Cause of Death in Chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mytfarms, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. mytfarms

    mytfarms New Egg

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    This morning I had two Buff Orpington chicks that had, for lack of a better term, crooked necks. They had no balance, were getting run over by the healthy chicks, and simply did not survive. I am curious if there is a cause of death that anyone here would know of or a management issue I could correct. I have about 130 chicks in one brooder barn.
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Hi[​IMG] Welcome To BYC

    How large of a brooder do you have?
    How old are they?
    Any photos[​IMG]

    They could have been suffering from Wry Neck which can be caused by injury/head trauma, Vitamin E deficiency and certain diseases like Marek's, Avian Lymphoid Leukosis or Newcastles.

    Since you have a large quantity of chicks, I would lean toward injury/head trauma or possibly Vitamin E deficiency. Watch to see that chicks have plenty of space and are not piling into corners where they can get injured/crushed. Offer poultry vitamins containing vitamin E and Selenium in their water a couple of times a week.

    http://www.raising-happy-chickens.com/wry-neck.html
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    What are you feeding them, and what is the mill date on your feed? I'd suggest that you get some Poultry Nutri-Drench into the rest of these birds.

    Were they symptomatic before they passed aside from poor balance? Symptoms? Or otherwise, what leads you to the wry neck conclusion?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
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  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    The more info you can give us the better we may be able to help. An important question is their age. If they are baby chicks it is not Marek’s, the lesions that cause the damage have not had time to develop, for example.

    Where did you get the chicks? A hatchery, feed store, or private breeder? Feed stores get their chicks form hatcheries. Major established hatcheries should know enough about feeding their laying flock so vitamin or nutrient deficiencies are unlikely from their chicks, each private breeder is a unique case but you’d still think they would know enough on how to feed their breeding flock. If these are brand new chicks it might be worth a call to the hatchery or the breeder to discuss it with them. If you’ve had them a while, it could have something to do with your brooder or feed.

    It’s hard to do these things over the internet so the more you can help us understand the more likely we can help. I can’t think of anything else the others haven’t asked.
     
  5. mytfarms

    mytfarms New Egg

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    Thank you all for chiming in on this! I will try to get some photos later in the day. As it is, I may indeed be one to lean towards trauma. I did not know that was possible. They are all pullets, a mix of pure bred white and brown layers purchased from Murray McMurray (purchased the full vaccination regimen offered as these are my "keepers"). I have nothing but good to say about that company, the chicks are always in top shape.

    I have had them 8 days now which I reckon makes them 8 days old yesterday. My feed is milled by Ranchway, a western US mill just north of me. I have been consistently mixing the Murray "Quik Chick" electrolytes/vitamin supplement in the water over the course of brooding. I do tend to get some running from one end of the brooder to the other when I am changing out feed and water, that may well have been part of the issue. Thoughts to prevent that going forward?
     
  6. Yaychicks

    Yaychicks Just Hatched

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    We have 150 broilers each spring, more of a production type system.

    I do not use corners; we have them boarded into more of a hexagon-shape, which seems to allow many more chicks to move away if other chicks are beginning to pen them in. This may be something to consider. It also allows pockets for your feed/rake/etc :)
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    @mytfarms, Welcome to BYC! Inddition to the things already mentioned, yolk sac infections can cause wry neck. The best way to find out what caused their death would be to send them off to your state lab for necropsy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  8. mytfarms

    mytfarms New Egg

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    Again, thanks! I have been raising chickens a while with my family, but we've always done it the same old same old, 'cause "that's how we've always done it." Now that I'm the full time chicken manager, I want to improve things for the physical and psychological health of my ladies.

    Casportpony, I have already disposed of the dead, but if I have a future problem, I will bear this in mind. I likely need to take a look at my feed tag and make sure I'm meeting the nutritional requirements for them while they brood in confinement before going on pasture this spring. They seem to be healthier and happier out on range.

    Yaychicks, I will have to try that! Corners do seem to be a problem. I have plenty of material to modify the floor space a bit. Seems like a simple and logical fix to try out.

    Update for today, they are still eating and drinking like mad, growing very well across the board. No others showing any signs of problems whatsoever.
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    You might call your county extension office and chat with them. Each state has its own method for examining dead chickens. In some states the cost is basically nothing, in some it costs more. Your extension office should tell you what their costs and policies are. Also, they normally want the carcass handled a certain way, usually refrigerated, not frozen. And they can tell you where to take the carcass. Often to their office is a possibility though shipping it may work. Each state is different.

    This is good information to have for the future. You never know when this information might come in handy. One time and I generally think that stuff happens. But if it becomes a repeating event, it’s worth checking out.

    I had that type of thing happen to a grown hen, I think it was caused by an injury. I fed her hummingbird liquid with a medicine dropper, putting a drop on the tip of her beak so she could swallow it without drowning her. She recovered and was eating and drinking on her own the next day. An injury certainly could be the cause.
     

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