Babies keep dying--- 3 today! UGH-- send me in the right direction!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by arwmommy, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. arwmommy

    arwmommy Songster

    Apr 13, 2007
    Ok BYC experts, I just need a little help figuring out what is going on here. This is my 3rd set of babies in the last 2 years and I have had only 2 deaths out of like 35 chicks (one squished by accident, and one died within 24 hours of arriving) so I have no experience with this!

    Background: Three weeks ago today, we got 12 babies from Ideal, all arrived healthy and chirping and happy. We put them under a broody hen, who accepted them immediatly, keeping them warm and showing them how to be a chicken! They have been eating Organic Starter (not medicated-- nor were they vaccinated, we only have a small flock of 8 bantam hens) and have been drinking, running around fine, free ranging and acting like normal baby chicks should, digging at dirt, eating small worms, flies, etc.

    Last week (they were 2 weeks old) we had one baby dead in the morning. It looked like he got out of the nest box area at night and couldn't find his way back in. Very sad, but understandable.
    Death #2 was a few days later, the chick was acting very funky--- hard time walking, all wobbly and breathing heavy, holding out wings, not keeping up. The butt was a *little* pasty (not blocked), so I cleaned it off, but he was gone the next morning.
    Death #3 was totally a surprise, baby was just dead in the nest box.
    Death #4 was the same as #2-- wobbly on feet, can't really walk, keep up, breathing hard all yesterday, bit of pasty but, and was dead this morning.

    OK, so something is going around. I start examining every baby really closely, thinking that this is now not 3 random things, I am seeing an illness. One baby looks like it is in the very early stages, but within a few hours (the others took like a day and a half), it was dead baby #5 (but no pasty butt). So now I am freaking out. I call our vet and ask if they can run some tests, they say NO, call the extension office to ship a dead body for testing, "but there really isn't anything you can do anyway. Whoever lives, lives." Well, we have dead baby #6 this evening, same symptoms (wobbly, can't walk, but no pasty butt)...... 3 today! I will be calling and shipping to the extension tomorrow (hopefully), but it seems that by the time we have any answers, we may not have any more babies. [​IMG]

    My 5 and 10 year old are devestated, and so am I. What could this be, and how do I (or can I?) protect the other babies from this? Will this spread to my big girls? I am so sick of burying babies and having to explain to my daughter why this keeps happening. We now have only 6 of 12 babies, and they all seemed perfectly fine a week ago.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. I have been trying to look through old posts, but feel like I don't even know what this could be, so am unable to search for this illness or google it.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  2. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Oh man...I'm So sorry and I don't know what to tell you but I wanted to give you a bump to see if anyone else may know. I hope you get answers fast. You don't have cedar anywhere do you?
  3. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing Premium Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Call Ideal and ask if they have heard back from anyone else with similar mortalities. Im not saying that it is their fault, but sometimes diseases do originate in the hatchery, as evidenced by an outbreak last spring at MM of AE (Avian Encephelomyelitis). I hate to even mention it because the resulting threads got very ugly and many had to be locked. However, it is a possibility.

    But then it is also possible that they have a nutritional deficiency such as vit. E, or are getting too cold, or have eaten something poisonous/moldy/botulism, or have developed a disease that your other birds are carriers of, or are even dehydrated. Their feed could be moldy or deficient.

    I think that you are wise to send a dead chick to your local extension for a necropsy.

    Im sorry, I wish that I could help. Here is a site that may give you some clues.

  4. Minx

    Minx In the Brooder

    Sep 29, 2008
    Western Australia
    Such a shame ... poor little things [​IMG] Like the other poster said, I would also phone up the place where you got them from and find out if anyone else has had the same problem.

    It could be ....

    In poultry aspergillosis is most commonly associated with baby chicks and turkey poults less than 3 weeks of age. Infection usually follows the inhalation of fungal spores from dirty incubators (brooder pneumonia), wet saw dust litter or contaminated feed. Respiratory infection is most common under these conditions but conjunctival infections can sometimes occur if the cornea has been injured by high ammonia levels in the air close to the litter. In addition to the lung and air sacs, the brain and posterior chamber of the eye may be colonized with fungal hyphae.

    4.1. Clinical signs
    The infection in most birds usually presents itself as air sacculitis or granulomatous pneumonia. It can involve any areas of the respiratory tract including the sinuses, choana, pharynx, trachea, air sacs and lung parenchyma. It is also capable of invading other visceral organs as an extension of air sacculitis or through hematogenous spread. Conversely it may occur only in localized form (e.g fungal rhinitis).

    4.2. Diagnosis
    Diagnosis is based on clinical signs, hematology, radiographs, laparoscopy, serology (antigen and antibody), and finally culture. Serology tests are not foolproof but are extremely helpful especially when used with protein electrophoresis. Paired samples are recommended. Currently, making a clinical diagnosis of aspergillosis can be very difficult!

    Successful treatment is based on early diagnosis. Unfortunately, the disease has often progressed too far by the time diagnosis is made (radiographic lesions). Various systemic antifungal drugs that are efficacious include: amphotericin B and flucytosine (combination therapy), and newer generation imidazoles such as itraconazole, enilconazole, and fluconazole. Recent evidence suggests that the new agent terbinafine (Lamisil) may be more effective than any of the imidazoles. Methods of therapeutic administration will vary, depending on the location of the disease and situation. Nebulization (amphotericin B, enilconazole) is very useful as an adjunctive therapy in treating respiratory tract disease. All cases require prolonged therapy and very close monitoring to produce successful results. Prognosis is generally poor except for very localized infections.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: