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How to Save a Sick Chick

Posted on Monday Mar 20, 2023 at 12:27PM in Livestock

No matter how much experience you’ve had raising chicks at home, it won’t be long before you wind up with a weak, sick, or injured chick.

Your sick chick may display some of the following symptoms if they are not feeling well:

  • Lethargic
  • Weak
  • Not eating or drinking
  • Unsteady on its feet
  • Slow growth, or none at all, compared to the rest of the brood
  • Staying isolated from the other chicks
  • Limping or holding a wing away from its body

There are many reasons why your chick might be weak or sick. It’s important to realize that the causes behind a chick’s weakness depend on timing. Sick and weak chicks within 3-4 days post-hatch are usually linked to the quality of the chicks and the care they received at the hatchery. After 3-4 days, sickness or death is usually the result of the care they receive after delivery.

There could be a variety of other reasons why your chick is ailing like:

  • Bacterial infections from the hatchery or brooder where the chick was kept
  • Infection from an unhealed umbilical cord
  • Coccidiosis, a parasitic disease spread by feces (diarrhea is the main sign of this disease)
  • Broken legs or wings
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Chick got too hot or too cold in transit and is stressed
  • Marek’s disease

All of us want to see our chicks thrive and become healthy hens. However, sometimes a chick needs a bit of TLC in the first week or two to overcome a rocky start. If you have a weak and ailing chick, try some of these strategies like using probiotics and electrolytes. It is also important to make sure they are warm. The brooder’s temperature should be at 95 degrees F during the first week. You can increase the temperature to 100 degrees F if you suspect your chick is chilled.

Your local Stockdale’s is equipped with a knowledgeable team to help troubleshoot what problems you might be having. Find the Stockdale’s near you for all your chick and poultry needs!

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