What to do with a 5 week 'failure to thrive' chick among 3 thriving ones

Merepoulette

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
8
7
7
Hi,

Five weeks ago I bought 4 chicks from a feed store. Two weeks later, it became apparent that one (sophia - a rhode island red) was failing to thrive.

I gave her baby electrolytes right away. Then, Nutry drench in water. It perked her up.
Now, Sophia still looks like a 2 week old chick, plus a tiny tail and feathers on her wings. Sophia eats and drinks ok, peeps a lot while looking for warmth from the others. Grows feathers really slowly.

The other 3 are almost full feathered. They all get along nicely.

Soon, It will be time to introduce them to the putdoors, and move them to the coop.

What do I do with Sophia?
- can't keep her in the brooder alone, can I?
- are there other domesticated animals she could share the brooder with?
- should I put a heat lamp in the coop?
- should I give her electrolytes?
- should I feed her turkey feed?
- can she go in a tractor with the others without being feathered?

I read some of the other threads: i am prolonging the inevitable. Still I am interested in some of your ideas and experience.

Thank you in advance for your help.
 

Autumn Mama

Songster
10 Years
Mar 15, 2009
293
6
151
British Columbia,
have you tried any scrambled egg for her? this could be a possible food that might help her grow a bit faster. cooked simply without added butter if possible, as it might be too salty. it is so nutritious for chicks and helps when they are struggling. i can't offer anything other than that, and i hope others chime in. i understand wanting to help her and root for her. :)
 

veyron

Hatching
8 Years
Jan 9, 2012
5
1
7
Minnesota
the egg is good advice because it has the protein needed. is the chicken walking in circles or just standing around? Also give them some apple juice in place of the water for a few hours. They love it and it will give them some energy.
 

Farmer Viola

Songster
6 Years
May 23, 2013
2,201
239
211
Earth
Can you post pics of her and the other chicks? Is it possible she could be a male? :) Sometimes the males are smaller and feather slower, just a thought!

What are her main symptoms now, just being behind in growth? Is she energetic otherwise? how old are they now? can you post pics of her and the others?

Pro-biotics can make a huge difference in a chick's health. If you can help to grow the helpful bacteria (PRO-biotics) in her digestive system, she will actually absorb more nutrients from her feed. I make my own pro-biotics, but you can also buy products like Rooster Booster and Sav A Chick pro-biotics at the feed store. Make sure if you offer 'special' water to also offer regular plain water.

I would give concentrated NutriDrench a few drops by beak a few times per day if she is still acting slow and sluggish. This can help correct any vitamin deficiency she may have hatched with due to parent health.

The scrambled egg is great, high in protein and they go crazy for it!

Honey is another good one if she is still under the weather. When an animal undergoes stress, whether just psychological or physical, as a general rule they need more calcium and magnesium and some sugars in natural form. Honey provides that along with electrolytes etc, or it would if it weren't cooked. Not all honeys sold in stores are cooked. Even plain eggshell can be enough to help soothe their nerves. Vitamin C even in massive doses is good for basically everything. I've always found honey to be a potent "rescue remedy" without it being anything expensive or complicated, it helps even animals that are near death from shock or damage. (source byc user @chooks4life)

Quote: is she alone in the brooder now, or is she with the others? does she freak out when alone? usually they cry because they don't want to be alone..


Quote:
- can she go in a tractor with the others without being feathered?
how old are the chicks? pics would help. I do like to use heat in the coop for transitioning chicks to the outdoor temperatures.

Quote: sav a chick electrolytes - give only if she is dehydrated or not taking food/water or something very traumatic happened to her,
remember raw organic honey is also a natural source of electrolytes


Quote: I wouldn't.
I would give her scrambled eggs to get in the protein you're trying to get from the turkey feed.
Also, if you can get her on pro-biotics regularly, she will actually absorb more from the food she eats, reducing overall feed quantity and hopefully taking away the need for higher nutrient feeds like turkey feed.
 
Last edited:

Merepoulette

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
8
7
7
Hi,

Thank you for your detailed reply. Sophia is 5 weeks old. 3 other 5 week old poulettes are with her. I got all of them on the same day.
Pix are below. You can see the size and feathering stage differences.
How can I transition her to outside with the others? and to a coop?
I will buy pro biotics today.



 

Realtree4

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 18, 2014
236
23
83
Ohio
Hi, Thank you for your detailed reply. Sophia is 5 weeks old. 3 other 5 week old poulettes are with her. I got all of them on the same day. Pix are below. You can see the size and feathering stage differences. How can I transition her to outside with the others? and to a coop? I will buy pro biotics today.
Is Sophia a black sex link? I have one that looks just like her (about the same age also). She's feathering in sooooo slow and the other Black sex link looks like an adult....I haven't worried about it too much since she is feathering in and eating/drinking/pooping normal. I just figured that when I move them outside then she will snuggle with the other 21 chicks if she gets cold :)
 

Farmer Viola

Songster
6 Years
May 23, 2013
2,201
239
211
Earth
Hi,

Thank you for your detailed reply. Sophia is 5 weeks old. 3 other 5 week old poulettes are with her. I got all of them on the same day.
Pix are below. You can see the size and feathering stage differences.
How can I transition her to outside with the others? and to a coop?
I will buy pro biotics today.



wow, you are right, there is a huge difference in size and feathering.

do you HAVE to move them out right now? I think I would wait another week or 2 and see if she can get a little more feathers. I would want to keep them all together, because separating her from the pullets she's with and then adding her back later will be stressful. she will have to work her way into the pecking order from scratch like they never knew her. especially since she's small, I would keep her with them in whatever choice you make.

if you can keep them in for another 1-2 weeks, and then put them out, that would give her a little more time to grow and mature. I do like to use heat in the coop at first, until the smallest is feathered and can keep warm at night. it's good you're teaching them to roost, if they roost shoulder to shoulder they stay VERY warm, they're off the ground, and they keep their feet warm in their feathers. just have to wait til they get feathered out.
 
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