Heat stressed chicken still breathing laboriously...please advise

Chickencoop2015

Hatching
May 3, 2015
4
0
7
Hello, my wife and I are first time chick owners. We built a coop and were prepared for pulleys but received chicks, so we kind of scrambled to make a suitable living situation for them. We had them in our detached greenhouse to get to the recommended 90 degrees. With careful monitoring (opening/closing windows and turning on portable radiator at night) we kept it between 80-90 for the past four days. Yesterday was a busy day and long story short, we neglected them for 8 hours and didn't notice the temperature got up to 100 degrees in their box. My wife discovered that four of the ten had perished. Both of us were grief-stricken by this. We immediately moved them to our garage where it is much cooler and they all perked up rather quickly except one. We closely monitored her and after about one hour, we decided to feed her water through an eyedropper. She has been given about 8ml of water. She has received equal amounts of the following: softened tap water (sodium), hose water (calcium, magnesium), and dasani (potassium). I added a pinch of sugar to their common water and noticed before going to bed that she had taken her first sips of water on her own since the overheating incident. When we went to bed, she still had not eaten with the rest of the chicks. All the others are eating, drinking, flapping their wings, and appear very healthy.

She is still, even in her sleep, breathing very laboriously (heaving) and I would find it hard to believe that she is not rehydrated and has restored her electrolytes by now. Knowing how much fluid a chick drinks in a day would be helpful. Perhaps she still needs more fluids or electrolytes, or maybe she has a respiratory illness that is unrelated to the overheating. She seems to follow the other chicks when they make a commotion, but is not eating with them and displays a strange nestling behavior, where she will nestle her beak into the other chicks' sides and close her eyes. We are worried about her and wonder if anyone can suggest why she is still breathing very heavy. We feel horrible having neglected the other four and don't want to lose another. Thank you.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
610
448
South Georgia
It is easy for chickens to get too much sodium. I would offer some water without the sodium, just by dropper along the crack of her beak so she can choose whether to drink. And I would find another source of drinking water for them, like your hose water. Sorry, I have no idea how much water they drink in a day.

Chickens' respiratory illnesses are mostly viral and very contagious; it is unlikely this is the problem if the rest seem fine.
 

Fancychooklady

Crowing
8 Years
Jun 14, 2012
10,255
2,431
431
Tasmania. Australia
It can be difficult to regulate the heat but it's best if the brooder is big enough for them to move away from the heat if it gets too hot. I find that infra red bulbs are easier for the chicks to find their way back to and it also makes it easier for me to check on them through the night, without turning on over head lights and disturbing them.
It is very easy to aspirate a chicken when giving fluids. It's time consuming but it really is a drop at a time , waiting for them to swallow with each administration. Upper respiratory symptoms can be a sign of distress.
Sorry you are having such a difficult time but there are many helpful people on here and you have come to the right place. :)
This article will help you with some of your questions.

http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/03/baby-chick-basics-what-you-need-to-know.html
 

Chickencoop2015

Hatching
May 3, 2015
4
0
7
Thank you for your advice.

Sadly, the chick passed away yesterday morning in my hand. The other chicks are showing signs of respiratory infection as well. I have them all on tetracycline and probiotic starter feed.

A friend of mine suggested that the chicks likely got the respiratory infection from their bedding. I used tree mulch, which is dusty and usually has mold. I feel so bad for doing that to them, but they are now in pine shavings, which I was told is better. First timer ignorance...

We are down to five. They are all eating, drinking, and playing, but I know that respiratory infections are hard to shake,especially when so young. They display the same heaving, laborious breathing, but not as bad as the one that just died.

What is a good temperature to keep 2 week old chicks at? With a respiratory infection?
 

Fancychooklady

Crowing
8 Years
Jun 14, 2012
10,255
2,431
431
Tasmania. Australia
Thank you for your advice.

Sadly, the chick passed away yesterday morning in my hand. The other chicks are showing signs of respiratory infection as well. I have them all on tetracycline and probiotic starter feed.

A friend of mine suggested that the chicks likely got the respiratory infection from their bedding. I used tree mulch, which is dusty and usually has mold. I feel so bad for doing that to them, but they are now in pine shavings, which I was told is better. First timer ignorance...

We are down to five. They are all eating, drinking, and playing, but I know that respiratory infections are hard to shake,especially when so young. They display the same heaving, laborious breathing, but not as bad as the one that just died.

What is a good temperature to keep 2 week old chicks at? With a respiratory infection?

Sorry for your loss. :hugs . There are several things that can cause respiratory symptoms , heat, travel, trauma, stress, dust and even ammonia rising from dirty litter. But it could also be that the chicks have CRD , mycoplasma or coryza. Either way I would think twice about purchasing from that seller again.
The link I gave you on rearing chicks has a temp chart for you to follow . Keep it bookmarked so that you can use it as a reference. The ideal temp for 2 week olds is 85-90 degrees. :)
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
610
448
South Georgia
If that was the only chick that was sick, it is unlikely that they have a respiratory infection, as these diseases are highly contagious. It is quite possible that the chick was defective in some way; unfortunately this is not that uncommon.

Here is an excellent article on some causes of early chick mortality, and another that gives you an introduction to the types of diseases that chickens get.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/39604/some-causes-of-early-chick-mortality

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
 

Fancychooklady

Crowing
8 Years
Jun 14, 2012
10,255
2,431
431
Tasmania. Australia
If that was the only chick that was sick, it is unlikely that they have a respiratory infection, as these diseases are highly contagious.  It is quite possible that the chick was defective in some way; unfortunately this is not that uncommon.

Here is an excellent article on some causes of early chick mortality, and another that gives you an introduction to the types of diseases that chickens get.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/39604/some-causes-of-early-chick-mortality

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044

The other chicks are unfortunately displaying symptoms also. With a little luck the antibiotics will help.
 

Chickencoop2015

Hatching
May 3, 2015
4
0
7
After 14 days of tetracycline water (with electrolytes, vitamin C, vitamin D, and sugar), changing their bedding to lower-dust corn cobs, and occasional nostril applications of VetRx, the five remaining chicks all survived and are now thriving. One of them still had me worried about 11 days into the treatment (heavy breathing and "throat breathing", but she finally made a turn for the better. The first couple days of the treatment I wanted to administer the medicine by dropper just to make sure they all received plenty of the antibiotic and plenty of fluids.

The only concern I now have is that a couple of them are sneezing, which they weren't doing before. I am probably just paranoid after having lost five of them.

The pecking order is pretty apparent at 4 weeks!
 

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