new chick owner. 1 barred rock not eating well/acting funny


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 23, 2014
Hi, newbies over here,
We have 4 chicks, 1 barred rock, the smallest now is not eating well. They have been with us for 10 days or so. We have been using medicated starter feed. I give a chunk of dirt with dandelions, a slice of watermelon rind, a strawberry, egg shell. She today was handled by my son who may have accidentally overhandled her. I gave her sugar water, a little Apple juice mixed with egg yolks and dissolved a little b complex into some drops of water. She is separated from the other 3, then we put them back together because they were not arguing, but the sick one pecked at the others a few times, pecked the down of the others. She is able to walk, but a little unsteady at times. No obvious injury noticed. Does anyone else have experience with chicks being ill or injured. Need help, it's really hard to know what to do, been so sad all day. I am not letting the kids hold any of them. My son has dropped the chicks from the top of the bin we keep them in a few times that I saw, but mostly very gentle when handling. We had power out for an hour this am and the heat lamp was off at that time. Chick acting funny after that time actually. Have been very warm since.
Need advice
Im sorry to hear your little chick isnt doing so well. One thing I made it a very strict rule when my daughter held our chicks is she had to be sitting down. That way no falling incidents can happen. If she was moving around too much she didnt get to hold them after all.

So every time the chicks were out, she had to sit down. No running, chasing or standing to ensure the chicks were safe.

As far as it being injured or sick, i hope someone can give you good advice on that :)
Welcome to BYC!

So sorry about your baby. It is possible he got injured while being handled. I would stop with the dandelions, watermelon, strawberries and ESPECIALLY egg shells. They can not handle any extra calcium at this age and it can destroy their kidneys. As for the other things, while good for adult or older chicks, these chicks need to eat their starter food and not fill up on other things. This is a very important time for growth and they need good protein and nutrients right now.

I would keep this little one separate and don't handle him. You might boost up the heat a bit for him a few degrees as sick or injured birds can get cold. So keep the heat in the midi to low 90's for now until he heals.

If he starts to show any signs of illness, like respiratory ailments or diarrhea, then you will need to take action. But for now, I would say just to let him rest as he may have been over handled. Keep him warm and stick to starter feed only. The only other food you can offer your chicks is chopped hard boiled eggs. These are great for babies, especially sick babies when they won't eat their starter.

And when you do start to offer other foods, always offer up grit in a small bowl for the gizzards. Helps to digest the food better.

Good luck with your little baby. I hope he is ok. Give us an update by tomorrow for sure.

Oh, and you can always post this in our emergency section for more help...

Keep us posted!
Welcome to BYC. Great advice given by the previous posters. Chicks are extremely fragile and can be unintentionally injured by well meaning children.
The rules were there as for no running or rough housing with the chicks and the kids were pretty good about it I think as far as I see, with one or 2 dropping from about a foot up but the chicks just kept going when that happened. Hope someone has been through a chick not doing well because I need advice on this. I'm so worried. Walking, limited eating, pooping green to brown stool, soft to formed. Other chick poop mostly brown I think, is the green a problem. Breathing heavier than the other chicks. I had my hubby get domesticated feed today because I read thiamine deficiency is possible with medicated feed, I prefer natural TREATMENTS. Not medicine if it is not needed.
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Sorry about your chick, you got some great advice from TwoCrows and TheChips, hope the little one recovers.
They have not really touched the other stuff I put in there, it was mainly for peck appeal, but will take out as suggested. They didn't really touch it anyway. One person somewhere said give chicks a chunk of dirt to peck to help build immunity and prevent cocci illness. I read a ton of pages, posts. This is a stinky way to introduce yourself to a home chicken site. I've been focusing on building a fort Knox chicken house outside to keep rodents and predators out and didn't expect my chick to look sickly in my own house while in my chickubator, aka plastic bin with pine shavings, feed and heat lamp.
The dirt is ok, but stop with all the other goodies and stick to the starter. Medicated feed will not hurt them. When they are 6 weeks old, you can switch them to plain starter feed.

I personally think he was over handled and it has nothing to do with any food items. But definitely no egg shells and goodies. Dirt ok, and hard boiled eggs ok.

Keep us posted. I hope makes a full recovery.
She didn't make it through the night. I had a few last moments with her, and that was it. She was weary and had no more energy. She had been lying in the same spot from bedtime until I checked on her, and then had a Few little sips of sugar water, and then some last movement and then she stopped all movement. It's so sad. :hit
The kids will see her in the morning, and will hopefully understand why they can't hold the chicks now. We have to keep them covered as one flew to the top of the water and then the top of the cardboard divider this evening.
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