BYC rookie with sick baby chicks

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TLJ88, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. TLJ88

    TLJ88 Hatching

    Aug 11, 2014
    I am a first time backyard chicken owner with 4, sadly now 3 baby chicks. We are so excited about starting this new adventure with chickens and I have been reading endlessly on BYC as I have tried to deal with what is possibly two separate problems. Our chicks are 2 weeks old. One died the second day we got them from "my pet chickens (MPC)". We went and got one more chick a few days later from a local hatchery. One of the MPC chicks has had constipation for a long while. She strains with chirping and I can see her vent protruding as she tries to poop. Her poops are then small and thick. I have tried molasses, yogurt, warm baths to the bum, and olive oil enemas. I think she is straining less but has had some bloody poop. Continues to eat, drink, and remains active. The last enema I gave was two nights ago with a syringe.

    Well, in addition to this problem, another MPC chick has been sneezing. No drainage from her beak, eating fine, and has been the perkiest, most active of all 4 chicks. (Of note, the chick from the local hatchery has not had any problems.)
    This morning, I woke up to find the sneezing, active chick dead. When I found her, she was laying in the waterer with her upper half of her body including her head out of the water. The water was only on inch deep and she was the most active, so I don't think she could have drowned. Also, there was much more blood stained pine chips, mostly with poop but some blood stained pine chips were not near poop either.

    This has been unbelievably sad for my family. With only 4 chicks, that was a big blow. So now I have a few questions.

    #1 Was this a respiratory illness related death as she was sneezing and seemed to have started sneezing more last night? I didn't treat because she was so active and didn't seem to have a runny nose.

    #2 Could this have been coccidiosis? She was not having any bloody poops. The increased blood I believe was from the bloody poops of my constipated chick

    #3 Should I treat my 3 chicks with oxytetracycline for a presumed respiratory infection?

    #4 Should I treat my 3 chicks for coccidiosis?

    #5 Does anyone think 3 chickens will be fine. I worry that since they're such social birds, 3 would be too few. Also, if I lose one more then two would definitely be too few.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I think i might drive up to Meyer Hatchery and pick up two more chicks.

    My 7 year old has already started creating a chick cemetery in our backyard. Sad day.
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I'm sorry for your loss. If your other chicks are not sneezing, I wouldn't start them on oxytetracycline yet. All it will do is stress out their systems. However, I would begin treating for Coccidiosis. Many intestinal problems (including constipation) can be intensified due to coccidia infestations, and of course, Coccidiosis lowers a bird's immune system to respiratory and other diseases.

    As for the number of chicks you should have, three is fine. If the number drops to two, though, I would get another chick(s), since if the second one dies, there will be one lonely chick.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  3. TinyBirds

    TinyBirds Songster

    Jul 9, 2009
    I agree, treat for cocci only for now. If it's something worse than just cocci you'd be better off completely starting over after sanitizing. Also make sure your brooder temperature is warm enough. I find chicks like it hotter as long as they have a place to get further from the light when they want.
    We use corid powder for cocci. 1/4 tsp for a quart size waterer. Treat for 4 days or so.
    Oh, and I would get 10 chicks, if it was me!
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014

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