The last 4 baby silkies we bought have died, been sick or retarded. Is this bad breeding? Diseased? Improper care? Wondering what is going wrong and should I treat my laying hens just in case this contagious? The first 3 silkies we had were about 2-3 days old. As soon as we got them home we noticed one of them with a breathing problem and a prolapsed vent. We called the lady we got them from she said she would trade out the chick for another and try to save the sick one with anitbiotics. They other two were just fine. The replacement chick had fallen asleep over the chick waterer and drowned in the night. We've raised 11 chicks from 1 day old and never lost a chick for any reason, sickness or drowning. Another silkie was healthy during the day eating fine, poop, normal then suddenly she grew lethargic in the evening. She wouldn't stand or drink or eat. She was hunched over with her wings limp to her sides. She took a few drips of water from my finger. Woke up chirped, gasped and then died in my hands. The third chick was itty bitty and never grew. She lived for 3 weeks. Her fluff turned to feathers but always no bigger than my thumb (5ft tall female hands- she was tiny!) she was energetic and held her own against the much larger, 6 week old chicks. She ate and drank very well. Then all of sudden with in hours of acting normal she turned lethargic. She seemed to have no strength to stand. She also had the hunched over, limp wings. She would fall over and not try to get back up. She would eat and drink if encouraged to do so. By the end of the evening she had pasty butt. She fought hard through the night she slept on a heating pad on my chest then died early this morning. Do silkies have a high chick mortality rate? Is this a bad breeder? Her coop was clean and the lady really loved her chickens just as I do. She gave me two of her older silkies, one is best guess, 4 weeks and the other is around 6 weeks. I also have two 5 day old Ameracauna chicks in the same brooder. We have 9 laying hens 9 months old outside in the coop. Lately, they have been laying less. We generally get 7-9 eggs a day but over the last 2 weeks (coincidencently around the time we got the chicks) we have been getting 3-4 eggs a day) We figured it was just the change in seasons; less daylight. We took the plywood roof off their run and screened it in- it seemed to help a little but egg production is still down. Now I'm worried about disease. Is it cocci? Should I feed them all antibiotics to be safe? Or does this sound like something else is wrong? My chicks are on medicated starter. I recently started adding vitamins and electrolytes to their water. They live in a heated brooder in my master bathroom. The older ones eat layer crumble, veggie/ fruit /whole grain scraps and free range a few hours everyday and live in a giant converted shed with heat and a/c with attached run. Any help would be apperciated. It's heartbreaking to lose them and not know why, how to help them or prevent it.