Mushy Chick Disease ~ Yolk Sack infection ~ OMPHALITIS

Omphalitis is a common cause of death in chicks during the first week of life and most common with artificially hatched chicks.
  1. Sally Sunshine
    Omphalitis
    Also known as
    Mushy Chick Disease
    &
    Yolk Sack infection


    Omphalitis is a common cause of death in chicks during the first week of life and most common with artificially hatched chicks. It is a bacterial infection of the yolk sac. Various bacteria may be involved in yolk sack infection,
    E.coli, Staphylococci, Proteus, Clostridia, fecalis and Pseudomonas.



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    Understanding the yolk sack
    Growth of a chick begins in the small fertilized area at the top of the yolk. A network of blood vessels begins to develop spreading from the embryo out over the yolk. The yolk sac is attached to the chick's navel and the chick draws nourishment from it, producing an enzyme that changes the yolk material so that it can be used as a food by the developing embryo. As the chick hatches any remaining unused yolk is drawn into the chick’s abdomen or “navel”. It will supply nourishment for the chicks first few days after hatching.

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    CAUSES
    ~ Egg & Embryo ~

    Omphalitis may be caused by a bacterium that enters through the porous egg shell. Unfortunately, incubation conditions are ideal for breeding bacteria as well as incubating eggs. BEWARE the egg that explodes in the hatching tray! This easily contaminates other eggs.
    ~ Chick ~
    As the chick is hatching its exposed umbilicus (navel) can easily be infected by bacteria. More susceptible are those newly hatched chicks resting on dirty eggs, un-sanitized incubators, and also with assisted hatching. A chick removed from the incubator prior to complete healing of the navel is also giving a chance of infection in the brooder.

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    Symptoms
    The chicks become lethargic and die quickly either during incubation or after hatching, with most dying within 48 hours from the infection. Symptoms may VARY depending on bacteria and can include poorly healed, open navels or enlarged navels, subcutaneous edema (large fluid volume in the abdomen), bluish color of the abdominal muscles and often unabsorbed yolk materials that could even smell putrid. Often yolks are ruptured and peritonitis (inflammation of the inner wall of the abdomen) is common. Chicks have little interest in food and water and are attracted to heat. Mortality often begins at hatching and can continue for 10/14 more days.

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    subcutaneous edema (large fluid volume in the abdomen)
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    unhealed navel after yolk sack rupture below

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    Below is an unhealed OPEN Navel
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    Below is an unhealed OPEN Navel
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    Below is an image of a duckling's belly with an infected navel.
    It hatched with an unabsorbed yolk, and was about a week old in the pic.
    The duckling DID survive, and is a loudmouth little call duck juvenile.


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    Treatments
    There is no specific treatment for omphalitis. Most affected birds die.
    Prevention is the best method.
    A few suggestions for treatment are to clean the navel area with iodine several times a day. I have also used Veterycin gel spray. Freshen up water with multi vitamins or Save-A-Chick daily. Watch brooder temperatures as Chilling & overheating may increase losses at this stage. Isolate chick from others to prevent spread of bacteria and avoid pecking injuries.
    Keep the brooder as clean and fresh as possible. Keep in mind that it may be wiser to humanely destroy the more severely affected chicks.



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    Prevention
    The disease is prevented by careful control of temperature, humidity, and sanitation in the incubator and Hen House! Keep the Coop and nesting boxes clean and dry. Set only fresh, clean, non-porous and uncracked eggs. If it is necessary to set dirty eggs, they should be kept away from clean eggs. Gentle sanitizers are available for cleaning dirty eggs. Always wash hands, especially when turning! ALWAYS disinfect incubators and equipment before AND after use!

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    A BIG Thank you to all of the image contributors for this Article.





    Disclaimer: Please note this information is offered as friendly advice only and, whilst I have made every effort to ensure it is accurate, I can not be held responsible if it proves not to be useful in your case!



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Comments

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  1. riskeyhatching
    Good news the bubbles stopped and the chick started chirping, well I hope that's good news. Still a vascular membrane.
  2. riskeyhatching
    I have a chick that pipped yesterday at 5:00pm central time, it was already 48hrs overdue and it pipped at the wrong end. Since the pip there hasn't been any noise the chick is only opening & closing its beak with what appears to be bubbles coming out of the beak. It also appears to have labored breathing. Do you know what the bubbles are. I should also note that the inner membrane is still very much vascular.
  3. Sally Sunshine
    not sure I getcha with edit each photo? perhaps it shows differently on an App? IDK Thanks!
  4. andreacroyle
    Thank you for so many great articles. i have read and re- read all of them. I do have one suggestion. If possible to edit, to go back and edit each photo. Some of the photos can be confusing.
  5. poult
    Wonderful article!
  6. frillydishes
    Great article!!
  7. MelissaZeno
  8. tjbuckshotbarn
  9. The Mother Hen
    Question, can chicks actually get over E. coli? I think two of my chicks might have it, or it's peritonitis.
  10. Habibs Hens
  11. sunny & the 5 egg layers
    Great Article. Good Job.
  12. Birdragon
    I just found my five day old chick dead in the nest, with it's mother pecking around in the coop. Now that I think about it, it did smell kinda funny. My bedroom window is above the chicken coop and I heard it peeping earlier this morning (it was the only chick that hatched, two died near the 15th day). I went out to check on it an hour or so later, and it was dead. There was no blood, on it's navel or anywhere. Omphalitis?
  13. theoldguy
    Great article Sally ,thanks for the info.
  14. LoveChickens123
    Thank you for the article but i do have a question if the egg explodes is the rest contaminated
  15. SilkiesForEver
    Wonderful, wonderful article. I'm so glad none of my chicks have suffered from this, but now I'll even be more cautious! Thank you!
  16. BYC Project Manager
    Congratulations! Your article is now featured on the homepage carousel! Thanks for submitting it to our BYC Article Writing Contest.
  17. Sally Sunshine
    awww so sorry!
  18. bimbals
    I lost a chick that was 9 days old today after her infected yolk sac ruptured. Thank you for the information as I didn't know what I was dealing with. It was absoutely horrid but she did have a funny smell about her for a couple of days. She would eat okay one day then avoid food and water others and was always constantly cheeping under the heater. I had to put her out of her misery but at least I know there was nothing I could have done. It is amazing though that there were not symptoms for several days.
  19. MagicMarcy66
    For my hens very first hatch and mine too we had 2 died in the shell one of which was about 10 days into the incubation and the other was because my hen stepped on the egg and cracked it wide open about a day before it was due to hatch. That one broke my heart. It happened in the middle of the night. So it was a 50% success rate.
  20. Sally Sunshine
    Your very Welcome Marcy! I know you will have a great hatch!
  21. MagicMarcy66
    Thank you Sally for your hard work and commitment to helping educate us in these disease processes to beware of. The next time I hatch a few eggs I will be better equipped.
  22. Whittni
    Thanks for sharing.
  23. 3Dchicken
    Sounds good, Sally!!!

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