A retrospective study of mortality and neonatal treatment for 975 Attwater's prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) was conducted from 2009–2015. Gross necropsy, histopathology, and medical records for chicks less than 8 wk of age at the Houston Zoo were reviewed and summarized. The total mortality rate was 36% (n = 352). Yolk sac infection was the most common cause of death (21%; n = 73) followed by maladaptation (19%; n = 68), musculoskeletal abnormalities (19%; n = 66), necrotic enteritis (13%; n = 44), and mucoid enteritis (11%; n = 39). Gavage feeding of a highly digestible formula was associated with a higher proportion of necrotic enteritis and a reduced occurrence of both mucoid enteritis and maladaptation. Meloxicam administration had a significantly reduced incidence of mucoid enteritis. Survival past 10 days of age, prevention of neonatal bacterial infection, and supportive treatment with meloxicam are important factors to increase chick survival and improve captive breeding success for Attwater's prairie chickens. Gavage feeding of a diet low in digestible carbohydrates has the potential for reducing disease due to necrotic enteritis in this species.
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