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We lost our first chick today Update: more are dying :(

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bock, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, our chicks shipped from Belt hatchery on Wednesday, and we picked them up at the PO yesterday evening. They all were healthy and active upon arrival. We added Vitamins and electrolytes to their water to get them off to a good start. When I went to check on them around 1:30, they were all doing great, but I noticed they liked to sleep in a pile near the heat lamp. It is a 250 whatt red heat bulb and it is only about 4 inches above their heads. It is 50F in the barn, so they should be a good temp. They don't seem cold really, and they aren't hot either. I just went to check on them a few minutes ago, and one of the healthiest and most active chicks was dead. She was a mid-sized RIR, and she was flattened out right next to their feeder. [​IMG] They are all free of pasty but, and are eating and drinking just fine. I think she just fell asleep and the others sat on top of her and squished her until she suffocated. I have another chick now, a black star, that is acting lethargic. She sleeps a lot and is getting trampled. I tried to get her to eat and drink, but all she did was poop on my hand. [​IMG] It was very watery, and it didn't look like she has been eating much. Is there anything I can do to help this poor girl? Why are they dying all of the sudden? Please help!
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  2. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    [​IMG] Awww, I'm so sorry for that loss! It sounds like you're giving them optimal care, sometimes Stuff Just Happens to even apparantly healthy chicks. Remember that in nature the hen will lay more eggs than she needs to have hatch, and more chicks hatch than are needed to grow to adulthood. Some just don't have the full component of the Right Stuff to continue. And these chicks have had quite a journey already in their young lives, sometimes it causes stress for some of them.

    One thing you might change is to add another heat light or two, to allow the chicks to spread out a bit more when they sleep and prevent anyone else from getting squashed. Is there a way you can make a draft-free place near the heat, so they don't feel the need to make a big pig pile? They seem to like to do that anyway, the little dum-dums, but having a larger area of warmth might help.

    I like to give my new chicks sugar, or the electrolyte/vitamin powder, in their water. I also like to give them finely minced scrambled egg, sprinkled with a bit of pepper, it seems to give them a good start.
     
  3. wannabchick

    wannabchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 27, 2010
    Northen Va
    Ohhhh, iam sorry...

    Sending u big hugs
     
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    I'm sorry but your description is of chicks who are too cold. If they are bunched up under the heat lamp - they're too cold. Plus, if one was flattened, it is because they are all trying to bunch up to stay warm. I also have a 250W lamp but my brooder is inside, and I had to plug it into a rheostat to turn it down so I didn't cook them. However if your brooder is in a barn, it sounds like the lamp just can't keep up. Is there any way you can move the brooder inside? Or cover most of the brooder with towels or blankets to keep heat in, so the lamp has a chance?
     
  5. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone. [​IMG] I got the Black Star to drink, but she hasn't eaten anything.
    I am not allowed to put the brooder in the house, plus we have house cats, so I don't think that will work. I will definitely put towels over the brooder. I don't really think they are cold though, Some of them will run around the brooder, eat, and drink, and then they just pile up anywhere they can. I even thought they might be too hot because they were near the edge of the trough, but when I moved it up they just scrambled around for a second and settled down a bit closer to the light. Anyway, I will try the towel out, be back soon! [​IMG]
     
  6. viktoriacl

    viktoriacl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I vote too chilly too! I had a thermometer to check at all times with my little ones and one still needed it higher than it reccomended! As soon as I turned it up higher she sarted to eat and drink and move around more! I think what people feel is warm enough is often too cool! They need it hot!
     
  7. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That was good advice! I put two towels on the top, with a little space in between for some venilation and room for the lamp. I had to tape them down though so they wouldn't fall inside. The chicks spread out immediately! When I left, most of them were asleep and there was a few centimeters of space between each fuzzy. I did have a thermometer for them, but it was a few years old and it was about 10 degrees off, so I chucked it. I think I still have a digital one somewhere from the incubator....
     
  8. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just checked on them again and they were all asleep in different spots. I feel much better now, and I am sure they do to. When I was leaving the barn, it started pouring hail, so I guess I warmed them up just in time! Thank you so much!
     
  9. nurseshelly

    nurseshelly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2011
    Gilbert AZ
    I'm sorry you lost a chick! [​IMG] I hope your others will be fine now with the warmer temps. You know if you ever want to get one, they sell inexpensive digital probes for monitoring temperatures in reptile habitats and they are really inexpensive (like $15) and work very well. That way you can tell exactly how warm it is at the surface of the bedding.
    Michele
     
  10. viktoriacl

    viktoriacl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so happy for you...and them! That's great news! They really seem to need that heat when they are tiny! Yipee!
     

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