What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by burtonwyo, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. burtonwyo

    burtonwyo New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2013
    I ordered thirty of them knowing that the cold of the season was probably going to kill a few. Five were dead on arrival and two died shortly thereafter, I have already called and had them credited back to me. When I received the birds I put them in my kitchen(eventually to an outdoor heated and insulated brooder) in one of those metal water troughs and put sawdust on the bottom. I place a heat lamp in there and some water with chick starter. The birds are not too hot and seem to do really well, move around, eat, and are evenly spaced etc. Then seemingly out of the blue, one will be sleep more and not move as much and not look as healthy as the others, this usually happens to one or two birds at a time, then within a day or two the bird is dead. I have lost nine total and this is how it happens. When the birds start to look sick, I have put an antibiotic in the water, which is cleaned every twelve hours and replaced every twenty four hours, and follow the instructions on the package and only use it for the first two weeks. I also keep the litter pretty clean and replace it every couple of days and lay fresh two or three inches in there. I have ordered poultry from other hatcheries and have had similar results as I am currently having and have come to the conclusion that it must be me. Please tell me what I am doing wrong. Last year I ordered 35 from another hatchery and lost all but five, ordered a second time of 25 and lost three that time,I also used the antibiotic, but the same way I am loosing the birds I have now. Is it something that I am doing or do chicks just die sometimes? The odds seem to be against me. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I want to raise chickens multiple times a year.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  2. Aphrael

    Aphrael Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you keep a thermometer at "chick level" to gauge the temp where they are walking around and check it regularly? I imagine a metal enclosure would absorb and radiate the heat once it got a chance to get thoroughly warmed. So the temp within the first few minutes is probably not indicative of what it will be like within a few hours. Over how long of a period of time are you losing them? From what I understand the shock of shipping can hit a chick even up to 4 or 5 days afterward. I personally would not administer antibiotics unless I was pretty sure there was some illness that was the cause. And, yes I think sometimes chicks do just die. But from the number of your losses it does sound as if something else is at work than just weak babies. Also were all of these orders you mentioned shipped in very cold weather?
     
  3. burtonwyo

    burtonwyo New Egg

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    No I do not have a thermometer at chick level. They usually stay in the trough for a few days and then are moved to the brooder outside. I loose the chicks slowly over a long period of time, only one chick at a time maybe two while they are really young (less than a month). I can always tell which ones they are before they are going to die, they get slow and sluggish, they dont run around like the others, they sleep and stay under the lamp more, they eat and drink less, in short they act sick.
    This order of birds were when it was cold but the other two were in the summer.
     
  4. tommysgirl

    tommysgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You said you have "saw dust" in the trough. Did you mean pine shavings? I don't know but if you are using fine saw dust maybe they are inhaling it or ingesting it?? That is just a guess but I also I know cedar is supposed to be bad for chicks so maybe take a look at your bedding.
     
  5. Aphrael

    Aphrael Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah cedar has something (can't think of what it is called just now) that is toxic to quite a few types of animals. Losses stretched out over that long I wouldn't think would be caused by shipping stress then. I'm outta suggestions. But I bet some more knowledgeable people here might be able to help you more than I can.
     
  6. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    It could be cedar, if its in the sawdust. But, here's another question, what type of bulb are you using? Is it Teflon coated? Shatter resistant and (unfortunately) the bulbs sold at TSC specifically for chick brooding-alot of them anyway, the red lights- have a Teflon coating. Wen the bulb heats up the tedlon releases a gas that is toxic to birds. Its not good for people either, but birds are much smaller than us so they breath it in higher concentrations....just a thought.
    Nikki
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Provided the chicks are kept at the right temp and fed properly the very first thing I'd be suspecting with young chicks and multiple deaths is coccidiosis. Brooders are perfect places for it and what chicks don't get a nice big poop right in their waterer's once in a while? Plus they are all walking around, pecking around the bedding, it happens easily. It can even happen if chicks are on medicated feed. It helps but it doesn't prevent. So what I would do is nix the antibiotic's completely and purchase some Corid and treat the whole bunch. I keep it on hand in my chicken medicine chest so I can treat right away if I see symptoms. Do the treatment and see if you see improvement. It works fast and you'll usually see results in about 24 hours unless it's gotten too advanced. The dose is 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water for 5 to 7 days. Make it up fresh every day and complete the full course, don't stop after just a day or two of seeing improvement. It comes as a powder or a liquid, this dose is for the powder, a quick search here should turn up the dose for the liquid.

    That is where I would start at any rate. If that does not solve the problem at least you've ruled it out. Coccidiosis moves really fast and it's lethal so it's always better to treat if it's suspected.
     
  8. burtonwyo

    burtonwyo New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2013
    Yeah, the saw dust is just pine shavings they are a little big to be swallowed, but I guess that could be it.... I don't know. The light is also one of the those red ones from the feed store so maybe that is it. Perhaps it is a different reason each time that achieves the same result too....
     
  9. tasha9280

    tasha9280 New Egg

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    I lost a chick today also. Don't remember seeing them acting sluggish. I'm nervous about losing more. It's so sad. Can completely see your frustration. This is my first go-around with peeps. We inherited a coop and flock from a friend who moved out of town.
     

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