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Help with cause of chicks dying?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Rick, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Rick

    Rick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Snohomish, WA
    Hi,

    I'm wondering if anyone can help. I ordered Buff Orpington's through my local feed store (they normally carry the hens, so I had to special order two roos). They came in on schedule last Wednesday. I picked out the hens (from a total of about 75 chicks) and brought them home. They seemed okay but liked to sleep a lot.

    The first one died Friday night. All was fine Saturday and Sunday, but a few died Monday and a few more died today so now I'm down to just 2. Even these two don't seem like they are going to last much longer as they pretty much stumble around instead of walking.

    I stopped in at the feed store tonight and talked to them and checked the other chicks. They haven't had any deaths from the batch I got (and only 3 total out of a few hundred chicks they have in right now.) Also, I was really surprised at how much bigger theirs were compared to mine. Mine are like day olds still.

    I checked the temp as it seemed the most likely, but it's warm enough. I used this same setup 2 years ago when I raised Dominiques.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. KKluckers

    KKluckers Time Out

    Sep 4, 2007
    Rick, what are you feeding them? It could be many things.
    Sometimes when they get chilled they can die days later, but since you saw the other ones ok, I would doubt that. Are the food and water dish under the heat lamp?

    Edited because I cannot spell tonight [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2008
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Sorry you have lost your chicks. Once chicks get cold it is hard for them to recover so I was glad to read you had already checked your temps.

    What are you using for bedding?

    What are they eating?

    What are they drinking?

    The loss of chicks at a very young age is considered normal. I believe the numbers say something like 50 - 75% of chicks make it to the first year and many more still die for completely unknown causes and reasons. For yours the failure to thrive makes me question what they were eating and drinking first more than anything.
     
  4. Rick

    Rick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Snohomish, WA
    Hmmm,

    I was reading the thread on bedding and the comments about pine shavings. I am using pine shavings and my wife just said she saw them eating the shavings.

    I'm using the same chick starter that the feed store is using. Their food and water are close, but not under the heat lamp.

    -Rick
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Did you use paper towels and cover the shavings for the first couple of days until they learned what their food was?
     
  6. Rick

    Rick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Snohomish, WA
    Quote:No [​IMG]

    I completely forgot. I did do that for the Dominiques, but forgot about it this time.
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    That might have been the problem. They ate the shavings - no nutritonal value, internal issues, possible poop problems = failure to thrive and death.

    Sorry for your loss, Rick. Sometimes these are the worst and hardest lessons to learn. [​IMG]
     
  8. KKluckers

    KKluckers Time Out

    Sep 4, 2007
    I use the paper towels or that shelf liner (no slip stuff) for the first few days. They think everything is food. Im sorry for your loss [​IMG]
     
  9. Rick

    Rick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Snohomish, WA
    Thanks for the responses.

    If it is the shavings, nothing really to do about it now? I think they get the food now, cuz they are both eating from the feeder. It's kind of sad cuz when I put my hand in the brooder, they both stumble over to sit in my hand.

    My other concern is for my next batch of chicks so I want to figure out what's causing this.

    -Rick
     
  10. Rick

    Rick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Snohomish, WA
    To those who were so kind as to respond with suggestions last night, I thought I'd update you. The two remaining are still alive as of this morning. The rooster seems in really bad shape. While checking him last night, there were several times I was sure he died, but upon closer checking I could see his breathing. I checked on them around 4 am and he was laying on his side, but still breathing. This morning when I checked, he was at the feeder eating. He is still fumbling around, but I thought the eating was a good sign.

    I took out the shavings last night, but I'm sure if that was the problem, the damage was already done. I also put up a partition in the brooder so the light would have a smaller area to heat.

    Is there a recommended way to check the temp? I didn't check the temp when I raised the Dominiques, as I just monitored their behavior and adjusted the light accordingly. I was doing the same with these Orpingtons but I never saw them huddling for warmth, but after checking with a thermometer, I'm questioning the temp.

    Last night, I noticed that the rooster was spitting up what looked like water. Is this indicative of anything?

    Thanks,

    -Rick
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008

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