Tiny chicks not growing

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DBQ, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. DBQ

    DBQ In the Brooder

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    Hi all. My family and I have been raising chicks for the last three years, and we just love our feather babies. This year I bought four chicks (to add to the 8 we already had) and they were just so much smaller/younger than the others, and younger than we have ever started with I might add. We have kept them isolated from the older chicks and we started them on the same starter/grower feed we had for our others, just ground finer. We have a heat lamp in place to keep them warm, but it also seems to keep them awake all night. We lost one of the babies two days after purchase, and subsequently switched them to a mix of medicated food and the regular starter/grower food. The three remaining chicks seem healthy and active (and I always see them standing in their food dish, and occasionally pecking) but they just don't seem to be growing, especially compared to our other eight which are growing like weeds. I have cleaned pasty bottoms a couple of times now, but otherwise I can't see that anything is wrong with them. Any advice?
    p.s., we have lost three of our sweet hens (I think a fox has found our flock and continues to return) in the last three weeks, and my heart just can't take losing these babies.
     
  2. Chuckcluck

    Chuckcluck Chirping

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  3. Chuckcluck

    Chuckcluck Chirping

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    I can only tell you I had the same experience this year! Bought some chicks from a local breeder, they never grew, and I lost some. In my case I gave them save a chick and the save a chick pro biotic which I think was the issue. Messed with their digestion. Won’t ever do that again. I put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in each quart of water instead and the survivors are surviving.
     
    1ADAM12 likes this.
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Failure to thrive in baby chicks is heartbreaking. There are many reasons for this and can include poor ventilation, inadequate diet, and genetics. Occasionally the tiny chick is simply a bantam the seller tossed in just for the heck of it. Though the tiny chick could be a bantam breed, you do need to make sure it is healthy. The pasty butt is a sign of either parasites (including coccidia), diet, or an infection caused by bacteria, virus or a fungal infection. Though chicks are normally self sufficient, they do need certain things in which to survive. Heat with good ventilation is a good start. Many folks will put chicks in a box, put a heat bulb on top (red bulb is the best) and think they are good to go. If you use wood shavings you must remember all that heat and moisture is a perfect set up for bacteria and fungus to grow. Which is not good for those tiny lungs. Add the fecal matter the chicks are providing and you have fertilizer added to the mess. So it is important to add ventilation and keep the shavings clean.

    Feeding medicated feed is best for chicks who are kept in close quarters. Adding electrolytes to the water when they first arrive is encouraged. And remember to clean and change the water twice daily. Dirty water can cause some serious issues in chicks. Poultry approved probiotics may help. I'm not a fan of yogurt in young chicks who are not doing well. Some people swear by it, some people swear at it.

    So, if you are constantly having failure to thrive chicks, change whom you are buying your chicks from, evaluate your set-up or have another poultry keeper check out what you have to give you a pair of fresh eyes as to how your set-up could be improved. Feed medicated feed and keep the water source fresh as possible.

    Though we do our best sometimes there is that one chick who does not do well. We do what we can, learn from our mistakes, and continue to make improvements.

    Good luck.
     
    gator75 likes this.
  5. careeka22

    careeka22 Songster

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    I'm sorry to hear about your chicks and hens. We just lost our favorite to a stray dog and currently working on a more secure and bigger run. We have one "runt" chick in our batch, it is half the size of it's sisters hatched the same day but seems to be eating, drinking and playing find. It's just feathering a lot slower. Sounds like what people said above, either they are sick or have some bad genes. We think our little one has "retarded feather growth". In this pic you can see it's so much smaller.
     

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  6. careeka22

    careeka22 Songster

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    Oh and we also lost the other lavender orpington we got 2 days after so we think something was just wrong with that whole hatch.
     
  7. DBQ

    DBQ In the Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2018
    Thank you for your suggestions. I will be sure to keep the fan on day and night to help with ventilation. I do change the water frequently so hopefully that is not an issue for them. And yes, we have learned so much from raising our chickens... next time I will not buy such teenie tiny babies and I will always buy from our regular breeder instead of the farm supply.
     
  8. DBQ

    DBQ In the Brooder

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    That is a big difference in size! All three remaining are different breeds, so I don't think we chalk it up to genetics... unless we have really terrible luck at picking chicks. I guess I was hoping that it is normal chicks this young to sort of stay at this level and then the will all hit a growth spurt and shoot up in size. Since we've always purchased older chicks, we are just always impressed by their rate of growth. These haven't seemed to change at all in the 5-6 days we've had them.
    Sorry about your lost chicken as well. We had a good couple of years with no issues until our flock was "found". Now our girls are learning a new normal of being kept in a run all day.
     
    careeka22 likes this.
  9. DBQ

    DBQ In the Brooder

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    Thank you for the warning. I had read other people who used save-a-chick successfully, and I had debated purchasing it. ACV seemed to help out big girls last year when they had some issues, so we will give that a try.
     
  10. careeka22

    careeka22 Songster

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    Hmm that is odd! Maybe they will just shoot up really fast. We are kind of hoping our small one is also a roo but if not that she/he will catch up. He seems very healthy so far just small and his feathers are growing at a weird rate.

    Thanks, we are the same here. They were free ranging right in front of the coop when the stray got her and it was so traumatic. So no more free ranging, they are confined to the coop and small run for now until we build out the bigger one. Raising chickens is both fun, rewarding and devastating!
     
    DBQ likes this.

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