less than 1 week old chicks dropping like flies

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chicky boom boom 27, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Chicky boom boom 27

    Chicky boom boom 27 In the Brooder

    Sep 6, 2011

    This is the third batch of chicks that I have purchased from a hatchery. I have never purchased from this hatchery before, but this one was recommended by a friend (and leader of our 4H poultry barn). When I ordered, I asked them to hold the chicks and I would pick them up. I don't feel comfortable with mailing chicks in Iowa in February. The day they were to be picked up I received a phone call letting me know the chicks were at my post office. This was Thursday morning, Feb 16. There were 31 of them.

    Since I had to work, I took the chicks to my hubby's shop where he watered them and kept them in his office until we got off work. We brought them home right away and put them in our brooder, which is a cardboard box with a heating pad. We've never had a problem raising chicks this way.

    The first night we lost 1 chick. No big deal, right? Friday we lost 3-4 more during the day. Lost a couple more that night. Next day I decided they may not be warm enough because they peeped A LOT and huddled on the heating pad so bought a heat lamp to put on them and we put them in our heated shop and bumped the heat up in there a few degrees warmer than the house (we have wood heat for the shop).

    Yesterday afternoon we checked on them, three more were falling ill but the others were running around in and out of the heat lamp. A couple of others were laying under the heat lamp so I assumed the heat lamp was set properly. They had plenty of room to get out from under the lamp if they were too hot. I do not have a thermometer in there so I am not sure exactly how warm it is under there. The chicks have always just let me know by huddling and shivering, or staying away from the heat.

    This morning my hubby checked on them and there are 6 more that are dead and 2 that look like they are dying. What is going on????

    I am feeding non-medicated Home Grown (Purina) chick starter/grower feed. They were vaccinated for Mareks at the hatchery.

    Is there any way to test the dead ones to find out what killed them?

    The hatchery is getting a phone call first thing Monday morning.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012

  2. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Songster

    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    How sad I'm sorry. You could offer them hardboiled egg bits as they may not be eatting enough of the feed crumbles. I think you should get a small thermometor to see what the temp it is on outer edge of the heated area. Good Luck
  3. AlienChick

    AlienChick Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    I would probably rush out and pick up a cheap thermometer "just to be sure" of the temp.

    If they're a bit too cold, it will stress them out enough for them to fall ill and die.

    Keeping them warm enough during the first three days is extremely important.

    I hope all goes well.

    Keep us posted.
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    They may have been cold stressed. This happens alot in the winter. With 31 chicks, they stay warmer but maybe not warm enough. Then, may not have gotten that 85-90 degree heat right away.

    I think the only thing you can do right now is keep them warm- they can tell you, they will sleep under the lamp or out away from the lamp both. If they're huddled or standing up under the bulb, it's too cold.

    I would also make a mash out of their crumbles and water, most chicks can't resist, and they eat a whole lot, which will increase their temperature internally.

    I , too, would call the hatchery and give them an earful about mailing chicks that going to be picked up.
  5. Chicky boom boom 27

    Chicky boom boom 27 In the Brooder

    Sep 6, 2011
    I called the hatchery first thing this morning. We ran down a list of possibilities. Nothing really "fit" except the shipping in February. They're offering me 21 replacements which I will be picking up on Wednesday. [​IMG] Hopefully this will be the end of it. We're left with 10 survivors from the first batch. They all seem really spry, and they eat and drink well so we're keeping our fingers crossed that they continue to do well. The hatchery did suggest I double-check the feed bag to ensure it is over 18% protein. I would assume it is, but I'll check to make sure. Thank you all to your suggestions! This is a great forum. [​IMG]

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