Listless chick

by Peter
(Delhi, NY, usa)

Question

Listless chick: Three days ago I purchased 6 white leghorn pullets. They where all doing fine until this afternoon, (three days after they arrived here).

One of the birds started acting listless, I picked her up and noticed that her bottom was soiled with poop.

The other five birds seem to be fine. None the less, I quarantined the seemingly ill chick.

Might you have an idea as to what is wrong with the one chick? Is there something I should do for the remaining 5 to prevent them form becoming ill in the event that they have been exposed to something contagious?

Answer
If you believe there is the possibility of illness, you could use a medicated chick start for a week or so. What you have described sounds like a simple intestinal upset causing diarrhea or constipation.

Constipation could cause dangerous build up of toxins in the chick and cause it to loose its appetite. A dirty chick butt could actually have the vent glued shut. You might try a couple drops of good vegetable oil, like olive, or any fresh (not rancid) cooking oil.

There is a great product for chicks that might perk it up and would be good for the others, too. It’s a vitamin electrolyte to help with the stress of shipping and moving to new homes. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

I would encourage the listless one to eat and drink and if it has become constipated, the oil should help. Once it’s eating again, offering some live culture yogurt, chopped fresh greens and grated apple, along with soaked chick start, can help it re-establish healthy digestion.

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Listless baby chick

by lahli
(Pasadena, CA)

Question
Listless baby chick: We recently got 4 baby day old chicks from a local feed store.... 1 of them got very stressed out on the drive home.

She got pasty her first night ... I cleaned her butt and it hasn't returned . ... but since then she has slowly become more and more listless and now her poop just hangs from her but like a string.

I am really worried about her she doesn't seem to have much energy .... she is still eating and drinking , though not much ....any suggestions?

Answer
You might try a tsp of raw cider vinegar per cup of water for the chicks for a few days. This can help with digestion.

There is a product for stress in chicks that contains vitamins and electrolytes to help boost their energy level and immunities, reversing some of the effects of stress.

I’m not sure what you mean by the chick getting stressed and what signs of this you saw. Most important for chicks is a good brooder temperature, providing 95 – 100 degrees F for the first week of their lives.

A good non medicated chick start is best, unless you continue to see signs of weakness or disease in this chick or others.

Introducing them to some chopped leafy greens and grated apple can also help with good digestion.

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Sick 4 wk old Bantam

by Robyn
(Crown Point)


Question
Sick 4 wk old Bantam: I am new to chickens. I recently just got 15 baby bantams at a week old, everyone is doing fine except one of my Seabrights.

She is almost a 1/3 of the size of the other birds and about a week and a half ago she starting having almost labored breathing while she was laying down but fine when she was up.

The past few days she has gotten worse now she keeps her eyes closed almost always, and has the labored breathing while she is still. I just started antibiotics today on her and been giving them to her through an eyedropper due to the fact she stopped eating and drinking on her own.

After I gave her water every half hour for about 4 hours she finally ate and has pooped twice (that I have seen) and no diarrhea. She is not perking up still just huddling with the rest and keeping her eyes closed. What else can I do for her?

Answer
Sounds like the action you have taken is helping. If she has been failing to thrive and is so significantly smaller than the others, she has been struggling for some time, possibly before you brought her home.

It’s not uncommon for there to be one chick in a large group that doesn’t keep up with the others. It is the weakest one and may not get to eat and drink as often as it should.

Chicks can be very competitive and the strong survive. Adding another feeding station might help.

I would continue offering food and water often. Giving soaked feed may help its digestion. I would suggest two products from the feed store: Chick Save and probiotics.

If there is nothing seriously wrong with this chick internally it should respond well to some extra vitamins and the digestive aid.

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