How to Save a Baby Chick From Dying

How to Save a Baby Chick From Dying

Newly hatched chicks need both heat and food/water at regulated levels to survive and should be kept at mama-hen temperatures in a brooder.

Spradle leg is a potentially fatal problem caused by slippery flooring in a brooder and can often be corrected with physical therapy.

1. Warm the Chick

As you raise baby chicks, there are a few essentials you must keep in mind when caring for them. Chicks need clean living quarters with quality feed and fresh water.

Additionally they require warmth because their bodies cannot regulate temperature correctly if kept cold – therefore a heat lamp in their brooder will ensure their safety.

Red, 250-watt bulbs provide the safest and most effective heat source for chicks, though you must take precautions as the bulb can quickly heat up to become dangerously hot if placed too close to their incubators.

Also avoid coating it in polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), as this coating emits toxic fumes when overheated.

If a chick is experiencing pasty butt, also known as vent gleet, as soon as possible. This condition occurs when droppings dry up and accumulate around its vent opening; once this occurs it becomes deadly as it will prevent defecation from taking place and will soon lead to its death.

Use a cotton swab moistened with water to carefully wipe away dried feces from a chick’s butt, taking care not to pull or yank at it as this could disembowel them.

Repeat the process as necessary until the chick can defecate normally and no longer experiences future clogging issues.

2. Remove the Manure

Chicks may appear fragile, but they’re actually resilient creatures. At first, the droppings from newly hatched chicks may appear soft; as they feed and drink more frequently, however, their droppings harden over time and stick to their vent area (known as a “vent gleet”).

If this poop becomes stuck and blocks its vent hole completely then pasty butt will occur; therefore immediate action must be taken in order to save these birds’ lives.

Treatment for chicks that have fallen ill or injured requires some hard work and patience, though.

Start by wearing latex gloves, running their rear end under warm water to loosen manure, then using either your finger or cotton swabs to wipe away excess manure and poop while being careful not to pull away feathers or skin – it is best done in an environment where getting dirty won’t bother you as much.

Be careful only to wet the area directly around the vent; young chicks cannot properly regulate their body temperatures and can quickly become chilled if their bodies get too wet.

Once all poop has been removed, take some time near heat sources so it can warm up before returning it to its home in the brooder; afterward keep an eye on it to ensure its vent doesn’t become blocked again.

3. Clean the Vent

If a chick’s vent becomes blocked with droppings, it could die. A chick’s vent is the small area of feather down that surrounds its tail and belly button and should not be confused with their bellybutton (cloaca or navel).

Examine their vent for signs of blockage such as droppings stuck to the down or chick poop covering it or becoming wet; if this occurs gently clean their chick using vegetable oil, petroleum jelly, or similar substance; wet feather down exposes chicks to pecking from other chicks as well as diseases such as Coccidiosis which could prove fatal.

If the vent is clear, introduce food. After that, assess for signs of distress: Is the chick hunched over, being picked on or can’t reach feed? Are other chicks acting sickly with diarrhea or showing any sign of illness? If you suspect coccidiosis as the issue, remove it from its group until its strength returns.

Chicks depend on regulated heat and food/water in order to thrive, and using a thermometer will help you find the ideal temperatures in which to place their brooder and chicks.

4. Keep the Chick Warm

Young chicks require not only a comfortable environment and quality chick feed and water sources, but most importantly warmth to survive. Without their mother’s body heat providing protection, artificial warmth must be utilized to maintain adequate temperatures to help the young survive.

When opening a box of baby chicks, they’re usually packed tightly together to keep them warmer and reduce any possible movement during shipping. Even so, chicks may get chilled in transit if their packing wasn’t adequate enough.

If your baby chick is cold, hold him in your hand while gently rubbing its body with your fingertips to help warm him. Enfolding him in your palm will ensure that the heat from your hand does not burn the chick.

Alternatively you could gently blow-dry wet chicks using mouth or nose blowing for moisture removal. Once warmed up, place him back into his brooder so his core temperature remains constant.

Heat lamps are an efficient way of warming baby chicks, but make sure that you purchase one specifically designed for this task as desk or painter’s lamps may become too hot and cause harm.

A thermometer should also be installed so as to monitor brooder temperatures properly, while red bulbs provide natural lighting/dark sleeping cycles for maximum performance.

Hot water bottles are another effective means of keeping chicks warm, though great care must be taken in refilling it and maintaining an even temperature. Chemical hand warmers may also be useful, though their reliability does not compare with heat lamps.


In conclusion, rescuing a struggling baby chick requires swift and attentive action, often involving a combination of warmth, hydration, and proper nutrition. By promptly addressing issues such as dehydration, chilling, or weakness, caregivers can significantly improve the chances of a baby chick’s survival. 

The importance of providing a nurturing environment, whether through a brooder, supplemental heat, or specialized care, cannot be overstated. While not every case may have a positive outcome, the dedication to understanding the chick’s needs and taking immediate, informed steps is a testament to responsible poultry care. 

Remember, observing and responding to subtle signs can make a substantial difference in saving a baby chick from the brink of distress. So, equip yourself with knowledge, act with compassion, and give these delicate creatures the best chance at a healthy and happy life.






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