Death rate in Freedom Ranger Meat chicks?

Hummingbird Hollow

Songster
8 Years
Jul 1, 2011
1,499
152
211
Colorado mountains
I received my order of this year's Freedom Ranger chicks on April 10th. This is my fourth order all orders between 35 and 50 birds and, as usual, I was very pleased with the health and condition of my chicks when they arrived.
As with my other orders, I'm pleased that there were 0 losses during the first 48 hours, or even the first week. However, I always seem to loose one or two around the two-three week mark, coming in to check on the chicks in the morning and finding one dead in the brooder. I have also had a loss almost every time around the 5 or 6 week mark. Today I noticed a little pullet that looked poorly when I went in to feed during the morning, not alert or interested in food. Around 1:00 when I went in to refresh their water and check on them, I noted that she had gone downhill, eyes closed and hardly responding when I picked her up. I decided to cull her and butcher her to see if I could determine the problem. While all her internal organs looked normal to me, I did notice that both her croup and gizzard were empty and she had an abdomen like a water balloon and a lot of fluid in the chest cavity.
I know that this is an issue with many meat birds. I'm wondering if there is something I should be doing differently with my livestock management that might have saved this pullet, and the two I lost around three weeks, or whether losses are just to be expected when raising fast growing meat birds.

On a side note, I've had losses with heritage chicks during the first 48 hours, but never lost one that arrived in good condition. My layers come in smaller numbers, no more than 8 at any one time. I only mention this to indicate that while I am not exactly a chicken expert, I've done it enough to feel pretty confident that my brooder is set up well, the temperature is right, I know about pasty butts etc. It is only with the meat birds that I seem to have this problem.

Any advice you have for me would be welcome.
 

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