Smothering problem

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kmitche3, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. kmitche3

    kmitche3 In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2011
    My baby chicks are smothering each other. [​IMG] I started out with 8 French Marans and now I am down to 6.

    At 4wks old I had my first chick loss. I went to bed and it was fine, in the morning it had been smothered.
    At 5wks old I have now had my second loss. I went to bed and it was fine, in the morning it was at the bottom of the pile.

    It is anywhere from 90-80 at night and they have more than enough room. Is there anything I can do to stop this? Why are chicks getting smothered? I leave a table lamp on for them so they are not completely in the dark. Chick #1 died with the night light on so I figured it might be too dark. Chick #2 died with the table lamp on. /sigh

    I’ve never cared for baby chicks before so I am at a wee bit of a loss. When the first one died I thought it was normal, when I picked the one up this morning that had died, I actually cried. [​IMG] Am I doing something wrong?

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    How do you know it was smothered? If your chicks are 5 weeks old or older, anything above 80 degrees would seem to be plenty warm enough. I don't quite understand their need to pile up on each other, except that I have had chicks do that until they were 20 weeks of age. I found it odd with them and odd to hear of it with your marans. I'm sorry for your losses.

    Are you sure the night time temps don't fall below 80? I cannot really fathom 5 weeks chicks being cold at 80 degrees. This may not be smothering but simply losses due to some yet unknown reason.
  3. kmitche3

    kmitche3 In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2011
    They stay in my studio and I have been sleeping down there with them. It could be possible that my thermostat down there is a little off. I was figuring that my two baby girls had been smothered because when I found them there were some other chicks laying on them and they appeared slightly squished. I guess that could have happened after they had died.

    The ones that have died so far where the ones that kept sticking their heads underneath the wings of the other chicks. For some reason they just feel the need to all sleep together.

    They are eating medicated food and are going through food and water like it is going out of style. I put a heat lamp in the corner today in case they have been getting too cold. So far they haven’t been lying underneath it. I’m not quite sure what to try next.
  4. Elke Beck

    Elke Beck Songster

    Jun 24, 2011
    Sunny So Cal
    I hung three 99 cent Store turkey feather dusters taped together in one corner of my pen, and the chicks spend a lot of time under it. They are getting big enough that everyone doesn't fit under it anymore, so I might have to go buy another couple dusters to expand their "mom." Maybe if your chicks had something to hide under they would not crowd so much.

    That being said, usually smothering happens when you have a large number of chicks. I wonder if the chicks that died were ill. They are very good at hiding it when they are sick, so it is not always obvious. One reason i think they were ill is chicks usually make a lot of noise when they are crowding each other, and since you are there with them, I would think you would hear the distressed cheeping.

  5. Cygnis

    Cygnis In the Brooder

    Aug 14, 2011
    I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. [​IMG]

    What size box/pen are you keeping your chicks in?
  6. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Songster

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    Sorry also for your chicks. I'd get a dollar thermometer and doublecheck the temperature remains in required range at night, and that your heat lamp is correct. If this is a basement it could be much cooler the last few days, as the temps in some areas have dropped by 20 degrees. Clean bedding with no ammonia fumes and good ventilation in the brooder?
  7. kmitche3

    kmitche3 In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2011
    They were really noisy on the night that I found my last chick. Unfortunately, I just laid there and by the time I got up the damage had already been done. I have them in an 18.5 square feet pen that I can expand to 34.4, since there are only 6 chicks in there it hasn’t appeared they have been crowded.

    This is what I keep them in:

    beginning to wonder if they picked up a draft. They laid under the heat lamp almost all of last night. I’ve kept their rear end cleaned, and their shavings changed, and of course I change out their water and make sure they have food multiple times a day.

    Is it normal when you first keep chicks to have a few loses? I have 25 day old chicks coming the end of the week and now I’m a little worried.

  8. stcroixusvi

    stcroixusvi Songster

    May 5, 2011
    Western NC
    My Coop
    Quote:I am sorry for your loss.

    You need to line the sides with cardboard so that there is no draft.
  9. jadell

    jadell In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2008
    North Carolina
    Cardboard is a definite. Losses happen. You learn from it, fix the problem, and keep your eyes open so it doesn't happen again. Good luck with the new 25!

  10. LadyBantam

    LadyBantam In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2011
    I too am sorry for your loss. Are you sure there was no pasting or anything else that could have killed them. My 5 girls are two weeks old yesterday and all sleeping in a pile, but that's because they are snuggling.... I'm pretty sure that's what they are doing [​IMG]. Hope your luck improves, you sure can get attached to these little guys and dolls.

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