"normal" chick/chicken behaviour

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8 Years
May 24, 2011
I am very new at this and find myself on an emotional roller coaster.We have 16 chickens 8 sex links (3 wks on 5/29/11) 2 Buff Orpington, 2 Buff Brahma, 4 Silkies (2 wks as of 5/25/11) A couple of days ago I had 4 chicks that seemed to be "sneezing". We changed the bedding from shredded paper to pine. Almost right away the 2 sex links seemed better (I believe the ink from the paper could have caused the problem). The other 2 (BO) got sick 1 day or so later and eventually got better later. Like I said we changed their bedding and now I give them poly vi sol without iron in their water. I also give them a bit of plain yogurt in their food. They seem to be better. Yesterday I didn't notice any of them sick. This morning one of the BO was breathing with her beak open but didn't seem sick. After doing that for a couple of seconds she'd close her beak and breath normally. Is that normal? What are some "normal" noises they might make? I was thinking of adding more chicks but don't want to do that if any of them are sick. None of them seem lethargic or anything. I think I might be a stressed out chicken momma. Does anyone else like to just sit and watch them?
I'm sorry you've gotten off to such a stressful start! You're doing everything you should be doing under the circumstances. I applaud you for getting them to eat yogurt at 2 and 3 weeks old (mine avoided it like the plague

Could your BO be a little too warm? Usually the most common reason for them opening their beak like that is that it's too warm and they need to pant. This is also the case if she holds her wings away from her body.

Try holding her up to your ear and listening. Is she gasping noticeably? Do you hear a loud rattle, or like her airway is partially blocked? If not, I wouldn't worry too much. Just try and keep the dust to the minimum (I know, it's not as easy as it sounds!) and she should be okay!

I had a leghorn doing this for a few days, too. Scared me half to death. But I watched her closely and I went away within a few days. It was rather dusty, so I'm sure that was the problem.

I love to watch my chicks, too! Beats most of the shows on cable

Good luck, oh, and
Wednesday I put a bowl in for them with a bit of yogurt and they jumped over it and avoided it. Yesterday I put a dab of yogurt in each of their feeder holes on top of their food and they'd get it on their beak and promptly tried to get it off. I just put some in and they were eating it up! I'm so happy about that. I also checked to BO that was breathing with her beak open. At the time I noticed it she was under the heat lamp. Then moved and stopped opening her mouth. I didn't put 2 and 2 together. Thank you so much for response.

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