Velvet Sparrow...HELP!

gardengalrn(5KS)March 30, 2008

I finally got my shipment of baby chicks. They were an extra day in the mail and I was happy when only one chick looked bad and basically died within minutes of opening the box. There was no helping, as she couldn't even hold her head up. I followed all the instructions about temp in the box, dipping their beaks in water. Everyone else looked very good despite their ordeal and by 30 minutes were running and eating busily. I went on to bed because I had worked all night. When I got up, I found one other chick dead and another very listless. I dipped her beak in water and she would run around for a bit when disturbed. My DH followed this practice until he went to bed (as I worked again that night). This morning the same chick is still very listless though will walk around for a bit when disturbed. I think I should take her out of the box but I'm not sure what kind of treatment I should do for her. She seems to peck at the shavings but doesn't seem too interested in the feed. The other chicks seem very robust now and the 2 that have died plus this one are all smaller and at least 2 seem to be of the same breed, though I can't tell yet what they are/were. Any recommendations to help this chick? Thanks, Lori

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warm food? cat food? water in her mash?

I'm new to this, though.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 1:25PM
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Sounds to me like the hatchery owes you a refund or more chicks.I think you have done everything you could.They aren't pasted up,are they?Posy Pet

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 2:21PM
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Thanks for the advice. I did add some sugar to her water and got her to eat a fair amount of wet cat food. She's still hanging in there and I will continue to urge the food/water. I wrote to the hatchery asking for a credit on my next purchase. Lori

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 5:22PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Hi Lori, sorry I didn't respond quicker, I've been away for the last week.

Here's my chicken info page on chicks, you can read it and glean anything out of it that may help:

But meanwhile, do you have a heat source in your brooder box, and is the box in an area that is free of drafts? Make sure the box is warm enough, around 100 degrees but allow the chicks room to move away from the heat source if they get too warm. If they cluster under the heat source, it is too cold in the box. If they avoid the heat source, they are too warm.

Shipped chicks have undergone a tremendous amount of stress, and who knows what some idiot USPS worker did to them. You need to keep them warm and quiet the first few days and resist picking them up or playing with them (this is tough!) I'd also offer them unflavored Pedialyte to drink, get it at the baby aisle in the supermarket. Pedialyte is a liquid that will boost their electrolytes, which stressed and injured birds tend to lose.

Also offer little goodies to eat in addition to the chick starter or grow mash you are feeding--live mealworms, cooked ground beef and scrambled eggs are all great. Anything that gets and keeps them eating will give them time to bounce back. Diced grapes, cooked spaghetti cut into tiny pieces, and diced raw corn are all good also. Makes SURE you dice any food into tiny bits that they cannot choke on.

Good luck with your chicks, and yes, I'd say the hatchery owes you a partial refund or a new shipment of the same breed bird. Sometimes chicks die despite your best efforts though, either through shipping stress, illness or some congenital issue that you have no way of knowing about. Just do your best. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 6:24PM
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Thanks for the advice, Velvet. I'm cooking some noodles as we speak for her/them. I was prepared to deal with some of them dying, especially after the day delay but this little one kinda got to me. Probably because she's too weak to RUN AWAY like the others, LOL. The sugar water and wet cat food really pepped her up and she has been scratching along with the others and eating the chick feed. She is still pretty weak, though, and kinda stumbles if one of the others bump into her.
I meant to tell Posypet that she wasn't pasted; one other one might have been well on her way so I took a warm wet cloth and (eh hem) washed her butt. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement at any rate. I understand that these little birds have been through a lot and may die despite my good efforts but I sure hate that. I'm working in the basement this afternoon/evening (potting up tomatoes) so I am keeping my eye on them. Lori

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 6:54PM
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lindakay(zone 5)

Where I get my baby chicks they usually give me a few extra ones to make up for any that die. Did you count your chicks? I usually get one free one for every twenty five. I always put a little sugar in the water for them the first few days. You can also get a package of powder with a booster in it to put in there water. Good luck on the chicks. I know what you mean about the little weak one. You baby it and it is your pet. Have you named it yet? Linda

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 6:57PM
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Linda, I ordered 22 (20 pullets, 2 cockerals) and that is exactly how many I got. The little chick in question did die, she just gave up eating and became too weak to hold her head up even if I were helping her to drink. It sounds terrible but I ended her life because it became obvious that she was not going to make it much longer and the others were picking on her.
I do have another question about pasting, though. My bedding is very clean, I've been feeding the appropriate chick feed but several of the chicks are pasting. I washed the butt of the one I had to do it for before and although I felt he was caking up on his bottom even worse than before I washed him, I had to do it a second time because it appeared he was having difficulty. I debated but was glad I did because immediately after I got rid of that clump, hemmmmmmmm. So are some chicks just going to do this? They have plenty of water and I keep it fresh every day. ??? Lori

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:38PM
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I'm responding to my own post ;) I think my pasting was a warmth issue. I lowered the lights a bit and the pasting was gone in a few days. I look at my last post and had to laugh at my use of "he" and "him." It turns out that I now believe that particular chick IS one of my roos. I had no idea at the time. He has a beautiful buff head/neck with red body and his comb is more developed than those of his sisters, who are generally a light red color all over. I'm a newbie so this is just speculation ;) My 5 big girls (the 5 I got a couple weeks before my chick shipment)are out in the henhouse now and doing well. I left the chicken door open the second day and they didn't figure out the idea. It has been blustery and yucky out since so I've not opened the door since. I kinda wanted to be around when they decided to come out. I've been feeding chick starter but the next bag I buy for the big girls will be layer rations.
I'm really enjoying them. I feed treats now and then and they go wild for chopped up strawberries. I have noted that the Americaunas are a tad more aggressive than the others, not mean but definitely stir things up once in awhile. I will probably move them out to the hen house next week sometime. I have not had any offensive odors but my basement is very damp in the spring and I want to avoid a problem. They will be 6 wks and the weather shouldn't be too cold for them. I hope. Lori

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 1:07AM
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How are your chicks doing now? I just read your question today. When I read your 1st posts I was hoping that someone told you about the sugar water. The 1st time I gave mines the sugar water I must have had too much sugar in it because they were running around pecking, peeping etc like madmen. LOL It was funny then I wondered if that could cause problems too. I did lose one chick previous to the sugar water and it was just like you described. I felt sorry for it. I did not kill it cause I was hoping it would survive but it did not. I had taken that one out the box to my neighbors house to show her and I think she got a chill.
I have my chicks in the basement and it is humid in there but the light is over their brooder. They seem to be fine so far. I think I have had them 2 weeks. I am hoping I can get them outside this week so they can scratch their little hearts out. LOL

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:04PM
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