I am devastated

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Lukechicks, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. Lukechicks

    Lukechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2015
    I hatched my own eggs in January of this year and have been happily raising my 9 chicks, they were around six weeks of age and getting a bit to large to keep in my house. Temperatures in the UK are early spring so around 50F during the day and just above freezing at night.

    As the chicks were fully feathered or just about - I decided to put them out in my polytunnel during the day as the temps in there is around 70F during the daytime. They seemed really happy in there so I began leaving them in the tunnel during the night with a warm box to go in and to be on the safe side I placed a small thermostatically controlled fan heater near the entrance to the box, the heater was set to keep the tunnel at 50F, this was working very well for the past week and the chicks seemed very happy and would be in their 7th week of age .

    Well disaster struck last night as the heater's thermostat must have broken, I came in to find the heater appeared to have been on all night and the box was very warm with all my chicks dead inside. I am puzzled as I left the heater on today to see what it is doing and it seems to be working fine, although I am sure it over heated my chicks last night....either that or they all died of cold ? Although there was not even a frost last night and the tunnel was around 50F inside this morning, I am very upset that I did this to my chickens and quite shocked that this happened so suddenly, I must have overheated them, I cannot imagine they died of cold under the conditions, they were all so healthy and full of beans the day before, my brain is struggling to process what happened I just feel terrible about it, I am guessing chickens must be very sensitive to overheating as I really did not think the heater was making it that warm in there, but possibly combined with all there body heat it was too much... I really don't know what happened. One thing I did notice was their beaks looked bluish as if they had been suffocated which is odd as I cut loads of holes into their sleeping box..as I said I really don't know all I can think is I made them too hot.
     
  2. kar0427

    kar0427 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 16, 2013
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    I had this happen transporting parrots to a pet store in the winter. The SUV I was driving had "zoned" heating and they were in the very back - it malfunctioned. Although I was comfortable in the front, they were roasting. When I went to get them out, they were dead or dying from the heat, and it didn't take long. The two I saved were never quite right again (in the head). They just can't take extreme heat. It is truly devastating and I'm sorry for your experience.
     
  3. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    What kind of heater is it? Electric, kerosene, or other?
     
  4. Lukechicks

    Lukechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    It is an electric fan heater just a very small one, I use it to keep the frost off my plants its not particularly warm, but I did have it near to the entrance of the box so maybe the heat was accumulating inside the box.
     
  5. theraptor

    theraptor New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2015
    I'm so sorry. I'm new to this myself so I have no advice but I do know how upset I would be. I hope you can get it figured out.
     
  6. Lukechicks

    Lukechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the support, I feel very bad about it as it was my first ever hatch and to loose them all in one night...I can only blame myself I should have taken more care. I did not know chickens are so sensitive to overheating, but I have since read that they do not have sweat glands and so can only cool themselves through other means, I suppose trapped in a box with warm air flowing in plus their combined body heat the temperature was just too high.
     
  7. Lukechicks

    Lukechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you... I do feel like giving up on raising my own chickens right now...but I do have another younger group of 10 that I hatched a couple of weeks after the ones I just lost, they are still being kept indoors, I have defiantly learned my lesson where heat is concerned. I also will not hatch in the winter again, I would rather wait till spring when outside temps have improved so I don't have to worry then when I need to put them outside.
     
  8. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    That rules out carbon monoxide then. When you found them, were they huddled at the far end away from the heater? Do you have any idea how warm it did get in there that night?
     
  9. Lukechicks

    Lukechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Well I found them just scattered around the box, when I walked into the polytunnel in the morning it was just over 50 F and the box felt warm when I put my hand inside but not hot, I felt the bedding and that was warm. One of the bodies was actually near the entrance close to the heater, the rest were just around the box in different spots, so did not seem like they were huddling together, more the opposite. They had a strange smell to them almost like rotten eggs but I cannot be sure why that would be, yesterday they were bouncing around really happy and healthy. I thinking about it... perhaps I overdosed them as I use LifeGuard in their water I tend to approximate a teaspoon as 5ml, then I thought maybe it was because I give them a lot of greens and had run out of grit this week....then I go back to thinking the most likely thing is I overheated them
     

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