Losing a chick, should I worry about the rest?


Oct 19, 2010
California Central Coast
We got 8 chicks Wednesday morning, they were born Tuesday shipped overnight. Our Farm Supply got them that morning and we got them all home under the brooder by like 10 am. They all are doing well, except I did notice one seemed a little less feisty than the rest. She was last to get water, last to eat, last to move when startled. She's slowly been getting worse. Yesterday she was showing some signs of labored breathing. I tried to get her to eat a little scrambled egg, but she wasn't interested. Our water has antibiotics and sugar in it. I've been replacing it regularly. They're on chick starter. Everyone else seems feisty and eats and drinks. This morning she's pretty much stopped moving and they were pecking her and I couldn't get her to eat or drink. She looked pretty bad so I had hubby take her out and put her in a seperate box next to the brooder because the others were trampling her so much and pecking her. He thinks she'll probably be dead within the next couple hours and I'm not sure what else to do.

I knew we might lose a couple so I was prepared for that, but should I worry about the other chicks? They all seem fine so far, she was the only one we've really been worried about from the get go. We kinda figured if we lost only one it would be her.
Is it just failure to thrive or does it sound like she could have something else and I should be worried about my other chicks?

I'd like to replace her, should I try and get a chick the same age?

I'm so bummed, I was so hoping they'd all make it. Any advice or reassurance is much appreciated. This is my first attempt at raising chickies.
It would be quite unusual for hatchery chicks to have any disease that would affect others. Losses are usually failure to thrive as you thought, shipping stress, an internal problem, or some combination. Sure, go ahead and replace her. For a week or two you can usually add these very young chicks without a problem.

Don't beat yourself up. This has happened to many or most of us. Sometimes they just don't have what it takes to make it. An unfortunate part of chicken keeping. You've done what you can for her comfort and welfare.

And best of luck with the rest of your new flock!

And -- sorry this had to be your introduction to BYC.
If that is the only one, I would not worry about it. Obviously watch the others but it does sound like failure to thrive. Unfortunately if you deal with living animals you will at some point deal with dead animals.

If you can get another one the same age from the same source, yes, go for it.
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Ok, that makes me feel a little better. I was starting to imagine some terrible scenario where she was just the first one and they all start slowing dropping. That would be awful. Thank you for the advice and reassurance. I think I will get another chickie.

We knew this could happen, but still hoped not. Other than this loss, this has been a really great experience so far. These babies will be our kids first pets and my daughter just loves them, especially the Delaware. Maybe I will get her another one of those. The one we lost was a Barred Rock.

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