Read This Before You Cull Sick Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by GwenFarms, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. GwenFarms

    GwenFarms Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    I'm farm sitting for a friend this week. Yesterday he recieved 20 guinea keats from a neighbor that had incubated some eggs for him. While he raises chickens as well as anyone I know, I found out he doesn't know squat about raising guineas. He fed up this morning before he left, but I decided to go and make sure all of the animals had water at midday. I looked in the brooder box and my heart hit the floor. All of his guineas lay dead. I immediately saw several problems. He had set up the brooder as if for chicks, but it was not appropriate for guineas.

    I heard a sound and looked in the back. There was two on their feet, soaking wet and not in good shape, but standing. One was flopping around on the floor of the brooder. I pulled them out of the mess and put them in a box. I then starting making a pile of the dead ones. There was a few that felt as if they had died just moments before I got there. I put them all in a little bucket and started to take them out when my son said one was moving.

    I went through them and found three that were still alive, but just barely. They were having some twitching and gaping, but no voluntary movement. I didn't just want to throw them in the pile to die suffering and knew they could not recover. I decided the easy thing to do was break their necks. My ds is very sensitive, so while he looked the other way I attempted to put an end to their suffering. Their necks were like rubber and wouldn't break. I couldn't find anything sharp enough to cleanly kill them, so I put them in the car seperate from the live ones and brought them home where I had the tools I needed.

    When we got home they had been lying in the backseat. The sun was shining on them through the window and my little boy said "Mom, they look much better." I told him that the sun had just dried them, making them fluffy again, but I did notice their eyes were opening and closing. He begged me to give them a little longer, I reluctantly agreed, but told him there was no way they would make it.

    I set up a proper brooder and put all of the chicks in. I then had to head to town for several hours. When I got home and walked towards the back where the brooder was, I could hear a couple of chirps and was relieved that the strongest ones survived. I opened the door and could not believe my eyes. All six, the two strongs ones, the weak one and the three all, but dead ones were up eating and drinking sugar water.

    I've never seen such a recovery and won't be so quick to cull chicks in the future.
  2. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    good lesson, and I hope you get a chance to educate your neighbor... [​IMG]
  3. ChickadeeLover

    ChickadeeLover In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2008
    Good lesson, Thanks!
  4. zippychickens

    zippychickens Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    N. CA
    how is raising guiness different from chicks? What are the differences. jUst wondering.
  5. Thanks for sharing.
    How scary to not only walk in and see all the dead keats...But to think that some were barely hanging in there.
    Thank goodness you showed up when you did or there probably won't of been any babies alive to post about....

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] to you on the job well done. And your son for being so watchful of them too..
  6. GwenFarms

    GwenFarms Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    Quote:The number one thing you have to do is not use a regular chick waterer. They just don't have good instincts like chicks do and will run all in the water, falling over until they are sopping wet and then they don't have the sense enough to stay under the light to dry off and get warm. So, you need to use a quail waterer, or something along those line with a very narrow moat, only big enough for their beaks. You also need more heated area when they are very young because they aren't good about getting into heated areas. You need to put them in a flat bottomed brooder. Their toes seem longer, or it could be that they are just too goofy to be able to pull their feet out of the wired bottoms.

    My friend has a metal brooder with a wire bottom. It also had vented sides. He had a single heat light in it and his waterer had an extra large base. The chicks were all sopping wet, without adequate heat, some had feet stuck in the wire bottom and the air was blowing in from the vents.

    This was a suitable brooder for chicks. Its not what I use, but it is what is commonly used by alot of people, but keats are a little harder to raise. I just don't want to make it sound like he is an idiot. He raises chickens as well as anyone I've ever met. He just didn't know guineas had special requirements.
  7. Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies

    Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    [​IMG] Another Great Save
  8. Cheep Mama

    Cheep Mama Songster

    Mar 14, 2008
    Very interesting!!! Thanks for sharing.
  9. RobinEgg

    RobinEgg Songster

    Feb 21, 2008
    Thank goodness you checked on them.... so do you get to keep them?
  10. GwenFarms

    GwenFarms Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    Quote:I'm wondering that too. We'll find out when he gets back Friday, of course I'll probably be left for a weekend at the beach before he gets back, so I'll leave them at another friend's house. I think at the end of all this he will say just keep them, but we'll see when I get back Sunday night.

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