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Chicks emaciated, lethargic, stunted growth, dying

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I hatched out some EE and Marans eggs about 4 weeks ago, totally unrelated. 5 of the chicks seemed to slow down in growth at about 2 weeks of age. 4 were marans, and 1 EE. Last weekend I noticed they looked ill, so I separated them from the rest. They were lethargic, droopy wing, ruffled feathers, tails tucked, necks hunched. Then they started having diarrhea, which has ranged from a light tan (chick food color), to bloody black. I started them on corid 20% powder, 1 1/2 tsp per gallon. I made them a mash from the water and powdered chick feed, and started feeding it to them with a syringe 4 times a day in addition to their food and water they had available. One died the first night, but the other 4 seemed to perk up and be more active so I thought I had figured it out. After 3 days on the medication they were still the same. Not worse, but not showing any significant improvement other than attacking the syringe when it was feeding time. Voracious little raptors! Lol. I started doing more research trying to figure out what else it might be, and it seemed possibly ulcerative enteritis. After 5 days of the corid they were looking worse, so I started on oxytetracycline (that's all they had at the feed store). That was yesterday morning. This morning when I got up my favorite of the marans was dead, and the EE was having trouble keeping her balance. I'm at a loss at this point. Out of 15 chicks that hatched, these were the majority of what I'm pretty sure were the pullets. I only have 3 more that may be girls, and the rest I'm sure are cockerels. It's always hard to lose chicks, but especially when it's next year's layers. We really can't afford any more vet bills right now, so I have to do my best to try to treat these babies myself. Any ideas or suggestions on what might be going on would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is one of the splash marans chicks. I've lost 2 black,and have one other splash left. She's 4 weeks old.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerrismama View Post

I hatched out some EE and Marans eggs about 4 weeks ago, totally unrelated. 5 of the chicks seemed to slow down in growth at about 2 weeks of age. 4 were marans, and 1 EE. Last weekend I noticed they looked ill, so I separated them from the rest. They were lethargic, droopy wing, ruffled feathers, tails tucked, necks hunched. Then they started having diarrhea, which has ranged from a light tan (chick food color), to bloody black. I started them on corid 20% powder, 1 1/2 tsp per gallon. I made them a mash from the water and powdered chick feed, and started feeding it to them with a syringe 4 times a day in addition to their food and water they had available. One died the first night, but the other 4 seemed to perk up and be more active so I thought I had figured it out. After 3 days on the medication they were still the same. Not worse, but not showing any significant improvement other than attacking the syringe when it was feeding time. Voracious little raptors! Lol. I started doing more research trying to figure out what else it might be, and it seemed possibly ulcerative enteritis. After 5 days of the corid they were looking worse, so I started on oxytetracycline (that's all they had at the feed store). That was yesterday morning. This morning when I got up my favorite of the marans was dead, and the EE was having trouble keeping her balance. I'm at a loss at this point. Out of 15 chicks that hatched, these were the majority of what I'm pretty sure were the pullets. I only have 3 more that may be girls, and the rest I'm sure are cockerels. It's always hard to lose chicks, but especially when it's next year's layers. We really can't afford any more vet bills right now, so I have to do my best to try to treat these babies myself. Any ideas or suggestions on what might be going on would be greatly appreciated.

Can they not eat by themselves?

 

If they can eat by themselves I would let them have chick starter free choice. The Corid should be the only source of water available. It is fine to mix corid water in with the Chick Starter to make a mash, just put it in a bowl or plate and let them eat what they want. Eliminate or Limit any treats you are feeding at the moment and focus on giving them proper nutrition through the Chick Starter.

 

Let them drink the Corid water free choice.

 

Corid dosage for Cocci is 1 1/2 teaspoons Corid powder per gallon or  2 teaspoons of 9.6% Corid liquid per gallon

Give for 5-7 days - make sure this is the ONLY water available during that time period. Mix a fresh batch at least once a day.

 

After the 5-7days of Corid, offer poultry vitamins and some probiotics/plain yogurt for a few days.

 

I would think that Cocci is more likely candidate of their illness  than Ulcerative Enteritis, but you just never know. You can take a fecal sample to your vet to have a fecal float performed to confirm the presence  of bacterial infection, that way he prescribe you a better antibiotic.

 

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/poultry/ulcerative_enteritis/overview_of_ulcerative_enteritis_in_poultry.html

post #5 of 11

I agree with Wyorp Rock - make certain that the only water they can drink is treated with corid, and use the treated water to mix up the chick feed into mash.  I find that all my birds prefer eating wet mash to dry feed, and even more so when they are ill.

 

Started out with 3 birds. Currently at 10 pullets, 1 roo and 5 chicks

- chicken maths is definitely getting the better of me!

 

Member of the Derperella Club - we're all just going round the rooster here.

 

RIP Blackie (the best hen ever), Rusty (too curious once too often) and Cinders (my grey girl)

 

 

Reply
 

Started out with 3 birds. Currently at 10 pullets, 1 roo and 5 chicks

- chicken maths is definitely getting the better of me!

 

Member of the Derperella Club - we're all just going round the rooster here.

 

RIP Blackie (the best hen ever), Rusty (too curious once too often) and Cinders (my grey girl)

 

 

Reply
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyorp Rock View Post

Can they not eat by themselves?

If they can eat by themselves I would let them have chick starter free choice. The Corid should be the only source of water available. It is fine to mix corid water in with the Chick Starter to make a mash, just put it in a bowl or plate and let them eat what they want. Eliminate or Limit any treats you are feeding at the moment and focus on giving them proper nutrition through the Chick Starter.

Let them drink the Corid water free choice.

Corid dosage for Cocci is 1 1/2 teaspoons Corid powder per gallon or  2 teaspoons of 9.6% Corid liquid per gallon
Give for 5-7 days - make sure this is the ONLY water available during that time period. Mix a fresh batch at least once a day.

After the 5-7days of Corid, offer poultry vitamins and some probiotics/plain yogurt for a few days.

I would think that Cocci is more likely candidate of their illness  than Ulcerative Enteritis, but you just never know. You can take a fecal sample to your vet to have a fecal float performed to confirm the presence  of bacterial infection, that way he prescribe you a better antibiotic.

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/poultry/ulcerative_enteritis/overview_of_ulcerative_enteritis_in_poultry.html



I'm sorry, I should have been more specific. The only water provided to them was the corid water. I fed them the mash because they were so emaciated and they didn't seem to be drinking much or eating. After a day or so they started to get excited to see me and attacking the syringe so I started offering it to them in a bowl as well. Once I was satisfied they were eating that well, I stopped syringe feeding. The increased appetite was the only improvement I saw. They really like the mash. However, in spite of eating well they continue to deteriorate. It was my understanding that with coccidiosis I should expect to see some improvement within 48 hours on the medication. That's why I started researching what else had similar symptoms. The link you listed is actually what helped me make that hypothesis. They were on the amprolium for 5 days at 1 1/2 tsp per gallon before I decided to go a different route. I still have plenty left, I can put them back on it but it really didn't seem to be doing anything. I did buy some vitamin/probiotic supplement to add into their water when they were finished with the corid, but then I decided to try antibiotics so I figured that would be counter productive to the probiotics. I have some poultry nutri drench, but I'm not sure if vitamins would interfere with the antibiotics. I know that you shouldn't give vitamins with amprolium, but that's not an antibiotic. I'm not even sure if I should continue to give the antibiotics at this point, or just stop meds completely and put them on probiotics. I doubt that little splash chick will make it through the night, she's doing so poorly. I just feel so helpless.
post #7 of 11

I understand now.:)

 

If it is Cocci and they had treatment for 5days you should have seen improvement.

If it's a bacterial infection like ulcerative enteritis like you suspect, you will most likely need a stronger/better antibiotic from your vet than what you are using, that's why I recommended you take a sample to have it tested. It will at least give you a starting point, if the fecal floats turn up nothing, then it may be time to look at diseases.

 

Were they vaccinated for Marek's?

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
They were not vaccinated for marek's. I definitely won't make that mistake again. I hope that's not what this is. That would be a disaster. I sell chicks and hatching eggs. I know marek's symptoms can be all over the place, but I had kind of ruled it out since they stopped growing at 2 weeks. I could be wrong, but I consider that a symptom. I didn't separate them at that time since they seemed otherwise ok, but once they started looking lethargic I pulled them all and put them in another brooder. Also, there's no iris deformities or paralysis. I know that's not definitive, but all these things combined led me to rule that out in the beginning.

All of the chicks made it through the night, but they're still not looking good. I did notice that the diarrhea stopped. However, the poop looks like undigested chick mash. Solid, but the exact same color and texture of the mash they are eating. It seems like they are not digesting their food at all, and thus slowly starving to death. Perhaps they did have cocci, and the corid worked but they have something else going as well. As far as stronger antibiotics go, I have penicillin and tylan 50 injectable in the fridge, and clavamox 500mg tablets. I would love to have some tests run and get a prescription but that's just not an option at the moment. We just went through 2 rounds of surgery on our olde English bulldog after our pit mix tried to rip her throat out, and then casts and corrective shoes for my mare who has high ringbone. It's been a rough month on the farm, and I can't afford anything extra until next payday. I wish I could. So I'm stuck trying to do what I can with what I've got. I'm torn right now between just putting them on the probiotic/vitamin supplement and seeing if restoring gut flora does the trick or trying one of the stronger antibiotics I have. I don't think I can use the injectable. They're so small and emaciated I'm not sure I could safely inject anything. They really have no muscle. So I guess if I treated with antibiotics the best route would be to grind up a pill and dilute it in enough water to make the appropriate dosage. I'm kind of leaning towards vitamins and probiotics since they seem so malnourished. That may be the real issue at this point. Poor little things. I hate feeling so impotent.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerrismama View Post

They were not vaccinated for marek's. I definitely won't make that mistake again. I hope that's not what this is. That would be a disaster. I sell chicks and hatching eggs. I know marek's symptoms can be all over the place, but I had kind of ruled it out since they stopped growing at 2 weeks. I could be wrong, but I consider that a symptom. I didn't separate them at that time since they seemed otherwise ok, but once they started looking lethargic I pulled them all and put them in another brooder. Also, there's no iris deformities or paralysis. I know that's not definitive, but all these things combined led me to rule that out in the beginning.

All of the chicks made it through the night, but they're still not looking good. I did notice that the diarrhea stopped. However, the poop looks like undigested chick mash. Solid, but the exact same color and texture of the mash they are eating. It seems like they are not digesting their food at all, and thus slowly starving to death. Perhaps they did have cocci, and the corid worked but they have something else going as well. As far as stronger antibiotics go, I have penicillin and tylan 50 injectable in the fridge, and clavamox 500mg tablets. I would love to have some tests run and get a prescription but that's just not an option at the moment. We just went through 2 rounds of surgery on our olde English bulldog after our pit mix tried to rip her throat out, and then casts and corrective shoes for my mare who has high ringbone. It's been a rough month on the farm, and I can't afford anything extra until next payday. I wish I could. So I'm stuck trying to do what I can with what I've got. I'm torn right now between just putting them on the probiotic/vitamin supplement and seeing if restoring gut flora does the trick or trying one of the stronger antibiotics I have. I don't think I can use the injectable. They're so small and emaciated I'm not sure I could safely inject anything. They really have no muscle. So I guess if I treated with antibiotics the best route would be to grind up a pill and dilute it in enough water to make the appropriate dosage. I'm kind of leaning towards vitamins and probiotics since they seem so malnourished. That may be the real issue at this point. Poor little things. I hate feeling so impotent.

I would say go with your gut.

 

Give them some vitamins and probiotics/plain yogurt, these can be mixed with their chick starter to make a mash - I know mine love wet feed and I think you mentioned yours did too.  (I provided a list of vitamins and what they do in the link below).

 

Somehow I missed the "stopped growing at 2wks" earlier, yes, I agree that would be a symptom to consider. 

 

I hope nutritional/vitamin deficiency is the problem and can be corrected. Here is more information on vitamins deficiencies and how they can affect chicks, you may find some usefully information from these:

http://www.tillysnest.com/2014/03/vitamin-deficiencies-in-backyard-chicks-html/

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/3508/importance-of-vitamins-in-poultry-production/

 

 

And like you need more reading :) this is one of the better articles I have found about Marek's. She details the different ways it can present, which is quite a few, from paralysis, to not eating/emaciation, to ocular/eye problems to skin lesions. It's a long article, but worth a read, especially the symptoms and disease detail section. Also the section on what can "mimic" - such as vitamin deficiencies.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-great-big-giant-mareks-disease-faq

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I appreciate it. I actually love research, so I always appreciate a little extra reading.😉 I'm definitely going to start them on the vitamins, and hope for the best. I have a friend who's a biologist at UW and she agreed to arrange a necropsy and pcr for marek's. So at least I'll have answers. I really hope it's just a vitamin deficiency. Fingers crossed!
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