Weak baby chicks, eyes closed. Help?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by KestrelKite, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. KestrelKite

    KestrelKite In the Brooder

    5
    18
    24
    Aug 9, 2018
    My Americauna/coachin mix just recently hatched a brood of 8 chicks (she got broody surprisingly late in the year). One of the chicks was smaller than the others, was getting pecked at and wasn’t getting sat on by the hen. It was still wet. Another chick was stuck in the egg with dried membrane glueing her wing closed. We managed to get the stuck chick out of the egg and got her cleaned up, and we have both chicks separated and under a heat lamp. I’ve been feeding them sugar water and egg yolk for the two days I’ve had them. Treated the smaller one for pasty butt this morning, and got her vent cleared. They seem to be gaining a tiny bit of energy, they’re starting to preen their feathers a bit and they can stand, but they’re very wobbly when they walk. Another thing I’ve noticed is that their eyes are always constantly closed. If I pick one up, they’ll struggle and peep like a normal chick, but once set down they’ll close their eyes and would only open them if I make noise. I could just be paranoid or overreacting but I’m worried they could be ill or be just too weak to live long. I’ve tried once on the second day to get them to eat hard food but they ignore it, but if I peck at the side of the container they’re in with my finger they’ll lightly peck at it, which gives me a little hope. Is there anything I can do to help them? I’m not sure if the constant closed-eyes is just because they’re weak and tired or sick. Help is greatly appreciated
     
    SurferchickinSB and BlackHackle like this.
  2. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

    8,176
    11,225
    957
    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
    If they are small & the crumbles are too big, you can grind it up in a coffee grinder (I do that for Serama chicks) or you can wet the crumbles making a mash. The first 3 days they're still absorbing the yolk, the tapping with your finger is mimicking the hen showing them where the food is. You also need to do it with water, use a plastic lid & make sure they can't fall in it and drown.

    You could get some Nutri Drench (vitamin & electrolytes) for an extra boost. Keep them warm, make sure they can move away from the heat if they need to. The "shut eye" thing is probably due to being young but lets get some help here ....

    @Lady of McCamley @Pyxis
    Thank you in advance
     
  3. KestrelKite

    KestrelKite In the Brooder

    5
    18
    24
    Aug 9, 2018
    Thank you! I’m going to pick up some electrolytes and vitamins today.
     
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    6,983
    4,617
    462
    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    ChickNanny13 advice is excellent. The electrolytes and vitamins in Chick Saver should give them the needed boost.

    I think their reactions and sleepiness are simply due to a stressed hatch.

    Give them TLC and Chick Saver in water and make wet mash available. You should see them slowly rally over the next several days. It may be necessary to eye dropper the Chick Saver for a day or two.

    Keep an eye out for abdominal or leg swelling which would be indication of Squishy Chick Syndrome aka omphalitis, or infection due to unsealed navel or bacteria entering during the hatch as the egg yolk retracted. If you can, keep some antibiotics handy such as FishMox.

    Sometimes the little guys do turn into a failure to thrive from weak stamina, but I have seen many rally with TLC to catch up and even exceed their siblings.

    If they recover strongly in several days, you may be able to reintroduce them to the hen.

    Good luck with the little ones.

    LofMc
     
    KestrelKite and ChickNanny13 like this.
  5. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

    8,176
    11,225
    957
    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
    FYI - IF you feed liquid with an eye dropper, put a drop to the side of their beak & not directly in their mouth. @Lady of McCamley correct me if I'm wrong, the right side of their "throat" is to their crop, the left side is their lungs :oops: so caution when feeding liquids.
     
    KestrelKite likes this.
  6. SurferchickinSB

    SurferchickinSB Crowing

    1,998
    3,011
    382
    Feb 23, 2018
    California
    Sounds like they are weak and also sounds like you are doing the right thing, see if they recover over the next few days. They either will or they won't, hopefully they will as long as they are drinking, I think their bodies have enough reserve for 2 or 3 days.
     
    KestrelKite and ChickNanny13 like this.
  7. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    6,983
    4,617
    462
    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    I don't worry so much as to which side of the beak as they generally are chirping and squirming a bit or at least moving their head at the wrong time. It is important not to turkey baste them, ie pour it down the open mouth by putting the tip at the back of the throat.

    Let the drop sit at the tip of the beak, they will open (or when they open), it will naturally run down their gullet. Also by capillary action the drop will begin to pass the beak as they open slightly.

    I've had the best success with that technique.

    LofMc
     
    SurferchickinSB likes this.
  8. SurferchickinSB

    SurferchickinSB Crowing

    1,998
    3,011
    382
    Feb 23, 2018
    California
    I would suggest just dipping their beaks since it is so easy to accidentally drown them and get water in their lungs.
     
  9. KestrelKite

    KestrelKite In the Brooder

    5
    18
    24
    Aug 9, 2018
    Thank you all so much for the advice! The chicks are getting stronger and I got them to eat scrambled egg on their own today. The electrolytes helped a lot. Hopefully I can move them back with mama soon :)
     
    Lady of McCamley likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: