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Why are my chicks malnourished?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kabeyun17, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. kabeyun17

    kabeyun17 Hatching

    Jun 9, 2010
    My three week old barred rock was weak and couldn't stand, so I took her to the vet who said she was severely underweight, her breastbone is protruding quite noticeably. And I checked my other two chicks and they are the same way!!
    I talked to the guy at the feed store and he said that if they are eating their pine shavings, it could be clogging their crops because there is no grit in the starter feed.
    Or, I have a feeling the starter feed is old or wasn't handled properly. When first I opened it three weeks ago, there were those stringy silks, and yesterday I noticed moths in it. If they are eating feed that has moth larva in it, can it hurt them if I'm not also giving them grit? If the feed is old, can the vitamins deteriorate?
    Please help!!
  2. 4 luv of eggs

    4 luv of eggs Songster

    Apr 22, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    I'm not sure about the larvae question but it certainly sounds like the feed has been around awhile. Offer them some scrambled or boiled egg. That will up the protein and may give them some strength. They won't need grit for that. Baby vitamins in the water and maybe some sugar too. Don't give up on them. Try to do things to bolster their strength. Apple cidar vinegar may help if they've got shavings in their crops. Just put some in their waterer. Searching the site will give you the formulas for these remedies. I had a days old baby that had gotten shavings in her crop. I thought I was going to lose her but she's now 13 weeks old and fine.
  3. kabeyun17

    kabeyun17 Hatching

    Jun 9, 2010
    Thank you so much for your suggestions. I actually gave them some fine grit, the guy at the feed store told me it was okay even though they are so young. But he's the guy who sold me the feed, so.... I don't know if I trust what he tells me now.

    The vet gave me a feeding supplement, a powder that I mix into a watery paste, to give her with a syringe, but I have such a hard time getting her to open her mouth. Do you have any suggestions for my technique? I'm also placing some of this down for the other two.
  4. You can feed yogurt with no worry about grit and it will add with digestion.

    If you put the liquid on the edge of their bill and slowly drip it...they should swallow it.

    Do you have their starter feed out 24/7?
  5. kabeyun17

    kabeyun17 Hatching

    Jun 9, 2010
    Yes, they have water and food all the time. I was talking to the hatchery, and they said that a lot of the feed makers have been putting less manganese in the feed this year because it's gotten so expensive and he implied that it caused similar symptoms in other cases he had heard about.
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Sorry, but you got a bad bag of feed. If it has those little flour moths in it, it has been sitting around for a while. Most feeds have a milling date on them (usually at the top where you open them.) I'd try to find a mill or supplier where you could buy smaller quantities of feed . It will take two chicks forever to finish a full bag. Supplement with yogurt, mashed hard boiled eggs, even bird seed until you get them back on their feet. Next time you open a bag that is evidently contaminated take it back to the supplier and request a refund or new bag of feed. If buying full bags, check the milling dates. Good luck getting those chicks back in shape.
  7. boogiedog

    boogiedog Songster

    Apr 19, 2010
    Oakland hills, CA
    Last week I took home a dying chick from a feed store - underweight and couldn't stand. Honestly I thought she wouldn't make the night. Seven days later and she is doing well! I keep starter feed and water avail. 24/7; but supplement her with a yogurt/egg yolk/vitamin mixture. She has learned to eat little blobs of it off then end of a toothpick (she is TINY). I feed her before I go to work, when I get home and twice more again before I go to bed. And I keep her warm.

    When I first got her home I had to force feed her- her crop was completely empty. That went on a couple of days, and now she eats on her own, is trying to stand (she seems to have a broken foot - hopefully the leg is ok) and peeps away.

    Good luck with your brood!
  8. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    You could try switching to a higher protein feed too. I am using Purina Flock Raiser for my chicks, it's 20% protein, and I notice that the chicks I have been feeding that to are much chunkier than the ones I was feeding on plain old chick starter. I think it's got more fat in it than chick starter too, but I'm not sure on that. If the medicine from your vet is a vitamin supplement, I would not add baby vitamins as well, you don't want to overdose on fat-soluble vitamins as they can be toxic. Poor little chickies, I hope they get better soon!

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