First flock - feeling like a lousy chicken parent

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by tpatricco, May 16, 2019 at 8:59 AM.

  1. tpatricco

    tpatricco Chirping

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    As first timers, we've really gotten a rough start.

    Did our homework to be prepared, built our own brooder from directions online... Got our first batch of 6 chicks on Saturday April 27th. Lost the first one that Wednesday, next one that Friday - asked for help and learned we had our brooder way too hot. Made adjustments. Got 6 more chicks the next Saturday. Lost one of those after a few days. Abandoned the plastic tote brooder and moved the remaining 9 to a dog crate with a Brinsea Ecoglow for better ventilation/ not overheating. We gave electrolytes, Nutri-Drench in water, ACV in water (not all at once) Feed them hard boiled egg yolks every day or two for treat/booster. Everyone seemed OK. One chick woke up with crusty eyes and sneezing - I used VetRX and washed her eyes with saline for a couple days and she got better (and is now fine). Littlest chick (a Cochin) seemed less active/energetic - would just kind of stand still a lot. But was eating and drinking and seemed otherwise OK. That chick passed overnight this past Friday. Another chick which was sneezing, head bobbing, had bubbly breathing - some kind of respiratory issue - treated with VetRx - did not survive, passed Monday morning. Now one littlest chick 1.5 weeks old also has been less active / standing still a lot - this morning she is very weak - I tried giving her some Nutri-Drench via q-tip and getting some water in her - she wouldn't eat - Tried hand feeding egg yolk. She can't stand, is lying down breathing shallow - I expect she will pass too.

    Rationally, apart from the overheated brooder, I think I am doing everything I can for them reasonably. and I do understand that chickens do have a higher mortality rate than other kinds of animals. But I'm still feeling like a pretty shitty chicken parent right now. Out of 12 chicks we have 6 left? Emotionally, it's been a rough start. For the two that didn't appear sick, just were listless and didn't really grow - what can account for that, and what could I have done differently?

    I appreciate the advice. Feeling sad and trying not to be discouraged.
     
  2. FluffTheDuck

    FluffTheDuck Duck love is recognizable in any language

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    You did everything fine. It’s the chickens, some are just weak. That’s how the animal world grows. Keep in mind that, if there’s a sick duckling, it’s mother will leave it behind because the mother knows it won’t live. That’s just how it goes. Trust me, you didn’t do anything wrong :hugs
     
  3. tpatricco

    tpatricco Chirping

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    Thank you. Rationally I know it. But any sweet little innocent creature I'm responsible for - I feel bad. It makes me want to fast forward a couple months to when they're big enough to be more sturdy. Baby chicks - just so fragile.
     
    ErinOrr79, getaclue, chkva and 2 others like this.
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    What kind of shavings are you using? What feed are they on? Do you check for pasty Butt?
     
  5. tpatricco

    tpatricco Chirping

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    Mar 24, 2019
    Warren, NJ
    I have been using newspaper with paper towel over it in the brooder up to this point - changed 2x daily. They're now in a 2 dog crate brooder - 1 side still has the newspaper/paper towels (and is where the Brinsea, feed and water are). Other side I added pine shavings and they have some pieces of log to sit on and a stick up higher for roosting.


    They're on Purina Medicated Chick Starter.

    We have been checking for pasty butt - have not had any.
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Coccidiosis? But I'm thinking too young for that...
    @Wyorp Rock she can help too.
     
    getaclue likes this.
  7. tpatricco

    tpatricco Chirping

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    Mar 24, 2019
    Warren, NJ
    Thank you! I'm curious for advice on the Coccidosis. They are on the medicated feed - and I have tried to keep their brooder clean - but obviously plenty of opportunities to eat poop. I have Corid - and could treat the rest of the flock if warranted.

    The two listless little ones - One was a Cochin and the other a Gold laced Wyandotte - they were definitely the youngest. - I just wasn't sure if it was failure to thrive or just being weak in the group.

    Of the remaining 6 - 3 are in the 3.5 week old range, 2 are probably just under 3 weeks and 1 is another 1.5 week old - but she seems to be fine - engaged with the others, eating, drinking, active...
     
    getaclue and chickens really like this.
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Please wait for her reply because she is my go too when I'm in a pickle...;)
     
    getaclue and tpatricco like this.
  9. getaclue

    getaclue Crossing the Road

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    There are only 2 things you might want to change. Stop with the ACV with chicks. While ACV has benefits, it also has disadvantages, especially for chicks.. It's better suited for pullets a couple months old, not chicks. Instead, get some Nutri-Drench, and add about (1/4 dropper full) about 10 drops into your quart waterer. Poly vi Sol without iron, for children, is the same thing, usually more expensive.

    Chicks are fragile, and not always handled well at the hatcheries, in shipping, and by feed store employees. It's doubtful you did anything wrong.
     
    FlappyFeathers and tpatricco like this.
  10. tpatricco

    tpatricco Chirping

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    Mar 24, 2019
    Warren, NJ

    Thanks. I have Nutri-Drench and will use it and skip the ACV going forward until they're older. Just waiting to hear if I should treat for Coccidosis - as if I do the Corid water, I won't want to mix them.

    These chicks came from a semi-local hatchery (50 miles from home) - I picked them up in person. Although it's a common practice, the mailing of newborn chicks seems like a lot of stress for them.
     
    chickens really likes this.

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