Sick chick

They told me this would happen. It doesn’t make it any easier.

I’ve got a sick chick on my hands.

She (I think it’s a pullet) is 3 weeks old today. She’s lethargic and keeps her eyes mostly closed even when I pick her up. She seems dizzy, totters a bit and just sits hunched on her belly, not even wanting to move to follow the heat lamp. Her wings are spread out to either side. She’s not eating or drinking. She makes little clicking noises and opens her beak once in a while as if she’s having trouble breathing.

I’ve spent all evening googling chicken ailments but nothing seems to fit all her symptoms. I’m starting to think it may just be a case of Failure to Thrive. She is noticeably smaller than the other chicks – and they all seem fine and energetic. And so much bigger than her.

I’ve isolated her. I put a tiny bit of cider vinegar in some fresh water, and mashed a hard-boiled yolk with a bit of molasses. I alternated force-feeding and force-watering, and managed to get at least a tiny amount down her.

If she eats or drinks anything that will be a very good sign, but I fully expect to have lost her by the morning.

This is the hard part of farming. As OhioFarmGal puts it, in farming “success is measured in who didn’t die that day.” It’s still hard to take.

5 Responses to “Sick chick”

  1. Rose Says:


  2. heidi Says:

    I was looking through chicken disease sites.
    could it be ulcerative enteritis?
    another site recommends:If your bird displayed signs of illness or died suddenly, for no apparent reason, you’ll need to investigate. Either contact your veterinarian, or call the USDA for free testing: 1-866-536-7593.
    note :free testing
    however, unless you have a vet, you may not want to be on anyone’s radar…
    one last thing: always feed and water and clean the well chickens (including the “ladies”) first before dealing with the sick one to avoid tracking infective agent to the rest of the flock.
    sorry to hear about her. is this hatchery a new one or have you ordered from them successfully before? did the chicks get any vaccinations before arriving to your farm? just random thought-izing now.

  3. marlowe Says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry. We’ve done this so many times. Checking vents for crusting over, medicine droppers with water and vit-al (electrolytes) or even aeryomiocin in extreme cases. It’s never easy.

  4. diana Says:

    Well, I got one more feeding down the chick and she seemed to revive some, but then we lost her. 9 left I suppose – a 10% loss this early on doesn’t bode well. :(

  5. ohiofarmgirl Says:

    sorry baby. its tough, isnt it? you’ll have some losses so its to be expected. but your best tool is your “mommy intuition” – so if you think something is afoot, dont be afraid to act.

    the clicking sounds like some kind of respiratory thing. have any others exhibited it? also are there any really weird poops? any bits of blood at all in the poops?

    in the meantime, good instincts about the egg yolk and the ACV. see if they need to be a bit wamer – but not too warm!

    feel free to pop by if you have others acting funny.

    hang in there baby, you’re doing a great job!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

:mrgreen: :neutral: :twisted: :shock: :smile: :???: :cool: :evil: :grin: :oops: :razz: :roll: :wink: :cry: :eek: :lol: :mad: :sad: