Are sneezing and litter type related?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chiknlittle, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    I have 27 chicks (26 Jumbo Cornish X Rock Males and 1 dunno). They were hatched on June 7th at MMM and arrived via USPS on June 9th. We went through the week 1 sticky bottoms just fine. Week 2 brought sneezing and a near death experience. Last Thursday they were laying out prone in the bottom of the brooder (toward the outer edge and not touching each other) and I was sure that they were dead. I put Terramycin in their water anyway, and they seem to have made a recovery. They still sneeze, but they're up fluffing their new feathers and eating and drinking like never before. I have moved the heat lamp up until I'm afraid to move it up further at risk of chilling them. They get fresh water twice a day, and the only thing I can think of is that the litter is bad. I bought it from Southern States, and it doesn't say that it is pine litter. The manufacturer's website says that the majority of it is pine litter, but there may be shavings from other soft trees as well. Should this be my concern? Should I switch to the 100% pine litter that I can get from Tractor Supply? The chicks are eating medicated chick starter because they were not vaccinated for cocci. Should I be concerned about illnesses? I'm still new and guessing, so I could really use some other thoughts and opinions about this.
     
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    I know pretty much nothing about illnesses so someone else will have to chime in on that possibility.

    However, if it was me, the first thing I'd do is switch to an all pine shavings. If there is any cedar (or other detrimental things in it) that could at least be part of the issue.

    Good luck and I hope they all get totally better quickly.
     
  3. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    Thanks Chirpy! I can't help but think that the litter is the problem along with possible overcrowding. Right now they're in my basement in a 5 ft kiddie pool from WalMart with a brooder guard around that. My husband and I are finishing the coop construction, and w plan to move them this weekend. They don't have all of their feathers yet, so I'm going to have to run an extension cord down to them so they can have their heat lamp. The hen house is bigger than the pool is enough that I'm weighing the stress of moving them versus the stress of leaving them cooped up. [​IMG] I was considering changing the litter anyways because I don't like how easily it compacts. I cleaned the brooder out yesterday morning and by last night you'd never know it had been cleaned at all. It was so packed down that they couldn't scratch in it or nest in it. That means either it's time to move them to bigger quarters, or it's shoddy litter. I'm hoping that the stuff at Tractor Supply is loftier. The fact that it could be what is making them sick is just all the more reason to try another litter. I'll use what's left of this bag to line a walkway.

    BTW, what brand of litter do you use, and where do you get it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2008
  4. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    My litter has never packed down so I think that you do need to switch.

    I get mine from my local feed stores. It's used by most people for horse stalls and is just plain ole pine shavings. I can get it in three different sizes: small (which is almost like dust - never use those), medium (this is what I use - perfect size flakes) or large (they are way too large - almost like thin chips).

    Walmart also sells it but it's way more expensive than the feed stores. (At least here it is.)

    I know that your chicks will love being moved to their outside coop. We just moved out last week and they went 'wild' flying around... I can literally see how much happier they are out there in the much larger space.
     
  5. chiknlittle

    chiknlittle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    Holy cow! What a difference. You know there are so many things that I second guess because I'm new at this and don't want to hurt the little guys, but I'm 100% sure that it was the litter. It comes in a black opaque plastic bag and I had no idea that anything was wrong until I got it home and opened it up. A tiny bit of it felt really damp so I threw it away and not knowing I used the rest. I will never make that mistake again. If I can't get it in a bag that allows me to see the shavings then I'm not buying it! [​IMG] My guess is that some may have still been damp and some of it may have gotten moldy or something since the chicks and litter are all being kept in the basement. I fixed the litter problem, now if I can just get DH to finish the coop I'll be able to get them out of the basement too! [​IMG]
     

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