Very sick chick. Need help/advice


Mar 17, 2018
We have 6 total chicks and we noticed one acting lethargic yesterday and now she won't open her eyes and can't hold herself up. If we dip her break into some water (with honey in it) she gulps a bunch of times. Any idea what is causing this? Is there anything we can do at this point. How do we protect the other chicks? Thanks for any help. We have never had chicks before so we are at a loss.
Here's hoping that some people are still online, because I'm no expert on chick diseases.

In the meantime, can you post pictures of the chick? How about pictures of the poop? (A surprisingly large amount of people on here want to see pictures of poop.)

Generally, there are a few things recommended when the chicks are sick.

Electrolytes. Honey in water is good, but if you add baking soda and salt as well, it helps the chick retain the fluids it drinks instead of their just passing through. Recipe is:
2 tbsps corn syrup or sugar (I imagine you can use honey as well)
1tsp baking soda
1 pinch salt
2 quarts of water.

I think we can rule out a temperature problem, as no one else is sick, but vitamin deficiencies tend to affect a small percentage of the flock, even when the entire flock has them. Can you get a hold of poultry vitamins or poly-vi-sol (low iron) for babies? Vitamin B-complex tablets ground up and added to the water can also be helpful.

Coccidiosis is another really common problem in baby chicks. It happens when chicks are exposed to too much soiled bedding or poop for too long, especially under stressful conditions, such as while they're being shipped.

The article says that the poop of the affected is bloody, but that's not actually always the case, so don't rule it out just because there's no blood. If you're feeding medicated feed, your chicks probably don't have it, but it's a preventative rather than a cure. If your chicks do have it, you need to treat it with Corid.

Good luck. Sorry for the book and welcome to BYC.
It would help to know the age of this chick as each week, they have completely different physiological quirks.

Up until about age four weeks, constipation is a very common ailment, and it can kill very quickly as the chick is backed up and can't eat or drink. Time is of the essence as you need to treat while the chick is still conscious and can swallow.

Coconut oil slightly chilled so it's solid is the safest oil to use. Get one teaspoon down the chick by putting tiny bits at a time onto its tongue. Pry the beak open to do this, then massage the tiny crop very gently to disperse the oil.

Then wait for it to poop. It should bless you with a turd half the size of the chick if you are lucky.
Only thing to add, if there is poop caked to the bird's butt, your chick has pasty butt which prevents it from pooping and makes it sick. Wash off with water that is warm to the touch, massage the mass of poop until it dissolves. DON'T pull on the poop because it can be stuck to the umbilical and pull out some of the intestines with it.
Thanks for all of the advice. The chick is about 2.5 weeks old and we picked her up from a local farm about a week ago. So she wasn't shipped. They have not been getting medicated free and we're not vaccinated because the woman raising them said that wasn't an issue since they had ample space unlike traditional operations ( is that really true)?
When we give her the water it seems like she gurgles it so I'm not sure if she is swallowing much of anything. She was up and moving around and eating normally about 36 hours ago. Should I still try coconut oil if she isn't swallowing well? I will try to post pictures.
Thanks again for all of the help.
Unfortunately we just lost her. What a very sad and unexpected loss

The picture is of her poop but we smeared it out on the paper towel to look for blood. Should we be concerned that our other chicks will likely have the same problem?

Thanks again for all of the help. We really appreciate the support.


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