I have a sick chick :-(

I have a sick chick.  Or a ‘something’ chick.  Something is wrong.

They were ALL fine this morning, when I fed and watered them.  I cleaned the brooder box and the coop.  Spent some time talking to and holding both the Golds (5 weeks this Sunday) and the Reds (9 days old now).

Everyone was fine.  All running around, cheeping and peeping, playing and eating and doing chicken-y things.

Tonight when I went to check on their food and water, and give them their night dose of attention, I discovered one of the Rhode Island Red chicks curled into a corner between their feeder and the wall, head curled into ground at an angle.

It looked like he was sleeping, but when I removed the top on the brooder and said my cheery “hello, babies!” to the little ones, everyone scattered away from the feeder except him.  He just laid there.  Doing nothing but breathing.

They never just do that.  So took a closer look, to make sure he was actually breathing.

He was, but when I picked him up, I realized he couldn’t raise his head. His neck was permanently crooked like he’d broken it.  And he cried when I picked him up.

So I’m freaking here.  I had Little Dude go get my father, and he, DH and I checked him over for signs of injury and discussed what we thought it might be.

Then I placed him back in the card board box the chicks came in last week, with a little food and a waterer, and placed the box under the brooder lamp.

He is NOW in a clear plastic tote in my bedroom, under his own heat lamp.  I’m hand feeding him chick starter and Sav-a-Chick electrolytes.

He can move around, and he can eat and drink.  But he can’t to lift his head.

Does anyone know what this is?  What can I do?

I’ve looked on Backyard Chickens and found several forum posts about these same symptoms, but not one says what it is.  And mortality/recovery seems to vary by post, too.

4 thoughts on “I have a sick chick :-(

  1. hate to say this but the chick is too sick to survive – its kinder to just quickly pull the neck and end its life. I have tried to nurse sick chicks in my time, but they are so fragile, that nothing usually works. Even the mothers, when they are hatched, push them away and let them die. Sorry about that. You may not have noticed it was unwell before, or it may have fallen or been pecked at, because it was fragile!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a huge possibility, yes, that he won’t survive. But I would rather make the attempt and fail than say I didn’t try at all.

      When my parents still had dairy cows on the farm, I saw my share of sick animals, young and old, die. I had to help put down one of my favorite cows when she was dying of a fatal, incurable disease, and then turn around and help the vet perform an emergency c section on her to save the life of her unborn baby calf. Which I then raised as a preemie to the where it thought I was its mom and followed me around like a child.

      So yeah, I know death could easily be the result. But he is eating and drinking still and has had good stools since we brought him to the house.

      If he doesn’t show signs of improving by the end of tomorrow, I’ll re-evaluate. I just don’t want to say I didn’t try.


      1. I will. There is no change this morning, for better or worse. He is still eating and drinking well. Woke me up every 2 hours just like a human infant would. I just don’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

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