3 week old sneezing chicks - what else should I watch for? [UPDATE]

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Wynette, May 8, 2008.

  1. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    I've got 19 chicks in a metal horse trough in my basement with a heat lamp on them. They are on pine shavings, are on medicated chick feed, and they've been on Avia Charge 2000 in their drinking water since hatching.

    Two days ago, one was sneezing occasionally, but seemed fine otherwise. Last night, I now have 5-6 of them that are all sneezing. I change their bedding twice a week. The original chick is now looking a bit lethargic (eyes half closed, sleeping more) but is drinking and eating, and I don't see any abnormal poop. I do have water soluble Terramycin, but hate to begin it for them all unless I absolutely have to, as I don't want to promote antibiotic resistant diseases.

    I searched here and found many folks with issues such as mine aroudn this age, but I'm not find the answer to my question, which is: how do I make a decision on whether or not to start Terramycin or something else? Should I wait it out, hoping they recover on their own, watch for unusual poop, or just go ahead and start them all on it? I do have a 6 week old chick from another hatch in with the 3 week olds - she seems fine so far, and I can remove her if necessary.

    Also, I was going to move these chicks to my barn pen with a heat lamp this weekend; I assume I should not do this now (they're getting crowded in the trough). Thanks in advance for your feedback and advice.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    If they are getting crowded, it could be that there is dampness in the litter you aren't aware of. I noticed that with 32 chicks in a 2'x3' brooder on pine shavings with newspaper underneath, the newspaper stayed slightly damp just from the moisture in their poop (no water had leaked). I moved mine out to the nursery right away. Dampness can lead to brooder pneumonia(aspergillosis) and you would be amazed how much dampness is just in their poop and from their respiration, especially if they are getting crowded. Maybe just moving them out would help if they're getting much more space.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  3. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks, Cyn. When I clean the litter, it doens't SEEM damp, but I don't handle it with my hands, either, so that could be. [​IMG]

    Do you think it would be alright for me to take them out to my barn pen, then? The pen out there is much larger, and I'd (of course) have a heat lamp on them. it's been in the 60s to 70s during the day, colder at night (40s/50s).

    What do I watch for with aspergillosis? I sure hope that's not what's going on!
     
  4. SundownWaterfowl

    SundownWaterfowl Overrun With Chickens

    I would start terramycin just to be safe. 2 teaspoons per gallon for treament. Also, I would get some Vitamins and Electrolytes (water soluble) and use that along with the terramycin.
    Good Luck.
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Wynette, I think they'll be fine if they can get directly under the heatlamp. More room, more airflow, all the better. I have babies out in my nursery coop that are under a week old. My philosophy is to never treat with antibiotics for respiratory illness. I would allow them to recover on their own or cull, but you may also just have an allergic reaction to dust in the brooder, too.
    To check, you'd have to handle the litter with your bare hands, or the newspaper underneath if there is any. I'm not sure what all the symptoms would be, but dampness will build up before you are aware in crowded conditions. I think you'd look for gaping/open-mouth breathing, sneezing, etc. but it may not be that at all. It's just that you mentioned how crowded they were and I remembered the dampness I suddenly had with that many chicks in a too-small brooder for their numbers.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  6. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks so much, Cyn. Hopefully, moving them to the barn pen will resolve the issue. It's probably 3 times as big for floor space. I'll get it disinfected tonight & move them tomorrow. Thanks so much!
     
  7. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    I wanted to post an update - I did a thorough cleaning of the horse trough last night, and added a much thicker layer of bedding (which several promptly began dust bathing in - so cute!). Also, I put an old dehumudifier in the part of the basement they are in. By this morning, I only heard one or two sneezes! I cannot believe the difference! I think it's due to my basement being a bit too humid. It doens't feel humid to me, but I'm not a 3-week old chick!

    I am still planning on moving them to the barn pen tomorrow, but I think for now, things are much better.

    The original one with the sneezes still does not look well, and I fear I may lose him. But he's still eating and drinking, so maybe he'll pull through. Anyhow, I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Cyn and everyone else who helped!!

    [​IMG]
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Good to hear you found the culprit. Humidity is a bear with chicks and there can be molds in the area we can't sense ourselves, but will affect tiny chicks. My bsmt is a bit on the humid side in summer, especially. I thought dampness could be your issue, especially with the crowding and their accompanying poop/respiration in that too-small space. Let us know how they take to the move!
     

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