Featherless/Red Bellies


8 Years
May 26, 2011
I'm new to the chicken thing...actually I grew up around them, but I guess my mom and dad dealt with the raising of the chicks, and I just joined in the fun when they started laying eggs. Now I'm raising 10 chicks of my own...2 Americaunas, 2 Wellsummers, 2 Ideals, 2 Australorps, and 2 Gold Sex Links. They are all about 3-4 weeks old. I have them in a large watermelon box in my garage right now. I'm in the Hill Country, so it's plenty warm here. I've even wondered if perhaps they are too warm at times. I put alfalfa hay in the bottom of their box, and I change out their pen every two or three days. ISSUE: I noticed last night that two of the chicks would take a couple of steps, then lay down. The other chicks were running around, eating, drinking, and having a good time. But these two chicks just looked like something was bothering them...they looked uncomfortable. I decided to check their legs and make sure they could walk, and weren't injured, and they seemed ok. When I picked them up, I noticed their bellies were reddish looking, and most of their feathers are gone. Has anyone run across this before? I thought maybe I need to change out their hay more regularly, as maybe their bellies are getting irritated if they lay down on hay that has poop on it. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Thank you!
First let me
congrats on the new chicks, I would like to encourage you to take the hay out period. If you read the forums very much you'll see people posting about impacted crops and alot of the time it's from the chickens eating hay thats either in the nest box or on the floor of the coop for bedding. Since they are 3to 4 weeks I'd get pine shavings, get the large ones though not the small. that way they are less likely to try and eat it. I get mine at TSC. at their age they probably wouldn't eat it though. And the shavings will absorb the poop better. all I do is stir it everyday and add more when needed. Have you noticed any of the other chicks pecking these 2? do you still have a heat lamp on them? are they panting? do they have free acsess to fresh water and chick feed?
Thank you! I'll take the hay out ASAP, and replace it with the large pine shavings. Yesterday and this morning, the two chicks I'm concerned about are not moving around like the other checks...less active than when I posted earlier. They CAN move because I've reached down to pick them up, and they will stand up and scamper away. But as soon as they make their escape, they immediately lay down again...near the edge of the box. Today, one even scooted from one spot to another, so they are avoiding movement which I can't figure out. I'm beginning to think it's not the rough area on their bellies, because I noticed some of the other chicks have that, and are doing great. Yes, I have a heat lamp (it's currently a soft white 60W bulb...should it be red/blue and less wattage?) I turn it off occasionally because the chicks are in my garage, and being in Texas, the garage is not in direct sunlight, but it gets very warm. They have 24/7 access to water and food. I've picked up these two chicks and put them close to the water and food, but I don't think they are eating and drinking regularly. Yesterday I noticed one of them panting...are they too hot, perhaps? I appreciate your response so much! Thank you for taking the time to walk me through what may be going on with these chicks. :eek:) Amy P.S. When I do move the chicks to their coop (built and ready to go), should I put the large pine shavings in their nesting boxes, too instead of the hay?
How hot is it in there?

You could try giving them some Polyvisol without iron (these are vitamin drops for human babies and you can get it at the pharmacy). If they are dehydrated from being too hot, a little sugar in their water will help. If it is really hot in there, freeze some water bottles to put in the brooder and lay a towel over the bottles to give the chicks a cool spot to go to.

Have you noticed any odd poops?

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