Help, sick chicks

Jessie Rou

6 Years
May 1, 2013
I'm new here and joined because I was hoping to get some answers. Thank you for taking time to help. Background: I've kept about 12 chickens for 3-4 years now. Always bought hatchery chicks and never had a sick bird.

This year I decided to buy from locals instead of a hatchery. I went to a swap show and picked up 28 chicks all between a few days to a couple of weeks old, bought from several different folks.

After being inside for about a week, I moved the chicks to an outside brooder. The brooder is 6 inches off the gound, 2x6 wood box, wood bottom lined with newspaper and pine shavings that I clean 2-3 times a week. It has a door, and is inside of a 10x10 pin, so on sunny days I started letting the chicks out. The brooder pin and my hen's pin is close, but they cannot come into contact with one another.

Witin a few days of moving the chicks out, all my hens got severe diarrhea. Other than that, everything was fine, except one hen. She sat down and wouldn't move, even when i picked her up to check her out. Her lower belly was large, swollen, and squishy. Sometimes I would get a whif of a sour smell coming from her, but it wasn't her crop that's swollen. My husband put her down.

Then I noticed some sneezing and wheezing with a few of the chicks. One started wheezing to where it sounded like 'huh' everytime it breathed in. It died.

Then this morning I had a chick that was fine yesterday, lively and eating and drinking, starting to fall over. I brought it inside, and since it's laid on it's side, head back and shaking, but ever getting up to eat or drink. It's really not looking good. I noticed what looked like a little blood in it's poop, but it's not runny, looks normal other than the color.

I also have some chicks that aren't as lively as usual. One in particular is closing it's eyes most of the time. When the eyes are open they look reddish in and around the eye area. It will still eat and drink some.

What's wrong with my birds? Did I buy a lot of sick chicks? What should I do to treat them, or should I just cull the sick ones? Or cull all of them and start all over with hatchery chicks again? I've got a good bit of money invested in these chicks so far, and I thought I was doing better by buying local this time.


8 Years
Jul 17, 2011
North Central Kansas
Greetings from Kansas, Jessie, and
! Pleased to have you aboard but sorry to hear about your sick chicks! I think you should post in the link below for more precise advice. Hope they get to feeling better soon!

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
Out to pasture
I'm sorry you seem to have brought home a lot of misery from the swap. Since you bought from various venders - it would be hard to pinpoint the source of trouble. Obviously there are some that do sell stock knowing it is sickly or has been exposed to illness.

You can get sick-dying birds from hatcheries also or else the post office does a number on them and some arrive DOA. I wonder if you would consider purchasing eggs and hatching them yourself-
so hopefully you can raise them healthy from the start.


Up Northerner
11 Years
Mar 26, 2011
Upper Peninsula Michigan
Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan

Some infections can be carried on your clothing and hands as well as by direct contact. Hopefully the folks in the Diseases section can help you out. So sorry to hear about your problems. I never buy stock from any sales, only from hatcheries or directly from individuals that I know.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom