new chick wont eat

kimberly7July 18, 2007

I just hatched my first chick (the rest have not hatched yet) and I am having problems in getting it to feed. I do not have any adult chickens to put it with. anyone know what I may be doing wrong?

it gets very upset when I put it down so I been trying to hand feed it. we got the starter feed. I tried to feed it the way it is and also tried by mixing it with some water so its like paste. any ideas that can help would be great. the chick hatched yesterday.

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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Relax. Newly hatched chicks don't need to eat right away because just before hatching they absorb the yolk and that gives them all the nutrition they need for the first 2 -3 days. So you have some time before you need to get worried.

Put the chick in the brooder box and first dip it's beak in the tepid water you have provided (you can dissolve a teaspoon of sugar per cup if you wish) so it gets the idea about drinking. It should tilt its little head back and swallow after a time or two. Then do the same with the feed. Using a red dish may help it to find the food (a plastic lid off a coffee jar works great) Another trick is to pretend that your hand is "mama" and your index finger is her beak. Tap repeatedly at the food with your finger.

The chick gets upset when you put it down because it is alone. Once some more hatch, it will be much happier. You could try giving it a little stuffed toy to snuggle with or a little mirror so it can see its reflection. Sometimes these things help.

On page three of this forum you will find a thread titled something like "Help! Late chick won't eat or stop peeping". The story has a sad ending, but you will find helpful suggestions there.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 9:48PM
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kimberly7

yes I read that it kind of scared me a little I did buy the feed tray (its red) with the lid that has the holes. I pushed its little beek in the water and it did drink some. it is in the brooder box now with a toy but the poor thing wont sleep it just keeps squeeking unless I go in and put my hand in there then it climbs up in my hand and goes to sleep. oh another question. its feet look like he is walking on his toes or the side of his legs will they get better with time?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 10:06PM
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kimberly7

ok just went to check on the baby we took out the smaller toy for a larger one and it is now sleeping under it. its so cute I do feel better that it does not feel alone now

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 10:12PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

From your description, the feet don't sound quite right, but it could be that it will improve.

What kind of surface is it walking on? Sometimes they need something that isn't slippery, like paper towels or even an old terry cloth towel that you don't mind throwing away afterwards. After a few days they can manage better - assuming there is nothing structurally wrong with the feet.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 10:53PM
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kimberly7

I have hay on the floor and a cloth over the hay so its not as hard. she/he is a Silkie Bantam dont know if that matters

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 10:57PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Maggie's advice here is dead on. :) Don't be too concerned about the chick not eating right away. You do have a heat source such as a lamp in the brooder box for heat, right?

As for the chicks' feet, I'd be concerned. Any chance you could post a picture? Is it walking on the inside or the outside of it's legs? If there is a problem with it being splay-footed or some other orthotic issue, you can splint it's feet now--new chicks are very rubbery and foot problems are often successfully corrected right after hatch. Check the UPA's page for chick shoe instructions here:

http://www.peafowl.org/ARTICLES/1/

I also have instructions and pictures on my chicken info site, here:

http://home.earthlink.net/~velvetsparrow/VSChickHensBroodiesChicks.htm

You can also try offering live mealworms (the very smallest ones, so the chicks don't choke on them), scrambled eggs, cooked ground beef, diced grapes, etc. for the chick to eat. One thing that works great is to pick up the food and drop it a bit over and over, all the while making a 'chick-chick-chick' call. Basically your hand is mama and your index finger and thumb are your 'beak'. That's how mama hens point out goodies to their babies, and chickens are instinctively attracted to food that is moving (insects), so this works quite well. It will also help imprint the chick to you and your call and make for more of a pet bird.

Enjoy your chicks! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 1:30PM
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kimberly7

well my baby chick died today not sure what went wrong I had it in the brooder box with the heat lamp and food and water but when I went to check on it today it was very week. now I think maybe if I would have just held it it may have made it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 2:46PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

I'm sorry the chick died, Kimberley, but don't think that way. It sounds as though it was just one of those cases where the chick was just not strong enough to survive... or there may have been other problems that were not visible. You did everything you could for it, so please don't feel too bad or think "if only...".

It may be that the temperature and/or humidity on your incubator need adjusting. I can't help you there because so far I have ony used natural incubation, but there are very knowledgeable people on this forum, like Velvet. Much of what I DO know I learned from Velvet and a few others.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 6:05PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Sorry you lost the chick, it certainly sounds like you did all you could. :(

Incubators are a touchy thing...if you can tell us what type and brand you used we might be able to shed some light on any possible problems. But sometimes Mother Nature knows best, and it sounds like that chick had problems. Don't feel bad, sometimes all we can do is give an animal a safe, loving place to pass away.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 11:40PM
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kimberly7

the incubator I have is
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260125143257

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 12:11AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Your incubator looks a lot like mine, except mine is a Little Giant still air model. Yours is a Hova-bator 1602N, right?

I found the manufacturer's (GQF Manufact. Co.) website, their downloadable instructions sheets are here if you don't have the instructions for your incubator:

http://www.gqfmfg.com/store/Instructions.asp

Yours appears to be the Thermal Air Hova-bator, at the bottom of the list. Like mine, your incubator has a small well or trough in the base for water--you add a bit of warm water whenever it gets low during the incubation process. I think one of your mistakes was misting the eggs--you shouldn't need to do that because the water in the well does the job of providing humidity.

Hope this helps, and keep trying to hatch those eggs! It's a very cool and rewarding process. :)

Velvet !:>

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 12:52PM
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kimberly7

the reason I was misting was I seen a website that said if you need to open the incubator, to mist the eggs so you do not dry out the membranes (sp)and to help bring the humidity back up faster

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 9:12AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Well, remember that mama hens leave their eggs for up to 20 minutes at a time, every day. The eggs are porous and NEED that break from constant heat/humidity, it's the way Nature designed things. With incubators, it really is best to follow the manufacturers directions. Too much humidity can cause horrible problems and the chicks that do hatch, suffer. :( It's better to err on the side of low humidity rather than high. MSU has a great chart of hatch problems and the causes here:

http://www.msstate.edu/dept/poultry/trouble.htm

If you do your egg turns quickly but calmly, it isn't a problem to have the lid off the incubator for a few minutes. The manufacturers have factored that in already. I never mist my eggs. One thing I learned with my 'bator is to warm the water I use to top off the wells to about 100 degrees, so that the 'bator doesn't have to take extra time to warm the water AND the environment. Also, keep the incubator away from doors and windows or any drafts. Someone here hatched his latest batch of chicks by placing the incubator in a closet to block drafts and forstall anyone knocking over the incubator, and got great results. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 1:01PM
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treasurificgal(z8A CA)

I also have a hovabator and use it with an egg turner. We just hatched out 6 chicks, one of which was deformed. It was born without eyes. We named it Ray Charles and it was able to find the water but not the food. It was starving slowly so my husband dispatched it mainly because even if we feed it by hand the other chickens would kill it once it got into the general population. I felt bad about killing it but I felt it was more humane than just letting it starve. Has anyone out there had similar deformities? This is the second deformed chick we have had. One named Igor for his bent neck and hunched stature lived for a year and died a natural death.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 1:54PM
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