Thursday, May 22, 2008

baby chicks dying

We've lost 10 chicks of the 26 that came almost 3 weeks ago. The remaining ones are small, as if they are only about a week old. We changed the grain and none died yesterday, so maybe it was old grain that had a mold that was killing them.

It is so sad to have sick animals that you can't help. We followed the advice for raising chicks to the letter, and still lost them. Luckily, the breeder offered to send 26 more chicks. Unfortunately they are coming on Monday, so I have to figure out how to have two brooders going. I also need to make sure we don't contaminate the new birds with whatever is ailing the older ones.

They were vaccinated for coccidiosis. They don't appear to have colds. I started losing them when they were about 5 days old, then lost one or two a day, sometimes skipping a day. The birds appear a little dirty, like they aren't primping themselves like healthy chicks do. The hair on their heads is sometimes spiky, like it has gotten wet.

They are kept warm with a heat lamp. I keep a thermometer directly below the light and measured 95 degrees F the first week, 90 degrees the second, and 85 this week. I changed the water and bedding daily. The bedding was fresh newspaper with paper towel on top, which I replaced when they were 2 weeks old with a pine/maple wood shaving litter. Their brooder is kept in our barn, with a large quilt on top of the plywood box for protection against drafts and the cold.

I think it is either the feed or they arrived in a weakened condition. They were shipped on a Saturday and came into Vermont's main postal distribution center on Sunday. I had to drive to a post office 40 minutes away to pick them up since USPS wouldn't deliver to my local post office on a Sunday. It was cold and rainy that day.

I've raised a few batches of 25-26 day-old chicks and lost none from some batches, and 2 from one. The two died within two days of the shipment. I think it is weird that after almost 2 1/2 weeks we are finding one or two dead each day. They simply seem to have never really thrived. I know I should cull them and then sterilize the brooder as best I can. But, I hate killing adult birds, and don't think I could kill a tiny chick. So, I'll try to keep nursing them along - and hope they don't contaminate the new birds, which I'll raise in the basement of our house, away from the first group.

23 comments:

Lynn said...

Hi, Mary,

I'm so sorry about your chickens. That's awful.

I got out my Chicken Health Handbook, and I was wondering whether you've noticed anything different about their droppings.

Love,
Lynn

mary said...

thanks for asking Lynn - no change in the droppings. McMurray asked that too. And they don't have the pasty butt illness either.

PtCakes said...

Sorry to hear about your lose. It's so hard when animals are sick. Especially when they are so young and don't really have the body mass or immune system to fight illness for extended periods of time.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry no one said anything useful. I'm having a similar problem. I ordered a batch of turkens and crevecoeurs from McMurray. The turkens all survived. I only brought three creve coeurs home and only one survived. Now I ordered a batch of crevecoeurs from a different hatchery along with cornish. They all came as the healthiest chicks I'd ever seen. The crevecoeurs are dropping at two a day. I started with eighteen and am down to twelve. But tonight there are several losing coordination and standing up really tall. I call it the death stance. They die a few hours later. Anybody know anything I'm doing wrong?

Anonymous said...

my baby chicks are dying too. we brought them home on the 17th of sept. Its now the 22, one died during the night last night and two have died today. They have only lasted almost a week. We have them on the same starter feed the person that bred them was feeding them. One odd thing that i notice about the stool however, is that its reddish tinted, almost as if there is blood in it? Its been like that since the day they came but not knowing anything about that i thought the coloring was normal...until now. 3 out of 6 are still alive..but for how long

Greg Monz said...

THIS IS CRAZY ME TO BOUGHT 26 CHICKS FROM McMurray got 26 of them last Sunday all vacinated and bought the starter chick stuff and they started dieing four days after.followed everything that McMurray said to do each and every step to the letter and found two more dead this morning it's killing me watching them dieing.ya know i did this several times as a young kid and never lost any .don't know what to do. Greg

Anonymous said...

So what did you end up doing? We are kind of in the same boat. One chick left from the first batch that seems to be going strong.

When we got the new batch it was a night and day difference. Did you end up mixing in the chicks with the new batch? If so how long till you did that?

Jen said...

I purchased chicks from McMurray once and half of them died. I've been getting mine from Meyer's ever since, but this year was the first year I've had sick chicks from them. Mine are about three weeks old now and I've lost five of 24 so far and one is dying now. I have NO idea why my chicks are dying. One arrived dead, one died the next day, another the next, the last two with the sixth sick this week. I'm not doing anything different than what I've done with other chicks. This batch just isn't as healthy. I've been raising chickens for years and this one stumps me.

Anonymous said...

I am having the same problem! I ordered from McMurray and they seemed fine but them just started dying off! I have raised chickens for years and have never had this happen! I am completely baffled by this. It is heartbreaking for me and the kids! I have a new batch coming on monday and am very nervous that this is going to happen all over again! I wish I knew what was wrong with them.

Anonymous said...

I also bought my chicks from Mcmurry, arrived last Sunday, 2 days later 2 died 2 days later, they seem to be gasping for air, another dead today and now 2 more are gasping for air its only the Buff orpinton chicks the black jersey giants all seem to be fine ohh and 2 have poopy butts, should I call Mcmurry again?

Danielle said...

I ordered 50 rainbow layers from McMurry. I have had them 2 days now and I have lost OVER half. They just all keep dying. I have them under a heat lamp at 95 degrees. food and water. They will look fine and I will go check and another is down. I put the sickly ones in a separate box next to the brooder and slowly over hours the chick will get weaker and sometimes flop around and gasp for air. nothing has helped this problem. I sold 10 to a lady that lived an hour away. By time she got home she lost 2 and had a third dying. clueless, I have been raising chickens and chicks for years.

Anonymous said...

I am experiencing the same thing. I have 10 day old healthy chicks from McMurry Hatchery.. This morning however one of the Columbian Wyandottes is dying.. i have no clue.. temp is right.. food and water.. does not have the pasty butt syndrome.. nothing.. i am clueless and just hate to see this happen.. i did not expect it at 10 days old.. any suggetions???

Patrick Weese said...

we got six chicks six days ago at tractor supply and were told they came from mcmurry--tonight they started dropping like flys--4 dead in 3 hrs--the other two will probably not make it long

Anonymous said...

six chicks from tractor supply six days ago--dropping like flys in the past 3 hrs--only 2 left--tractor supply said they came from mcmurry

Anonymous said...

I bought six chicks from TSC last weeked and so far so good. Just picked up two Ameraucanas from a local farmer and they are doing awful. My son so wanted the EEs but I'm not sure they'll make the night. Was hoping I would find some answer to see what I could do for them. The EEs butts were a little pasty but not clogged and the poo looks ok, too. Maybe it's stress related but not sure.

Anonymous said...

I had this same thing happen with an order from McMurray last year. I will NOT be ordering from them again. They replaced the ones that died, but then those ended p dying also. I ended up with 3 chicks that lived out of an order of 25 chicks. Not good odds. So this year I will try a different hatchery in hopes that they will do better. If I had been smarter and more prepared, I would have had a necropsy done on the chicks that died. It's baffling when they just up and die without warning....if anyone figures out why the chicks die like this, please post it!!

Anonymous said...

I had this same thing happen with an order from McMurray last year. I will NOT be ordering from them again. They replaced the ones that died, but then those ended p dying also. I ended up with 3 chicks that lived out of an order of 25 chicks. Not good odds. So this year I will try a different hatchery in hopes that they will do better. If I had been smarter and more prepared, I would have had a necropsy done on the chicks that died. It's baffling when they just up and die without warning....if anyone figures out why the chicks die like this, please post it!!

Savannah Cole said...

I saved some chicks from some tourists at our beach here in Florida . Once I told the mother that they carry salmonella she finally let me have them. They kept them in a shoe box and were out at the beach playing with them they were feeding them Doritos and gave them water out of a bottle cap ... I rushed them home gave then water and feed and turned on the heat lamp they were so hungry and tired from improper care that they were eating and falling asleep at the same time. Anyways there were six in all one was obviously a runt and was not doing well so I attempted to feed him with an eye dropper of mixed starter feed and water he could barely swallow needless to die he died a few hours later I cried and buried him in the garden. That was day before yesterday now last night the five remaining chicks seemed happy and healthy eating a drinking and chirping well last night about ten one was gone . Today there is another that I thought was happy and healthy that is sleeping on his side and breathing very deep the way the others went he will be gone within the hour ... I tried so hard to save these chicks from there careless owners and succeeded now I can't save them from whatever is killing them off one by one ... I hate to see them die because I have happy homes for them wish there was something I could do

Savannah Cole said...

I saved some chicks from some tourists at our beach here in Florida . Once I told the mother that they carry salmonella she finally let me have them. They kept them in a shoe box and were out at the beach playing with them they were feeding them Doritos and gave them water out of a bottle cap ... I rushed them home gave then water and feed and turned on the heat lamp they were so hungry and tired from improper care that they were eating and falling asleep at the same time. Anyways there were six in all one was obviously a runt and was not doing well so I attempted to feed him with an eye dropper of mixed starter feed and water he could barely swallow needless to die he died a few hours later I cried and buried him in the garden. That was day before yesterday now last night the five remaining chicks seemed happy and healthy eating a drinking and chirping well last night about ten one was gone . Today there is another that I thought was happy and healthy that is sleeping on his side and breathing very deep the way the others went he will be gone within the hour ... I tried so hard to save these chicks from there careless owners and succeeded now I can't save them from whatever is killing them off one by one ... I hate to see them die because I have happy homes for them wish there was something I could do

Abby.Huskey said...

Strange. I got my first ever chicks from MM on monday. 27 chicks, all super healthy and lively. Then after a few hours,they started dying off. I've lost ten so far. The symptoms point to Cocci - weakness, puffed feathers, diarrhea, and all that. But some of then for quickly and some spent HOURS flopping around, gasping for air. They were vaccinated for it, and the hatchery insisted it could not be cocci they are dying from. I'm at a loss. I understand that you lose a chick here or there, but almost HALF?? That is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I just hatched out 50 myself & all looked great. They are on medicated feed but then suddenly one by one they started dying. They have water, feed & a heat lamp. I noticed that they act really tired to start with & then end up with their necks bent backwards touching their backs. What in the world is that from? I have seen a lot of posts on here but none that say they have that symptom. None have runny stool either. Help!

Natalie said...

My chicks arrive from MM on Monday. The layers (Barred Rocks, Lakenvelders, New Hampshires and Buff Orpingtons seem fine and happy). So far, I've lost 7 of 25 Red Ranger Broilers....all but on seemed fine when they arrived, each day I find one dead and all the rest are lively..they are dropping slowly and my 4 year old can spot which is going to go next because it has the "dead eyes". What is causing this?

Justin Kase said...

We usually raise chicks by waiting till a hen "goes broody" and giving it a dozen fresh fertile eggs to hatch. This worked well for years. This year hens are not in the broody mood, so we tried hatching four dozen eggs in a incubator. Hatched 38 chicks six weeks ago. Two days ago they started dying, for no apparent reason. Six dead so far and another six looking weak. No clue what to do.