Sick Baby Chicken


My little chick looks sick. She won't eat or drink unless fed by a syringe. I've been feeding her some chicken feed in sugar water. Her siblings have already grown to be about twice as big as her, and look very healthy.

I check all of their bottoms, and their bin is very clean. I also clean their water and remove pen a couple of times a day. She sleeps most of the day, and her eyes look squinty.

She also completely drops her head down while she sleeps, unlike her siblings. (Her siblings do not pick on her by the way).

I wish I could tell you why this is happening. It sounds like you are doing a good job trying to strengthen her.

There is a general condition called: “failure to thrive”, which is a term used for chicks like this. This chick may have been weak from her start, possibly coming into this world with less than perfect internal functions.

If she can be saved you’ll need to help her digest her food better. Giving a little sugar is meant as a first aid measure for a chick that hasn’t been eating enough and blood sugar is low.

Constant sugar in food is of little value. Offering some fresh grated apple or chopped up grapes would be healthier on a regular basis.

There may be nothing more you can do for this chick that will help it survive and catch up to the others. Most feed stores carry a vitamin and electrolyte supplement designed for chicks after shipping or if there are signs of stress and failing to thrive.

In addition you could try some probiotics, which give good digestive bacteria enabling the chick to absorb more nutrients from its food. Sadly, when a chick has such a rough start in life, it may never be normal.

There may be internal problems that just can’t be fixed. Giving too much sugar is not good, but can help revive a tired looking chick. A pinch of salt in a ¼ cup of water may help reverse any dehydration, but this too, is just a first aid treatment, not meant for long term.

You haven’t said how old these chicks are or how long you’ve had them, but the longer this condition has existed in this chick, the worse its chances to grow normally and live a good healthy life.

Sometimes it’s just best to let them be, let nature take its course, knowing that extreme measures to save it may just lead to a prolonged unhealthy life. If this is a female chick, the organs that produce eggs may not develop normally and cause her problems.

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sick chic
by: Anonymous

I have six 2 week old chickens I bought all together at my local feed store, I have the same problem my little one is listless and just stands there, all the other chickens are running around but her and the other babies are not picking on her, I thought that if the other chickens sense that shes sick they will kill her? I was going to take her to our bird doctor but I don't think its any use. I will let her be I think): Thank you

Chick eating bedding
by: Nancy

I have a question too. What can you do for a sick chick whom you suspect has eaten its bedding shavings?

failure to thrive
by: Anonymous

An old Polish chick raising recipe which is packed with nutrients--try chopped up egg with chopped greens especially nettle dipped in hot water to remove the sting, or a little chopped, lightly cooked kale.

Mix 25 percent egg with 25 percent greens with 50 percent high quality chick feed. Chick could be suffering lack of vitamin A or Vitamin D which are in these foods. You could try adding a drop of pure Co Q10--make sure it is pure--no allergens.

You could try electrolyte solution, or a tiny quantity of ventilated green clay like earth's living clay--the type made for internal use--but just a tiny tiny amount, as too much could make the digestive tract block. The clay maintains an alkaline Ph in the digestive tract, is full of calcium and other minerals and has an antioxidant effect.

If you use any oils--such as omega 3--flax oil, be sure it is fresh and not bitter tasting-it spoils fast, and again, just use one drop for a tiny chick, as too much oil could lower intestinal absorption. I am working on one of these chicks will post results.

A great diet can help, even if the genes are bad. Also, chicks will not thrive isolated. If you work on one, it is best to have several others with it, especially if it does not seem to have anything contagious.

I kept one alive on chicken babyhood mixed with a little honey (use a chicken baby food with rice starch if you can find it--the purest one you can find) until I could find two other chicks to be with it. It would not eat until it had the other chicks with it, i had to feed it by gravity with a dropper. With company, it grew up to be a beautiful hen.

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