Sick Chick Toolbox

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by NatraLee, May 13, 2010.

  1. NatraLee

    NatraLee Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 2, 2010
    Austin (East Side!)

    I recently lost a golden campine chick and it really upset me because I can't get another one easily and I'm a softie for animals. I understand that chicks are commonly lost. However, I want to make sure I am doing all I can and am properly prepared to handle sickness in the future. This one was standing around and falling asleep a lot and not eating or drinking - and had a runny stool. The temperature, floor material, water/feed, and space requirements for the brooder were all great. I learned that I'd rather NOT take a chick to the vet because the exam was $50 and the meds were $30 and it would have cost me $400 to get a diagnosis (I declined). The vet gave me Flagyl (antibiotic and anti-inflammatory) as well as an anti-parasite med - so they suspected a digestive tract issue - an infection or a parasite. I administered the meds but the chick died soon afterwards. The time and stress caused by transporting the chick to the vet I think hurt my cause.

    My question is: what do you chick experts do when you notice a chick getting sick or acting funny? If I had a re-do, I would do my best to hydrate the chick and perhaps get my hands on antibiotics and anti-parasite meds. Then I would just keep hydrating the chic and administering the drugs and hope for improvement. Should I keep these types of drugs on hand? What are other common illnesses and remedies that I ought to be prepared for to avoid losing chicks in the future? Thanks,

  2. StormyMoon

    StormyMoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2010
    Alvarado, TX
    I don't know if this will help, and I am not an expert. I am just getting to know my chicks and their behaviors.

    I have noticed while they are in the brooder over night by morning they had food and water ready at all hours, when I go check on them they have a slight bit of runny poo.
    So I take them either out side depending on the weather, or I get from my collected dirt pile that I save inside for rainy days and put it inside their brooder for them to scratch around in.

    I offer a little grass, sprinkle their chick food on the floor of the brooder and let them go to town.
    Then while I am watching them I can see their poo has changed and it isn't as runny.

    Maybe being in the brooder all hours with water and food all hours has a connection, I have been reading on the forum but haven't seen anyone else mention it.
    But I have noticed others also saying the same things their chicks are getting sick most say with runny poo.

    It would seem to me at some point chicks / chickens would need a little fresh air ? I could be wrong but will be watching this post of yours cause I would like to know what others think also.

    I think the dirt acts as a natural / natures grit I am not sure if chicks on starter feed need grit or only chicks that free range need grit.
    But it seems to help my chicks when they get runny poo.....

    Good luck!
  3. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    I think prevention is worth a thousand times more than a cure. You said in your post that "chicks are commonly lost" and would have to disagree with that. Just a rough guess would be that we have hatched out way over 500 and we have lost maybe 5 or 6.

    It sounds like your brooder set up was good, was it a shipped chick or one you hatched yourself? And i'm guessing your others are doing well? With some poultry issues it's easy to tell the problem and others about the only is to have them tested.

    We feed our chicks a medicated chick starter for cocci and i'm sure it does help. That's all ours get. A really big help would be to get a copy of the Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow.

  4. gettinaclue

    gettinaclue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    This is a great question!

    A chicken first aid box!

    What should go in it? Where can we get it?
  5. NatraLee

    NatraLee Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 2, 2010
    Austin (East Side!)
    Mine was a shipped chick and she seemed to do fine for the first several days. And yes the rest are doing fine. The evening of the fourth day, I noticed she was sleeping all the time and not eating or drinking. She would wake up now and then and take a step or two and preen a lot. When she was still doing this on Monday, I took her to the vet. If I had a re-do I would have started hydrating her instead and maybe administer anti-biotic and anti-parasite meds. I'm learning but it sure hurt to lose that little girl. :-( Here is my setup:

    Two red heat lamps suspended from the ceiling of my garage and two thermometers keep the 8 ft diameter ring made of metal flashing between 90 and 95 degrees. But there is plenty of room for the girls to move in/out of the heat as they like. I started with 10 chicks - so I had about 2 sf per bird as recommended. As per Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, I used pineshavings for the floor material and covered it with burlap to avoid spraddle legs. I change out the bedding at least once a week. I have a chick feeder and waterer in the brooder (I change the water 2x a day). I am feeding them medicated chick starter (18% protein). The guy at the store said I didn't need fine grit so I don't have any of that. I also got some vitamins/electrolytes that I administer with the water as per manufacturers recommendations - but only for two days at a time followed by three days of just water. But all the trouble with my little golden campine happened before I gave the vitamins/electrolytes. Just trying to understand what I should have done differently and what all I need to have on hand so I can prevent this in the future.
  6. NatraLee

    NatraLee Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 2, 2010
    Austin (East Side!)

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