sugar water and baby chicks


14 Years
Apr 1, 2008
I have raised chicks for years and I have always given sick, weak, or chilled chicks sugar water. Right now I have a runty,sickly chick that I am worried about and that I would normally give sugar water, but here recently I read that might not be good or the best way to give them an extra energy boost. Can someone explain why it might not be good and give me some ideas for an alternative to it. Any explainations and advice would be helpful. Oh, and also I read in several places about giving yogurt. What does that do? Anyway the little chick is runty and easily chilled, it is a white frizzle about 5 weeks old and it has been picked on by the others, and has been seperated. Teach me your tricks o wise ones!
Thanks, Rebecca
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There are many options instead of sugar water. Unfiltered raw apple cidar vinegar, quik chik, avia charge 2000.

A little honey water is better than white sugar water, too, but for not more than a day at time.

Sugar draws water into the intestines. It is one of the reasons why karo syrup is given to a constipated infant. More water pulled into the intestines helps with eliminating the stool. It works the same in chickens. Sugar pulls water into the intestines leading to runny poop and often pasty butt. I am not saying it happens all the time or with every chick but extended days of it does cause problems with runny stool.

Often on this forum we get new chick owners with pasty butt issues and often the cause is several days of sugar water. Sugar water should be a few hour thing and not a continual treatment. Especially not standard practice with routine new chicks that really only need clean, cool water and good starter feed.

Experienced chick owners seem to know this and use sugar water accordingly. It is an instant pick me up not a magic healing potion.
I think some of the problems may be that everyone is using different amounts of Sugar and for to long.

I only use Sugar for half a day for new Chicks, I put 1 packet of sugar I take from Restuarants :) because its easy and the same every time into a 1 quart water.

Yogert is good if you have birds that were on antibotics, it can help replenish the good bateria in their guts..

I personally like Molasses, I use it in a warm crumble I make when I feel someone needs an extra energy boost due to
Stress, illness, injury or before or after being shipped.
I myself only give one restaurant packet in a gallon for new chicks who might be chilled or stressed. After that pick me up it might cause more harm than good.
Okay! That's what I've always done! But when I read not to use it, I was confused. I would use it like if a baby chick got chilled and needed a pick me up to help pull it through after it warmed. I didn't know you could give them honey though it makes sense. We had some puppies get parvo and the vet recommended putting honey in their mouth for energy and because it is readily absorbed without having to be swallowed. I know that vinegar is supossed to help keep their immunity up, but I don't actually know why or how much. i would just put a dollup in the big chickens waterer everytime I filled it up.
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Well, I used a little more than that. I use about a teaspoon to a quart waterer. Maybe I should reconsider that much, though it never seems to have hurt them. I usually only put it the waterer once and when it is gone then i give reg. water.
Well on the APPLE CIDER VINEGAR UNPASTURIZED Braggs or Hienz from Walmart
We only use 2 tsp per gallon of water.
Yes you can use it every day if you wantto.
It is very healthy for them.
Also there is conflict about using honey as it may come from a contaminated source.
But we had 400 colonies of bees for many years, and I did the extracting and never let our honey get any thing in it to contaminate the honey. I pumped it into 55 gallon drums and the lid was fastened on the drum, immediately.
With that said you will need to get some probiotics for the whole flock.

The recipe is this for chicks.
Mix in glass bowl for the chicks to eat our of.
2 tsp of dry chick feed.
1/4 tsp of dry flax seed meal (kind for humans)
3 tbsp. of water
1 tsp of plain yoguart
1- 400 m of Vit E (cutting off tip of capsule and put in the wet mash)
1-Vit B complex crushed and put in tablespoon then add a little water to dissolve it before putting it in the wet mash
1- Selenium tablet crushed and water added before putting in the wet mash.
now make sure it is like cookie dough.
see if the chick is able to eat it.
If not you will have to use the sugar water sparingly,
like with a syringe with out the needle to put it in back of the throat,
so it goes to the gut.
Hopefully some of what I used will help you get the whole group of chicks going good.
ALSO for the group of chicks feeding the WET MASH PROBIOTIC RECIPE multiply the number of chicks eating it, so you have enough for them to eat it in 20-30 minutes. and then clean the glass largep ie plate so all can get around it to eat.
We use a large dog bowl measuring 12 inches wide and 4 inches deep.

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