Need Advice - very weak newly hatched chick

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CaveChickens, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. CaveChickens

    CaveChickens New Egg

    Jul 6, 2016
    Hi, really hope someone here can help.

    We hatched some eggs under a broody. Everything went well, and nearly all the eggs hatched, but that's when our troubles started. One after the other, the chicks died, all within a few hours o hatching. It was so upsetting! Our three little boys were absolutely devastated that all the long-awaited chicks had died. :(

    It took me a while to start suspecting the broody hen, because she was so diligently sitting on the eggs and clucking at the chicks, but I'm now thinking it might have been her who killed the chicks, because she pecked open at least one of the eggs and the chick is nowhere to be found. Did she eat it?! [​IMG]

    We have one remaining chick left. It was the last one to hatch, and when I saw that the broody didn't even bother tying to keep it warm I scooped it up and brought it in the house.

    It's very very weak, can't stand up for longer than a couple of seconds, and sleeps nearly all the time, breathing quite fast. Very occasionally it moves and chips, only to then collapse again. Our youngest boys has christened the chick 'Chicken Sick' because it's so poorly... We got it in a little box, under a lamp to provide some heat. It also has quite a few mites (this infestation happened when the broody was sitting on the eggs, and although I treated the coop and the broody it's clearly not been entirely successful). I dusted the chick a little with mite powder, careful not to get any onto its eyes or beak.

    I've also fed the chick some sugar water and have scattered some chick crumb but it seems totally uninterested in eating and also doesn't try to drink by itself. Every hour or so I've dipped its beak into a shallow spoon with sugar water and that way have managed to get it to swallow some.

    I realise the chances that it's still alive by tomorrow morning are pretty slim if if continues like this, but is there anything more I can do to help it?
  2. song of joy

    song of joy Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I'm not sure I can assess the situation with your broody hen. Some hens are great at incubating eggs, but lack the other skills that are necessary to care for chicks. I had a buff orpington that did a great job incubating, but she would crush the chicks as they hatched or attack the ones that moved around.

    If the chick is within 48 hours of hatching, I wouldn't worry about feeding it. It's more important to try to hydrate it, and it sounds like you're doing that. Be very careful that you're not overheating it. The temperature at chick level should be no more than 90 degrees. If you're using a small box and a heat lamp, it's very easy to overheat and potentially kill the chick. If it's too hot, it will pant or breathe very fast, act lethargic, and probably won't be interested in drinking.
    1 person likes this.
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Yes, If the chick is still with you tomorrow, drive to Tractor Supply or your local feed store and get the smallest bottle of Bovidr Labs Poultry Nutri-Drench. Give the chick one drop only by mouth. Repeat as needed every 8-10 hours until perky. For the next 2 weeks, add it to the bird's water so the water looks like very weak tea. This is an all natural top quality emergency nutritional supplement. Doesn't need to be digested. Mainlines directly into the bloodstream. Measurable in 10 minutes, 50% uptake in 30 minutes. 99% utilization. I have used the Bovidr Labs formulas on my collies and poultry for over a decade.
    The reason this chick is gonna die otherwise is because its weakness is causing the G.I. tract to not function properly and it is not uptaking the helps you are giving it. The Drench will jumpstart the G.I. tract and help restore the immune system. If they are out of the Poultry Drench, you can use the Goat Drench. Just make sure to use the poultry dosage and usage instructions if you use the Goat Formula. 2 seasons ago, I successfully raised 42 Light Sussex on the Goat formula using the poultry Instructions. No sickness, no death, just robust chicks. I simply won't raise chicks any more without Bovidr Drench in the water for the 1st 2 weeks of life. It gets them off to a strong start. Read the poultry testaminoals at the NutriDrench website. 100's of thousands of birds aren't wrong.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  4. CaveChickens

    CaveChickens New Egg

    Jul 6, 2016
    Thanks both, for the helpful replies.

    Sadly, the chick didn't make it. It was still with us the following morning, but very weak, and it died a few hours later.

    I'm really wondering what went on there. The broody, Davina, was great at hatching them, 7 out of 8 eggs hatched, and the 'talked' to them the whole time while they hatched, but none of the chicks survived. They seemed very weak from the start and all died within the first 24 hours. Part of me thinks Davina did something to them, but part of me also wonders if it was the mites, which appeared about half-way through the incubating period. I tried to control them with DE but with limited success, and didn't want to use any too in the coop with the eggs in it. This meant that as soon as the chicks started hatching they were pretty much overrun with mites. Perhaps this weakened them to the point where they didn't make it?

    I've now given the entire coop the once-over and will retreat every few days for a few weeks to make sure we don't have this problem again, but I wonder if it's worth trying again with the same hen...

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