Improper handling/catching of baby chicks?

CChick79

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2020
9
41
41
Hi all,
Hope this is the right place to ask this.

Today I was in TSC to pick up some feed and decided to get a few more chicks while I was leaving lol. The chicks were all fine and active in the bins. I l studied the ones from the bin I was choosing chicks from for about 10 minutes while waiting for an employee.

Everything seemed well with the chicks. Now that we're home, have been all night, the chicks seem... off. They're not active at all. Won't eat or drink. Won't walk. I've never experienced this before.

I'm wondering if a problem could have been caused by the way the employee handled the chicks while grabbing them for me. I tried to insist I could grab them, but she ignored me. The way she picked them up shocked me and I'm wondering if this is normal? I've never known anyone to handle babies in this manner. She seemed almost scared and grossed out to touch them looking back at the interaction. When she would finally grab one, she really grabbed it. As in grabbed it by one leg and somewhat flung it upside down into the box. I was horrified, but thought maybe this is a normal technique I didnt know of, even though my mind was screaming this was wrong.

Can someone confirm if this is a bad way to handle chicks? I really feel that it is, but I could be wrong. And these that were handled in this manner are the only chicks I've ever had problems with after settling at home. I've done nothing different on my end than I've always done brooding dozens of other chicks. I'm very worried I am going to lose them.

Thank you so much for any help.
 

Callender Girl

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Sep 18, 2018
4,657
27,650
896
North Central Iowa
I don't know that their behavior is related to the way she handled them, but it sure isn't the way I would ever handle a delicate baby chick. Perhaps she should be transferred to another department -- like hardware.

Hope your chicks pull through. Keep us posted.

In any case, I would not hesitate to return to the store and insist on talking to the manager about the employee's behavior and how she treated the babies. It sounds like you are a regular customer and spend more money than the value of a few chicks, so it would behoove the manager to at least listen to you.

If that doesn't seem to work, I would politely suggest that while you have already posted on an international chicken forum -- listing TSC by name -- you also intend to go up the TSC chain of command and visit with someone at corporate. The company has already gotten a black eye over some of its "new and improved" brooders that seem to be massively unpopular. It may not want more bad publicity.

It may not get results, but it may at least benefit chicks that are still in the store. Good luck!
 

viggo63

Songster
Apr 30, 2020
103
162
131
As in grabbed it by one leg and somewhat flung it upside down into the box.
That's not OK! There should be a customer service survey link at the bottom of your receipt. I would definitely bring this to their attention. If that employee is so averse to handling the birds, she should have called another employee over to do it. Surely there is someone at the store who will treat the chicks (and customers) with the respect they deserve.
 

Fluffy Lambs

🤩
Premium Feather Member
May 10, 2021
7,306
38,673
911
The Hot State
That is terrible! You need to report that employee to the manager!
As for them not having alot of pep, it probably does have something to do with how they were handled. What's your brooder temp? My chicks from the store are like that sometimes but usually get better, but my chicks I hatch are always the healthiest and only one has died that had organ problems. Best wishes to you and the chicks.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
6 Years
Jul 3, 2016
20,554
43,078
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
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The employee did not handle them well but I also understand why she wouldn't let you do it. Really she should've called someone else over to help you if she didn't know how to do it.

Now that the chicks are home, do you have electrolytes or Nutri-Drench on hand that you can give them? Since they're lethargic and not drinking on their own, I would consider direct dosing them with a few drops of Nutri-Drench (best choice) or electrolyte laced water to help with stress.
 

CChick79

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2020
9
41
41
Could be stress from moving. What is your brooder temperature? Not eating, drinking, or moving could be because they are cold.
My broader temp is right on. I've been monitoring it often (probably too often lol) because of how they've been acting. They're definitely warm, I started to worry they might have been too warm at one point since they weren't moving or even tried to move from where I placed them when we got home.
 

CChick79

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2020
9
41
41
The employee did not handle them well but I also understand why she wouldn't let you do it. Really she should've called someone else over to help you if she didn't know how to do it.

Now that the chicks are home, do you have electrolytes or Nutri-Drench on hand that you can give them? Since they're lethargic and not drinking on their own, I would consider direct dosing them with a few drops of Nutri-Drench (best choice) or electrolyte laced water to help with stress.
I completely understand their policy about customers not handling the chicks, which is why I didn't push it. There are a couple of employees that work the chick area usually that allow me to go in alone and get the chicks (I'm probably at TSC too much lol), but they weren't there yesterday.

I was just about to post an update. I've given them nutri drench and slowly they began coming around. They're completely different chicks now. I think the stress of the way they were handled may have shocked them a bit and wore them out. Maybe.
 

CChick79

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2020
9
41
41
*UPDATE*
I've just been able to sit down and get online after a long day. Thank you for all your replies and help.

Things are looking much more positive. I was very worried they may not make it through the day. I had to give Nutri-Drench to each by hand, hoping to perk them up a bit. And that seemed to help tremendously. They are moving around and eating on their own now. I'm thinking the stress of how they were handled and the journey home, I think it was a shock to their little bodies/systems. I think after they settled for a while, rested and got hydrated, they began doing much better. I'm keeping a close eye on them, but as of now they're doing well by all appearances and are peeping around the brooder.

Also, I called the store today to alert them about the employee, but the manager was unavailable at the time. I do have to go back in tomorrow to get some more PDZ that I forgot yesterday so I plan on trying to talk to someone then. Hopefully I can gently suggest going over proper handling techniques with employees working the chicks and explain what I experienced. I don't want to get her in trouble, but I also don't want any chicks hurt or worse. I think it was more ignorance and lack of chicken experience on the employee's end rather than anything malicious. But if the employee is scared/grossed out by chickens, they definitely should have her in a different department. Depending on how tomorrow goes, I may escalate my concerns.
 

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