How do I feed a sick chick?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Meesh, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Meesh

    Meesh Songster

    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    Hi, I checked the FAQ and searched and don't see anything. What is the best way to feed/water a sick baby? One of my chicks from my Ideal order seemed OK yesterday, but is not moving around much or eating today. I've seen it poop and it's bright green - like gro-gel (which they were shipped with), so I presume it's not eating anything. I've been dipping it's beak alternately in Pedialyte and water to get it sugar, electrolytes and some water. What else can I do for it? How often should I be trying to feed it?

    BTW, the Polish chick I asked about yesterday (almost died during shipping) picked up over night and is just FINE & rowdy as heck today.

  2. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I am no way an expert but have fed many a sick chick lately. A drop of Poly Vi Sol liquid vitamin for children really has helped mine, per advice of this fourm, and adding sugar to their water does also. On the back of many hatchery reciepts it gives a little bit of info about sugar. For feeding I've been scrambling some eggs, breaking them into small little pieaces and gentaly opening the beak and placing it towards the back of the mouth, like giving a dog a pill.(If they will not take it just by placing it the mouth.) It takes some technique - especially with little serama mouths!
    I also will take some more liquidy scrambled egg in a suringe and put a drop at a time in it's beak - make sure it is not the jello like texture, more liquidy is what I use. make sure they take it on their own mostly so they don't asperate. Also making the starter into a warm mash helps and a trick i learn with my pee chicks is to put some foodcolor in the wet mash, the color attracts them better and it also shows in their poo so you'll know their eating. -hope it helps
  3. barefoot

    barefoot In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2008

    I'm sorry to hear about your chick. Unfortunately, I too have plenty of experience with this lately. I have been nursing several sick chicks and here are the best methods I've found:

    1. Mix some chick starter feed (crumbles) with water or plain yogurt to form a sort of wet mash. You can try either spreading some out on your fingers (if she will peck), or form some into a wet glob and put it in her mouth gently. Sometimes if you 'peck' at her with the food, it will trigger her pecking instinct. Once she gets the hang of it, you can switch to putting the food on a spoon instead of your fingers, and holding that in front of her (much less messy!).

    2. Try using just plain yogurt, or just crushed boiled egg yolk every once in a while.

    3. My water concoction: Add a couple of drops of baby vitamins to a couple of pints of water. (Brand name is Poly-vi-sol, available in any pharmacy). I use the one without iron, but only because I didn't know if iron would be okay. Also add a small amount of sugar (half a tsp. per two pints) and terramycin (1 tsp. per gallon of the powder that I use).

    4. To give her water, we have a small plastic syringe. Suck up some of the water concoction (without using a needle in the syringe!!) and holding the syringe upside down, squirt a little bit of water out of the syringe so that it collects in the small well at the tip of the syringe. Dip the tip of the underside of her beak into this little well of water and capillary action will pull some of the water up into her beak. If she will drink out of a spoon or bowl you won't need to use this method. I find the syringe method to be great because you can control exactly where the water is and it also doesn't make a mess.

    5. I feed our babies once every hour or two at first. After the first couple of days, I moved it to every two or three hours.

    6. Slowly phase out the yogurt and water and see if she'll start pecking at dry food easily. You can crush the chick starter up into a more powdery consistency, since she can't scratch at it to break it up herself.

    7. Once she is strong enough to peck at food on her own, you can put her in a small box with a small dish of food (I use a small plastic container lid). I also keep a tiny teaspoon full of water in there with her and refill it with the water concoction as needed (generally every four or five hours). By keeping it in a teaspoon, there's not a big, wet mess if she spills it.

    I have other suggestions if she is unable to move around on her own, just ask! Sorry for the long post.
  4. Meesh

    Meesh Songster

    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    Thank you so much for the kind notes. I am going to ask the mods to make this a sticky for other people who end up in this situation.

    My chick was in bad shape by morning and I decided to euthanize her. She had picked up some by yesterday evening, but still wasn't walking or doing anything other than sleeping yesterday. This morning she had gone further downhill and looked really bad.

    This info will go into my chick notes so that I can be better prepared in the future. Next order of chicks, I'll know what to have on hand.

    (down to 13 healthy chicks)
  5. mandomama

    mandomama Songster

    Mar 18, 2008
    corvallis oregon
    Quote:thanks for the long post! It was very useful!
  6. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Sorry you lost your chick...
    Baby bird handfeeding formula is always a good thing to have on hand too. You can buy it in the bird food aisle of the pet shops.
    1 person likes this.
  7. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Songster

    Apr 21, 2007
    Sonoma County
    Last year I needed to nurse an injured chick. I didn't have a syringe handy, so I used a straw. I cut it down to about three inches, dipped it into vitamin enriched water and dribbled the water onto her beak. It worked so well, that I never bothered to get a syringe. Using my finger as a stopper, I had a lot of control over how much came out.
  8. ccsellers0822

    ccsellers0822 Hatching

    May 7, 2013
    Thank you...alot of great information, especially since I'm new to raising chickens!! The little one I'm dealing with seems very much should she be eating and drinking in a day? I am using the chick started made into a mash and some pedialyte in a syring....but not sure if she is getting enough of either. I am going to try the boiled egg yolk this afternoon. Also, what is a reasonable time frame to bring one back to health? I am a nurse by trade, so helping and healing I am comfortable with, the alternative, not so much, but I don't want to prolong the inevitable if that is the case. As far as I can see, she is eating, drinking, urinating and pooping, and we are good so far! Any additional info will be greatly appreciated!!!
  9. blkjak

    blkjak Songster

    Apr 18, 2014
    Manitoba Canada
    The information here is fantastic. I have two chicks that we hatched out of a homemade incubator. #1 has splay leg so we bandaided her but she doesnt try to stand so we are feeding thru a straw. #2 I didnt think she would live. She was sticky and very lethargic. She lived thru the first night so we are feeding her thru a straw also. She has splay leg but with the baidaid can stand. She is a sleepy baby though. We are feeding egg yolk mixed with water and sugar. They are getting stronger.
  10. Huasna gal

    Huasna gal Hatching

    May 20, 2015
    Hi Barefoot,

    Your post is very helpful. I would like to know about your further suggestions as well.
    My hen hatched out 13 chicks that are doing fine. My daughter found an abandoned egg with the chick pecking out. The egg was cold, but the baby survived. We have it next to a heater and are feeding it an antibiotic and electrolyte water. It is 5 days old now and weak. She talks to me and loves being held, but I cannot get her to eat. Also how do I get the mouth open to feed her?

    Thank you for your advice

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