Jbugner23

In the Brooder
May 7, 2019
19
31
41
So we just got 15 chicks last week. They are one week old today. They are Easter Eggers and this morning we woke to one suddenly dead. They have all been behaving very good all week, eating drinking and we’ve been giving them electrolyte water and they are on organic starter feed with probiotics in it. We’ve been cleaning the butts that have been really poopy to make sure no pasty butt occurs. We’ve been using a heating plate from day 1 and they seem to love it and go under when they want to and at night all of them sleep under there. The room we have them in is in our basement and overall temp in the room is 60 degrees. But the heating plate stays at the temperature suggested for them. We are wondering why one of them would suddenly die like that? Could she have gotten trampled by the other chicks?
Also we called the hatchery where we got them (Hoover’s) and they said they should have a heat lamp not heat plate because the ground floor has to be 90 degrees. But everything I read about the heating plate says it works better than a lamp because it mimics the mama hen. I’d rather not have to get a heating lamp because of all the dangers that come with it. And people we’ve talked to before with heating lamps says the chicks are always trying to get away from the heat and that the light bothers them that it’s on 24/7.
Suggestions? Answers on why our chick died? Does the ground really have to be 90?
We are also using pine shavings as the litter.
 

danceswithronin

Crowing
May 24, 2018
1,253
2,775
276
Alabama
She could have gotten trampled, might have had some kind of unrecognized birth defect or illness. It is difficult to say with so many chicks if they aren't constantly monitored. Have you seen this particular chick eat and drink and poop recently?

Where did you find her dead?

I personally do not use heater lamps and would not because of the fire hazard/dangers with heat regulation (have heard too many horror stories about cooked chicks), and also because the bright light seems to trigger aggression in the chicks towards each other.

I prefer to just use a brooder plate setup (Brinsea EcoGlow) and have never had a chick loss with a specialized brooder lamp.
 

Jbugner23

In the Brooder
May 7, 2019
19
31
41
She could have gotten trampled, might have had some kind of unrecognized birth defect or illness. It is difficult to say with so many chicks if they aren't constantly monitored. Have you seen this particular chick eat and drink and poop recently?

Where did you find her dead?

I personally do not use heater lamps and would not because of the fire hazard/dangers with heat regulation (have heard too many horror stories about cooked chicks), and also because the bright light seems to trigger aggression in the chicks towards each other.

I prefer to just use a brooder plate setup (Brinsea EcoGlow) and have never had a chick loss with a specialized brooder lamp.

We found just outside from under the heat plate. We have the premiere chick brooder heating plate.
Yes this chick was very active and drank and ate regularly.
 

danceswithronin

Crowing
May 24, 2018
1,253
2,775
276
Alabama
We found just outside from under the heat plate. We have the premiere chick brooder heating plate.
Yes this chick was very active and drank and ate regularly.
Yeah I wouldn't beat yourself up then, sometimes they just have hidden problems and fall out. That's one of the reasons chickens hatch so many young, they are prone to infant mortality.

Hatchery variables can make a huge difference in whether chicks thrive or not too: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/543832

Generally mortality of 1.5% or less in the first week of the chick's lives is likely to arise from causes beyond your control from what I've read. So there's always a statistical chance to lose one for no reason at all.
 

danceswithronin

Crowing
May 24, 2018
1,253
2,775
276
Alabama
Okay, thank you.
We’re trying not to get so worked up about it. It’s tough, and now feeling over worried about the others.
Oh I understand. It is so hard not to get attached when you feel solely responsible for their well-being. But I try to keep in mind that at the end of the day chickens are livestock, and are not bred to be as hardy as companion animals like dogs or cats.

I had my first loss a few weeks ago when I stupidly left a gate ajar and one of my bantam silkies got loose from the run and was killed by my dogs, I felt so terrible. But unfortunately these kind of things happen when you keep poultry, so you gotta just chalk up your losses and learn from each one.
 

Lillycat918

In the Brooder
Apr 19, 2019
24
29
44
Pittsburgh, PA
I am so sorry for your loss :(

If it helps, I have my chicks in the basement and have the heating plate. Honestly the plate is such a good idea. The only time I ever really had any concern was when it was dark. I had flipped off the light in the basement and it was pitch black. I looked at my camera (night vision) and all of them were crowded up in the corner jumping, piling on top of each other (Normally they are all under the plate sleeping). I went down stairs and turn a night light on and showed them again where the plate was. Everything has been fine since the night light.

I am not sure if you have a light on at night, but she might have gotten trampled if they all couldn't see where to go. Chickens visions are not exactly the best at night.

I hope this somewhat helps!
 

danceswithronin

Crowing
May 24, 2018
1,253
2,775
276
Alabama
I do use heat lamps, and I can assure you that the ground should not be 90F, even with one (except with newly hatched or sickly chicks). Generally, by the time mine are a week old, they're happy to be in 80F.
I tried to keep my brooder temp at 90F or higher all the way across last summer with my first batch of chicks and I ended up with pretty moderate chick-on-chick aggression issues in the first week (vent-picking) that went away almost overnight after I removed the extra heat lamp and kept them with the brooder plate alone. So I figure their irritability was triggered by the high temps combined with constant bright light. As soon as the brooder was cooler and darker, they chilled out and stopped attacking each other.
 

Criticalicious

Crowing
Feb 25, 2017
879
1,624
252
New Market, VA
Heat plates or MHP are the better solution. I would blame a genetic issue beyond your control, considering these are hatchery chicks. You said this chick was eating and drinking normally, which is great - do they have grit available?
 
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