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Poorly 3 week old chick

So much ground to cover!
I'll star with... we have 10 chicks, 5 are 6 weeks old and the others are 3.5 weeks old.. bullying hasn't been a problem.
We moved them into the basement to create a large space for them because Our coup is not built yet.
They have been super happy with the move and to make sure they have a variety or warm areas we have installed a heat lamp, and electric room heater set at 80 and a heat pad on the floor under the shavings.
Biggest mistake I can see that we are guilty of is.. Electrolytes! had no idea that this would cause a sick chick..
Came home today from work.. sure enough.. we have a sick little lady!
She is eyes closed and sleeping under the heat lamp.. not really concerned with food.. empty crop.
I picked her up.. she sounds different.. the sounds shes putting out are not the usual "HEY! what are you doing!" sounds.. more of a weak chirpy sound.. feathers are coming in and are ruffled up.
The basement is chilly.. but the other ladies are super happy.
here is the list of changes we made.
Her crop is empty.

1) increased size of brooder to 12ft x 12ft
2) Electrolytes
3) fine shavings ( What we had available locally)
4) started using a galvanized waterer.


  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    edited April 2020
    I now realize that the Electrolytes may be the problem, I had two water containers in with them.. one fresh water the other is electrolytes. I removed the Electrolytes
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    hi sandman
    firstly congrats on your babies
    what are you feeding them? and why did you give electrolytes?
    with galvanised waterers you have to make certain that you only use water in them - other things added could react to the metal
    although theres no bullying theres still a chance that the younger chicks arent getting enough food as the older stronger ones are beating them to it
    at 5 weeks the older ones can come off heat but the younger ones will still need it for a week or two yet ...maybe not as much as youre giving now though.......not sure why youre using so much heat? are you in a very cold country ? its spring here in uk. the heat lamp alone should be enough then the chicks can choose to go under heat or stay in cooler area as they need.
    with the poorly one i would take her out from the others for a day or two and feed her honey water to boost her energy and then boiled egg yolk for a day or two. sometimes chicks cant cope with large chick pellets and need them crushed
    i hope your little one makes it through and that you discover that you havent got too many cockerels there! good luck and keep us posted
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member

    Northeast USA

    The girls are in a cold basement, the pen has a cold cement floor. All three heaters are in separate areas. Air temp in the basement is around 65 degrees.

    I'd guess the floor to be around 50 or so.

    Thick matt of paper shavings to insulate from the floor..

    Electrolytes because I didn't know any better. I figured that one out last night.

    The galvanized waterer is clean, clear water and the small chick starter style waterer is plastic and had electrolytes.

    I fed her a little yogurt last night, she refused egg.. Had her drinking water and put her back in the pen.

    Took her to the waterer one last time before lights out and she drank.

    She has improved as of this morning and I plan to get some probiotics for the ladies tonight.

    I think she is suffering from electrolytes (salt)

    I'll fill you in when I get home.

    Ty for your response

  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    pleased to hear shes making an improvement but amazed she refused egg. Have you checked her crop and her poo to make sure she is eating something. if not you will need to step in pretty fast...critical care formula or a multi vitamin boost may help. Did you put honey or a small amount of sugar in her water to give her an energy boost?
    thanks for getting back
    x Kath
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    She eats and drinks.. small doses.
    So lethargic, the rest of the girls fuss when I enter the run. She just sits with her head down.. when I pick her up.. she fights me all feathers and feet!!
    I've been placing her at the waterer and she sleeps as soon as I set her down.. but then will drink a little and head back to the warmth.
    The area they are in has warmed up quite nice now so I've turned back the extra heat..when they rest, they normally lay all around the run.. but today with all heat going they went to the coolest corner and bunched up there.
    Clean clear water with a splash of apple cider vinegar in the plastic water bottle and probiotics water in the galvanized container.

    she eats very little... and I've begun to worry that she is eating sawdust that is from the pine paper shavings.
    she pulls a few pieces of food from the feeder.. but then chases the rest of the flock when they scratch..
    Crop is empty... poo is shiny and a little runny.
    I cant isolate her very well from the others.. I think I need to sort this out.
    She cries constantly when I put her in her old box.
    Heat, Water food paper towels instead of paper shavings.. but all she does is chirp frantically.
    Competition for food is increasing.. especially when I add goodies.. she can no longer keep up the pace.. the girls her size and age are doing fine.. just her failing to make the efforts it takes to be a healthy chicken.
    I'll get some honey for sure.
    Thanks again for helping! any advise you can offer is appreciated.

    the run is 4 meters x 3.5 meters
    Floor temp 10 degrees Celsius
    Room temp 18 without added heat, 26 with.
    heat lamp about a meter high in one area
    IR is 1.5 meters high.

  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    its so upsetting when one so small gets poorly
    can you add vitamins to her food / water - either poultry vitamin or cage bird vitamin drops and feed her separate from the others until she regains her strength. give her high protein foods - eggs either boiled or scrambled (nothing added , just whisk and microwave) crushed sunflower seeds, mealworms etc
    also , try crushing the chick pellets for her too to make them easier for her to eat and digest
    chicks usually chirp if they are hungry , lonely or in pain so she needs the special attention you are giving her .
    i really hope she picks up for you
    x Kath
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    A vet visit today.
    I don't understand... but I am taking the advise.
    She is starving.. and dehydrated..
    What I don't understand is... there is always room at the waterers and feeders.. there is no competition... literally.. unless its something super special.. zero competition.
    She was moved along with the rest of the girls.. somewhere along the way, from her first box to this big open box.. she fell behind in the feeding and watering..
    I could take her and put her on the water.. without any interruptions.. she would take a few drinks.. then wander around. She would visit the feed.. take a few nibbles and then move on... the other girls would scratch up feed that they knocked out of the feeder.. she would join them. At this point.. I think she started falling behind... I don't think she knew what the others were doing.. but, as you know.. they learn from each other.
    we are now taking her away from the others.. and placing her in a feeding box 8 times a day.. we have a runt that came with her group and we place them together... I think it stimulates the learning and feeding behavior.
    Scrambled egg and crumbles that have been blended along with regular chick crumbles in the feed box along with eggs and water,, no shavings .. just food and water.
    She is emaciated.. any other suggestions on fattening her up?
    I still need to get some honey but she took all the grocery time up with her vet visit.
    as of right now.. she is the most expensive chicken I've ever owned...

  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    edited May 2020
    oh.. also.. we have three of the larger girls that seem to challenge each other too much to not notice... neck feathers are puffed forward and the stare down seems a little.. well... Cocky... if you catch my drift..
    What now? Buff Orpington Rooster or Black laced wyandotte Rooster are the options... the rest of the ladies are Isa Browns.. opinions welcome!
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    Ok.. so, the learning to feed with a friend seems to work a little.
    She will chase the other girl for a tid bit or egg but wont pick them up for herself.
    She will pick up the usual crumbles on her own.
    Unfortunately.. the one time she started to pick up her own "egg munchie" the other girl stole it from her.. frustrating!
    but.. its a start :)
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    You have been here.. a very very long time!
    You used to advise me back in 2011
    So glad to know that people are still here from then.
    Since my first flocks I've moved around a bit.. all my old girls lasted for around 6 years and I lost most to predation in the last year of life.
    I've moved, married and my wife is now interested in chickens.. these are all her birds now... but I think... I'm the one that will be taking care of them. :P
    Anywho.. hello!! I remember you!!

  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    hi she probably got to the point where she was too weak to run and scratch around for food
    so pleased shes sounding better and that she has a new friend and less competition. i know its only 2 weeks but that a big difference in time for a chicks development.
    i would certainly add vitamins for her and also the runt as if shes not been eating enough then shes probably deficient in vitamins and minerals too which , if not sorted, will give her problems further down the line.
    as well as grinding up her chick crumb also grind up some sunflower hearts for the two little ones and if you can get some , dried mealworms too- full of protein. keep giving the eggs daily until shes fully fit again.
    as for the chest bumping being done by the older ones, pullets also do it in play so at this point doesnt tell you what sex they are
    orpingtons and wyandottes are heavy breeds so theyre probably the ones getting most of the feed you put in.
    nice to meet up with someone i used to speak to all those years ago ....ive been on here since 2008 and my flocks have changed gradually over the years
    keep us updated on your new little flock and heres wishing your little poorly one all the best
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Hi Sandman,

    The only thing I would add to Kath's advice is to get some 'Critical Care Formula' if you can. Would your vet have anything like that in stock?

    Otherwise, you are certainly in good hands with Kath. She has been around donkeys years heh heh😉
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    Honey water, eggs and alone time with the other runt..
    Our runt.. she was always tiny.. but feisty!! she out competes the others because she's super fast and can get in under them.
    We actually thought this was a sickness because the runt struggled to sleep.. she like to stand up and would always try to get under the other girls.. she would end up bulldozing them all over the box before settling down on her own.. food as never been an issue for her.
    As far as the sick little one.. the vet did say not to get attached to her.
    I don't think its avoidable.. Choice eats 8 times a day extra care and attention.. pampering, special treats!! coddling!!
    We've been checking on all the smaller girls to make sure the drumsticks and neck areas are filled in with no sign of starvation.
    They are all changing so fast now.. day to day is a remarkable change.

    I'll have to look into the Critical care formula, I'll probably have to order online.
    What sort of vitamins?
    Sunflower seed hearts.. I bet that would go over very well! I'll look for them.

    Thanks again for the help!
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    eey aww Helen
    sandman - poultry vitamins , cage bird vitamins or even human baby vitamins will do
    your sick little chick is still fighting so i wouldnt give up on her yet ....miracles do happen
    x Kath
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    edited May 2020
    She is doing so much better.
    Playing with the other girls this morning, running and wing flapping games.. energy is up!
    I cant convince her to eat eggs..she has, but not more than a nibble.
    maybe she's vegan? but just eating crumbles and drinking treated water.. she's much happier!! its a relief for sure.
    4 dollar chick and 180 dollar vet bill... one heck of an education!
    I think it was the trauma of moving that created this. I wish we noticed her failure sooner.

    Edit: This mornings feeding was a complete success! I separated the two cell mates... scrambled eggs and crumbles. All good news! sick girl went fully onboard with the eggs.. little velociraptor was in her normal chicken mode and competing for her share.. all good eats until the fully belly nap started to take place.. I put them back in the run.. placed the leftovers in for he other girls.. the feeding frenzy had all girls at the plate with the two little ones going in hard and heavy for another round!
    I think we are on to better days!
    I'll post again if there are any update worthy posts.. but its looking so good I believe that this thread is over.
    Thank you again ladies for your advise! I'm glad to be back! I'm looking forward to fresh eggs and happy chickens!
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    thats brilliant news ! love it when a plan comes together !
    really nice to have old friends back on here ...its gone quiet since the new site was formed
    looking forward to hearing your little ones progress
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    What a lucky chick to have found you. Most breeders would have left them to their own devices, and would probably argue that this bird might always be weaker. I'd love you to stick around and update us now and then!
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member
    I can understand the "quiet since the new site"
    I was frantically looking for this forum because I knew I got the best advise here in the past. The new layout had me thinking I was in the wrong place.
    Recovering my password was the key, I found the right group.
    So its been a few days since last reported.. she is on the fast track to catching up and being chickeny enough!
    Secondary feathers are filling in and she is turning from chick to chicken. her neck is still a bit thin.. but all other aspects of her are normal. She plays and fights with the other girls and is usually first to the treat dish. Usually with a chicken scream and a pounce in the middle of the plate! <--- entertaining for sure! If she's late to the plate... same thing but with other girls screeching and resettling.
    We are working hard to get our new coup and run up and working.. so I'm a little worried that they might go through the same uneasy trauma that originally created this problem.
    Still cold here in Maine, the girls are over 6 weeks old and still living in their "mothers basement..."
    We are a week away from completing the housing issue.. ugh!
    funny how chickens "earn" their names.. you never buy 10 chicks and name them all at once.. they slowly develop a name.. Our sick girl is now "Lil" the runt is "Little Orphan Anne" we have a "Jelly bean" and a "Shelly."
    Jelly bean and Shelly are both Buff Orpingtons
    Lil and Anne are Isa Browns

    Anne got her name from constantly needing to be under the other girls.. they would always get pushed away by her because she didn't fit.. so I would pick her up and hold her in my hands, covering her so she could sleep... I'm a big bald white guy. :lol:
    Jelly Bean is always puffed up and looking like a yellow jelly bean.
    Shelly was named after my wife's childhood friend, Big blond 80"s hair, pushy but sweet.. more of a push over with a tough looking exterior.
    Lil, because "sicky" wasn't very appealing... and she was the "other little" little girl for a while.
    The others have yet to gain a name.

    Thanks for being here!!
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    thats brilliant news . im loving the names ... funny how youre stumped for names to start then they just come to you as you get to know them. i also end up with group names for them such as the white ninjas, the tweedles etc
    ive also "named" my three coops so the boys know what im talking about - theres the main ...my biggest coop that sleeps just two bantams, the polish ...there hasnt been any polish sleeping there for years, and the Bluebell run ...no bluebells there anymore though and its my smallest coop and sleeps my biggest girls - 5 of them insist on sleeping there.
    i used to have a Lil but her actual name was Lillybeth
    keep us updated
    xx Kath
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Lovely update and I have a fantastic mental picture of you hugging hens. My husband is also a 'gentle giant' with the ladies!
    Most of our hens earn their names too, and we have a dry dust bath area under a conifer with a sign proclaiming ' Nelly's Den', in memory of our longest lived rescue hen.
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member

    Hello peeps!

    I've got a strange situation.

    My girls will leave the run and head into the coup... They pile into one corner and trample each other constantly before settling in... Literally trample each other over and over while chirping in distress.

    I've made a run that I'm really proud of and they love it.

    The coup is top notch as well... Still needs finishing but it's nice!

    I just can't get them settled into the rest of the coop and I'm a little worried for their safety.

  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    sounds like theyre all squabling for the best spot ...the pecking order will usually sort this out but bear in mind that your top hen will probably throw her weight around more in the coop than in the run, if this happens make sure the younger, lower hens go to bed way before the bigger ones i cant think they are afraid of anything in the coop or they wouldnt enter it in the first place....bedtime can be like the golylocks story -cant decide the best bed then all fighting over one.
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member

    its strange but maybe it'll sort itself out.

    I'll post photos or a video of tonight's bed time tantrums if I can.

    Coop photos for the fun of it!


  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Wow Sandman! Can I come live in your coop! And how come none of us have managed to post pics on this new look forum yet? Can you give us some tips?

    Orphan Annie looks so cute, and is very lucky to be alive. I have two young hens who still get bullied at bedtime, despite being here for several weeks now. I think the pecking order will take time, especially with the youngsters growing up and taking on their different personality traits. Hopefully one of them will grow into a fine flock leader one day and sort them all out!
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member

    I just used imgur to upload the photos and it provides a link to share

    The coop has been a very fun build and the hoop house is surprisingly inexpensive.

    I'm glad you like it!

  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    brilliant set up and ultra secure . Thanks very much for sharing.
    Is Orphan Annie the little one that was ill or is it her friend?they all look very happy to me
  • SandmanSandman Senior Member

    Annie was the super runt and "LiL" was the sick girl.

    They are both starting to fill in now.. comparable to the other girls of the same age. Annie still tries to get in under the others when it comes to feeding and watering.. or just resting.. like a cat that was taken from its mom too soon.. she still has traits of needing a mumma. at times this is how we can spot her.

    Her and Lil both think they don't like us.. until we get a hold of them and rub under their chest.. then they are like... " Oh yeah... thats nice"

    I'm glad things have turned out well. hopefully we can keep them for years and have them enjoy life.

    This is the first "run" I've constructed intended to last... I've always let my girls free range but this flock I'm not sure of letting into the world. We live on a preserve and there are A LOT of predators here. So the challenge for me will be.. keeping a balanced diet and to keep them from being terrible to each other.

    If they really start to beat each other up.. we might let them out.. I'd rather have them live a short happy life over years of fighting and abuse.

    Also considering allowing the broody girls a clutch... if that keeps a balance of new birds and predation

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