In the Brooder
- Feb 2, 2017
When chicks hatch and get tossed a a box to go for a ride to their new home, they can vary in how long one has been hatched from one to the next. Some have gotten their bearings more than others. A couple of hours makes a big difference.
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 a few 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 Dh 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 pieces and go down easily. Buy the small curd or break up the large curd. 1 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 theirs 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 night their 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. Making 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 breath sounds. I have noticed them positioning their 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.