Dead chicks and wondering why??

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brent
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Hi Everyone,

Hope everyone's season is going well. I just finished a nest check and discovered 4 of 6 chicks were dead in a nest. I noticed that the parents were not feeding them as often as the other ones where feeding their chicks. Why would this happen that they would stop feeding them? The other 2 alive looked weak and I don't have a nest with other chicks their size so I left them. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Brent
flyin-lowe
Posts: 2939
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:49 am
Location: Indiana/Henry Co.

Any chance the nest got wet? A wet nest can drain the body heat quickly from a baby martin. Just a guess.....
2020 Currently 42 nest, 110 babies, 64 eggs left to hatch(6-22-20) HOSP count-8
2019- 31 Pair over 100 fledged
2018- 15 pair last count 49 fledged
2017 3 SY pair nested, 12 eggs total, fledged 10. 4 additional SY's stayed all summer but never paired/nested.
2016 1 pair fledged 4
2015 Visitors
2014 Visitors
2013 Moved 6 miles away, 1 pair fledged 2.
2012 30 pair fledged 100.
2011 12 pair (11 that nested), 43 fledged.
2010 5 pair, 21 eggs, 16 hatched, 14 fledged.
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

brent wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:00 pm
Hi Everyone,

Hope everyone's season is going well. I just finished a nest check and discovered 4 of 6 chicks were dead in a nest. I noticed that the parents were not feeding them as often as the other ones where feeding their chicks. Why would this happen that they would stop feeding them? The other 2 alive looked weak and I don't have a nest with other chicks their size so I left them. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Brent
Many things can cause this. Wet nest, extreme temp changes, lack of insects. Parents are carrying a bacteria or parasite they passed on to the chicks, which can cause diarrhea & pasty butt, which leads to dehydration. Once dehydrated it's very hard to turn them around. I've lost many chicks over the years to pasty butt/diarrhea/dehydration. It can come on in a matter of one day & they go down real quick.

There's not much you can do in some of these situations. If you get rain do a nest check when the rain stops. Keep any wet nests changed. Supplement feed when you have bad weather, so parents have food to feed the chicks.

Best wishes,
Toy in PA
PMCA Member
brent
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Thanks Toy and Flyin -Lowe. No the nest was not wet and I'm sure they were feeding them early on. The nest is not well developed but they are in a nest tray. We really didn't get a drastic change in weather temperature so I am puzzled. They appeared a little unkept, like they were dirty looking. There were no mites but as Toy pointed out it could have been a bacteria. Sad though. All the other chicks in the other nests look healthy and are being well fed. Thanks again. Brent
ToyinPA
Posts: 2126
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

brent wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:54 pm
Thanks Toy and Flyin -Lowe. No the nest was not wet and I'm sure they were feeding them early on. The nest is not well developed but they are in a nest tray. We really didn't get a drastic change in weather temperature so I am puzzled. They appeared a little unkept, like they were dirty looking. There were no mites but as Toy pointed out it could have been a bacteria. Sad though. All the other chicks in the other nests look healthy and are being well fed. Thanks again. Brent
If one or both are SY they may not be the best at nest building or the best parents.

Toy in PA
PMCA Member
brent
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

Toy, I think the female is SY. You may be right. Thanks.
Ransom Graham
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:13 pm
Location: Newton, NC

Just a thought! If the other chicks die remove them immediately. I would keep a close eye on it. Martin's will absolutely re-lay eggs. Often if several chicks die they will quit feeding. Now that you have removed the dead chicks they should resume feeding. Good Luck!
Archer
Posts: 757
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

Have you done a nest check for parasites? Blowfly Larvae can suck the life out of nestlings if they are present in large numbers. A nest change would eliminate that problem.
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
brent
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 pm
Location: Raceland, Louisiana

I wanted to update everyone on this. I did remove the dead chicks the day I discovered them. I checked on the other two living chicks the next day and prepared a new nest tray with a nest of pine needles and soft green leaves. I noticed the male, especially, was feeding them. I looked in on them yesterday. The female stayed in but I was able to see that they were alive and looked healthier. I noticed that a SY male has been poking around. I suspect he may have been the culprit. Brent
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