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4 day old chick choking on crumbles

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by iopele, May 18, 2007.

  1. iopele

    iopele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    Texas
    Hi, first off I don't know what all info will help you out so I'm including everything I can think of. Sorry if it's too much.

    This evening I received eleven Araucana chicks by mail (4 dead in box) that hatched on Monday and were mailed to me Tuesday. We picked them up tonight and the live ones were cold in the box--the USPS had them in air conditioning--with the 4 dead ones piled on one side of the box and the others congregated at the far end. They were packed with some straw and there were no visible droppings on it, tho 3 of the babies were pasted fairly badly.

    Of the 11 survivors, one seems weak and slightly smaller than the rest. (He's not one of the pasted ones.) We rigged up a mini-brooder with a heat lamp for the 4 hour trip home and I monitored the temp all the way--it stayed between 88 and 95. We gave them all sugar-water every hour on the trip and again when they went into the home brooder before giving them medicated chick crumbles. This little weak one seems to be choking or having trouble swallowing it.

    It pecks for a while, then stops, closes its eyes, and sort of rears and arches--it really looks like a rooster about to crow--and gapes its beak open. This is repeated over and over. It's breathing all right, but it's clearly trying to swallow and not able to. It's also only chirped once since I've been helping it and watching it--almost an hour now. I've also "unplugged" it 3 or 4 times with a blunted swizzle stick. It sort of hacks up crumbles to the back of its throat and I scoop them out of the back of its mouth with the stick. Every time I clear it out, I've dribbled several drops of sugar water into its mouth and make sure it swallows.

    It walks around fine and seems very interested in pecking, but I haven't seen it get its own drink of water yet. I've dipped its beak several times and it swallows that fine, but when I let it go, it doesn't continue drinking like the others do. It's also the only one who's stopped exploring the new brooder so far--it's gone to the warmest corner and is sleeping now.

    I'm really, really concerned. Is this chick just too weak to eat and drink? I don't know because it's moving around all right and apart from being the first to go to sleep, doesn't seem otherwise listless. What should I do to help it? Do I need to give it special food or more water? Am I just being paranoid? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Stress and dehydration (the golden rule is never to feed >dry feed< to a dehydrated bird and always warm the bird up before giving fluids)...I am assuming the birds are now warm to their normal body temperature...such a journey is always hard on a chick but in this instance we are talking definite stress and after warming they should have access to vit/electrolytes (purchase at feed store or at pet store> even a bit of diluted gatorade in a pinch or pedialyte, but they need electrolytes!
    re the chick which is stretching its neck:
    my first thought is that it has something caught in its throat (perhaps a bit of the straw packing material from the journey?) that bird NEEDS fluid and all the chicks need electroytes after such a journey... I am unsure what to tell you on whatever is caught in its throat (perhaps you can see a pice if you look into its throat?) If it is not drinking sufficiently then try this and handfeed it:
    http://dlhunicorn.conforums.com/index.cgi?board=emergencies&action=display&num=1162030046
    http://www.anmldr.com/PalmVet/SA-18-7-8-9.htm#rehydration

    (small excerpt):
    "Cereal-based oral rehydration solution can be made by mixing 1/2 cup dry, precooked infant's rice cereal with 2 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. This mixture is thick but drinkable. It is just as effective as glucose-based oral solutions in preventing and treating dehydration and has the added advantage of reducing the volume and duration of diarrhea.
    Ronald E. Whitford, DVM - Veterinary Forum, August 1999"
    Note: Human formulation info regarding above:
    http://www.medicinenet.com/diarrhea/page7.htm
    "Infalyte is the only one that contains rice carbohydrate instead of glucose."
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2007
  3. iopele

    iopele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    Texas
    Thank you, dlhunicorn! I'll get one of my kids to hold a flashlight so I can see down its throat better to find out if there's some straw caught or something. It's sleeping now and breathing fine, and the brooder temp has been right at 90 since I put them in it, so I think it'll be all right until I can get one of my sons to be my "medical assistant" when they wake up in a few hours.

    I didn't have any pedialyte and they were sold out at the grocery store (perils of living in a tiny town), but I do have some gatorade powder. I'll put just a sprinkling of it into their water to help them out. Storey's Guide had recommended 1 1/2 cups of sugar per gallon as good for stressed chicks so we've been doing that. The others are doing really well and seem fine. I'll get the dropper and make sure it gets a really good drink of either the sugar water or the gatorade.

    Thanks for the reply! I'll also look into making some of that liquid food if we can't see anything stuck in its throat.
     
  4. iopele

    iopele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    Texas
    Just wanted to update that the chick seems to be doing just fine now. Dunno what his deal was because we never did find any blockage or anything, but it's apparently resolved by itself. Yay!

    I bought some Pedialyte today and put some in their water, and they're all eating very well. Three are still having the pasty butts, so after cleaning them again tonight, we coated their butts with Vaseline to keep it from sticking. Can't say the chicks enjoyed the procedure much, even though I kept telling them it would keep me from having to do the soapy-water butt-scrub they hate even more. I don't think they believed me.

    And now they're just worn out from a full day of cuteness!
    [​IMG]

    Thanks again for the advice!
     

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