Help diagnosing baby chick deaths

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In the Brooder
May 24, 2020

I'm new to raising chicks. I've raised two week old chicks in the past without any incident, so bought four chicks this year to raise for myself (the first two were being raised for my friend)

Two have died, so I'm very worried about my remaining two, and want to diagnose the problem.

these chicks are younger than the two I raised last year, and from a nearby farm. I picked them up, I didn't want to order chicks through the mail. They gave me an Immune boost to use the first three days, which I have done.

The first chick died on the second day. I don't think it had pasty butt, and checked the others. They also don't seem to have it. I thought it might have been to cold, or had the heat lamp too close. They are in a 70 degree room with the heat lamp 24 inches away. I have a temperature reader inside that says its 86 degrees under the lamp. I was under the impression that that's too cold, but they seem to prefer the side furthest away from it.

I was there as the second chick died, which only gave me more confusing symptoms. My only conclusion was that it got too hot, but I'm not sure. When I found it, it was too weak to stand. I moved it away from the heat and gave it some water, which seemed to help, but then it began to spit the water back up. It grew weaker and couldn't or wouldn't eat or drink, until it died.

I've been checking on the chicks almost hourly since the first died, and have yet to see any kind of pattern or indication about what could be wrong. I've also been reading the chick mortality forums here, but nothing I read seems to make sense. If anyone has any thoughts or advice I'd really appreciate it, at this point it makes me worried every time they fall asleep!
Can you post a pic of your brooder setup? I'm not sure if I can help but that is a common request and I may see something if no one else gets back to you quickly.
I know these are a bit blurry, but hopefully they help


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I am so sorry for your losses! It's always heartbreaking when the littles die.

IMO, that setup seems kind of small, but it might be okay while they are tiny. And it doesnt look as though the chicks can get out of the heat.

Are they active? Happy chicks are very active and quietly peeping. If they are overly lethargic or laying with their wings spread out from their bodies, it's likely they are hot. And how was their poop? Watery? Foamy? Any sign of pasty butt or anything like that?
Thank you both. I've raised the lamp and I'm keeping an eye on them. They're poop seems pretty solid, not watery or foamy. When they're awake they seem pretty active, and are moving around the space more, but I'm still trying to gauge if they're sleeping more than they should. I haven't seen any panting or wings held out to the side. One seems a little more lethargic than the other, but both are eating and drinking water, so I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed.

thanks again for all your help. I'm so glad there's a community like this online :)

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