Pasting and feather picking in 5 day old chicks - PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chiknlittle, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    I don't know what to do since it appears that I have reached the end of my knowledge. I have 27 baby chicks that were born on Saturday. 26 of the are Jumbo Cornish X Rocks, and one is the "free exotic chick that comes with every order." Before ordering I looked at the Tractor Supply and Southern States stores in my area and decided based on what I found there to have the chicks for Marek's disease only and to feed medicated rations. The feed is an 18% medicated chick starter, and they also get chik grit sprinkled over their food just like the Storey's book said. Up until today they were housed in 2 large computer boxes that were taped together and I have used a lamp with a 250w red light since I got them on Monday. Monday and Tuesday I used puppy pads in the bottom of the box to soak up any extra moisture, and after that they had cedar shavings for litter. Today I went out and bought a 5 ft plastic kiddie pool from WalMart. I felt that they didn't have enough room to move about freely, and thought they they weren't able to get out from underneath the heat lamp if they needed to. About 1/3 of the birds have pasted up, and many of those are feather picking (which is concentrated around their vent area). Just so we're clear, on Monday and Tuesday i was replacing puppy pads 3-4 times a day and cleaning water and food trays twice daily. On Wednesday and today I was scooping out and replacing soiled litter and cleaning food and water trays twice daily. Pasting started monday and tuesday with the feather picking starting late tuesday. I'm using a 1 gal. plastic waterer and one of those 2 ft galvanized feeders. So here's my thoughts, and I need somebody to correct me if I'm wrong and / or help me if I'm right:

    1. I'm using the wrong food and / or they need nutrients added. I think I should have used a 24% chick starter (more protein = less picking) but I can't switch now because it is only available in a non medicated variety. My best bet is to add protein to the diet they are already on, but what form should I add it in and how much?
    2. This could have been partially caused by the lack of space in the original brooder box. The chicks may have been stressed because of overheating even though I used a thermometer to periodically check the temp.
    3. In addition to adding protein to their diet should I add some sort of vitamins to their water?
    4. What can I do about the feather picking? Is there something that I can put on them to help stop this? The skin in this are isn't broken, but it does look rather red.
    5. Is there a proper way to pick up and hold them while I'm cleaning them off? I'm trying to clean the affected birds 2-3 times a day, but is this enough or too much? Also, is the stress of being picked up and handled doing them more harm than good? When they scream while being cleaned is it because I'm hurting them or frightening them or both?

    I really appreciate any and all answers to my questions. This is the first group of chicks that I have ever raised, and while I feel confidant in some areas I worry that I'm not doing the best I can for them.

    Thanks,
    Kerri

    [​IMG]

    This is a picture of one of the worst ones:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  2. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

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    Jan 30, 2007
    WV
    First you shouldn't have them on cedar shaving, its bad for their respiratory system...it can kill them...

    Stress is a big part of pasting up...usually from shipping...make sure they have and can get to plenty of water....

    I'm thinking they may need more room too the kiddle pool sounds good...I think your feed is okay but I've never raised meat birds but I know they eat all the time...

    I hope someone else can come along and help you with your questions so this is to try to have more chime in to ease your worries...
     
  3. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    I'll be going to town tomorrow so I can get what I need for them. I know they're meat birds, but I can't stand the thought of them suffering now. Actually after looking, I'm not sure of what the shavings are. I looked at the website www.royalwoodshavings.com, but all they could tell me was that it might be pine and / or a few other trees. Special needs animals are nothing new to me. I have a dog named Spaz who has seizures, a cat named Leela with irritable bowel disorder and another cat named Idgie who just needs to be cuddled every morning about 4 am. [​IMG] I don't mind the work, but I need to know the right things to do. I think next time I'll vaccinate for cocci and get the 24% feed though. They absolutely love the kiddie pool. The lamp and litter are all at the same height, but I noticed that they prefer to sleep in the outer area of the pool rather than near the lamp which is in the center. The thermometer is reading right at 90, and I'm wondering if I shouldn't raise the lamp just a little bit or am I asking for trouble? They're in the basement which stays cool (75-80) in the summer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  4. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    This is a picture of the new kiddie pool brooder. At $11.88 at WalMart I thought it was a good buy especially since I can wash and reuse it for the next set of chickens. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    About pasty-butt

    I had two chicks that were pasty for a day only- got a tip from Mrs AK Birdbrain to use q-tips and water and to hold the chick on my palm on its tummy, neck encircled by thumb and forefinger, clean in upward strokes until the pasty stuff rubs and drops off. Worked like a charm and the problem did not return.

    I have no experience with pecking, I'm sure others here can advise and your thoughts about original overcrowding are likely correct!

    I'd stick with the medicated starter crumbles for now, should be the right food and don't give anything else but water. I used plastic fountains, but I have no idea if it matters in your case.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  6. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    I've been trying to clean them with a warm, damp paper towel while holding them in a puppy pad, but I really didn't think it got them clean enough. I will try your suggestion on using the q-tips. It's to the point now when I go down to check on them that they all turn their little butts away from me so I can't see which ones need cleaning. Otherwise they all seem to be eating and drinking good and are gaining in size.

    I don't have a picture of the original brooder box, but I'd say it was about half the size of the swimming pool in the pictures.

    To clarify, they are not pecking at each other. Each individual is pecking at his own behind. I'm thinking that it's more of a cleaning thing than anything, but I don't want them getting used to it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  7. Julie08

    Julie08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    They are trying to get clean too! I use a spray bottle on stream to sorta "blast" the area clean. Then once clean some Vasaline will help new stuff from sticking
     
  8. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    At lunch time I tried cleaning them with warm water and q-tips, but there was so much of it that cleaning it off was taking forever. I switched to using those round cotton pads that usually come in a tube and are found in the cosmetics section. They're disposable, absorbent and gentle yet they make clean up so much quicker. They work great for overall, but the q-tips are still a must for getting smaller areas. I had one chick with a 1/4 in wound that was slightly bleeding, and I'm not sure if it was from picking but my guess is that I tore it while cleaning him. He got some peroxide and then some antibiotic ointment. Everyone got a coating of olive oil on any exposed skin. Of the 27 birds that I got on Monday, about 12 are afflicted and have varying degrees of baldness. Amazingly all are still alive. At last check the cleaning and oiling are working really well.

    My concern now is with one chick who has the pasty butt and has lost almost all of his rear end feathers. His little vent is sticking out alot compared to the other chicks whose vents are fairly close to their bodies. This chicks vent protrudes about a 1/2 in out past his little butt, and he seems to be squeezing out liquid bubbly poops when he goes. How worried should I be about this? What can I do to help him? I'm sorry to keep asking but I don't know where else to look to find the answers. I don't remember any of this from when my dad raised chickens, and he wasn't home when I tried to call to ask him.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008

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