Oct 3, 2020
67
113
73
Bethel, NY
I will preface by saying that I am really screwed up... I start with the story of what happened and end with my plead for help.

We purchased two three week old splash silkie chicks to add to our flock of juvenile silkies from a wonderful small local hatchery. They supplied us with what we thought was chicken starter when we told them we were out... my boyfriend was the one who picked up the chicks and apparently told them very explicitly that we were out of chicken starter and needed some for the night.

Well, I assume the guy at the hatchery said "I have chicken grit I can give you," without clearly stating that he didn't have spare food... and my boyfriend assumed grit was a type of chicken food (it certainly sounds like it). The guy gave us what we thought was a week worth of chicken feed (it was A LOT of grit). Clearly it was just a terrible miscommunication... and in our defense this chicken grit looks EXACTLY like our starter feed. So I gave the chicks what I thought was starter feed (but was chicken grit), along with water with added electrolytes, B12, amino acids, vitamins and sugar. They immediately gussled down an entire mason jar of water and ate a LOT of the chicken grit.

We brought them home 5 days ago now... and I noticed last night they were becoming increasingly more lethargic, but they are chicks and its normal for them to be sleepy and cuddly, there was no sign of distress and until today they were very active and chick-like. Well today, my boyfriend went into the brooder room around 2pm and noticed one with its limbs splayed out. He picked it up and it was practically limp, it then rolled over and started convulsing. We checked its throat to see if it was choking but it wasn't... it didn't look good.

I immediately called the guy from the hatchery and explained what was going on. He thought it was likely dying of natural chick causes, but after 10 minutes on the phone going over every possible error I could have made I realized that he never gave me FOOD! We realized the miscommunication!! He said, "no, I gave you grit... you've been feeding them chicken starter right?" and the mystery was solved...

We immediately gave her syringes of sugar water with electrolytes, probiotic plain greek yogurt, and vitamins and she was seemingly coming back to life after about 30 minutes of care. She even stood up and starting chirping again! The other chick was so concerned, it went over to her to help and snuggled up to her :( ... her condition quickly deteriorated after about an hour of intensive care and she died in my hands.

I feel just so so terrible, clearly the poor thing died of malnutrition :( I don't know how this miscommunication transpired... it really makes me question the actual conversation that took place over the issue of us needing food... but we are new chicken owners and just didn't know what grit was. How these three week old chicks survived without food for 5 day is beyond me!! It must have been the fortified sugar water??

Now onto the issue of the surviving chick -- she has been eating and drinking NONSTOP for 5 hours now!! I worry about her getting sick consuming this much food and water at once on an empty stomach. I mixed the starter feed, water, electrolytes and vitamins into a large shallow dish so that the food would be easier to digest and also to make sure she was getting as much nutrition as possible. She seems to be doing miraculously well, chirping, running around and like I said, gorging herself!!

I noticed her crop is now VERY enlarged, which makes sense.. Its not hard at all, its very soft and squishy, but I worry about what this means and am wondering what I should do?? It does seem unhealthy for a chick who has been starved to eat and drink so much continuously. Do I take the food and water away for her from a bit? Is it normal for the crop to become enlarged? Help!!

She also has not laid down to rest at all in five hours, I am sure she is just in shock, but she's walking around endlessly chirping, pecking and eating. I just really want to make sure she is okay!! Any advice would be tremendously helpful, I dont want to lose her too! She has already fought so hard.

She is definitely very very sad to have lost her other half :( the two were attached at the hip and I just feel beyond guilty. She starts actually screaming when I leave her even for a minute! We are going to pick up two more silkies from the same hatchery tomorrow that were same batch as her so she's not all alone...

Thanks in advance!!
 
Last edited:

21hens-incharge

Slightly nuts
Premium Feather Member
Mar 9, 2014
21,001
86,400
1,542
Northern Colorado
With any animal that has been without food for an extended amount of time YOU have to slow them down by allowing small amounts frequently until they have recovered.

Take the dish out now. Let her rest (and hopefully digest a bunch of what she wolfed down).

Give three tablespoons once an hour for her to eat. Remove uneaten after 10 minutes. In a few days she may be ok with free feeding and not gorging.
 
Oct 3, 2020
67
113
73
Bethel, NY
With any animal that has been without food for an extended amount of time YOU have to slow them down by allowing small amounts frequently until they have recovered.

Take the dish out now. Let her rest (and hopefully digest a bunch of what she wolfed down).

Give three tablespoons once an hour for her to eat. Remove uneaten after 10 minutes. In a few days she may be ok with free feeding and not gorging.
Thank you so much for your quick reply!! I just took her feeding tray out. Is there anything else I should do for now?

Anything else I should be looking out for or anything I can do to ensure her a speedy recovery? What do I do if she ate too much? She really ate a LOT!

What should I do in 4 hours when we all go to bed? Leave her a small amount in her brooder? Also, I have two new chicks coming in tomorrow afternoon (I wish I could convey how sad she is). Will she be able to eat with them?
 

21hens-incharge

Slightly nuts
Premium Feather Member
Mar 9, 2014
21,001
86,400
1,542
Northern Colorado
Thank you so much for your quick reply!! I just took her feeding tray out. Is there anything else I should do for now?

Anything else I should be looking out for or anything I can do to ensure her a speedy recovery? What do I do if she ate too much? She really ate a LOT!

What should I do in 4 hours when we all go to bed? Leave her a small amount in her brooder? Also, I have two new chicks coming in tomorrow afternoon (I wish I could convey how sad she is). Will she be able to eat with them?
Hang in there I tagged a couple really great folks that may have different/better advice.
 

RevlisRemmah

Songster
Jul 10, 2020
385
796
166
Central Michigan
My Coop
Thank you so much for your quick reply!! I just took her feeding tray out. Is there anything else I should do for now?

Anything else I should be looking out for or anything I can do to ensure her a speedy recovery? What do I do if she ate too much? She really ate a LOT!

What should I do in 4 hours when we all go to bed? Leave her a small amount in her brooder? Also, I have two new chicks coming in tomorrow afternoon (I wish I could convey how sad she is). Will she be able to eat with them?
She should be fine overnight without food in there . Chickens don’t eat overnight and she will need that time to digest. I’ll leave the other questions for the experts!!
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom