Help! I've lost 3 chicks and need advice

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mandi224, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. mandi224

    mandi224 In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2014
    Edinboro, PA
    I'm sorry this is so long, just trying to get some answers because I'm feeling terrible....

    Last Wednesday, I got 6 Buff Orpington chicks at Tractor Supply after I got out of work. I had my brooder all set up and when I got home, I made sure to dip their beaks in the waterer before I let them go in the brooder. Almost immediately, I could tell 2 of them weren't doing well. So I made sure to spoon-feed water to those two every few hours.

    When I got up the next morning, the one I was most concerned about (the most listless) had passed away. I removed her body and cleaned up the brooder. 4 chicks still seemed very perky - eating, drinking, hopping around. The other chick still seemed a little lethargic, but was hanging in there. I spoon-fed water to that one, and when I put her back in the brooder, she hopped over to the food and started pecking around, so I was optimistic.

    I stopped at Tractor Supply on my way home to get a replacement for the first chick that passed. I also asked their advice and they pointed me to the Sav-A-Chick electrolytes and probiotics, so I got those.

    When I got home, I switched their water out for some mixed with the electrolytes and pro-biotics instead. I continued to spoon feed the one listless chick. She was sleeping a lot more than the others but I did see her peck around in the food a little bit. I got up twice during the night -- once at 11:30PM and once at 3:30AM to give her water and check on her.

    By 7AM, the second chick had passed. :( Again, I removed her body and cleaned the brooder -- changed out the food, water and everything.

    At this point, I was left with what seemed like 5 very happy chicks (4 from the original group and 1 replacement). They did great for two days. They were eating and drinking. No signs of pasty-butt. I didn't see any of them picking on each other. WHEW -- I figured we were out of the woods!

    Then I got up this morning and one was taking its last gasps ... I was heartbroken. Last night they were all totally fine, it seemed.

    Does anyone have any advice? These are my first chicks and I've read quite a bit (I've been wanting chickens for about 7 years, so I did a lot of reading in that time) and I've had guidance from a couple cousins that raise chickens ... I am trying to do everything right, but I feel like maybe I missed something? I'm continuing to give them room-temp water that has the electrolytes & probiotics in it (we've been calling it the Chicken Gatorade - ha), and the feed I'm using is MannaPro Medicated Chick Starter. I added some parakeet gravel in a shallow dish, but they seem to be ignoring that. They're in a brooder (a 50-gallon plastic tote with a chicken wire lid) is on my dining room table. The house is about 70-72* and no drafts I can see. I have a red bulb heat lamp on them and the thermometer in the bottom of the brooder is reading about 92*F right now. The chicks are peeping quietly -- neither huddled nor spread out and panting. They're just walking around pecking at the pine shavings in the bottom of the brooder and seem generally happy...?

    Any thoughts?

    When I got the initial 6 at Tractor Supply there were at least 3 of them in the bottom of the feed tub that were laying flat, not looking good, but I had assumed maybe that was because they had just arrived and been put out out for sale a couple hours beforehand and perhaps some hadn't done too well in shipping.

    When I called Tractor Supply this morning, they didn't have any other advice. They offered to replace the other 2, but they were out of Buff Orpingtons. He said they had Rhode Island Reds or I could wait till next week when more chicks arrive. Should I stick with the 4 that I have? Replace them with 2 RIRs? (I don't mind having a mixed flock, though I've read RIRs can be a little more aggressive than orps), or should I wait till next week when more chicks arrive? If I wait, will I have to run 2 separate brooders? If they're a week apart I don't want the bigger chicks to pick on the smaller ones. Or will I potentially be adding to my problems if I get ANY more chicks? I'm heartbroken and if there's something I'm doing wrong, I want to find the problem and fix it before I hurt any more little babies. :(
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  2. MySweetChickens

    MySweetChickens Songster

    Mar 24, 2014
    it sound like you just bought unhealthy chicks unfortunately, usually its better to buy chicks that are more perky unless you are willing to accept they may die or your ready for a tedious rescue mission as for getting more it better to have chicks that are the same age but if you want to wait I would first check how small they are if they are littler than half the size of the older chicks I have found there to be issues[​IMG]
  3. in2camo

    in2camo In the Brooder

    Mar 11, 2015
    Northern Utah
    When I bought mine recently from IFA, I hand picked them for that very reason. I didn't want the easiest to catch, I wanted the perky ones. Mixing up your flock will be ok. RIRs are great birds and should get along with your Orpingtons well. They're still young, I wouldn't feel bad about putting them in the brooder and raising them all together. I lost a Red last week, I feel your pain. Good luck!
  4. jk47

    jk47 Songster

    Apr 17, 2013
    I agree with the others its sounds like the tractor supply just didnt have a thrifty batch
    And I raise everyones day old chicks tell their ready for the coop In my neighborhood, so I always have 25 or more chicks at any given time.based on what your saying you are saying you are doing everything right. It was just the chicks. You could next time order you chicks directly from the hatchery and they would most likely be healthier
  5. newmarch2014

    newmarch2014 Songster

    Mar 27, 2014
    I agree with an earlier comment, my current small flock is RIR and B.O. and they get along just great. The Rhodies are better layers, more predator savy and more adventursome and the B.O.'s are more docile and likeable so it is a nice mix.
    Sometimes feed store chicks are great and sometimes you get a sickly bunch. Hang in there you are doing great.
  6. mandi224

    mandi224 In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2014
    Edinboro, PA
    Thanks everyone for your kind, encouraging words. I really appreciate it :)

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