Chick having trouble breathing

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickkids, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. chickkids

    chickkids New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Southern NH
    Hello!
    I'm new to this forum, although I've had chickens for a few years. I've never seen this before, so I'm hoping someone else has!

    We hatched 3 chicks 7 1/2 weeks ago. They were hatched in an incubator from our own eggs. I put them out with the other chickens two days ago; they were doing well. Today, I went out to check on them, and one is having trouble breathing. She's gasping for breath, lethargic, and has extremely watery poop (my 4 yo daughter thought she was "tinkling" at one point). The other chickens and chicks are fine--eating, running around, alert, etc. This one occasionally looks bright eyed, but has no interest in eating or drinking, and doesn't care that she's by herself (I brought her in the house and put her in a box with shavings, water, and food).

    She is standing up, although she staggered a bit outside before I brought her in.

    I should also say that I call her "she" simply because I want her to be a hen. I have no idea if she's actually a rooster or even if that would change anything here.

    Thank you in advance for any and all help!
     
  2. chickkids

    chickkids New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Southern NH
    Help! Does anyone have any ideas?
     
  3. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    It's hard to diagnose something like this without alot more info. When did this start and how long has she been this way? Is there anything she could have gotten into that she should not have?
    Put a light on her to keep her warm but not too warm and I would give her some agrimyacin (broad spectrum antibiotic) in her water. Keep a close eye on her. Try appealing to her with some mashed up boiled egg to get her to eat. It's not a diagnosis but it can't hurt her and it beats not trying to do anything. Good Luck!
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    More info would be good. Diet, bedding, weather and so on can all play a role. Do they have access to soil? Did you send a fecal sample to the vet to test for worms or cocci? I wouldn't treat for bacteria unless she has a wound or a confirmed bacterial infection. Using antibiotics can not only hide the real problem and kill off all the beneficial bacteria, it's a good way to make the drug family useless when they and even you need it as resistance can be spread throughout the environment easily.

    Keeping her isolated and warm for now is the best thing to do. At 8 weeks, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the protozoa cocci. She just may have a lower immune system to it.
     
  5. chickkids

    chickkids New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Southern NH
    Thanks for all the replies!

    The chicks had been on medicated starter feed until they went outside, then they were on layer pellets/crumble. They and the other chickens (13 in all) are contained in a coop and pen--good sized but not huge. The pen has a roughly 200 foot perimeter. They have access to fresh water, both in the coop and outside, and dirt in the pen. There is nothing this chick got into that the others couldn't have.

    I use pine shavings and/or sawdust as bedding in the coop as well as hay for nesting material. It's good hay--it's horse-quality hay.

    The chick was fine yesterday morning and when I looked out at them during the day, then yesterday afternoon (around 3 pm) I went out to give more food and noticed the chick. The others are all okay.

    There are no signs of wounds or injuries on the chick. She gasps for breath with her beak open, and bows her head and jerks downward as she breaths, then does a kind of weird sneeze (not a full blown sneeze, more like a quick, hard breath out). She moved around in the box last night but I can't tell if she ate or drank anything--I can't feel her crop at all so I don't think she has. She shows no interest in anything, although her eye is still bright.

    I don't treat with any antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor, and I've never taken a chicken to a vet (never had to). I'm not even sure where there's a chicken vet around here!

    I hope this additional information helps. Any more advice you can give me would be great. Thanks!
     
  6. chickkids

    chickkids New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2008
    Southern NH
    Does the additional information help? I'm afraid she's close to dying!

    I've called my vet, but they don't take care of chickens and don't know anyone locally who does. She gave me some things to try, but they all involve eating, which the chick isn't doing.

    I've emailed the county extension office, but haven't heard back and I'm afraid they're closed today for the holiday.

    Please help us!
     
  7. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Quote:You may have coccidia- the point of the medicated chick start is to provide nutrition for growing chicks, and to inhibit coccidia when they get invariably get exposed. Most have amprolium. It helps them not get sick from the cocci, but does not prevent the coccidia. Their own immune systems have to get immune. So you took them off of the medicated chick start and them put them out on the ground, where they come in contact with the organism- and get sick. Layer crumble is just food. I keep my chicks on medicated chick start for a good 2-3 weeks (or longer depending on how old they are), AFTER they go outside. The diarrhea is likely due to parasite exposure from the soil.

    The gasping may be respiratory infection, or maybe due to severe diarrhea and the chick is really dehydrated & shutting down. I would separate and bring it into a warm area, offer wetted medicated crumble, electrolytes in the water, try to find a vet to do a fecal float for you- have feces from the sick chick as well as some of the normal ones. If the diarrhea is really severe, you may not actually get any 'feces' from the bird, just watery mucus. If the problem is coccidia, it will be in the other chicks as well most likely. Amprolium and Sulmet are coccidia -stat drugs- they inhibit the organism, but do not kill it. If you can find a vet to help you AND if the problem is provent to be coccidia, ask about Marquis/ ponazuril. It is an off label drug in poultry, but kills coccidia. It is a horse med, but being tried off label for other species. It's cousin Baycox / toltrazuril is actually labeled for poultry, but is not available in the states.

    As for your own vet, call them back and ask for the name of the closest hospital/vet who sees exotics (birds, hamsters, bunnies, lizards ect). The receptionist should have a list of contacts to share with you. Sadly, even if this info (vet #) does not help your sick chick, it is good to have on hand if more get sick, or if you need prof help down the road.
     
  8. hankshens

    hankshens Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2008
    TN
    Try giving her water through a syringe. Hold it up to her beak and let out a drop and they usually catch on that it is water and will start drinking. Maybe if there is something stuck in her throat the water can wash it out:hugs
     

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