sick chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mika4me, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. mika4me

    mika4me Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Sacramento
    Hello,

    My first time posting, and first time raising chicks. We started with four chicks, two day-olds and two week-olds. They looked great for the first couple of days, and then one of the little ones got listless and stopped eating. No trouble pooping, no pain, just sleepy and completely shut down. We went to the feed and seed and they gave us some antibiotic to put in the water. We did that, and I hand-fed the chick some moistened food, but she died during the night two days ago. She would have been a week old yesterday. We consulted with the feed and seed and they said some loss is normal, and it would be fine to add another chick at this point, so we got another week-old. She is doing fine now, but our other young one is starting to show the same systems of listlessness and lack of appetite. 24 hours ago she was eating like crazy! The two older birds look very healthy and active. We have the chicks under a light, plenty of space (an old dog kennel), medicated chick starter, and bedding of peat moss which Gail Damerow recommended. What am I doing wrong? I am almost afraid to look at the chicks anymore, it is so awful to see one of them just waste away. Any suggestions?
    Thanks!!!
     
  2. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    I'm at a complete loss exactly where did Gail Damerow recommend peat moss for bedding?

    Her preferred bedding is wood shavings in particular pine shavings.
     
  3. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    If your little ones are eating their bedding they aren't getting a proper diet.

    It is recommended that you cover the bedding until the chicks know what is food and what isn't. You can help them in a number of ways one of which is to sprinkle a bit of food on the covered litter (they will pick at anything and the food doesn't get lost in the litter with the chicks then eating as much or more litter than food which leads to wasting away) the other way is for you to use your finger to make like momma hen and indicate what is food by tapping it.

    I sprinkle food on paper towels that cover the wood shavings for at least the first three days when I get new chicks. The towels get removed after the chicks have spent a lot of time at their feeders and are not eating any of the litter. A chick has about a three day food supply when they are hatched. Depending upon how much feed they actually eat will determine how long they will survive if they also consume a lot of litter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  4. Sweetpeaswan

    Sweetpeaswan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2010
    Sorry to hear about your babies, and I'm also at a loss about the peat moss...some folks like the diff types of wood shavings
    as bedding. Don't care for grindings, there to fine for little ones, do like chopped straw and hay. Some folks also use antimicrobial
    paper. First I would probably ditch the peat moss, second check the temp, I believe the standard is 95 degrees for the newbies
    and that drops 5 degrees each week.(the starting point could b 100 but i'm having a mental block) Next I'd ask..well where did
    they come from???? was it a reputable place??? Be vigilant about checking for pasty butt...If nothing else seems out of place,
    some just don't make it, survival of the fittest. At our store during the season we had hundreds of little peepers and I was like a crazy
    lady checking them all...but the one thing we did find was that after a delivery we could go for two days with no losses and then
    on the 3rd day (we called it D Day) we incurred the most losses and those little guys just didn't seem to grow, it was likle failure to thrive.
    after that we had healthy little munchkins and smooth sailing..Keep up the faith they'll be fine [​IMG]
     
  5. mika4me

    mika4me Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Sacramento
    Thank you all so much for your replies!!! I did get the peat moss thing from Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, 2010 edition, pg. 317. It is listed as an "ideal litter". Regardless, I'll try the pine shavings since that's the general recommendation from all of you, and I definitely want to try something different. I'll also try covering the shavings for a bit to get the birds to focus on the food. I think the temp is okay, as I have been checking it. Again, thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I feel a bit more hopeful and less desperate!!! [​IMG]
     
  6. danny900

    danny900 New Egg

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Baby chicks need summery warmth, chick starter, water .If you just got your chicks, and you don't have a warm box (like 90 degrees F, very warm), you can put them in an open box IN THE OVEN, with the pilot light or the oven light bulb on, while you make them a warming box to aviod them from getting sick.
    http://mediapublishing.com.sg/
     
  7. mika4me

    mika4me Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Sacramento
    Well, my little one made it through the night. She has eaten a little bit, but still seems very frail and sleepy. I'm adding another heat lamp since we are having a blustery fall day, totally unlike our usual 100 plus temps for this time of year.
     
  8. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    The starting temperature in the brooder at chick height should be 95 and decreases 5 degrees per week until it is equal to 70 degrees or the chicks are fully feathered at which time it can be removed.

    The problem with any litter is that it must not be used as food by the chicks which is why it should be covered until they know what food actually is, otherwise their natural instinct is to peck and swallow (since they don't normally have any grit in their gizzards they can't even grind up the litter) , a momma hen will show the chicks and keep after them. You can't spend all of your time with them so you have to make certain that what they peck at is food, you can do that by covering the litter or by not using any litter (there are things that the litter is good for, insulating the chicks from cold bare flooring is but one).
     
  9. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    In my copy of Gail's book under chick care there is a section called litter there is a paragraph about covering the litter with newly hatched chicks.

    Your book is newer than mine, however I'll bet the same information is in your book.

    As your chickens get older things that would hurt or kill a chick won't matter, for example eating the litter can actually be beneficial for them as a source of B vitamins. One of the differences is that the litter will have broken down to smaller pieces that can easily go through their system and another is that is the birds get to play in the dirt outside they will actually have small rocks in their gizzards to grind things up.

    One of the things that momma hen teaches her little ones is to eat very small pieces of sand so they will have grit in their gizzards.

    We replace that with ground granite grit but even that is too big for chicks, you can locate some fine stuff just make sure it is for young chickens as grit for other birds which may be the correct size for chicks can contain materials that chicks should not have.

    I wait until my birds are on the ground and eating a bit of good ole have to eat a peck before you die dirt. Then they can eat other than feed.

    I've managed to get every single one of my chicks past all the chick hood issues using Gail's book.
     
  10. mommyofthreewithchicks

    mommyofthreewithchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Minnesota
    What I did is... I had pine shavings in the brooder box with paper towels over them. I made sure that the heat was correct (for the most part mine didn't need the heat as it was so hot here) I gave mine non medicated crumbles and LOTS of water. All of mine were handled with supervision by the kids. Litter was changed every day if not 2/day or more to the point as needed [​IMG]

    They were in the basement for 2 weeks in a tub, and now they are outside in a brooder box- made with old doors and are 5 weeks old and I just took half and made another box in the coop for them to have more space.

    If I had to guess they were eating the bedding. So I would just put a layer of paper towels down and see if that helps.
     

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