HELP PLEASE!! 4 day old chick seems drowsy.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 15, 2010
Gympie, Qld, Australia
My broody hen hatched her one and only chick 3 days ago, that night I added 6 day old chicks that I received by courier same day. She took them fine but the next day started pecking at one of the chicks, a tiny little thing. As the morning progressed she seem to get more aggresive towards it, wouldn't let it near her, pecking at and finally grabbing it around the neck with her beak. When I saw this I immediately removed the chick. I also removed another at the same time to keep it company in the house. The place I ordered them from told me not to give them heat because it was hot enough here but when they continued to cheap constantly I added a light and they were fine then. They were both fine yesterday and thismorning. I was out most of today but my husband said he checked on them and they were ok and he supervised my 4 yr old when he let him have a cuddle. Anyway when I took them out for the kids tonight, the little one that mama rejected seemed very drowsy. It keeps shutting its eyes, is not chirping and doesn't walk around when it is put down. A couple of times when we put it down it would topple to one side. It has been very chirpy up until now, I am worried it is sick and not going to make it. And if it doesn't make it, I'm left with another on its own which I took from its mother. I imagine she won't take it back now.

Thanks, Michelle
If its four days old it may have just used up the last of its egg yolk reserves that they all hatch with. That's what I'd think was the most likely cause of the problem. Do you know if it's been eating and drinking okay? If it's been fine up till now the first thing I'd try is a syringe of sugary water to try and perk it up a bit. Try and get a few drops down it every hour or two and keep an eye on it. I'd also add vitamins to their water if I hadn't already been doing so. Maybe try feeding it with a bit of boiled egg yolk too. Hopefully that'll get it sorted out.

But if the hen was rejecting it, there's always the chance that she has picked up on something seriously wrong with the chick. In which case it might die anyway and it there probably wouldn't be anything you could do about it. From what I've read on here, mother hens seem to be able to sense sickness and weakness in chicks. I hope that's not the case here though...
I don't know if you have the same brand available in Australia, but we use Poly-Vi-Sol WITHOUT Iron, they are liquid baby vitamins (the without iron thing is very important!). If you can't find something similar, your local feed store should have some sort of electrolyte/vitamins powder mix that is suitable for poultry. I would be careful with too much sugar water, its more important that you get some vitamins and nourishment into the chick. I had a similar issue with one of mine and I mixed up some plain yogurt with the chick feed and by dabbing just a tiny bit on the edge of the beak, she'll lick it up on her own. You have to be patient, but the sooner you can get some nutrients in her the better! The cooked egg is great too! GOOD LUCK!
You're welcome! How's the chick doing now? Better I hope...

Yes I use special chook vitamins. LOL! The brand name is Life-Guard, but I just picked them up as the first chicky-vits I saw on the shelf. The label says it's for promoting better egg laying, but they're good for all chickens. There are probably loads of other brands to choose from too. I didn't know you could use baby vitamins like Chickenobsessed says, but I'd imagine they're probably a LOT cheaper than specialist poultry vits and every bit as good. And ditto what s/he says about not giving too much sugar water. I'd only use it a few times for one day to perk up a weak chick, and just fed to that one specific chick, not in everybody's water. And I'd only use it when the chick wouldn't eat anything else on its own.

I tried feeding all of my chicks yoghurt, but they don't seem to like it one little bit. They just stamp in it and kick each other with their yoghurty feet. Euwww...
My chicky died. I found her thismorning when I got up to check on her. So sad, its my first one. :hitNow trying to merge the other chick that I put with her for company, back with her mother. Fingers XXX on that one.
Awww. Poor little thing. I also just lost my first hen this week, to a badly broken leg. It's so sad, isn't it. I hope the other one re-integrates okay...

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