I called the hatchery recently because we have been experimenting an allarmingly high rate of mortality in our rare breed Wellsummer chicks. Usually out of 25, we lose one (often none). But we lost NINE of our 50 Wellsummers (and zero of our 25 Buff Orpingtons). WHAT IS GOING ON!?? I fear entering the coop to see one more little body laying there! And Farmer Eva (18-month old daughter) is going to catch on soon enough that the chicks are not just asleep.
We have raised chicks for five years now and we have never seen anything like this. The awesome thing was getting the phone call from the chick expert on call. The whole experience mirrored my calls to the pediatrician - he called exactly within two hours, focused on symptoms, gave suggestions, provided different scenarios and ideas of what to do next, and told me to call again if the problem persisted in two days. The only difference was the lack of medications prescribed. I loved it! I felt I was a "mamma chioccia" (mother hen)!
It turns out we need to give them warm to hot water to drink. And it also seems that the Wellsummers are just too advenutrous for their own good. They go around everywhere (we found one in the garage!!!) and get into trouble. So, we need to increase chick security and warm up the water.