My chicks keep diying. Is it me?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by leitnerjk, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. leitnerjk

    leitnerjk In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2014
    I need a bit of help to figure out what is going on with my new chicks.

    I purchased 25 chicks from Meyer Hatchery. It was pretty cold while the chicks were in shipping. I ordered 10 White Rock, 3 Dark Cornish, 5 Speckled Sussex, 5 Gold Laced Wyandotte, and one Barred Rock, one Easter Egger. 2 Sussex were DOA, and 2 more died within minutes of getting home (a DC and a GLW), presumably from the cold. Over the next 2 days, 2 DC and 2 more SS died, one WR, Everyone else is alive, healthy, eating and doing great.

    I did a reorder, this time from a different Hatchery (Ideal). I ordered 4 White Laced Red Cornish, 5 Dark Cornish and 2 New Hampshire Reds. Again, it was pretty cold on the final day of shipping. Two were DOA again and in the first two days All but 3 have died.

    Now for conditions of the brooder, I have a 250 watt heat lamp warming up the brooder from about 10 to 12 inches up, but the chicks have places they can go to cool off if they are too hot under the light. They are all given medicated chick starter, constant supply of fresh water. The second batch also got grow gel the first day. I have handled them all and made sure there are no pasty butts. Nobody is panting under the light but they aren't huddled under it either.

    The ones that die become lethargic, refuse to eat or drink much and even after being given droppers of water from a small dropper, dont recover. They are also noticeably smaller than the survivors. Once we get past the 48 hour mark, the remaining chicks seem healthy and continue being normal chicks.

    Is this my fault? Is there something I should or shouldn't be doing for them? Is this a result of shipping stress? Stress from the cold during shipping? Just bad chicks? I have never had this problem in the past. Any tips or suggestions would be very much appreciated.

    Kansas City area.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  2. kmartinez

    kmartinez Chirping

    Jan 9, 2015
    I have a thermometer in my box to help me regulate temp. Mine are going on 5 weeks and i still have a therometer on the floor of their brooder. I had one of my 18 die I caught it quick and with the help of some posters here i was able to figure out my medicated starter crumbles were to big I had to grind them into smaller pieces so they could eat it..Not sure if its a problem for you but might check the crumble size
  3. leitnerjk

    leitnerjk In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2014
    Thanks, That is a good tip. I checked my crumbles and it seems there is a wide variety of size. some is almost powder and some is maybe a little big. I will grind it all up a bit finer and see if that helps. Thanks.
  4. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Crowing

    Jan 24, 2014
    Buffalo Wyoming
    I would say the chicks got chilled in shipping. I got an order a few years ago that this happened. Out of 27 chicks only 3 looked alive when I opened the box. I managed to save 11 of them. I know this is heartbreaking for you. It's not your fault! The postal service just doesn't take good care of them like they used to. Mine had to ride 110 miles in the back of the truck during 20 degree weather. They used to keep them in the cab of the truck. I no longer order chicks until the weather is warm. [​IMG]
  5. I agree on the shipping stress. Chicks do not handle being chilled well. I would suggest making their feed into a mash, making it easier to eat and helping to get more needed moisture into their systems. Good luck with the rest of them!
  6. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    The DOA and early losses are most likely due to shipping stress combined with the cold temperatures.

    I've had good luck with ordering chicks from Meyer Hatchery, but only do so during warmer weather (April through June). I'd recommend holding off until April for future orders to reduce the likelihood of these types of losses.

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