Just got my chicks--some questions


10 Years
Nov 14, 2009
Kingman Arizona
I just got my first mail-order chicks this morning, from Ideal. I got an assortment of bantams, 28 of them but one was DOA. I think he was trampled by the others in the box, they were extremely crowded together with no room to move, and they were all pecking at each other pretty badly too. I've got another one that was normal and alert, then after it ate a little scrambled egg and had a drink of water, it seemed to become very top heavy and lethargic. It can't stand up well (doesn't seem to be a foot issue though, it was walking fine before eating), and is in a separate brooder now so it won't get trampled...it has just been laying stretched out asleep under the heat lamp all day and doesn't want to wake up unless I make it, and then it goes back to sleep in a few seconds. Is there something I should do for this one? It doesn't seem in pain, just really really tired and sort of weak. I also have another one that sometime during the feeding frenzy when I served them their first meal...lost the ends of the toes on one foot. The other chicks pecked its toes off! It just has some very purple ouchy looking stubs left on that foot, and it walks around everywhere screaming its head off, but otherwise seems fine. I'm sure it's hurting! I washed the foot gently in warm water and applied neosporin to the stubs, and put it in the 'emergency room' brooder with the weak one. Anything else I can/should do for this poor little thing?

Also, I have never had chicks in a brooder in the house before, always outside. I don't remember how noisy they are, it's been a while. How noisy is normal? My chicks all seem healthy and active (except the above two) and are running around eating and drinking, but they are cheeping a lot and pretty loudly! It's actually scaring the cats, they do not even want to come in the house! I have the chicks' brooder box in a bathroom with a space heater and heat lamp, so I don't think they are too cold, but they are just really noisy.
I actually think it's good for the ER chicks to have each other. I think being alone would be stressful for a chick, as they are flock animals.
I got 25 chicks yesterday too, and thought they are cheeping, they are not all that loud. Is it warm enough? They say if they are stressed, they chirp loudly
What is the temp in the brooder? Are they all crammed up under the light? They shouldn't be screaming all the time, but they will if too cold so I'd check on that.
I will try out the sugar water, thanks. I hope that poor weak one makes it, it's the only D'Uccle we got, and I really wanted some of those. I wish I could do something for pecked-toe chick to make him not hurt, but there's really nothing safe to give such a little bird. I hope he recovers! Yeah, I guess in a way it's better to have two in the hospital box than just one, but I'd rather have none in there!

They don't seem cold at all, not huddling under the light. I'll have to check the temperature, but it's pretty warm in there. They're just running around the brooder cheeping. Maybe they're excited? We tried giving them a stuffed animal to snuggle around like a mother hen, but it just seemed to scare them...they all ran to the other end of the box and would not go near it so I took it away.

I'm so happy to finally have them, they are so adorable! I am taking pictures of all of them so we can figure out what we got, looks like a lot of variety.
the lethargic one...well..may not make it, I had a couple of chicks with the same problem, and they died, it's the stress from traveling. I think its best to keep them away from the other ones, so they don't trample him. and like tammyd57 said, try some sugar water it may help, it may not. Good Luck! I hope your two chicks in the emergency brooder make it! and have fun with your chickies!!
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Do place a thermometer in with them (even a cheapo one), because what we feel as warm or cold may not be what we think it is. Unless your bathroom has no heat, you shouldn't need the space heater with a heat lamp (you did mention a lamp). Really loud cheaping (like urgency) does make me think stress too. But it could just be the stress of settling into new digs. Is the brooder plenty big? And is the food and water away from the heat lamp?
Sorry to hear about your two sick/injured chicks. The toe thing kind of grossed me out...poor little guy (gal).
Well, the weak D'Uccle didn't make it. I mixed up some sugar water and tried dripping a little in its beak. It wouldn't take it at all, and was a little more floppy than before, so I was just holding it in a towel and petting it gently, and it went stiff and died. My husband thinks it may have inhaled some water earlier; he says he saw it sitting in the water dish just gulping water down earlier; the dish had marbles in it to keep them from drowning, but this one maybe overdid it and got water in its lungs.
The chick with eaten toes seems to be doing all right, we put two other really calm ones in the hospital box with it for company since its buddy died. I can't believe how aggressive some of these little guys are at 3 days old! There is plenty of food to go around, several dishes, but as soon as one gets a bite of something, four others will be chasing it around trying to steal what it has!

Well, I guess this is why they send extras.

I checked the temperature, and it's about 90 degrees in there. I turned the heat up just a little more to see if that helps, and put a thermometer in there so we can keep a better eye on it. There's no heat in the bathroom, we don't have a heating system at all, just a wood stove and it does not heat as far as the bathroom, so we keep the space heater in there because of that. It's not the warmest place we have, but it is the most secure so that the cats can't get to the birds unsupervised. They are loud, but don't sound urgent like they want something, the more I listen, the more it sounds like just loud happy sounds. I guess I'm not used to the sound of house birds anymore.
Not warm enough I always have temp at 99 on day of arrival and slowly take down as they start to feather. My babies are 4 days old and they cry if temp goes below 98 now. you should try and get temp up. they will quiet down, take a nap then be lively.

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