Teaching a chick to eat?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by keyt1969, May 7, 2011.

  1. keyt1969

    keyt1969 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a 1 week old chick that I don't think has eaten since it hatched. I tried giving it water but i never saw it drink or eat on it's own.

    Today it was ok this morning then a few hours later it's laying on it's side with it's head bent all the way backwards, eyes closed and not doing much. I gave it several doses of Pedialyte and that seems to have done the trick. Now it's standing up, weak, but it's up!

    Now the trick is, how do I teach it to eat? I guess I thought I wouldn't have to! This is my first experience with hatching chicks. This is the only surviving chick out of 6, but I've been keeping it with a 1 month old bantam who has taken the baby on as her own! I was hoping maybe the bantam would teach the baby how to eat! The bantam and the baby are very close, I don't think the baby would have fought as hard to stand up if it wasn't for the bantam!

    So what can I do to get the baby to eat?
     
  2. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    The fact that the chick hasn't started eating by now is worrisome. Chicks are great mimics, so normally this one would have watched its bantam buddy pecking at things, and started doing the same. There may be something else going on. It could be sick, it could be debilitated from not eating, or it might even have poor vision. The posture you're describing could also be neurologic in origin or due to infection or nutritional deficiency. Right now it's hard to say what's going on, because weakness from not eating can cause a whole bunch of additional signs.

    I raised a blind chick two years ago. Because it was totally blind, it had no stimulus to peck at things. We had a very hard time. Fortunately the chick would peck randomly at the air, and I would sit there with a dish of chick starter soaked with sugar water, and try to keep the mush in the line of fire. Eventually the chick got the idea, and it's done very well since then: "Sonar" is now coming up on two years old.

    If your chick will peck at things, then you've got something to go on. You can put a little starter crumble into a shallow dish (I like plastic jar lids) and add a little water. That's mush, and chicks love it. You might have to put a little bit into the chick's beak to get the idea across; work with very small amounts. You can also hard-boil an egg and chop it up fine, yolk and white. Egg is an excellent food for sickly chicks, but it's very high in protein, so they should not eat only egg.

    Low blood sugar is deadly to birds. The easiest way to see if a chick is hypo is to put a little water in a dish, add as much table sugar to it as will dissolve, and give the chick 5-6 drops with an eyedropper. If the chick perks up a few minutes later, it was hypo. When it perks up, this is the best time to try to get it to eat.

    I don't know if you've listened to a hen telling her chicks what is good to eat, but the call they make is, "Chick, chick, chick!" If you are trying to get the chick interested in food, you can tap the food with your finger (the chick will interpret this as your pecking at the food) and say, "Chick, chick!" Keep trying; some chicks are hesitant to peck at something new, but once they discover it tastes good, they'll eat.

    Good luck!
     
  3. SIMPleChick

    SIMPleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hope you still have time to help this little guy out! I had to teach my little bantam cochin to eat and drink. I had to dip it's beak over and over or place a drop of water on it's beak with my finger, I would take him out of the brooder every half hour or so (until he caught on...) to make him feed. I just put him on a paper towel with food all over it and a little cap of water and blocked him from roaming around to make him eat, when he ate and drank a little I would put him back in, some chicks are a little slow but they still can grow up to be GREAT chicks! He was VERY awkward drinking and eating at first...Here is Dot at day 1, then right before I sold him, at about 6 weeks! I can't keep roos here!
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  4. keyt1969

    keyt1969 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Thanks both of you, I will keep all of this in mind. I do wonder if s/he is blind. I've only seen it with it's eyes open a few times for a few seconds each!

    By the way my chick looks exactly like the top pic!
     
  5. Silkie horsechick

    Silkie horsechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put marbles in the water - seemed to attract their attention ?!?!?
     
  6. SIMPleChick

    SIMPleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2011
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    Ohhh.....sweet little thing, hopefully it isn't blind. I wonder if you could wash out the eyes with maybe an eye wash for animals?? Good luck and KEEP US POSTED!!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. lady feathers

    lady feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 29, 2010
    I put small wads of tin foil in the feeder to get my turkey poults to start pecking, maybe that could help!
     
  8. SIMPleChick

    SIMPleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Oh my goodness! How many turkeys do you have? Every time I go to IFA I put my finger in the turkey bins and they go CRAZY and try to swallow my finger whole! LOL! They are so funny...
     
  9. keyt1969

    keyt1969 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:We have been cleaning it's eyes but he never opens them. He's gone from bad to worse to better now he's worse again. He was standing and just standing there. Now he won't stand at all. I feel so bad!! The bantam won't leave him alone, she's always near her. If I take the baby out the bantam goes crazy and pierces our ears with chirping til I put the baby back!! Now I know where the term "mother hen" comes from..but the bantam is just a baby herself!

    [​IMG]
    She's not standing on the baby but she's always very close to her!

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    This pic shows how the baby's head is completely bent

    [​IMG]
    I later put paper towels down so the baby would have more grip to stand up. It did for a little while but now it's laying down again. The bantam will lay next to the baby when it's laying down, but when it was standing up the bantam was running around like normal
     

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