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Is It Possible to Get a Bad Batch of Chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Siggie, May 1, 2016.

  1. Siggie

    Siggie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just got 25 chicks from a hatchery 3 days ago. As some of you read in another post, I lost two chicks the first night. I found them outside the mama heating pad and figured they died from exposure to the cold. Then when I got up this morning, I went out to check on them and I only counted 22 chicks so I checked under the mama heating pad and I found another dead chick???? Now I would normally chalk this up to me being inexperienced and I must have done something wrong....but all 3 chicks were the Australorps... could it be that the Australorps came from the hatchery with issues? I am watching the other two and they seem to be ok but so was the other one last night? The chick I found under the mama heating pad was way in the back so I know it wasn't exposure to the cold.

    Any insight from experienced chicken owners would be so helpful.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Overcrowding in heating area maybe? Could they be suffocating?
     
  3. Siggie

    Siggie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is plenty of room for all under the heating pad and they were all laying towards the back in a tight group when I checked on them around 11pm last night. Could the chick have suffocated from being crammed in the middle of all the chicks? It gets down to around 38 degrees on the porch so I am hesitant to turn down the heating pad just yet. The temp was around 100 degrees under there but that was mid day when it was 72 degrees on the porch. Not sure what to do?
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    25 chicks under a single heating pad may be too crowded. What size pad are you using? From the info you've given, I think the bird under the pad may have been trampled or squished by the others. I've not followed the heating pad thread to see how many chicks folks can fit, but when I used one I had about a dozen-15 chicks and they seemed pretty maxed for space. You might try setting up another pad or changing to a light.
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    100 degrees is way too warm. You either need to turn the heating pad down or raise the frame up. They cope better with a little chill than excess heat. If they are chilly they can compensate by going further back into the cave or snuggling - but too warm they have no way to get rid of the excess. And darker chicks absorb more heat than lighter ones.

    In a room that warm, the pad should probably be at 2 or 3, especially with that many under there.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
    3 people like this.
  6. Siggie

    Siggie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone! Yes I believe it was way to warm for them because even when the temp dropped last night, I checked on them around 11pm and they were all sitting towards the front so I turned the heat down to 4 and they went back towards the back :) When I got up this morning I had to run to work (was running a little late) so I didn't check under the pad but as soon as I said good morning and gave them some fresh greens and garlic most of them came out. During the day they are all out and either sitting on top or laying in the sun that comes through the windows so they aren't even under there much but I will start turning it way down during the day. Again thank you everyone for weighing in. I think I would be lost without such a great place to learn!!
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    If you are giving them fresh greens, are you also providing them with some form of grit? It can be chick grit or something as simple as a clump of sod tossed in the brooder, roots and all. But they can't grind up foods other than chick starter without grit.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    With your fluctuating day/night temps in that room, it sounds like you are going to have to change the settings to accommodate. Sounds like you've got that figured out. I just want to give you a bit more food for thought: While garlic is a wonderful herb with lots of great properties, including being a helminthicide, it is also a blood thinner. I doubt they would eat enough to have issues with that... but you might want to limit. Also with the greens, what are you giving them? Grass? if so, you might want to give it in the form of a clump of sod, as suggested by Blooie. That way, they are not picking up strands of cut grass that may be too long, leading to issues with difficulty passing through their tiny little digestive systems, but they will be "plucking" their pieces, getting more appropriately sized blades to work on. They will get incredible benefit from the soil in the sod clump: minerals, bacteria and fungus to jump start their gut flora, grit, insects, seeds, dust bathing! My chicks discovered WORMS in their Saturday sod. They had quite a worm scrimmage! I agree that you may have too many chicks in that MHP for safety. Are the back and front both open? I have 17 (I think... home hatched, and they don't slow down enough for me to get an accurate count). Last year, I maxed out at 22, and they gave up the MHP very early. When they did try to get under it, it looked like a bunch of pigs having a pillow fight under a blanket. That MHP was just a-rockin-and-rolling! IMO, 15 would be a good comfortable max for a 12 x 24. More than that is pushing the limits, and with a large brood, IMO, best to leave it open at front AND back so the littlest ones can easily squirt out from either side if they start to get crowded.
     
  9. Siggie

    Siggie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Blooie and Lazy Gardener, I have been giving them Oregano, Thyme, and occasionally garlic (which they fight over and it's gone in minutes!) and I do have two large clumps of dirt in there with some grass attached for grit because my chicken grit seems a little too big for them right now. I also gave them a strawberry and cut it in tiny pieces, they LOVED it!

    My mama heating pad cave is 24" x 24" and is actually a wire basket with 4" tall sides. I lost two chicks the first night because they squeezed out the back, couldn't find their way back in and fell victim to the cold temperatures :( so I now have only the front side open. They are growing fast and I can see little feathers already on their wings. I will have to somehow make the cave bigger very soon. I will just raise the basket for now as they grow but I realize that they will need a bigger space before too long :)
     

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