weird smelling chick


Frugal Fan Club President
15 Years
Jan 20, 2008
I have an assortment of 9 chicks that are about three weeks old now that I am keeping in the back room. The other night I noticed that the room smelled different, I'm not sure how to describe it. It was the smell of chicks, but it was sweet and rotten smelling. I seperated each chick long enough for them to poo, and only one of them is creating the poo that smells rotten/sweet. When I smell the chick itself, it smelled strongly of this different odor, more so than the poo itself, and most of the smell seems to be coming from its head. It is one of three polish chicks, and I thought at first it might be breed related, but the other two don't have the strange smell. It eats and drinks what the others are drinking, and is just as active and healthy seeming as the others. It didn't used to smell like this. I thought maybe there was something wrong with its dome, but I couldn't find anything, and I'm not sure I would know what to look for in the first place. Has anyone experienced this in chicks before?


12 Years
Jan 22, 2008
Canton, GA
I am so sorry to hear about your smelly chick. I know it's hard when you know something is wrong, but don't know where to start.
You can put citric acid in their water. It keeps it clean and bacteriea free. It also creates an alkaline enviroment so yeast can not grow easily. You can find it at health food stores, cheese making sites and at (it's called megamix there)
I always put it in the water in the brooders because the waterers are in a warm humid eviroment and are likely to grow bacteria even when cleaned daily.
You could also try to wash the chick off with a warm wash cloth and see if it helps.
Good luck!
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12 Years
Apr 25, 2007
Southern Maine
I was looking for info on my chick (unrelated) and came across this.....

Necrotic Enteritis
Synonyms: enterotoxemia, rot gut
Species affected: Rapidly growing young birds, especially chickens and turkeys 2-12 weeks of age, are most susceptible. Necrotic enteritis is a disease associated with domestication and is unlikely to threaten wild bird populations. Necrotic enteritis is primarily a disease of broilers, roasters and turkeys. Ulcerative enteritis, on the other hand, commonly affects pullets and quail.

Clinical signs: Initially there is a reduction in feed consumption as well as dark, often blood-stained, feces. Infected chickens will have diarrhea. Chronically affected birds become emaciated. The bird, intestines, and feces emit a fetid odor (see Table 3 ).

Transmission: Necrotic enteritis does not spread directly from bird to bird. Bacteria are ingested along with infected soil, feces, or other infected materials. The bacteria then grow in the intestinal tract. Infection commonly occurs in crowded flocks, immuno-suppressed flocks, and flocks maintained in poor sanitary conditions.

Treatment: The clostridia bacteria involved in necrotic enteritis is sensitive to the antibiotics bacitracin, neomycin, and tetracycline. However, antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin, and novobiocin are also effective. Bacitracin is the most commonly used drug for control of necrotic enteritis. As with all drugs, legality and withdrawal time requirements must be observed.

Prevention: Prevention should be directed toward sanitation, husbandry, and management.

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