How I help weak baby chicks to survive. Hope it is helpful.


11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
This is an older thread but posting anyways!
Hatched our 1st incubator batch ever. 6 eggs. 3 hatched fine and are now in brooder. 1 was trying but struggling, we intervened and helped. 2 were duds and/or not fully developed.
Our struggler is still in incubator. He made it thru the night. We have gotten raw egg yolk from a warm egg down him a few times. Not a lot but some. He is peeping and can hold head up for a bit and move around slightly but not great.
Going to create a tiny brooder for him tomorrow if he makes it thru another night.
Hubby has him right now for comfort snuggles.

Going to try the wheat germ on the floor and show him the water and feed we will put in. Hoping he makes it, if not...we gave him a chance at least. Poor little guy.

Sad part is, we live in city and roos are not allowed for most part. We are selling the 2 brothers that already hatched and keeping the lone pullet we got. If Rocky makes it, he may just become a house rooster and wear diapers. After all this effort and fight, if he makes it....I doubt I can get rid of him. Too attached already....


5 Years
Mar 17, 2014
Hi, my brother got a baby chick and had no plan of how he was going to take care of it. So I've decided to take the chick in. I got a heat lamp, food, and a water feeder, he has a box and some bedding too. The problem is i have no idea how old the chick is, or what it should be eating at this point. He looks to be a few days old, and I've been trying to get it to eat, but it isn't. He seems to be very energetic and is chirping like crazy. I am worried about his eating/drinking habits though. What would my best plan of action be?


5 Years
May 1, 2014
Oh my gosh thank you for posting this, one of my baby chicks (aka Snap which we named one of our first hens but it works for boys as well) it was so helpless it would not do anything it was mainly sleeping. Poor thing it died while being loved at least. I have saved two of my baby chicks by using your method also :) .


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
Sandpoint ID
This is a great post! I've gotten a lot of shipped chicks and had some weak births and this has really helped. Some things I have learned:That green gro or rather Grogro only works when the chick has enough strength and know how to eat because it's thick enough to require the chick to have to move the food like chewing and then have to swallow. So far I'm trying a squirt of nutri drench mixed with raw yoke and that has brought back their energy enough to help give them a fighting chance. Not sure how to sleep with a chicken and make my husband happy I had to sleep on the couch :-/


6 Years
Oct 9, 2013
South Western Death Valley, Ca.
When chicks hatch and get tossed a a box to go for a ride to thier new home, they can vary in how long one has been hatched from one to the next. Some have gotten thier bearings more than others. a couple of hours makes a big differance.

When you have mail order chicks or any new chicks that are too weak to eat well, I would offer sugar water with a dash of salt, every 20 min and not less than every half hour. but do you have electrolite mix?
there is a green gel also that baby chicks will eat when they have been sent through the mail. I think the word Grow is in the name of it. maybe it is called Green Grow. Someone will tell us I'm sure. you can order it when you order the chicks. It is only about 4 dollars.

I Always remove weak chicks from the rest of them because they will get trampled to death.
Sectioning them off in the brooder is hard to do because they may get too hot or too cold. I lost a baby that way the other day, My Bh thought he had it all under control by making a safe place for her in the corner,He put the light over closer to the corner so she would have plenty of warmth. She wasn't restrained to the corner, but then she didn't know how to leave the corner and the heat killed her. Broke my heart.

I did save a couple of babies just this week by offering them scrambled eggs and cottage cheese. They loved it. The cottage cheese is little segmented peices and go down easily. Buy the small curd or break up the large curd. I teaspoon may be enough to feed three of four newborns. I also feed it to the thriving chicks for a treat.

I mixed some milk and chick feed in the eggs and fried them up in the pan. if you can get the chick to eat even a 1/4 teaspoon to start, it will soon be on its way. offer it every 30 min and keep water too, but the milk in the eggs makes it soft/tender and gets some liquid into the chick. Be certain to squish it up into tiny pieces so they can handle it.

The first day, I kept the weak chicks in a bandana around my neck. This has worked for several differant chicks even older chicks who need some help, over the years. It is tiring work, but very rewarding.

Once they get enough food and want to move around they are on their way. Just keep your eye on them. If you have two chicks that need the attention, they help keep each other warm, but one or two chicks will survive kept in a bandana around my neck. My husband will take the bandana if I need a break. He wears it around his neck and goes about the buisness of his work. Even meeting clients without a care.

They don't do much pooping when they are too weak to eat much, so that is not a concern, the bandana stays pretty clean. If you are having to get out more than one Bandana a day, then they are probably ready to go back to the brooder. You might want to line it with a paper towel, or not. Usually about two days will perk them up. You can take them out of the bandana and hold them in your hands any time you want. Just think warm. your body heat against thiers is enough.

The catch is that you will need to sleep with them one or two nights. It works out fine for me, I have learned how to position the bandana so they are safe. You won't roll over on them when they are near your neck. If you do roll over in the nite thier peeps will remind you to reposition them, and they are so sweet it hardly seems an inconvenince.

My husband has turned out to have a very nurturing heart since we have had chickens. I've never seen such a change in a man from double AA personality to kind hearted, do anything they need kind of man.

A mistake I made one time was putting two weak chicks in a box with one of those hand warmers. What a heartbreak, they get way to hot, and the chicks fall asleep on them when they feel just right, and never wake up. The hand warmers just get hotter and hotter.

Another reason this will save a weak chick is that when you have it in the bandana, it hears your breathing and talking, so hum a little tune. doesn't matter what it is, even a few notes stuck together over and over. When we have done this and been able to save a chick, they have turned out to be some of our favorites. makeing low sounds resonates through your bones and they love it. If you know anything about music, hum it in a minor key. "or just go up and down in half notes". Three notes is plenty. sometimes I will go with two notes. Listen to thier little peeps and make human sounds that echo them. they will have a conversation with you and before you know it they will "twur" for you. This is the equivelent to a cat's purr. It won't last long, they don't have the strength. But if you get a twur you know they now have the "will to live"! I have decided this is good for any chick, and will often put a couple of chicks and a bandana for a nap. It seems to ground them emotionally, and they are the chickens in the yard who run up to you with greetings, even when they are adults.

If I get angry for any reason, I will have someone else hold the chicks till I am calm. I can't imangine being one of those chick's when I yell at someone. It's a rare thing but worth noting.

Any family member can do this, they just must be concious about not squishing the chick. Normal work, watching tv and any chores you do are ok as long as the chick is against your skin and hears your heartbeat and breathsounds. I have noticed them positioning thier head over my bones for the resonance. I put my hand to the bandana as often as I can to warm them and give them another form of maternal contact.This is A precious experience everyone should have.

If you name your chicks, this is a good time to tell them their name.

I know this is long, but it is a subject close to my heart, and I wanted to share with you. I'm lookining forward to finding out how it goes for you.
I would love to hear others comments on this. It is so sad when a chick dies.
My son put's the goslings in his hoodey and has close to his neck but no sleeping with them but all great ideas ...



5 Years
Jun 17, 2014
We recently ordered chicks, mixed breeds, from a hatchery. Three days after we received them, we noticed one of chicks, the Road Island Red, was panting, somewhat lethargic, and not eating or drinking water. We are not very experienced backyard chicken owners, but we were doing everything by the book - clean water, medicated starter feed, and red heat lamp. After doing some online research, I figured that chick was overheated. I lowered the temp on the lamp and decided to try feeding her Gerber baby chicken food. Some online posts suggested scrambled eggs so I figured protein is protein. I had mixed feelings about giving a chick chicken, but I had to try something. I placed some on my finger and every time she opened her beak to pant, I put some in. I could see her swallowing small amounts. I did this every 30 minutes for 3 hours. I did the same with water. Sure enough, the next morning, she was eating the starter feed on her own. So happy. It looks like she's going to pull through.


In the Brooder
5 Years
Jun 16, 2014
Dike Texas

Quote: This is the fastest way I have ever revived a sick chick. Thank you for sharing this method with everyone. My Grandmother taught me this when I was a child taking care of her birds. It realy works guys.


5 Years
Jun 9, 2014
Spokane, WA
My Coop
My Coop
Even if all of our chicks come in strong i think the closeness of being in a bandana around our necks for a little bit each day will help them to imprint on our family & make them more receptive to human bonds. I think i'm going to try wearing our babies regardless of their health to emulate what is called 'kangaroo care' in premature babies.
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