2 chick looks sick, behaving very strangely.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Phi Ratio, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. Phi Ratio

    Phi Ratio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2015
    I'm not sure how to describe the sort of heaving, rocking motion that began two days ago and keeps getting more pronounced in our baby Barred Rock, so it's hard to search the internet. I took a video and uploaded it to YouTube in the hope that someone here might know what is wrong. (So sorry for the noisy kids in the background.) This is the first time we've tried to raise chickens, and we're getting pretty worried about this one, because this motion you see in this video NEVER seems to stop, even when she's sleeping.

    I have separated her now, but she has been in a 3 foot long box, with 3 other pullets, each of different breeds, with a heat lamp at one end. Currently the hottest part of the box reads 90 degrees. I don't see any of them gathering frequently in either the hottest or coldest spots. They have chick feed, electrolyte water, wood shavings, a roost, and we clean it out every couple of days.

    It was actually just her and one other for one week, and she seemed the dominant of the two. Then we introduced two more younger chicks, one of which quickly asserted herself as the new sheriff in town. That's when we first noticed this, like a shiver, which we at the time interpreted as fear. When it continued steadily, we thought this seemed odd, but probably harmless. But in two days, it's gotten a little more pronounced and she's eating, drinking, pooping, and moving less. She seems to have stopped growing. And she's getting pecked half to death. Has anyone seen this kind of chick behavior before? Is she going to make it?
     
  2. Phi Ratio

    Phi Ratio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2015
    That title is supposed to say 2 *week old* chick. There's not some way to change the title of the thread, is there?
     
  3. Phi Ratio

    Phi Ratio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2015
    My wife heard a bit of a clicking in her chirp this morning. "Clicking" ended up being a good search term for what looks like might be the same behavior. It led us to this thread which suggests this may be a respiratory infection. So we've started her on Duramycin this morning. Still hoping she'll be OK.
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Welcome to BYC. Clicking can be a sign of respiratory or heart problems. Check her chest, neck, and abdomen for any puffy area that may be air under the skin. That can be a leaking air sac or subcutaneous emphysema from an injury. The crop on the right upper chest is normally puffy when full of food.
     
  5. Phi Ratio

    Phi Ratio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2015
    Thank you so much!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  6. Phi Ratio

    Phi Ratio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2015

    Thank you so much for your reply! I checked her out again, looking for puffy spots like you suggested. I definitely don't feel that kind of thing. The puffiest parts I feel are the crop and he belly near the vent (large intestines I guess?). The clicking sound is very subtle and occasional. The heaving, rocking movements shown in the linked video are the most apparent symptoms.
     
  7. Phi Ratio

    Phi Ratio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2015
    She seems to be improving! Between my first post and when we started administering Duramycin, she had deteriorated further, slept standing up in a corner, and was panting heavily. We separated her and the other chick she had been with the longest from the younger two and gave Duramycin to both. (We thought we might be seeing the beginning of symptoms in the other too.) We're about 24 hours on the Duramycin and already she has started to sit or roost to sleep and breathing has calmed somewhat. She still hasn't started growing again yet, but we're hopeful.
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Keep us updated on her progress. It's good to hear that she is stronger.
     
  9. Phi Ratio

    Phi Ratio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2015
    Her breathing continues to improve, and I can now distinctly see growth, though she's much smaller than the other chick her age. Tail feathers are coming in. We have had a couple days warm enough for a trip to the back yard where she has delighted in catching a few bugs. Yum. We have three days left of antibiotic. Then we will rejoin the whole flock.
     
  10. Phi Ratio

    Phi Ratio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2015
    Today is the last day in the recommended 7 day course of antibiotics. But rather than continuing to progress, she seems to have regressed in the past few days. The heaving breathing has returned to about the same level as shown in the video (which is not quite as bad as at its peak). She continues to eat, drink, and attack bugs when outside. But I can't say for certain if she has grown any more in these past few days. In fact, there is barely a difference in growth from the video, which was a week ago.

    Her friend (now more than twice her size) has not shown any symptoms, which leads me to guess that there is no threat to the rest of the flock. So I see no reason to delay the inevitable reintegration of my 4 bird flock. I'm just not sure if she will survive the pecking. The two she is separated from are younger, but much more aggressive, and not any longer any smaller than she is.

    So here's my plan... And please, if anyone has a better one, let me know... I've read on these boards that when pecking is bad enough to be a threat, prolonged separation or any direct intervention at best only delays the pain, and could make it worse. But making sure hiding places are available helps the weaker bird protect herself. In the brooder environment, I guess that means sticking random objects in there with them. The way I hope to give my sick bird a head start is by giving her "practice time" with these hiding places. So in the box with my sick bird and her friend (who also submits to the younger chicks though she's twice their size) we have some toilet paper tubes, small boxes, and a crook of a tree branch, and when we rejoin the group, those objects will be in there with them, and they will be near the food and water. My hope is that her head start will make her better at hiding than they are at routing her out of hiding.

    Any thoughts? Better ideas?
     

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