Avian encephalomyelitis/encephalitis


8 Years
Sep 10, 2011
Has anyone out there had any problems trying to obtain a refund or credit from a hatchery due to the loss of baby chicks from Avian encephalomyelitis/encephalitis?

I won't name the hatchery (for now, at least!), but I'm being told that since the birds weren't lost within 48 hours (as is their stated policy), that they will not cover the loss of the chicks. Avian encephalomyelitis/encephalitis doesn't affect chicks until at least one week of age, so something like this disease obviously won't fall within that policy. It seems as if the Welsummers I ordered were the culprit, and they transferred the disease to the other chicks in the order.

I lost 12 birds out of 44 due to the disease, which was totally the hatchery's fault (since I have no other chickens but the ones I got from them), but they don't want to give me a credit.

(I guess if they refuse to give me a credit, I'll just have to obtain all my future orders from another hatchery and recommend another hatchery to friends from now on... but it's just is rather lame on their part.)



A Native Raven
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
Quote:I am so sorry that you have had to go thru the AE syndrome with your baby birds. It is a horrible way to see chicks die. I did not obtain my chicks directly from a hatchery but came thru my local feed store. (not TSC). But I do know where they came from, Privett Hatchery here in New Mexico. I brought home 4 Black Australorp chicks that were 2 days old at the time. At day 4, one of them turned up with AE, Avian Encephalomyelitis. Fortunately I was able to save her, but not before she suffered greatly for one full week of neck tremors, some paralysis and balance issues, fever and confusion. I had to force feed her and hydrate her. I wasn't sure she was going to make it and she got way behind the others in growth. But she did pull thru and is alive to this day. She may or may not lay eggs as this disease attacks the reproductive system and I can see some cataracts forming on the edges of her eyes. She is now almost 7 months old. So I feel for you.

However I did some talking to vets and local folks about these hatcheries and some of them give shots for AE the day the babies leave the hatchery. And from what I understand is that sometimes this vaccine can actually give them a reaction and cause them to get AE. They will tell you that their stock is AE free and they may or may not be telling the truth. But if they are sure their birds are clean and your chicks come down with AE, they will defend this to the end. I would think if they give you a hard time, you would need to come up with proof that the chicks actually did have AE, maybe thru a necropsy. It will cost you more than what the chicks may have been worth, however you may help others in the future ordering chicks as it may fix the problem, I do not know.

I really don't have any answers for you here. But I am sorry you had to go thru this experience. Raising chicks should be a fun ordeal and when they come down with something as AE, I know how disheartening it is. It nearly broke my heart watching this little one go thru this disease and she may suffer in the future also. Good luck Steve.

Oh and
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8 Years
Jun 30, 2011
Easton, MD
It was not efowl was it? Just curious. We had a very sick duck after a week and lost 2 ducks out of 12 they sent. It took her 8 weeks to recover completely!

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