I think my baby is sick, please help!


7 Years
Oct 13, 2012
I have six baby chicks, and they all looked great until today. The youngest one, just about a half hour ago, started peeping really loudly like she was in pain. I took her out immediately and checked her throat - I lost a tiny baby to gapeworm, so I was panicked that might be it, but that didn't seem to be the problem. I saw food on the roof of her mouth, so I gave her a little water with a dropper, just in case that was the problem, then checked again and it was gone. After I put her back with the others, she cried again, and I saw her jerking and flailing with each peep. At first I thought they were crazy sneezes, but then started thinking it looked a bit more like seizures. I may be overreacting, but the other babies are giving her weird looks, and she really sounds like she's in pain when she peeps and flails. Any idea what it might be? It only just started today. She's almost 3 weeks old, and a D'uccle, if that helps.

Please, any assistance would be great, I'm panicking a little bit! I lost two babies early on, I thought I was in the clear, I don't want to lose another. :[
Is her bum clean? I had a chick that had pasty bum and was plugged up so bad, he was sick and would hardly even walk. When I was cleaning him off, he peeped very loudly and a lot of old poo came out.

If she's actually sneezing, it might be a respiratory thing. Have you been around anyone else's chickens that were sick?
Her bum is clean, no pasting at all. And all of our chickens seem to be in good health, nobody else has been sneezing or anything, and they're the only one's she's been around. She was outside for several hours a few days ago, but it was a really warm day, and she didn't act sick until today.

She slept for a little bit, and I haven't noticed any more "ouch" peeps from her yet, but I don't want to take any chances either. When I first noticed her complaints, she had her beak slightly open, and one side had what looked like a little bit of slime on it, and she had a slightly dazed look on her face.

Is it possible then that's it's just a cold? Those were some violent sneezes then! If it is, what's the best thing to do? Should she be quarantined?

Am I overreacting?
I wouldn't say that you're overreacting. She hasn't had anything to eat but chick feed, right? Is the area where she's being kept exposed to any kind of damp conditions that could have mold? What kind of bedding do you use for them? Could be a little dusty.

It is still possible it could be a cold. If she continues to cough, you may want to separate her from the others, but be warned that she will not be happy about it.

Post #6 on this thread is somewhat helpful: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/662695/chicks-sneezing

This thread may also be of some help: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/646862/chick-sneezing
Nothing but chick feed, you are correct. There should be no dampness or mold; there certainly isn't any I'm aware of. As for bedding, they just have newspaper, so there shouldn't be any dust. They did have wood shavings for a little while, but it got gross fast and they made clumps out of it, so I ditched that. But even when there was fresh, dry wood shavings - which could have been a bit dusty at first - I never noticed any sneezes. Well, none like this. An occasional, tiny, adorable sneeze here and there. But these, if they were indeed sneezes, nearly knocked her over.

Since she slept, I haven't noticed any more loud noises or odd behavior from her, so I don't know if it was just a one-time thing (if it was it was awfully scary!). I'll keep an eye on her though, to see if she does it again.

Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it!

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