first timer with chicks, one has labored breathing


In the Brooder
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)
Baby easter egger maybe a week old, dont
2) What is the behavior, exactly.
she likes to sit under the heat lamp, though i know its not too cold because the others usually sleep under it or on the side of the lamp light. she breather with her whole body, beak open, wings out to the side either standing or sitting. when fighting for egg yolg she will eat then stop and pant then continue to eat.
3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
I noticed it yesterday morning
4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
no other birds are showing any of these signs
5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
no bleeding, injury or signs of trauma. when i first got her i thought her nose was a bit red but her beak is just colored.
6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
do not know of anything happening. it took about half hour to 40 min to get all the chicks home when we got them, but i tried to keep the car warm.
7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
have not seen her drinking as of late, but she is eating-and fighting for the egg yolk i gave today and yesterday. i did give a little bit of grass the other day, then read i shouldnt so i havent given any more.
8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
I have not seen her poop yet- at first i thought she was straining to poop and thought it was pasty butt but i checked and her vent is clear
9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
thought it was too warm so i raised the lamp a little bit, and gave a tiny bit of sugar in the water.
10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
i would like to treat myself, otherwise nature might have to take its course
11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
there are no wounds-tried to post a video but cant get it to work
12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
brooder is a large aquarium with cedar shavings, i have put paper towels over the bedding for now, but two chicks have just yesterday figured out if they scratch at the corners they can get to it and they come to scratch and peck at the shavings
Katnip, I'm so sorry your chick died. I feel terrible that it took so long for you to get any advice - it's not typical of this forum. I've been checking this section multiple times a day and there are so many new posts all the time that some get bumped down and overlooked. I'm really sorry you didn't get a response from anyone sooner than you did.

As the other member stated, cedar shavings are toxic. You can use a sturdy cardboard box to house your chicks temporarily, with plain pine shavings for bedding, or if you can splurge for plain Carefresh bedding, that'd be another option.

I would suggest emptying and cleaning out the aquarium, to remove the cedar and all traces of it. Here is a link with some good tips:
im sorry too that I didn't reply faster, and for the short response the first time. my granddaughter was crying and I was trying to help as fast as I could on both accounts.
I try to go through each night and answer posts that no one else has answered, but your second post was there before I found it, so I assumed someone else was helping you.

since you are a first timer I will give you a crash coarse in chickens.

the day you bring chicks home house them in a brooder with temperature around 95 degrees f. I use 16 or 18 gallon totes with 250 watt bulbs in cold weather, 150 warm weather, and 60 when its hot. dip their beaks in water and feed to help them start eating. brooder should have paper floor for day 1 and 2 (to help them find feed) then switch to chopped straw or pine shavings. feed a chick starter, unmedicated or medicated. (I prefer medicated after raising a few thousand chicks). each weak drop the temperature in the brooder 5 degrees f. for 6 weeks. at this point they should be fully feathered and ready to go outside. if its really cold protect them from wind.

here are a few symptoms and cures that work for me:

chirping loudly, huddled up - to cold move bulb closer or add another light.

laying around looking dead, but waking up quickly - chicks are to hot, move heat away from them.

poop on butt - chicks have been chilled (common with shipped chicks). clean butt, add 1 tablespoon sugar or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to water.

if chicks start dying rapidly (more than 20% in 3 days) you might have cocci. this happens before 8 weeks of age usually. add 1/2 dose corid for 3 days, in one week add one more half dose.

after this its pretty much trial and error. if you need anything else feel free to send me a private message or email me.

good luck with the others,
This is one busy forum! I've found a few over the past few days that didn't get a reply for a day or two, and I guess it's just because stuff gets bumped down so fast.
wow. i read and read and read preparing for months as soon as i new i could get chickens, and i don't remember anything about cedar being toxic. Even in my book it said as long as you have softwood shavings your fine- cedar is a soft wood. I feel awful.

As soon as I read this i washed and sanitized the aquarium, waterer and feeder. I put down paper towels until i can get the proper bedding tomorrow. THe other chicks look alert and happy. Temp is good, I do have unmedicated feed, ill invest in the medicated one for the next batch of chicks in a couple years. Can i keep the lightly sugared water or is it best to just invest on some kind of water additive? One chick seems to like being held and pet for the few minutes I take each out every day to socialize. But the one that died "liked" it too so i just hope it's not a repeat. (i might just be paranoid now)

As far as getting a replacement chick (since i am only allowed four i would like four chickens) should i get one now/soon or introduce the new chick when i move them all into the coop? my father says to get an extra just in case something like this happens again or one ends up being a roo.

Thank you all for the advice, what happened, happened, and I learned from the experience.


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