Failure to thrive -- chick thinks dirt=food

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Sonia J, May 3, 2009.

  1. Sonia J

    Sonia J New Egg

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    May 3, 2009
    This is my first time raising chicks, so someone tell me if this is unusual.

    Last night was the second time I had to rescue this little 10 day old chick. She is smaller than the others, and when I checked them last night she was too weak to stand. I separated her and hand fed and watered her several times throughout the night. By morning she's on her feet, but still shaky.

    I put her back with the others, and watch her run past the feeder to the little pan of sandy dirt I put in for them to scratch in and pick up grit. Twenty minutes later she's still frantically pecking and scratching in the dirt pan, so I took her out to feed her again. Then she pooped, and it looked like a little mudpie?! So I guess she's eating dirt
    instead of food and starving?!

    I removed the dirt and put chick starter in the pan. Put the chick back in, and she ran straight to it. Hopefully that solves the problem.

    Are the chicks too young for the dirt? I thought it would be good for them. All the rest seem fine.

    Thanks!
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    How many feeders do you normally have? It is possible for a smaller weaker chick to be rushed away from the feeder by stronger chicks and they can starve to death.
    Continue offering this chick some one-on-one feedings and add a second feeder if you don't already have one. That may help this chick to catch up with her flockmates.
    Good luck to you and welcome to BYC!
    P.S. About the dirt, they are not too young for it IMO.
     
  3. Sonia J

    Sonia J New Egg

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    May 3, 2009
    I have one the screw on a quart jar type feeder for 19 chicks. They always have food, and the feeder never seems crowded, so I don't think that was the problem.

    All the chicks loved it when I put the food in the dirt pan, and the weak one stood her ground and kept eating in spite of being shoved around by the other chicks who all came running to investigate the new feeding arrangement.

    It seems to me like this one just wants to scratch and eat off the ground--even if the only thing there is dirt. She's a very industrious scratcher--even though she's so wobbly she can barely keep her balance. My hubby says, "make sure you don't breed that one." LOL I'll keep an eye on her, and separate again if she doesn't start improving now.

    Thanks for the reply
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    Sonia, IMO another feeder is needed. I used two trough feeders for twenty-one chicks. Just my 2 cents.
    ETA: Here's what my favorite chicken book recommends with regard to feeder space:

    Week 1 = 1 inch per chick
    Week 2 to 3 = 1.50 inch per chick
    Week 4 to 5 = 2 inches per chick
    Week 6 to 8 = 2 inches per chick
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2009

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