Multiple Chick Issues - is it Me or the Hatchery?


In the Brooder
Mar 13, 2018
Magnolia, TX
Ordered 18 chicks from Hoovers Hatchery. Hatched Wednesday 10/10 , arrived last Friday 10/12. Black Austrolorp chick was dead in the box with pasty butt. All 3 barred rock chicks had pasty butt and the smallest BR was doing a drunk chicken walk. I've had to clean, feather trim, coconut oil & prevent pasty butt on every single BR for all 3 days now, even though they have had chick grit since day 1 right out of the box. This morning (chicks are 5 days old) a small golden lace wyandotte chick, who seemed to never grow after I received her, is lying down, acting sleepy, weak and gasping.

What I'm using:

Brooder is indoor bathtub. Litter is pelleted pine litter, which is not getting in the waterer at all.
Temps have been kept at 76-78 in the room and 95 under the mama hen plate (Premier brand)
I've been giving filtered water with Nutri-drench since day one (this is what saved the drunk walking small BR chick). Waterer is emptied, fully cleaned and refreshed twice daily.
Feeding Nature's Best Organic chick starter crumbles AND Scratch & Peck chick starter - the crumbles I wet down and the scratch & peck I feed both wet and dry.
Scratch & Peck brand Cluckin' Good Herbs (about 1 tsp sprinkled over wet food twice daily).
Scratch & Peck brand chick grit mixed with Dumor chick grit. (Contains probiotics)
Plug of sod from the yard for them to scratch in which is sitting in a disposable aluminum pie pan, to which I added the dry scratch & peck feed and chick grit. They seem to enjoy scratching in this.

Wyandotte chick is the size of a 2 day old chick, has zero feathering out on her wing tips and is not doing well. She is lying down with eyes closed, gasping occasionally and acting very weak and sleepy. She will not eat or drink but yesterday was running around fine, bright eyed, eating, pecking, digging & just being a chick even though she is the smallest of the flock.

Are these issues something I am doing or is it hatchery stock issues?
Chicks hatched this time of the year are IMHO not meant to live. This is even more true if the chicken keeper is a novice. Try again but shoot for March delivery in your part of Texas.

To play the devils advocate ask your hatchery to send you a hard copy of their NPIP certificate.

Wet feed that is passed its prime can result in yeast or mold infections and these infections often come with problems with motor skills.

This link may help.

Crops that grow under stressful conditions like many Organic crops do can result in contaminated feed grain. Wetting contaminated feed only produces a bumper crop of mold and fungus spores.
Contact the hatchery about any dead chicks and they will reimburse you for those that didn't make it. I ordered from them spring 2017 and 9/11 chicks died over the next 3 days. They reimbursed me for the entire order. They're really nice about it, but you really need to watch the weather when ordering. They're in Iowa and these over night lows are too cold for them.
I also suggest looking for a hatchery closer to where you live. They're all over the place and you can even check out and for sellers. Also, craigslist is another possiblitiy, though you may not have a choice on sex. You may even find local farmers who sell day old chicks.
We purchased seven chicks from a local NPIP breeder two months ago, no shipping. Not sure if it was the season or what, but we’ve had a lot of problems with diarrhea that started soon after getting them home. We lost one at 3 weeks old and another just yesterday. It’s been cold here, which may have contributed, though the chicks have a heat light right now. I’ve found getting them adjusted to fall temperatures harder than I expected. I took this most recent dead chick to our state diagnostic lab for necropsy, as I’m afraid that the group could have something infectious that our established chickens could get when we integrate.
Ditto on pp's suggestion to order closer to where you live. If you're in Texas, Ideal poultry is a nearby hatchery, and they're the only hatchery I've ever ordered from. I've had great success with their chicks, and the one time a chick arrived dead, they reimbursed me no questions asked. I honestly don't think the season has anything to do with it. I've raised lots of chicks in the fall and they turned out fine. Good luck with your babies :)
Thank you everyone for your help!

Hoovers was fantastic about refunding my money for the wyandotte that passed this morning. Even though where I am (Houston) practically has no winter, I believe it was the shipping from Iowa (actually Minnesota according to USPS) that initially stressed them. The wet feed has been 3 Tbsp crumbles moistened with water, fed immediately & eaten within 2 hours but I'm grateful to know organic feeds can have an issue.

I'm going to use Ideal next time I need chicks. Thank you all so much!

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