My chicks are dying! :(
One chick died 2 days ago right before I moved them to the new coop. I was expecting it since that particular chick had been sickly for just over a week. It rarely moved, and when it did it was a crawl--I don't think I ever saw it *walk* after the first couple of days. Its favorite spot to sit was apparently under the roost, as it almost always had poop on its back. It grew very quickly at first and was the biggest for a while, then seemed to just stop growing. When I was transferring the chicks into a tote to take them to the coop, I just left the (now) little guy in the box where they were growing. When I came back, he was dead.
The second chick I discovered when I went out to check on them this morning. It (I can't tell male/female apart yet--first timer here) was lying belly up between the waterer and the feeder. No signs of predators (I should think not--my coop is like Fort Knox), no signs that I can tell of pecking or anything else. This chick had all of a sudden grown tremendously in the last 2 weeks or so--it was by *far* the largest and I had high hopes for it. It didn't even *sound* like a chick anymore--it had actually been clucking like a fully grown chicken for about a week and a half.
I brought all 12 home on April 26th from Tractor Supply. I've been feeding them Dumor Chick Starter and was putting apple cider vinegar in their water for about the first 4 weeks. I started giving them a small amount of grit mixed into their food when I moved them to the coop, as I wanted to start giving them small amounts of greens/weeds/etc. They were living in 2 *large* cardboard boxes tied together in my sewing room (yes, I have SO much cleaning to do) with wood shavings in the bottom. There are also wood shavings in the coop. They had a light 24/7 for all but the last week, when I started phasing out the light and gradually opening windows and turning on the ceiling fan--sort of hardening them off, I guess you could say.
I think they were just under a week old when I brought them home--don't know exactly, but I would say they're roughly 6 weeks old now. It was pretty chilly last night, but they seemed alert this morning.
I don't know what to do, and know DH says we won't be able to eat any of them because they're all going to drop dead. I think he's exaggerating just a *touch*. What should I do??
Questions for Abby (">
I have several questions for you, but first, you mentioned a chick having poo on it's back? Do you mean on the vent? Pasting up, is when waste collects on the vent and prevents proper elimination. It's normally caused by heat issues or in some cases diet and can kill a chick by blocking their digestive system..
Anyway, let's move on from that...
Why are you giving cider vinegar in the drinker?
Having grit, such as grani-grit is important, since you have them on pine shavings which may be ingested. Not necessary to put it "in" their feed, but you can have it available free choice and they will use it as necessary.
I'm also interested in what breed of chicken you purchased from T.S.?
And who is saying you can't eat them? And what's the reasoning behind that?
And are you saying they are at a size suitable for eating at six weeks? Are they cornish-x chickens?
It is always very difficult to diagnose problems without seeing the birds and the environment they are being kept in.
Chick Starter Crumbs- good
heat, 90 deg.. first week, drop 5 deg each week until ambient temps are matched... normally turning off all heat at the end of the 6th week. Should be sheltered from drafts always.
Pine shavings after first few days of growth and once they know their feed from fodder... add chick grit at this time also.
Fresh, clean water daily (other drinks and additives are not necessary).
Never allow them to be without fresh water.
Trips outside to explore on warm days, provided with sun and shade.
Pasty butt should be investigated immediately and you have to wash that off.
**side note, chicks reared by broody hens never demonstrate pasty conditions... with all other conditions the same as brooder reared chicks, that leaves us with temperature issues.
Thanks for sharing your problems... let's find some solutions....