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These chicks really grow really fast.  I knew that, but seeing it in person is more amazing than on YouTube. We think we know what we did to kill off a lot of our Jumbo Cornish Cross chicks.  We think it is a combination of things.  However the comment from Karyn pointed us in the right direction.

We found another one had died, and another one was in bad straight, not getting up, but still struggling. So we rigged up another tiny brooder box out of a plastic box and brought it inside. I then took down one of the heat lamps and brought it inside just to ensure he had enough heat. My wife tried to nurse the little chick back to life. When we put its beak into the water, it would drink. It looks pretty bad, just laying on its side, struggling to open its eyes even when we held it, but we will see.  He looked lonely, so we brought another chick inside to keep it company.

As soon as the other one came into our hospital little brooder box, it begins to peck the dying chick. Hard. It was bigger and stronger, and the other chick was laying on its side. We were shocked.  I don’t know, is this normal behavior?  We put the larger, stronger chick back out with the other chicks. However, the little chick struggled through the night, cried a little in the morning and then died.  Was is sick, was the damage done?

When I went back outside I noticed that the remaining chicks were still moving around looking fine. Thus I did not add the second heat lamp. Since I did that, no other chicks have died! Here is what I think had happened. I think chicks are too stupid to move under the solid portion of the top to escape the heat. They will try and get as close to the heat as possible. I have used two heat lamps before, but I had not used a 250-watt white bulb in the brooder box, always 100 watts red light. I think that 250-watt bulb was just too much when added to the second light. I think both heat lamps were too much for this small area. Yes, the temp was up to 100 directly under the heat lamp, but outside of the heat, it was around 90 degrees. I figured the chicks would just move under the solid portion to become cooler if they needed too. I don’t think so. They are “drawn” to the heat and will remain as close to it as possible.

Somedude made a good point below.  We must remember these came late, as it took 4 days for the chicks to get to us.  We documented that in the post Jumbo Cornish Cross Broilers Arrive. We should add in as a potential cause for the week chicks dying off.

Either through heat exhaustion or through just getting crushed with all the chicks pressing “around” the area directly under the heat lamp, weaker chicks would die. As soon as the chicks get weak, and don’t get up, the stronger chicks kill them. I also think some of these chicks were just weak and died.

Now we are 33 – 9 or 24 chicks have survived. I forgot that these are all males so that they will grow a little bit faster. I received my new nipple waterer from Premier 1 the other day, and we will be moving them out into the yard, this weekend.