Closed Eyes on chicks

by Gracie Henderson
(Pennsylvania)

Question

Closed Eyes on chicks: I recently got 12 chicks. They are a few days old now. There is one very small chick that won't open its eyes.

It is a White Crested Black Polish chicken. Like I said, it is much smaller than the others. Is it having a health problem? When can I expect her to open them?

She is lethargic and stands in one spot, hunched over, but she does peep very loudly.

Answer
The loud peeping is a distress call. She is not well at all and wants help. She should be separated from the others. They may pick on her, making things worse, or she could be contagious.

With such a young chick, I would suspect she is suffering from shipping stress. She may not have eaten or had enough to drink soon enough. There is a product at the feed store called Chick Save, made just for this kind of problem.

For quick energy and possibly saving her life, you might mix some honey, molasses, or sugar in warm water, about 1 tsp per ¼ cup. Add in a pinch of salt and offer her a few drops.

Often a young chick’s blood sugar has dropped to a life threatening low and this could save her and give her enough energy to open her eyes and eat and drink normally.

Being the smallest, she may get bullied by the others, so if she does well and you can put her back with the rest, keep and eye on all and make sure she is OK.

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3 baby chicks at ag day

by Sher
(PA)

Questions
I bought 3 baby chicks at Ag day at the mall for 1 dollar a piece. How do I raise3 tiny baby chicks? They said to feed them oatmeal and birdseed. What watt of heating bulb do I use?

Answer
There is nothing wrong with giving a little warm cooked oatmeal to baby chicks, but avoid the bird seed.

Feed stores, and even some pet shops, carry “Chick Start”, which is a crumbled feed with all the right nutrients for baby chickens. Bird seed is very hard for new chicks to digest, so they will not get what they need from it and it may go right through them whole.

A visit to a local feed store should be able to find you a proper heat lamp designed for poultry, with instructions for how to use it. 1 day to 1 week old chicks need 95 – 100 degrees F at their level of the brooder to keep warm.

Allowing them room to move away from the light, if too warm, is important. You should get a thermometer made for a brooder as well as the right kind of feeder and especially water container.

Too deep a bowl could cause problems with chicks falling in and getting too cold or drowning.

Chick waterers and feeders are specially designed for supplying cleaner and safer feed and water supplies. The watt bulb needed depends on the size of the brooder and type of lamp you use.

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Blisters on baby chicks shoulders

by Shannon
(Lufkin, TX)

Question
Blisters on baby chicks shoulders: Some of my three week old Cornish Rock chicks have stiff legs and big blisters on their shoulders.

Can they be helped and what causes the stiff legs and the blisters?

Answer
I’m sorry, but this is not a condition I’m familiar with. The blisters and stiffness could be a sign of a viral or bacterial infection. Feeding a medicated chick start may help this condition.

The only information I find for similar symptoms, mentions the possibility of a Staph infection. This may be something the chicks brought with them that grew rapidly in the warmth of the brooder in moist droppings.

The article I found mentions a 50% survival rate, if this is the problem. Be cautious handling these chicks and their waste.

I would recommend wearing a mask and gloves when handling droppings and litter material, to prevent harm to yourself. Keeping them in a well ventilated area, with proper brooder temperature, and cleaning out waste often, would be the best way to help prevent the spread in their environment.

I honestly don’t know if you can help these chicks recover and would be concerned for their long term health quality.

I would highly recommend culling any chicks with these problems, either permanently, or treating them and housing them far away from other animals that might become infected.

Sterilizing any and all parts of the brooder possible with diluted bleach should kill any bacteria or virus..

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Help With a Baby Chick

Question:
Help With a Baby Chick: We recently bought 6 Easter egg chicks and one of them now have blood bubble protruding from its rectum.

Every time that it chirps it seems to fluctuate. What could of caused this and is there anything that I can do?
Answer:

This could be a prolapse of internal organs. It may have become constipated and forced part of its intestinal tract out. If this is what has happened, to such a young chick, there is probably not much to be done.

Some chicks may seem healthy to begin with, but developing problems like this so early may just mean it has a genetic weakness that will only get worse and make it unable to grow and live normally.

This could have been caused by an injury and might heal with antibiotics to prevent infection. Separating it from the others until well is important so they don’t pick at this one and make it worse.

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My chick pecked her foot

Question
My chick pecked her foot and I am worried about it. One part of the foot has a little blood band I'm still worried that it might get worse.

Answer
There is some reason she is pecking her foot. She may be in pain, or mild discomfort. Possibly there was already a break in the skin causing irritation and her pecking is making it a bit worse.

I would suggest cleaning the foot, maybe with hydrogen peroxide and drying it removing any dirt. There are some antibiotic salves with some pain relief medication. That would be good, or any antibiotic spray.

She may have cut her foot a little and is attempting to keep it clean by pecking. Spraying it with antibiotic spray 2 or 3 times a day till healed will help prevent infection, possibly make her more comfortable and aid healing.

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Baby chicks digestion

Question
Baby chicks digestion: I have 2 baby Orpington chicks that are one week old.

Recently I’ve notice that one of the chicks is skinnier and smaller in size comparing to the other chick.

I observed the chick's droppings and in the droppings is the food that I gave to the chicks, exactly as it was swallowed. What’s wrong with my chick? How do I cure it?

Answer
As you have observed, this chick isn’t digesting its food. For foods to break down the digestive system needs good digestive bacteria and enzymes.

Fresh fruits and vegetables contain enzymes. Giving all some grated apple and chopped fresh greens will help. You can purchase enzyme powder at the health food store, a veterinary office or possibly the feed store.

At the feed store you should be able to get a probiotic paste which can help establish a good digestive system. If you are feeding a medicated chick start (with antibiotic content), buy a non-medicated chick start. Antibiotics can kill off good digestive bacteria.

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Unsteady chick

Question
Unsteady chick: My son hatched out 17 chicks and they are now 4 1/2 weeks old. One of them seemed to be shaking tonight, and as it was cold tonight I turned on the second brooder lamp.

Then I noticed that while the other chicks were running around normally, this little one seemed to tip forward onto its chest and had difficulty walking properly.

It would eventually right itself, but would shake or shiver a bit as it settled back onto its feet again. What might be causing this and how should we handle it?

Answer
I would guess that this chick is dehydrated and malnourished. Giving extra heat is a good idea. If you want to try to save it you will have to offer water frequently.

Using an eye dropper would be good or dipping its beak in a spoon or shallow dish of liquid. If you can get some Chick Save from the feed store, that would be better than plain water, or even some Gatorade, to help restore electrolytes.

When a chick is this weak you may also need to offer it soaked feed to help it digest better and get some quick energy. Hand feeding it often may pull it through.

It’s not uncommon to have one weak chick among a good sized group. There will always be a strongest chick and a weakest. Sometimes the weak just can’t survive.

Time spent in a seriously weakened condition is time that this chick hasn’t been able to develop normally and this may mean it can have health problems later.

If it responds to a few days of TLC that would be a good sign that it will be all right and catch up with the others. You may want to temporarily separate this weak chick from the group to protect it from harassment by the others.

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