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one chick dead, another one looking bad

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by MyFirstFarm, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. MyFirstFarm

    MyFirstFarm In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2010
    I understand it can be normal to lose a chick or two what with the stress of shipping, etc. The hatchery even sent me an extra chick, though I don't know why, but thought perhaps they weren't sure about one of them?

    When I brought them home yesterday they all seemed fine. This afternoon one of them looked a bit limp and sleepy. I picked him up and he barely opened his eyes and didn't struggle. Less than 30 minutes later he was dead. Now another one is looking the same way. If it's infection, I don't know what signs to look for but the other chicks seem lively, eating and drinking happily. I can't see any obvious causes of death.

    I can't see any paste on their backsides. Nobody is being pecked or injured. They were vaccinated for coccidiosis. They are being fed chick starter and clean water. Temps seem okay - they aren't huddling under the heat lamp, but are close by.

    What could this be? And is this normal? (oh, they are Cornish Rock Giants by the way)

  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    It's not unusual at all for one or two to be lost during shipping. We have had many shipments where all the birds were alive and healthy (and stayed that way), and others where we lost a couple in the early days. As long as they seem to be eating, drinking, and their brooder is the appropriate temperature, I wouldn't worry about losing a couple.

    ETA: Hatcheries often send extras in case you lose one or two. We have had batches with 7 extras and others with no extras.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  3. MyFirstFarm

    MyFirstFarm In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2010
    Phew! Thanks, Potterwatch. That second one was dead soon after I posted. I was beginning to worry I had an epidemic here, or that I was missing something critical.
  4. chickenfeverforever

    chickenfeverforever Songster

    Apr 18, 2011
    Baby chicks from hatcheries die all the time. Shipping is really hard on a baby chick. Also, some chicks are just not as strong or as healthy as others. Doesnt mean they have a infection. I have ordered chicks where Half were Dead on Arrival. Others where they slowly died over 3 days and others where I never lost a single chick. Hatcheries send extras for this very reason. Usually its 3% of what you ordered. When I order 25 chicks, they always give me 1 extra. Is it really hot where you live? If so, the shipping in the heat could have been very hard on them. My first shipment of meat birds I got 2 weeks ago did not fair well. I lost 18 chicks. My guess is it was due to the heat. The next shipment arrived on a much cooler week and all arrived healthy and happy from the same hatchery and we never lost a single one. This is also why hatcheries have a 3-4 day health guarantee. Utilize it. Once 3 days has passed, contact the hatchery and let them know your losses and they will refund or replace the chicks. I was able to have all mine replaced. I dealt with a really great hatchery. I hope I was able to ease your worries. It just happens. Even when they get older....Some die for no reason at all.
  5. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    Also, you have to be careful to make sure that they all are eating and drinking, to the point of checking each bird individually, helping them at first. Some of the weaker ones might get pushed around in the general shuffle and may not be getting enough water and food, and then they become dehydrated and go into a downward spiral.

    If you have some that seem "iffy" at first, it is a good idea to set up a separate brooder just for the weak ones so you can give them individual attention, especially if you have a lot of chicks going at once.
  6. MyFirstFarm

    MyFirstFarm In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2010
    Thanks, everyone. We lost one more chick last night before we all went to bed. Was worried I'd wake up to a pile of bodies the next morning, but so far the rest seem okay. I'm feeling better knowing I'm not doing something really wrong. I can understand a few losses - shipping (on a plane, no less) must be pretty stressful on the little fellas.

    I will definitely contact the hatchery (I'll give it a couple more days to make sure nobody else dies) and ask about replacements. We were planning on doing two batches this summer, so perhaps they can add the replacements on to the next batch.
  7. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Songster

    Oct 13, 2008
    We always lose a couple in the first few days when we order from McMurray... I agree with the others, it's just par for the course. (One of the many reasons I started hatching my own--but that's a whole other story...) [​IMG] Good luck with your babies!

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