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rooster chick seems to be lagging in development

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Victoria-nola, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone-- This is my first post on this forum. I have now gotten my chicks for the first time ever after 20 years or more of wanting chickens. I have a lot of animal experience but no birds since budgies and finches as a child. I have 4 hens and 1 rooster, they are all supposed to be the Ameracauna breed but two have brown camo/natural coloring and 3 have cream-colored feathers coming in, including the rooster. They will be 4 weeks old on Wednesday. I bought them from a local feed store who ordered them in, from which hatchery I don't know. I also don't know if they were vaccinated for Marek's, is it? I am feeding them starter/grower unmedicated, mealworms, and grass from the backyard. I am giving them special vitamin/mineral/probiotics boosters from McMurray in their water and using the Aqua Miser waterer. I handle them several times a day. The brooder is plenty warm with infrared heater and red light bulb, and it's still quite warm here in New Orleans. The current temp in the warmest end of the brooder is 82 deg F.

    The rooster chick is a lot smaller than all the others. One of the hens was also small like him, but she has shot up now and is catching up with the others. The rooster seems to sometimes sit apart from the others and seems less active. On the other hand, when I moved them into their much larger brooder, he was the first to perch on the very highest perch, which was more than twice as high as the other brooder (18 in off ground). And he perches with the hens too, just sometimes seems to sit apart, looking maybe lethargic.

    Is this normal or typical? I took the rooster today and moved him into the old cage to try to give him some extra mealworms, but he just picked at them unhappily until I moved him back into the main cage, at which point everyone went nuts and he only got a couple of worms. I don't want to wait to act if he might be failing to thrive. It seems to me that the hens push him away from the waterer sometimes because he's smaller. [​IMG]

    Any thoughts most appreciated. [​IMG]
     
  2. CrazyCatNChickenLady

    CrazyCatNChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is normal. I have noticed it often with my hatches. I don't know why it happens but just thought I'd let you know not to worry! Also 'Ameraucana's' from hatcheries are actually Easter Eggers. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  3. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2011
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    Thank you for your reassurance. I notice now that another chick is being the "alpha" chick, and she (supposed to be a hen) pecks at him. Not hard though, not breaking the skin, and not over and over. I notice she makes sure to peck at him after I've held him (he likes to be held). Anyway he is feathering out, so he's not as lagged as some of the instances I've seen described here. Thanks again.
     
  4. fatsu

    fatsu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with CrazyCatNChickenLady I've had similar issues with some of my previous hatches and things turned out fine [​IMG]
     
  5. saintdeer

    saintdeer New Egg

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    welcoma N'Awlins! I am from there too, but left night before the blow hard Katrina and never came back. I just got my first coop myself. Finished it about 10 minutes ago! will post pics after I clean up and relax a bit, lots of work!
     
  6. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2011
    Southwest Mississippi
    Thanks for the reassurances, fatsu. Nervous Newbie here.

    Hey saintdeer, wow yeah there are so many stories, losses and brand new starting overs, after K-storm. Hope life is treating you well in the new place. My family is from here tho I only moved back here after the storm in 2007. Big yard in Bywater. Would like to see pics of your coop. I bought and constructed a coop kit but now I realize it's way too small, so I'm building a predator-proof shed over the coop so they have plenty of safe room.
     
  7. heatherkh

    heatherkh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my chicks was lagging behind in development as well. Initially, I wasn't concerned because, hey, we all develop at different rates. But then it started acting lethargic and in general couldn't keep up with the rest. It got to the point where there was obviously something up beyond just not growing at the same speed. It just wanted to be under it's Momma and was noticeably lethargic - eyes closing, a little wobbly. At that point, we brought it in to see if we could get it to perk up, and noticed it's crop was ballooned out and it felt malnourished. One massaged crop, a few large poops, a yogurt-only diet and a couple days in the chick spa and he was right as rain and is now more than keeping up energy-wise, but is still behind in size and feathering - that will come I'm sure.

    I've read that Roos develop/feather more slowly, so that is normal. But if the lethargy continues or gets worse, I'd check him over to make sure it isn't anything else.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  8. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    heatherkh -- Thank you so much for describing your experience. When you mentioned the ballooned crop I remembered feeling something like that when I was holding him. So I went and examined him and immediately realized it was the crop. I researched to find out about how the crop massage should be done (don't push up). I did not feel confident about giving him eyedropper of olive oil/water because of the danger of aspiration into his lungs, so I couldn't do that. I do Reiki so I got him in my lap and slowly and gently massaged his crop for a long time. When I put him back in the brooder he actually ran a few steps here and there, drank water, and ate some of the starter crumbles. And he was making happy little whistles. He has not responded well in the past couple of times I tried to separate him (to offer him more food), and I was afraid to have him be sad, so I left him in the main brooder, but then checked on him again. He was up on the high perch, claws locked onto it, head back under wing. WHen he heard me come around, he made those little happy sounds while still in that posture. I could see the hens looking at me with new respect.

    I observed him for a good long while but then decided I really had to examine him. Indeed his crop was full of food and too large (double checked by examining a couple of the others). So I massaged him again, then moved him into the older smaller brooder by himself with several new inches of pine shavings added, and made dishes of yogurt and water (with the McMurray probiotic and mineral/vitamin additions he's used to). So he can't add grit and I won't feed him anything that requires grit until he is better. He stayed asleep with head under wing while I fixed up the "spa" for him, and returned to that position as soon as I put him in there.

    He's got infrared heat on a thermostat. About 85 degF, he's 4 weeks and 2 days old. Is that good for him? He seems to prefer it warmer than the others. He has wing feathers and a thin layer of feathers on his body but still has down on his head. He was snuggled up against a couple of the girls on that perch when I came to check him again. I hated to disturb them but the girls moved when I showed up and it was good I did and moved him separate so I can control his diet. I should have done that from the beginning but I allowed my worries about his emotional state to overcome my better judgment. Anyway I believe he will survive. I also realized that the hens are attached to him-- they freaked out when he didn't get put back in the brooder and then he called to them happily and they calmed down.

    I wanted to let you know and if you have any other thoughts I would be happy to hear them. I hope he will take to the yogurt. How should I proceed with moving from yogurt to other foods, and when?
     
  9. heatherkh

    heatherkh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Victoria - we kept out little guy in the spa from Friday through Sunday afternoon. I took away his crumbles and had him yogurt only Friday evening, and massaged his crop in a downward motion for a good 5-8 minutes or so before I turned the lights out for him to sleep. I have a piece of feather boa (purchased in New Orleans!) that I use as a surrogate momma in our little spa, and have a low cat bed heat pad underneath the box at night for a little warmth - the whole set up is in our basement, so the ambient temp is plenty warm.

    The following morning, I noticed about 3 very LARGE poops in the box. And they weren't so much poop as partially digested organic matter. I figured that's what was stuck in his crop. And he was noticeably perkier. I kept him of yogurt in the morning, and then in the afternoon made a mixture of yogurt and chick crumble with a little water to thin it out.Kali shave kept him on just yogurt longer hand he not been so actively pooping good healthy chikc poops. I also had ACV in his water. I kept checking his crop, and it would still get a little balloony when he had eaten at first, so I would repeat the gentle massage. On Sunday, his crop felt normal after he'd eaten, and he was obviously anxious to get back outside with the rest of the gang.

    He's still smaller than everyone, but his energy level is normal and he's making progress with his feathering. keep me posted on you chick!!
     
  10. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southwest Mississippi
    Heather-- Thank you again, very helpful. I have not seen large poops, but I have seen some poop. My roo tried to eat the yogurt but it just made him feel like his beak needed cleaning off. He eagerly tried mashed hard boiled egg, but wouldn't eat it. Then I found out they don't have to have grit to eat crumbles. I knew he wanted crumbles because last night when I refilled the others' feeder he was cheeping for the crumbles. He immediately set to eating the crumbles, but I took them away after a short while to double check how his crop would do. He did real well, and I let him have another go at them later and then he started drinking a good bit of water. So I think the couple days of very little (soft) food was actually what was good in this case. He was not at all emaciated when I realized he was sick and what was wrong. Even tho he'd been acting a bit off for a while, he was still eating.

    On Friday I had an appointment for my dog with my holistic vet, and asked about the chick. She suggested the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica 30c, and suggested just opening his beak and dropping in some pellets. I believe that is responsible for the good tone his crop is now displaying. I also added raw ACV to his water in addition to the vit/min/probiotic supplements that he was already getting in his water.

    I brought the roo to bed with me last night (wrapped in a towel) and have been carrying him in a sling while I am around the house. He hates being alone and really wants to be with me. He also called to the others after his good meal of crumbles and water earlier tonight, and they called back, sounding happy to hear from him. I know he'd rather be with them but for now this is what we're doing.

    I took the other chicks out to the backyard this afternoon and they got to spend time in the "tractor", they loved it. I used meal worms to lure them back into the box to transport them back inside. They fell asleep for a long nap afterward. Everyone peaceful and happy.

    I'm not sure how to judge when to put him back with the others.
     

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