not sure if chicks are drinking?!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by audrawheeler, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. audrawheeler

    audrawheeler Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 28, 2015
    I bought a couple baby chicks from my feed store day before yesterday evening. I got them all set up with chick starter and water and a lamp etc. They seem to have perked up and are eating but I'm not sure if they're drinking. I spend a decent amount of time with them (I bought them as pets) bit I have yet to see them drink anything. I wanted to know anything that could encourage them to drink or early signs of dehydration? I'm a first time chicken owner. I have 2 chicks. I bought them partly because they were being trampled and walked on in the store. They have really improved and look happier and more alert since I brought them home. I've become very attached and want to make sure they're healthy.
    (Also we live on a farm and have a large shed/coop that has gone un used since we moved in. This wasn't really an impulse buy. As I'm fully prepared to take care of chickens And thought about it before I bought them and made sure I had the resources to care for theM.)
  2. LLCoyote

    LLCoyote Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2011
    They wouldn't be moving around and acting peppy if they were dehydrated. Chickens are not stupid. For instance I switched mine to poultry nipple waterers last week an it took them all of five minutes to figure them out. Rest assured that if they are up and about and if they can reach the water, they're drinking. If they start to get sluggish and pant and their poo starts looking/smelling strange, then you have a problem. Birds don't give a lot of signs of distress. A lot of the times they'll hide it until they're dead (I had a drake that acted totally fine until a day before he died). Just let them know where their water is. They'll drink.
  3. SunkenRoadFarms

    SunkenRoadFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2014
    X2. Just watch the water level in the fount. My 20 five day olds drink just shy of a quart in 24 hours.
  4. becy

    becy Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2015
    You can dip their beak in the water to make sure they know where it is. I switched my week-old chicks from the fountain at the store where I bought them to hamster water bottles and I too was concerned they weren't drinking. Every couple of hours I would take them one at a time and gently push their beak against the ball to show them the water source until I observed each individual chick drinking on their own. It did take them ~18hrs before I was satisfied they all got it.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Just because the level in the font drops doesn’t mean they are drinking all of it. Some leak and spill water, especially if they are not level. A quart a day for 20 five day olds sounds a bit much. You might want to check to see if water is leaking or spilling somehow. Mine are usually 3 to 4 weeks old before they are knocking back that much. I just went through a batch of 19 so that is pretty fresh on my mind.

    Just before they hatch the chick absorbs the yolk. That means they can go several days without drinking as well as not eating. That’s why they can be so successfully mailed. But around 4 to 5 days they run out of that yolk and need to eat and drink. It does not hurt them to eat and drink earlier, just that they don’t need to.

    If a chick is not drinking when it starts to need to, it will stand around giving a very plaintive peep. It’s not the same chirping sound they all make, it really tugs at your heart. You know something is wrong just hearing it.

    I had a shipped chick like that once. Although I dipped all he chick’s beaks in the water when I put them in the brooder and the other chicks were all drinking, that one did not learn. Usually if just one or two learn the others learn from watching them. Not that chick. When I dipped its beak in the water again, it just stood there and guzzled water and was fine after that. I had one especially stupid hen out of that batch. I always figured it was that chick.
  6. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2013

    ^This^ Dip their beak just to make sure they know where it is at. I always do that when transfering chicks from the hatcher to the brooder. Usually just takes one time. Also, depending on the age of the chicks, usually those under three days can go without water for awhile. It's after the age of three days when I would get concerned.
    Just a suggestion, but I would pick up at least one or two more chicks if I was you. If something happens to one of them and you lose it, your remaining chick will be very lonely and chirp for it's friend. I've seen them do this when just separated by a fence.

    I saw the saddest thing at the feed store the other day. I don't think I will every shop at Atwoods again. Such disregard for baby chicks and they didn't have the product they gave a free coupon for. There were about fifty chicks in one brooder (one already trampled and dying) and only one two nipple bucket waterer. There were at least fifteen chicks crowding under that bucket all trying to access the water nipples. I'm sure such a number of chicks trying to get a drink from just two nipples is going to lead to alot of dehydration and death. They had three or four emply brooders they could have set up and reduced the number of chicks in there, but they obviously pay no attention to the birds once they put them in there. Another brooder had a chick that was actually inside the elongated flip top feeder. The feed level was so low they couldn't get their heads down in there to eat. This little chick had squeezed itself through the hole and in the feeder. I wondered if it would be able to get itself out after filling up. Dang sad. :(

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