Newbie help 1 dead and the rest are quiet?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 30, 2009
Hokes Bluff
I am obviously a newbie so please have a little patience with me. We got our first ever chicks at TSC on Wed. Brought them home to a rubbermaid container with newspaper and paper towels. Fresh water mixed with a little sugar and the 20% chick starter TSC sells.
We had one to die this morning. I had a feeling since Wed. night that it was not quite right. It seemed to be sleeping a lot. The others are pretty good. Right now there is a a red heat lamp and its running around 94 to 96 degrees. However they are so quiet! I mean if I pick them up they cheep pretty loudly, and I hear little peeps coming from them pretty regularly almost like little baby birds.
So is there something I'm not doing right? I am so terrified we are going to lose more.
Thanks for any help


14 Years
Dec 31, 2007
Berlin Nh
How old are they? Usually when I purchase at TSC they are about 3 days old. I try to let the chick tell me if it is hot or cold in there. Are they huddled together? Bring the lamp down just a tad. A degree or 2 might make a difference. On the first week my chicks have plenty of water and the lamp is at 98 to 100. With plenty of room for them to go if it gets too hot. I never put sugar in their water and use chick starter. I clean the newspaper every day and more often if it gets to dirty. The 20% may be too high. I only use this when there are ducks or turkeys present. I am not sure but these methods have worked for me.
Some chicks do die in the beginning. When you are at the store. Watch their behavior carefully before you buy. Only purchase the happy ones that like to run an play. Leave the quiet ones alone.
I purchased a turkey at a feed store and realized he wasn't so happy. He slept alot. So I called the feed store and told them. They said he always slept alot. RED FLAG! O took him back.


10 Years
Mar 5, 2009
Church Hill, TN
I was really worried about one very small one that I got from TSC too. But she, (think positive!) seemed to be alot better yesterday and today even better.

All my chicks are running all over the brooder like they're in a race!! Its so darn cute to watch them!

The only time that they're lying around is when they're sleeping. Otherwise they're active little suckers!

Good luck with your babies and I'm sorry that you lost one.



In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 30, 2009
Hokes Bluff
They lay down next to each other but don't seem to be right on top of each other. I have had a hard time keeping the heat regulated because the outside temp has been in the 70s during the day and in the low 40s at night. I don't want to fry them but I scared they're going to freeze to death too. They are just so little and helpless seeming.
I have been doing cleanups about three times a day. Is that often enough?
TennesseeTruly do you know what you got? I picked these out of a mixed pullet bin. From the other postings on here I think I got 3 White leghorns and 3 australops.
It was one of the leghorns that died. Are some breeds hardier than others? And does there ever come a point in time were they're old enough you don't have to worry about them falling over dead?


10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
Vancouver, WA
I would say to make sure that they can get both warm and cool... directly under the lamp it should be 90-95 degrees for the first week of life... but they should be able to get away from that temp into cooler areas. I have seen people make the mistake of thinking that it should be at least 95 in the brooder everywhere and the babies were too hot.

Sugar in the water is fine and a good idea to get them over the stress of all the moving. You may also want to consider vitamins and electrolytes, though they are not at all necessary.

Other than that... it's true... some chicks just die. It's just not expected that 100% make it through to adulthood. It's probably nothing that you did with the one you lost. I lost 2 out of 17 in the first two days and none since then, and now I'm at 6 weeks. It's normal and I wouldn't worry about it or beat yourself up. It is true that I am a newbie as well and I spent the first few nights dreaming that they were all dying one by one while I was sleeping, but then I learned to relax about it and after the first two losses, it's been great and easy.

As for peeping, you should hear constant, soft little "happy peeps" coming from them "peep peep, peep peep, peep." That means they're contented. If you hear "distressed peeping," then something is wrong - "PEEP PEEP PEEEEEEEP PEEEEEEP!!!" It is louder and longer and just "sounds" distressed. I think you will recognize it. They probably made those noises when they were in the box in the car with you on the way home from buying them. If they are huddled away from the light, they are too hot. If they are huddled under the light and making distress peeping, then they are too cold. They usually communicate it pretty well. Good luck to you and I'm sure you'll do just fine! Enjoy them!


13 Years
Sep 18, 2007
Pell City, Alabama

Welcome to BYC!
You need to also put down paper towels on top of the newspaper for the first week or so. Newspaper can make them slip around and get spraddle leg.
After they figure out where the food and water are regularly, usually around week 2, I've put in the pine shavings for their bedding. Just keep a watch on them and make sure they don't eat the shavings, though they may pick at them for awhile at first.
You can also give any that don't look so peppy the infant vitamins Poly Vi Sol. This is a liquid vitamin supplement and places like Walmart and most pharmacies stock it. Be sure to get the kind WITHOUT iron.
Also you can add a bit of yogurt with active cultures into a small bit of their starter in a separate bowl, making sure to take out any they don't eat after awhile so it doesn't spoil. A small bit of scrambled egg would also perk them up.

Good luck with your new babies! Ask anything you need to know, this is a great group and you can always get the help you need pretty fast.



11 Years
Jun 17, 2008
Middle Tennessee
Do you know exactly what temperature it actually is in the brooder? If not, you may wish to invest in a digital thermometer - - you can pick up one pretty cheaply at Wal Mart, etc. It is important to keep very young chicks warm enough. Is the brooder in the house? Outside?


Mad Scientist
11 Years
Jun 1, 2008
actually it sounds like they are too hot to me.
days 1-3 95 degrees
day 4 93.2 degrees
day 7 86 degrees
day 14 77 degrees
day 21 71.6 degrees
day 28 68 degrees
day 35+ 64.4 degrees

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom