weak chick help....(pictures added!!)


11 Years
Mar 5, 2010
Hurdle Mills, NC
Hi everyone!

I'm new here and a new momma to five baby chicks. I was hesitant to post a question because I feel this information has already been covered, but reading through the older threads confused me.

I got my hatchery chicks day before yestetday- I went in on a order with some people I met online. I got two salmon faverolles, two Easter eggers and one welsummer, all female, all vaccinated for mareks. We had an hour drive home and they were pretty stressed out. Upon getting them settled in, one of the chicks (the welsummer) seemed very weak. I got everybody else eating and drinking, but she wouldn't. She was just laying on her side, and the others were trampling her and pecking at her a little. I did some research online, and based on that, I seperated her in another box (with a heat lamp as well) and made a strong solution of honey water. Since she would not drink or eat, I dipped her little beak in it every half hour or so. Eventually she perked up....it took several hours. So I gave her some hard boiled egg mixed with her starter crumbles and she finally started eating. Because the honey water worked so well, I continued giving her some throughout the day yesterday, and by late afternoon I was able to move her back into the box with the other chicks. She is still a little weak, but she is eating and drinking on her own, and the others aren't picking on her anymore. She is thinner than them, she sleeps more than they do, doesn't seem quite as coordinated as they are... but she is so much better then she was. She breathes a little heavier and quicker....but I think she might be okay.

She has had a pasty butt problem (so has one of the Easter eggers) but I've been checking them every hour or so. They are eating medicated chick crumbles and are at a tempature of 95 degrees.

Sorry for all the information! So, here are my questions.....I read on a thread this morning that honey is dangerous to them! I can't believe I didn't think of that, and she got a LOT of honey water throughout the day Wednesday and Thursday! I will be going into town today and I can pick up anything I might need to help her. We have a southern states close by and also a health food co-op. Will yoghurt help if I gave her to much honey? Or should I get some sort of supplement from southern states? She is doing so much better, I really want her to make it and I hate to think I may have done something to harm her!!
Also, my second question.....should I be checking them less frequently for pasting up? It does stress them out when I bring them out of the box. Is every hour doing more harm than good by the stress it causes them?

Thank you all so much! I'm so sorry this is such ablong post, I just wanted to give you all the background info before I asked my questions.

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I can't help you with the whole honey thing, but I can tell you that i check my chicks for pasty butt once a day. There are 48 week old chicks in my brooder, so it's more difficult than you might think to try to check all of their butts. What I found to be the least stressful for mine is to sit with them for a while before I attempt to start checking. At first they would freak when they heard me opening the cage (my brooder is two large dog crates together). Now they don't get so scared because I will sit there with my arm out for them to perch on. It takes quite a while to get through them all, but it gives me the time to examine them while they're calm. I've tried all of the different ways to get rid of pasty butt, but what works best for me is a pair of scissors and tweezers. I slowly clip off anything hanging, being extremely careful of how close I am to their skin and vent. The last bits I will break up with the tweezers. They get "butt cuts" if I see the poop building up!
I agree that once a day is sufficient for checking for pasty butt. I also lost one weak baby the same way...not sure if it's preventable or not. By the time they go through the hatchery process and then the shipping process(not the mention the cold weather) and then a new home and still no Mama Hen around....I think the stress just takes it's toll on some of them and they just don't make it. I did read somewhere on here that if you have a weak baby to stuff them in your shirt and just carry them around for a while with you...the security and warmth does them alot of good!
Unfortunately, I found this out after I lost my girl:( But wanted to pass it along to you. I even added a stuffed animal to the one end of the brooder that had the heat light(just 100watt lightbulb)...be very careful not to make them too warm...most of the time my brooder was between 75-80 degrees and then if they needed more heat they could go directly under the lightbulb which was of course way warmer(I also invested in a red 100 watt lightbulb from petsmart) this time around...I think it's more calming for them than being in direct light 24hrs. a day. My bathroom(where they are at) stays around 70degrees anyway so that little bit of warmth was just enough. They loved the stuffed animal in the beginning days...they would snuggle under it and on top of it!
I also noticed that as soon as I added the stuffed animal they immediately quieted down and slept! The first night they cried all night I think! So I know that took it's toll on them! Anywho...sounds like your doing a GREAT job!!!
It's all trial and error and some things are just completely out of our control. Blessings, Keri
Seems like you're helping out the little girl as much as you can, yogurt is good (plain!) and I would also suggest a tiny little splash of apple cider vinegar in their water (its good for everyone, gives an immune boost and can help them absorb vitamins) and Poly-Vi-Sol baby vitamins WITHOUT IRON (available at Walmart or most drug stores) just a little drop on the side of her beak a couple times a day can help give her a boost. GOOD LUCK!
Thank you all for your help! I went into town and got organic plain yoghurt with probiotics added. I got the poly. Vi. Sol without iron and will add some cider vinegar to their water as soon as I get home.......should I give them all a drop of vitamins or just the weak one?
I really hope I didn't hurt her with the honey water!
I give Poly-Vi-Sol to all the chicks, just as an added boost and then continue a drop or two a day to the weak one. If you drip it along the side of their beak, they'll drink it up themselves, you don't want to force it down their throats. I don't think you've hurt her with the honey water, I've never given it to my chicks, but I've heard from quite a few ole timers who do.
Yay!! She still seems to be doing just fine this morning!
I gave them all a drop of the Poly-Vi-Sol last night and I will give her another drop this morning. They didn't seem interested in yoghurt mixed with their crumbles last night, but they would eat it off my finger tips.

How long can I give them the poly-vi-sol for? Can I continue to give a drop a day to all of them until they go outside? I want to make sure they all get a good head start.

Also, I am having trouble getting their temperature right under their lamp at night. I woke up several times last night to check on them and once the temp under the bulb was 120 degrees, so I raised it a little and then this morning it was down to 80 degrees! Is it better for it to be too warm under there since they can get away from it of they want? I am using a 250 Watt red heat bulb Any suggestions?

Thank you all so much! Baby chicks are so precious!
That's great about your little girl!! Glad she's feeling better!! I don't think giving them a drop a day of the vitamins is going to hurt them at all, somebody else might chime in differently, but I've been giving it to them sporadically in their water for the last three wks and mine are all active, crazy little birds!

I also wouldn't go crazy watching the temperature. Just keep an eye on them, if they are all huddled under the light, its too cold and lower light slightly. If they are panting or trying to stay away from the light, its too warm. They should be evenly spread out around the brooder, though they will collapse into precious sleeping huddles at whim, anytime, anyplace.
Also, does the room you have them in have large fluctuations in temperature? (ie garage, mudroom, etc) Thats fine, you just might need to keep a closer eye on how they're adjusting to the temps.

Ok, there's no free advice in the world, I want PICTURES of your little ones!!!

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