Múltiple Chicks Dying Day 5-7. Help!!


7 Years
Apr 18, 2016
I really could use some advice here as this is likely going to end our desire to ever try hatching again.

Two weeks ago, we hatched 20 chicks and this happened. We have 2/20 from that group alive. Because we lost so many, I sent some bodies to the State- have yet to hear back. I bleached the daylights out of everything, and used a new incubator for lockdown, new water and food sources, new shavings, and a new heat hut, and a new room for them to hatch in.

This new group was a larger hatch and the same thing is happening again. We came home tonight after a few hours out and multiple chicks were showing signs. They look like they have lost motor control, they are low to the ground, can’t get around, slow, and soon die. Supplementing their care does not keep them alive. If it happens like it did two weeks ago, we will lose one a day at least.

Within an hour if shooting that, they were all Dead. I can’t imagine what I will wake up to tomorrow!

They have clean water and food. The water has nutridrench in it. This is new a new bag of medicated Food and new shavings. I have tried not using shavings and it makes no difference. The egg sources are also all different. They were also warmed in different incubators so that is also likely not the issue.

What does this look like? Since all eggs came from different places, my guess is that it is environmental from us. My husband thinks we should cull the rest, bleach the space, and focus on not getting our larger gals infected. Please advise. This is heartbreaking.
That is really, really sad and I am so sorry for the loss of your chicks. 💛

Where are you getting their water from? It could have a contaminant that you are unaware of. Also what are you using for a heat source? There are certain heat lamps/bulbs that are coated with teflon and give off fumes that can kill chicks.
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I've experienced the anguish of losing a single chick out of a new brood, but I can't even imagine the deep, deep pain of losing so many at once. I am so sorry you're experiencing such heart wrenching emotional loss.

Years ago, when I was relatively new here, there was a thread very similar to yours. Chicks were dying en masse just as yours are. We kicked around a few ideas, the normal heat issues, possible toxin exposure, etc. Then the person disappeared. Over a year later, they returned and updated the thread. It turned out they had to move out of their house very suddenly because the health department found their water was contaminated.

Since then, I ask the water question. What is your water source? If it's unfiltered well water, is it high in iron content? Iron binds with bacteria, and while humans may not suffer ill effects, the bacteria would kill tiny chicks.

Another thread also had many chicks dying all at once. It turned out the chicks were brooded in a work shop where welding took place. The vapors from the process were enough to create toxic gasses that the chicks were exposed to, and they died.

Then there is the Teflon coated heat lamps that give off a deadly gas that has poisoned many chicks over the years when folks pick up the wrong sort of heat bulb for their brooder.

My heart goes out to you, and I hope you manage to get to the bottom of this tragedy.
Thanks all for offering help.
We switched to only using purchased water (filtered) in both the incubators and for drinking. Once empty, a new one is used.

I am hatching them currently in an unused room. We do not have anything exciting going on in our garage next door. We don’t even park cars in there.

As for heat, as I stated, I got a new heat plate after the first batch didn’t make it. I’m not a big fan of heat lamps though we do have that ready if needed. The temp under the plate this week is 90f.

My picture won’t attach but I will try later.
What part of the country are you in?

How about household heat? Any chance of carbon monoxide leaks?

Sometimes chick feed is out of date or is contaminated. Have you checked the date on the bag?

Hopefully, you'll get some answers when you get the necropsy report. Not knowing is half the pain.
If this is a new bator try leaving it on for a few days before using it again. When my old one was new I trying using it right away and it smelled like a new car (killed all the embryos). So maybe air it out??

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