Thursday, April 5, 2012

Week 2 - Problems

The morning of day 7 or 8 I found a second dead chick in the brooder box. Others looked sickly and one in particular was very lethargic. The chicks looked bloated and unclean, and some of them had poop stuck to their butt. I pulled out one chick that looked bad and my wife and I cleaned him up real good, as he had poop all under his wing and it was getting nasty.

Worried that we would lose more chicks I called my chicken friend, Mary at The Hen Connection. She immediately came over and took a look at the chicks. First order of business was to with hold food for 4 to 5 hours as they were apparently eating themselves to death. Second we cleaned all of the "poopy butt" off of the chicks. If it hardens on the chicks, they cant poop and will literally explode inside. Yuck! Then we decided to lower one of the heat lamps an inch or so to keep it warmer in the brooder box. But the most important decision was to with hold the food at night to keep them from over eating, especially on 25% protein BTG starter feed.

LESSON LEARNED: With hold food at night with meat chicks.

As expected the lethargic chick died that afternoon, and I gave one chick to Mary so that leaves 46. But I am happy to report no more losses since, and they are looking great now. No more poopy butt or severe bloating. And they are feathering out nicely.

By day 12 the pine shavings in the brooder box were getting gross so I cleaned them all out and added some fresh shavings, but I need to buy another bag and do it again soon. The chicks are so big that they are making a huge mess, and I have to check their food and water 3 times a day now. This guy is a huge for his age.

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