Day old chicken death

Asked July 10, 2014, 9:08 PM EDT

I recently hatched out some chicks and one died. That isn't very odd for chicks but it was on it's back. I've seen chicks on their backs before and they each seemed on the verge of dying. When I turned them over they perked up and were fine. This chick I wasn't home to check on it until it was too late.

So my question is what is it about being on their backs that could cause a chick to die? I am thinking maybe they can't breathe properly but don't know.

Brazoria County Texas

1 Response

Your chick problem was new to me. However, I communicated with a retired Extension Veterinarian who is well experienced in poultry issues. Here in bold type is his response:

Chicks do not normally sleep on their backs. Lying on their backs is an abnormal position, probably a nervous disorder caused by genetic disposition, hatchery errors (chilling or overheating), infectious causes (Avian Encephalomyelitis, bacterial or fungal infection), nutritional deficiency (Vit B1, B2, E), toxicity (organophosphates, CO2, drug overdose), trauma. To narrow down the listed of possible causes, it would be helpful to know: the age and breed of the chicks, hatchery source, age at the onset of the symptoms, no or % of chicks affected, presence of any other symptoms, type of feed, medication and vaccinations given.

I am thinking the odd behavior was brought on by incubation or hatching conditions.