Lethargic Chick - what to do?

The Monkey Mama

11 Years
Jun 12, 2008
Kennesaw, GA
My Sister bought 6 black copper marans chicks from a local breeder on Friday. These chicks are 2 weeks old.

They all look fine, energetic, and healthy except for one. He sleeps all the time, doesn't respond when she comes near the brooder, is lethargic and sleeps even when she picks him up.

She said he will eat and drink when she wakes him up and puts him next to the food, but that he won't eat or drink on his own - will only sleep if she doesn't wake him up.

She also said she heard him sneeze twice yesterday, but not since yesterday morning.

This all sounds to me like the chick is trying to die, what do you guys think?

With the sneezing, is he possibly sick with something that could spread to the other chicks? [She also has four adult hens who are very healthy and she's worried they could catch it too, they are not near the brooder right now though, but she's afraid of spreading germs on her hands or clothing].

Should she put some cayenne in the chick's water to try to boost their health, or are they too little for that?

Can a vet help him? [she is willing to take him to a vet if it might help].

What else should she do? What would you do?


Kelly, not meaning to be the bearer of bad news, but if it was me, that chick would have to go. Marans are way too expensive of an investment to take those kind of chances with and if it acts as you described, it sounds like it's a huge threat to the health of the other chicks. TJMO
I am sorry to hear it and hope it does not make any of the others ill.
Thanks Robin - that's what I told her. He sounds like a goner to me, my concern would be to stop anything from spreading in case it is contagious [maybe it is too late for that.

She paid a mint for these chicks too, very frustrating.


Does anyone know about cayenne in chicks? Does the sneezing sound like something that will spread? They are on medicated chick starter right now.

Sounds liek it could be something that could spread. I don't know much about the individual disorders and illnesses that chicks can get but I would not have left it with the others for sure!
Sneezing could possibly be something that can spread. Tell her to read this article about Oxine...she can use it to disinfect everything, and possibly even treat the sick chick:


I ordered Oxine from Amazon.com.

As far as the cayenne, I heard it's good to prevent parasites. I'm not sure of other benefits, but it's possible. Also, natural unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is very good for chicks/chickens (both sick and well). The medicated feed is medicated to prevent coccidiosis. I don't think it will help with the sneezing issue in any way, for the sick or well chicks.

I think she should separate the sick chick from all the others...put it in it's own little box and nurse it there. Keep all the chicks separated from the older chickens for at least 30 days. Be very careful not to spread any germs from the chicks to the older ones.

Hope this helps....Best Wishes!!!!!

The chick did die a little bit ago.

Now she is watching the rest of the chicks to see how they are doing - so far they all look healthy. I hope for her sake they stay that way.

Thanks for the help!


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