HELP PLEASE!! Chick falling over, getting worse


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 28, 2013
My orp chicks are 3 days old. I noticed one was lethargic, walking on her haunches 24hrs ago occasionally loosing balance. But now she can't keep balance at all, flops to her right side and struggles immensely to get up. Mainly moves backwards when upright before falling to her right side, but occasionally scurries in a forward motion. Another chick started becoming off balance 12hrs ago with a bit of walking on haunches, though doesn't have difficulty getting back upright. Slower progression than the other? They are not related chicks (1 buff 1 black). No respiratory distress at all. No discharge from eyes/nose. No bloody poos - they appear 'normal'. All other chicks are 'normal' (and hopefully remain that way). The brooder is a cage with a brinsea 'electric hen style' brooder heat source. None appear cold. Everything was disinfected/sterilized and rinsed before setting the brooder up. The flooring is layers of paper towel, replaced 2 times a day. I have added vitamin e and children's multi vitamin to a parrot feed mix (rice, barley, dextrose, antioxidants, milk solids) and made a mash with their medicated chick starter. They also have medicated chick starter crumbles available.They eat and drink, the poorer one needs assistance to get to the feed/water but eats/drinks when put there. She actually appears to be 'weaker' than 12hrs ago (i just got home from work) - but I think she has maybe caused some soft tissue injury to her right side/wing from using her wing as leverage to stand back up, and/or maybe some trampling from the others.
My eyes are getting cross eyed from my readings on here searching for a cause. Mareks? Boultilism? Coccidosis? Vitamin deficiency? Splayed legs ( only showing 1day ago)? They were all fine, running and being 'normal' when I put them in the brooder, they were 12 hours old, fluffed and normal. My biggest fear is something contagious. But I don't know what else to do! Considering euthanasing the poorer one. I don't have another brooder available, closest thing I have is a fan forced incubator (which I really don't think is a good idea). The other one hasn't improved over the past 12hrs but hasn't deteriorated either. Any ideas on cause and treatment????
(It's nearly 130am, I'm in Australia. I need to get to bed now. I'm sure I'll b awake at daylight, if I sleep at all, to see how their going and try to fix this). Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated x
Your chicks are too young to show signs of Mareks disease, and they probably do not have botulism since they are so young and you have them on paper towels. They would have to eat some really moldy feed or litter for that to occur. Vitamin deficiency or an underlying disease from the mother and egg would be the 2 things to cause this. The vitamins may take awhile to work. If you have baby liquid vitamins you could just give them 1-2 drops straight into her mouth so you know she is getting them. Here are links to good resources for leg problems: and
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Thanks eggcessive. The poorer one is too weak at present to stand upright without any support. It almost appears like a neurological deterioration. I'll give the vitamins another 24hrs and see if that creates improvement. Hopefully it is vitamin deficiency or a orthopedic problem and not a contagious or hereditary problem. I bought the chicks to give my lone incubated hatch chick friends (failed first time incubating - problems I created with the hatch realised and learnt from). I'll contact the seller at a reasonable hour and see what information she may be able to enlighten me with on the situation at hand.
The seller of the chicks thinks they are affected from inadequate heat. I use a brinsea ecoglow in a cage that was open on all sides. They are now fully enclosed (covered with canvas tent). I'm syringing water and vitamins and praying for some improvement.
I have used the ecoglow brooder as well inside the house in a bathtub and they are great, but I guess that makes sense about the open sides. I'm really hoping they start doing better soon. If you can make some homemade electrolytes for them or get pedialyte or gatorade, that might also help. Here is a link to the electrolytes:
The one that wasn't as bad seems to be improving. I tried to give Gatorade to the poorly one too, I think it's too late for her. Eyes closed and loudly protesting, didn't take much more than a few mls. And as misfortune would have it, we have to leave the house for several hours now. So I just have to hope she'll pull through and the Gatorade will give her the boost she needs to make it to the water alone, and survive.
Still with us and ravenously hungry - eating parrot mix mash with Gatorade and extra vitamins, drinking via syringe. The one that wasn't 'as bad' is refusing fluids at present but eating a little bit. Neither is walking. Now hubby is getting attached and wants to give them more time to improve - and 'help' with feeding and syringing.
Just to close this thread...both were refusing to eat and most importantly drink anything today, and were continually crying. Hubby assisted them over the chicken rainbow tonight. Rest in peace little ones, you are not suffering anymore xx

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