicks isolated in the Little Blue Coop) on two weeks of Aureomycin chlortetracycline hydrochloride at the suggestion of my local feed store owner. I put it in 2 gallon-sized waterers in diluted apple juice to entice them to drink it, but also kept water available at all times. I treated this way for two weeks. I had eight young pullets (3.5-4 mos old 6 RIRs, one caramel-colored mix, one Ameraucana mix), the 3 orps, and my 4 big girls in the free-range group. The Buff Orps were completely spared and it looked like one or two of my 4-month RIRs came down with it but recovered quickly. Although the original four still had signs of very mild respiratory illness, after 2 weeks I decided it must be a viral issue and discontinued the antibiotics. Big Red and Baby (RIRs) seem completely recovered, Bossie (Barred Rock) still gets rattles sometimes when she puts her head down to feed and Honey (Delaware) still sneezes a lot, but they are all behaving normally energy-wise and eating normally. It's been 2-3 weeks since I stopped treatment. My 8 youngsters and 3 buffs, plus Cassie and Little Red, the moms, show no signs of illness whatsoever. It's taken a half-hour to remember and recount all this. The two remaining are breathing quietly and regularly, eyes closed, sitting on my chest covered by my shirt and the fleece blanket. No rattles, coughs, or labored breathing. Could their mom have just been ditzy and let them get too cold? Little Red's three are thriving and noisy, and their section of coop has just a board on top and an open nest box with no sides, with hardware cloth above and on all three sides. The sicker of the two remaining has an empty crop, the other a full one. No poo on their bums, no drainage anywhere. Should I try to feed them some yogurt? Force fluids? Let them sleep? Should I put the dead chick back in with her mom for a bit, so Cassie knows why she only has three and doesn't search for her? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *I say "reportedly" because I am just not getting the eggs I should for this age range, from any of these birds. I was told they were one year old by the sellers back in March, but despite all my coddling, the eggs just aren't coming.