lethargic 5 week old chick, half the size of others

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kbroering, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. kbroering

    kbroering New Egg

    Apr 27, 2016

    We are raising a couple of white Pekins, Black Stars and Isa Browns from baby chicks. One Isa Brown, about 5 week old is suddenly weak and lethargic. Fell over and let the other chicks stand on her, didn't even try to get up. I separated her, gave her a little sugar water and her own food. She looks like she is hiccupping but no sound comes out (maybe she is trying to chirp but is too weak?)

    What else can I do to help her? She's not really pooping or eating or drinking. I don't know if it makes a difference, but she is much smaller than the other chicks her age, almost half the size

    thanks for any advice you have!

  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Flock Master

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Welcome to BYC!

    Can you post a video (her hiccups) or photos of her?
    Separating her was a good idea, that way you can monitor and give her a little TLC.
    If you can give her some poultry vitamins/electrolytes like Nutri-Drench or Sav-a-Chick. If she won't drink you can try to get water into by an eye dropper or needle-less syringe. It's slow going, so patience is needed.
    Try to see if she will eat her chick starter wet, just mix the feed with a little water to about the consistency of oatmeal.
    What does her poo look like - even though there is less of it, does it look normal, bloody etc?

    Since she is not progressing in growth she might have a developmental disorder or could be just a "runt".
  3. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    It could be a number of things but obviously doesn't sound good. She is probably gasping for breath from weakness or a viral infection.

    You can try Chick Saver, but as she is not growing and thriving, it is likely something else going on.

    It could be coccidiosis, but usually they sit huddled with runny diarrhea (not always bloody).

    Sometimes the failure to thrive is from residual bacteria left from hatching that has invaded the abdomen. If she has had a continuous low grade infection, that could account for lack of growth, loss of appetite, which accounts for less poo.

    If you put her on Sulmet, that acts pretty fast and would address both coccidiosis and a number of the gram negative bacteria that are common from hatching issues (eColi and Salmonella).

    You could also try a broad based antibiotic like Tylan or Duramycin-10, but if it were my chick, I'd put it on Sulmet to see if that helps rally it. You can add it with the Chick Saver. If that doesn't work, then try the Duramycin or Tylan in case it is secondary infection after a viral (any weepy eyes?)

    Good luck to the little one, but I must admit it is rare I am able to rescue one of these, and often you may not want to as they grow into weaker birds that fail to do well and simply succumb to something else as adults (which can pass to your flock).

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  4. kbroering

    kbroering New Egg

    Apr 27, 2016
    She is looking slightly better, actually taking a few steps and stretching her wings every now and then. The soundless hiccups/"chirps" are less often- I will watch her to see if I can get a video. She's pooping again and it looks normal. She's eating some, although it doesn't seem like much. She's in an open box in the bathroom and has not attempted to fly out (her sisters of the same age are constantly trying to escape the brooder pen). She's more alert and has her eyes open, just still seems much less movement than the others. I held her a while and she moved around in my hands a bit, but she still seems to be off balance a bit.

    So I guess we are at a "wait and see" place. I don't want to put her back with the others yet, especially with the ducklings in there (they probably weigh 5 lbs already, they are huge compared to the chicks, and they tend to sit on each other)

    thanks for your thoughts! I will see if I can get some of those liquids for her.


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