Very high mortality rate from hatchery chicks

michickenwrangler

To Finish Is To Win
11 Years
Jun 8, 2008
4,511
35
241
NE Michigan
I ordered 25 chicks

10 Partridge Rocks
5 Delawares
10 Cornish Rocks

I picked them up at the post office this morning. 3 were DOA, 1 died shortly after returning home, 2 died this evening and there's another that is on the verge of dying now.

2 that died recently got pushed into the water, got wet and chilled. I dried them off, put them in a separate box under a 100w bulb, but they just weakened and died. This last one just started sitting still, got run over and didn't get up. I have that one separated now so it doesn't get trampled.

What could be wrong?

Out of 26 (they threw in an extra PR), SEVEN are dead or dying, that's over 25%.

I did call the hatchery this morning, they said they have a 48 hr live guarantee, so I need to call them back Friday morning. The gal at the post office confirmed that the first 3 were dead and marked the box as damaged.

I have ordered from this hatchery before and received healthy chicks that lived for several years (2 are now owned by the neighbor down the road). I don't know what could be wrong. All 3 breeds have suffered at least 1 casualty: 2 CR, 1 Delaware and 4 PR

I have owned chickens for 6 years and brooded at least 1 batch of chicks every one of those years.
 

FruitfulFaith

Chirping
7 Years
Dec 19, 2012
150
5
81
My very first order of chicks just over a week ago was devastating. They were all alive on arrival, and I lost 11 out of 27 within a week.
My replacement order arrived on Monday, and I lost two very weak ones the first day and then only one more without cause that I could see. I can only guess that they are suffering certain traumas from being shipped, which contributes to the common "unexplained" death you can sometimes encounter with fragile babies.
 

michickenwrangler

To Finish Is To Win
11 Years
Jun 8, 2008
4,511
35
241
NE Michigan
I ave lost a total of 10 now. Did some stuff, checked back in, 3 seemingly healthy ones were dead.

Not cool.

PLEASE, anyone with advice or knowledge of what thic could be. I don't know what I'm doing wrong or what's wrong with the chicks
 

momochix

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
8
0
6
I dip the beaks in the water often if they look weak. I also am fanatical about cleaning their bottoms. I use warm water and cotton and sometimes have to soak them.(backside only) It has to be done very gently and patiently. If they don't poop from a clogged cloaca, they don't eat and then get weak. I have 10 three week old chicks from a hatchery and managed to keep them all alive. It does require a lot of checking in the very beginning. The pasty butt syndrome seems to last a while on some chicks and needs taking care of for about the first two weeks.
 

michickenwrangler

To Finish Is To Win
11 Years
Jun 8, 2008
4,511
35
241
NE Michigan
I have been wiping butts.

I'll leave them be for a few hours, check on them and three seemingly healthy chicks will be dead.

I have never had a high mortality rate like this before. It's a little scary and frustrating
 

momochix

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
8
0
6
How's it going today? I know how stressful losing those little chicks is. They really get to you right away. Did the hatchery have a heat packet in the order?
 

mstricer

Crowing
12 Years
Feb 12, 2009
7,508
224
396
Ohio
Where they all in the same box? And did you call the hatchery most will give you replacement chicks or a refund
 

shellyjimrye

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 11, 2013
69
5
33
Didsbury, Alberta Canada
I am not familiar with shipping in the states but in Canada where I order from, the shipping is over night to the post office. My little flock were all hatched on the 23rd. I got a call from my local post office 6:30 am on the 24th! I think the less amount of time in transit and without water and heat is your best bet. I know that the hatchery stated that if you could not get the chicks the day it shipped, they refused to ship them and you would have to go directly to the hatchery to pick up. You might want to look around for different options for new chicks. I would be heart broken if I were you! We got 50 chicks for our farm and 3 were lost in the first 24 hours. Others are all fantastic so far.
 

michickenwrangler

To Finish Is To Win
11 Years
Jun 8, 2008
4,511
35
241
NE Michigan
I got an email on Tuesday from the hatchery saying that the chicks shipped. The hatchery is in Ohio, we're in Michigan, so it was basically overnighted.

A grand total now of 12 dead.

12, out of 26. A 50% mortality rate.

The hatchery did give me a refund.
 

Pathfinders

Crowing
11 Years
12 Years
Jan 25, 2008
2,264
263
288
Northern KY
I have had this happen to me, I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I have a feeling what happened is these chicks were badly chilled. Some dim postal worker left the box somewhere where the chicks got very very cold. Even though the hatchery packs them so that there are enough in the box to theoretically keep each other warm, it won't work if the postal workers leave them in a truck outside overnight.

It's horrible. I had this happen about four years ago with some chicks I ordered for the 4-H kids. I had a box of 50 bantams and wound up losing almost the entire box. I was just devastated, every morning going down to the brooder and finding more and more dead tiny chicks. Thank goodness it happened before I gave them out to the kids, can you imagine how it would have been for them?

I called the hatchery and there was not much they could do except give me a credit for another order. I decided from that point on I would always pay for Express Mail, no more Priority shipments for me.

And ever since then, whenever I ship chicks myself, I always ship them Express, and I also always include a heater pad too, unless it's really warm out. I just don't ever want to have to experience that myself, or have anyone getting my chicks experience that.

I really am so sorry you are dealing with this, it's just the most terrible thing, my condolences.
 

MANNA-PRO

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