ACV warning.... suddenly my 3-week old chicks died!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SeaChick, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    I've been raising chickens for over a decade and never seen anything like this. I had 10 3-week old chicks, who'd always been among the healthiest and most vigorous I'd ever had. Yesterday I filled their food and changed their water at around 5:00. As I normally do, I added a splash of organic apple cider vinegar to the water. However, instead of using the new bottle I'd been using all along, I grabbed an old bottle with only a 1/2 inch or so left, the cloudy "mother" at the bottom.

    The chicks were COMPLETELY fine when I left. I'm well aware of how chickens look when they're ill: tail down, ruffled dull feathers, etc. These girls were all perfectly fine.

    I came back and hour and a half later to double-check the temperature in their enclosure, since it was supposed to get very cold last night. ALL BUT ONE WERE PRONE ON THE FLOOR. Many were belly up, dead. It was horrible, heartbreaking. One lone chick seemed fine, and three were still breathing. I brought the four into the house and tried to get them to drink. Two were too far gone and died in my hands, convulsing. The one healthy one seemed fine, and the one I'd gotten to drink (who was lying down breathing heavily and very listless) did make it through the night and is a bit better today.

    The ONLY thing that was different yesterday was the different apple cider vinegar. The cage was the same, everything else the same. I cannot imagine what else could cause such a sudden death than some type of poison, so I'm assuming there was something about that vinegar. My theory is that the one unaffected chick didn't drink any.

    If anyone has any other ideas, I'd love to know, but for now I'm assuming that's what it was and putting it out there as a warning...
     
  2. shoelby08

    shoelby08 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 14, 2016
    Hastings fl
    How terrible!! Maybe the leftovers in the old bottle had become too acidic for their little systems. I give acv too to my chickens at a rate of about 2 tbsp a gallon,so its really extremely weak,how large is your waterer? Hopefully someone else will chime in, once again so sorry of your loss.
     
  3. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Thank you. That's my theory as well. Or maybe the concentration of the "mother" down at the bottom? It's a small chick waterer.... quart size maybe? And I put a splash in, probably 1/2-3/4 tsp. Quite diluted... and the same amount I've been giving them for weeks with no ill effect at all. In fact, these chicks were especially robust and healthy.

    The only other "iffy" thing is that it was quite cold here yesterday and the previous night, and they're out in a shed. However, they had two het lamps and the cage was covered with a packing blanket. And that set-up and temps had been the same for at least 36 hours prior and they were not seeming listless or ill or cold or anything at all. If there had been some evidence of poor health, or they had died one by one over a period of time, I might have thought they'd just gotten too cold at some point. But the incredibly abrupt, sudden die-off is what leads me to believe they were poisoned.

    Anwyay -i t's the first time something catastrophic like this has happened in any of my flocks. I feel just terrible!
     
  4. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
    I'm so sorry that you lost your chicks like this! It's crazy how attached we get to this little fluff balls! Hugs!
     
  5. JoeP

    JoeP Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 2, 2009
    Eastern Massachusetts
    Seachick I'm sorry about your chicks! Just a thought.. You said it was a old cloudy bottle of ACV. Could the problem possibly be whether or not the ACV is a raw unfiltered ACV?
    I don't know if that would matter or not but I would think a pasteurized or filtered ACV might not have bacterial growth compared to a RAW ACV? Just a idea.
     
  6. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    I suppose! I've always used organic raw ACV in the past without any ill effect though. And the new bottle I'd used with these girls previously was also raw... but it wasn't the cloudy dregs. It's really such a mystery. I really wish I knew definitively, because I'm sort of scared to put any other chicks in the same environment now in case it was something else!
     
  7. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    This does sound suspicious. If you want to know for sure, consider submitting one of the bodies to your state veterinary diagnostic lab for necropsy. You can google to find their website and submission procedures/fees.
     
  8. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Good idea! I just called and got the procedure for sending them to the state vet.
     
  9. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    When you get results, please update this thread. I'm sure quite a few people would be interested.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Yes, please post the results. Hopefully they can come to a conclusion.

    Vinegar is acidic, which means it can dissolve metals. How was that stored? Did it perhaps absorb any heavy metals or create some other chemical compound that poisoned them?

    You said everything else was the same. Did that include the waterer? Maybe a different “metal” waterer? I assume it was the same feed and feeder and was not moldy?

    Vinegar being acidic should stop botulism from growing in there in case the container was air tight. I’m at a loss on this. It does point to that vinegar. Could you possibly send that along to get it checked?
     

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