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Is it normal to lose a lot of chickens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CrazyAnimalGirl, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. CrazyAnimalGirl

    CrazyAnimalGirl Songster

    Jul 28, 2010
    West of Atl, Ga
    It seems like i'm doing something wrong, i've never had so many animals die on me!
    I know that birds are more fragile, but I am home like 24/7 and watch/care for them all day. Even last night I had one bantam chick about a week old die, not sure why; and two of my month olds escaped!!
    Last week a hen that I rescued died from what I believe was sour crop. I know I could have been more informed about that and more diseases, but I didn't think she'd just quit on me!
    My big dog chick-napped one of the week olds and it was gone by the end of the day. The brooder is now on total security lock!
    Another hen escaped from the coop (still figuring out that one) and got attacked in the woods.
    I know I lost a couple more chicks but i've probably blocked it out! One even had a prolapsed vent and it's perfectly fine now!

    Is this normal? Just part of having a farm? Or am I awful with birds? I guess I need to go crazy and secure the pens even more, but my Grandfather told me I could free range! (and that's what I want to do eventually... maybe!) My numbers are just constantly changing, and i'm not used to it!

  2. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Songster

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    Don't feel bad. I look at pics on here of everyone's 3 week old and up hatchlings and catch my breath because mine all look like dwarves when compared. I have lost multiple new chicks up to a couple months old for no apparent reason! I keep chick starter available at all times, water at all times, fresh clean cage, heat light, proper temp, etc. and nothing seems to matter. All my chicks seem to be delayed compared to everyone elses and I'm lucky I haven't had any deaths in a few days. I don't get it and never thought raising baby chickens would be so difficult. I am the type of person to research everything and make improvements constantly and I still have problems. It's not just you.

    Here's a posting I made yesterday with my newest approach:

    I've noticed on this board that nobody suggests the following and I don't know why: if I'm breaking some kind of "no no rule" here please enlighten me.

    I've been hatching chicks for the last several weeks against the advice of everyone I know personally because they all swear that the chicks will die before winter. I have had pretty good success but here's what I do: I keep them in the house in a cardboard box brooder for a week. Heat light, but no shavings. Instead I use old hand towels laid on the floor and just replace/remove a time or two a day. After the first week, I move them to my screened in porch brooder just during daylight hours. Again, towel floor and heat light, even in the middle of the day but my brooder on the porch is wire sided. At night I have a different approach once they have been out in the light all day. I discovered that being in the light 24/7 was EXHAUSTING my chicks. So, I set up a heating pad in the bottom of a pet carrier and bring in all my little ones into a dark room with the heating pad. They go from "cheep cheep" to SILENT in moments. They stay in the house about 7-8 hours and then immediately back to their re-prepared outdoor brooder. At about 3 weeks I swap out hand towels for shavings. Sometimes I think we all forget to try to re-create the life a chick would naturally have with their mom. The heating pad and darkness simulates being in the nest all night and I have noticed a drastic improvement with my babies since using this method. I typically quit this practice at around 3 weeks old but just tonight I had a few little ones that were obviously tired and almost falling over as they drifted off to sleep so I brought them in and they are comfortably sleeping on their "mother blanket". Also I live in NC and our temps have fallen quite a bit the last few nights so the last suggestion i have is if your chicks are outdoors and younger than 6 weeks, use a sheet to cover the brooder at night. It's thin so they don't overheat but it keeps enough warmth in to assure they don't catch cold. Just a little of my own experience and advice. : )

    I do the whole darkness at night thing especially when I have one getting skinny or sleeping a lot. Then offer them sugar water/chick starter in am and they are usually perky again within a day or two.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  3. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

    Dec 15, 2009
    Central NY
    Don't be hard on yourself. You can take the precautions necessary to keep your birds safe...but there are always other variables. I have lost birds to unknown causes.
  4. cracked_egg

    cracked_egg Chirping

    Jun 2, 2010
    If it helps at all, I've had some bad luck too. Just is part of it sometimes and that is why none of the current ones are my pet.

    I had my first batch of 25 chicks out in the coop, (which is a horse stall with a mesh door that didn't reach the bottom) anyway, I had a hay bale under the door, so they couldn't get out and my dog couldn't get in. She was really good with them when they were in the house, but she stalked their coop while they were in barn... So at about four weeks old she managed to get into the coop and kill all but one. I had another batch of 12 in the brooder so I put the lone chick in with them and named her Gretta. Mind you I had spent hours with all of them, letting them roost on my leg. So, gretta and I became good friends, dog got banned to the line, no free time,and finally I moved them all into the coop, but lowered the door so no hay bale was necessary.... Well, dog got off line and killed all but five, including my "pet" dear gretta!!! I was devastated. And really there is a sick feeling when you look around and see so many. dead chickens! Not half eaten, just dead... Terrible!

    Well, due to chicken math, I got 48 chicks to replace 24...haha.. But they don't even get locked in the coop. I've lost 3 I think. I don't keep great tabs. Those didn't upset me at all, I guess because it wasn't a mass death, I'm not attached, and I don't feel guilty for it...
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Don't get discouraged!!!! Your peeps love you!!!!


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