Emergency: One chicken passed, another showing same symptoms;


10 Years
Oct 9, 2009
Today, we sadly lost one of our 2 week old chickens.

We bought 2 hybrids (Rhode Island Red/White Leghorn), 4 pure Australorps, and all up until this morning had been eating well, drinking well & constant access to room to move around, and warmth from a lamp.

This morning however, the smallest of the group, one of the Rhode Island Red/White Leghorn's declined dramatically, unable to stand up or move, moving her head vacantly, attempting to chirp, unable to open her eyes and not responding to our attempts to give it water. Sadly, within an hour she had passed.

Now our smallest Australop is showing a few of the same symptoms - Not responding to water, sometimes moving her head vacantly, constantly opening & closing her beak - Her overall appearance is 'dopey'.

We are new owners, so we are taking the best possible care we can - We have seperated this Australorp and the last Rhode Island hybrid previously due to their size, and bullying from the others, but we are unaware of what could be going on.

Sidenote; I live in Australia, where the weather is currently warm & comfortable - The chickens are kept inside in a good-sized box until we are able to free-range them.

Any help is greatly appreciated
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It's a tough one. Look for ANY differences from where you are keeping the others- bedding, food molded, water from somewhere different, any tiny detail. And move the remainder even farther away, wash like crazy between handling the sick one and the others.

I don't know of anything you can do for the sick one if she won't take water, I'm sorry.

Good luck, and welcome to BYC.
She keeps going up & down in her mood a little bit;

When my Father holds her, gives her water through a dripper & cuddles her a little bit, she seems to perk up quite alot. It could be just that she is quite tired, but after losing the little one today, I'd like to not take any risks!

Right now shes seperated from the 3 larger Austra's, and is currently with the hybrid - We have our concerns putting the hybrid with the other Austra's, as they are displaying lots of bullying behaviour, the largest one seems to have significant influence over the other two. I believe I will leave the hybrid in my room tonight, in a seperate box - To take the precautions you suggested!

At this very moment, the one Austra we are concerned about is sleeping, snuggled into the hybrid - so apart of me thinks we are being a little paranoid - But we should be, and we are taking all necessary precautions to keep the others safe.

Thank you very much for your post, and thank you for the welcome!
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Try putting a little sugar in the water. If she perks up a bit she might be interested in some scrambled egg or some hard boiled egg yolk. Also, plain yogurt is good.

Are they warm enough? They should be at 85-90F at 2 weeks.
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The most frequent advice I've read in dealing with declining chicks is to give them baby vitamins without iron -- Poly-vi-sol is recommended. And electrolytes or sugar/karo syrup in the water -- for energy.

Have they been eating? Is their food appropriate for their size? Do they need something softer -- scrambled egg, yogurt, apple sauce? A little applesauce or yogurt mixed with water will give them some nutrition as opposed to water alone.

Do they have clean bottoms? If not, if they have pasty butts then their little bottoms need to be cleaned. Pasty butt can prevent pooping.

What's the temperature? Are they warm enough -- perhaps the one who does better when being held is benefitting from the warmth of the hand holding it.

I wish I had better advice and I am wishing you and your little ones all the best -- it's hard to watch them suddenly fall ill.


Thats a very good suggestion.

If we were to put a bit of sugar in the water - Would that negatively affect any of the other chicks that may drink from the same water?

I'll give that a little try now, and in the morning we'll sort out giving the little darling some egg!

Yup, the temperature is fine - Sitting at 29c (which is roughly 85F for you guys!)

Bedding all seems appropriate & they all have great access to food & water


Yup, they have all been eating great. The hybrid is a machine, and they have constant access to fresh food. Size wise; The three largest Austra's all have more food, as they are bigger & seem to consume more - The 2 smaller chicks, the 'sick' one & the hybrid both have appropriate amounts of food for their size

I agree with your suggestion - Perhaps I'll give that a try in the morning, or in a few hours - As of right now, they are all asleep - The little one I was worried about is breathing well, and has great access to the warmth.

Yup, all have clean little bottoms. Temperature is good, and their poo looks normal too

Don't wish you could give better advice! This is the best advice we are getting right now. As new owners, we are worrying a little - But this is all assisting us so much! When I rang the Vet today to ask for some advice, she seemed quite cold with me - Almost angry that I was ringing about a chicken. It was horrible.

Thank you so so much for all of your help, both of you!
Still keeping my eye on her, but right now she appears okay!
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