Botulism from fermented feed?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by csgibbs, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. csgibbs

    csgibbs Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 16, 2015
    Northern California
    I am currently experiencing an illness in some of my chicks that really has me curious if anyone has experienced the same thing. I have been fermenting chick starter for about 3 weeks and everything seemed to be going well. There was no foul odor or visible mold on the feed. My chicks are 4 weeks old and on Wednesday I noticed one not able to stand up and was very wobbly. When I would put it on its feed, it would roll to the side or fall backwards. I was terrified it was Marek's, but the next day she was very much improved, although still seems to have tremors and a little uncoordination. On Thursday, I found a chick that was hanging its head very low and seemed weak. I brought it in the house and when it was apparent that it was not able to eat or drink, I syringe fed it every few hours. It became so weak last evening that it wouldn't even open it's eyes, but I continued to force feed/water it. I thought for sure it was going to die overnight, but when I checked on it this morning, it was up walking and eating on its own. Now, there is a third chick with the same floppy/flaccid neck and is very weak. Their coop is clean, they have clean water, and there is nothing dead around. They have not been out to free-range. I don't understand where it is coming from other than the fermented feed. I stopped feeding it to them when the first chick became ill on Wednesday. Does anyone know the incubation period for botulism? I have obsessively gone over and over what could be wrong and the only thing I can think of is there was possibly some mold growing around the sides of the bucket and I stirred it into the feed on accident. The feed was always submerged.
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Botulism is not a mold, nor should it grow in FF under normal circumstances. I don't think little chicks would recover from botulism in a day, if at all. It sounds like a vitamin deficiency. As for submersing the feed....if you are trying to create an anaerobic condition in doing so in an attempt to grow LABs, that's one way of actually making conditions ripe for botulism growth. You don't need to keep feed submersed to grow good scoby in your FF, so I'd dispense with that if I were you...it's messy and useless to maintain it in that manner.

    Not sure why your chicks are having this as I've had no one else report such symptoms with feeding the FF. It wouldn't be mold stirred into the feed, as it wouldn't be in any quantity sufficient to release mycotoxins enough to sicken chicks. I stir yeasts and even molds scraped off the side of the bucket into my feed all the time, for chicks and grown birds alike...it's never in quantities that would harm any bird and the organisms within the FF would inhibit the growth of the mold spores within the feed itself.

    If you are now feeding dry feed, I'd continue with that and see if the symptoms recur or persist. If they do, you might try giving some vitamins in their water and go from there.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. csgibbs

    csgibbs Out Of The Brooder

    32
    2
    26
    Sep 16, 2015
    Northern California
    Thank you. I believe it was some sort of mineral/vitamin deficiency, which is weird because I thought I was feeding them very well. I gave them all Poly-Vi-Sol for a few days and there have been no more occurrences. The sudden onset and recovery was very puzzling.
     

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