Chick just died in my hand, contagious???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Lucky KY Chicks, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. Lucky KY Chicks

    Lucky KY Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 46, now 45, 5 week old chicks of various breeds. I have had them since they were 3 to 5 days old. Day before yesterday I moved them from one side of the barn to the other into a larger cage. Tonight I came out to feed and as I entered barn one Black Copper Marans appeared to have its head leaned up against the wooden frame of the cage. It looked odd so I shook the cage and woke him up. He stargazed a bit then flopped around and then laid still. He almost appeared to jerk with a seizure as he flapped his wings and drug his feet behind him. The wooden frame had clear liquid drips down it where his head had laid against it. I went in the cage and picked him up. He barely jerked but his body was limp. I felt a heart beat for another 30 seconds or less and then he was dead. Not sure what caused this but all chicks appeared completely normal this morning. They were given some layer feed by my mom but this is not what they have been feed. Just wondering if this is contagious sounding or possibly an isolated incident. Chicks body is unmarked. Craw is not over stuffed but has food and water in it. Neck is not disconnected but a fracture cannot be ruled out. Other chicks show no symptoms but this chick literally just died. Also, his body got cold and stiff in under 5 minuets. Seemed awfully quick to me. He was very much still warm with a heart beat when I picked him up. Opinions?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    my opinions:

    1. I hate things like this, ans yes, they do just happen.

    2. You said old barn..so I would do a very thorough search (in the morning) for nails, small wires, lead paint, rodent poisons, etc. etc. etc.

    3. I would carefully look a t poops, if it is too difficult to see anything, clean the entire area thoroughly, and then watch the new poops for blood or worms.

    If all of the above comes up close to zero, try to breathe, watch carefully, and see if there are any other birds with symptoms.

    It is possible that it was a freak whatever kind of thing.
     
  3. Lucky KY Chicks

    Lucky KY Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just found my third Black Copper Marans dead. I now have a theory that they are smothering themselves to try and stay warm. Last night when I did a final check on them I found all the BCMs at the bottom of the chick pile. They seemed to burrow themselves under all the other chicks. They were almost humid feeling when I drug them out from under the pile. Incidentally, when I moved them from their old cage to their new one, I also removed their heat lamp. I hadn't seen them use it in a while and they were 5 weeks old then, almost 6 weeks old now. I thought surely they wouldn't need a heat lamp in our 70-80 degree weather. Are BCMs normally this cold natured? I will be putting the heat lamb back up for tonight. I'm hoping it keeps me from finding another dead baby in the morning :/
     
  4. Mahan5175

    Mahan5175 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sorry for your losses! I hope the heat lamp works and it's nothing else!!
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    At that age, unless it's very cold they shouldn't need supplemental heat, although chicks that are not feeling well may try to burrow under the others for added warmth. With multiple deaths in that age group I would be very suspicious of coccidiosis and I would treat asap with a course of Corid. You won't always see blood in the poop so don't depend on that for a dianosis. Sometimes it doesn't occur at all and sometimes it happens as it progresses, if the chick lives that long. Your best bet is to just treat them all with Corid so you can at least rule it out. And if it is coccidiosis you can easily put a stop to the losses.
     
  6. Lucky KY Chicks

    Lucky KY Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not fond of using antibiotics with out proof of need. Since no one has even acted lethargic and there are no bloody stools(put white shavings down and sat and watched for an hour), I'm opting out of corid for now. I did hook the heat lamp up last night and they all were perfect this morning. Fingers crossed for tonight as well.
     
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Corid is not an antibiotic and it does not function in the same way at all. It simply works by mimicking thiamine and thereby starving the cocci protozoa, it does not even kill off all of the cocci, it just stops it from overgrowing and overwhelming the chicks. That gives the chicks time to develop their own resistence. Unlike treating with antibiotic's there are never any drawbacks to running a course of Corid.

    As mentioned, you also cannot depend on the presence, or lack, of blood in the stool. Sometimes you will see blood sometimes you won't. Sometimes you will only see blood once the illness has progressed far enough to cause sufficient intestinal damage. At that point your chances of saving them are much decreased.
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I also would treat with Corid (amprollium) since you have now had 3 deaths, and this the age when coccidiosis is such a problem. Cocci can cause chilling, weakness, and may eventually cause them to stop eating and drinking. That is a problem when they are too sick to drink the medication. Corid does no harm, so it would be worth it to try. Dosage is 2 tsp of the liquid per gallon of water for 5-7 days.
     
  9. Lucky KY Chicks

    Lucky KY Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This may be completely unrelated, but I doubt it. I found another dead BCM this morning. This one was missing a leg. At this point I suspect a young coon and I'll be setting traps and moving the babies tonight. I'm very upset it took me this long to figure this out. That's why I believe it is a young coon because it took it several nights to figure out how to actually get any of its catch through the wire so that it could eat it and because there were no marks on any of the other casualties. I still don't understand why only the BCMs are being targeted so maybe I am just completely off base. At any rate, I have some predator that is here now even if it wasn't responsible for the first deaths. Please excuse my stupidity. We haven't had chickens in years and I forgot how crafty predators are.
    @cafarmgirl Thanks for the information on Corid. I did assume it was an antibiotic so I will have to do some research
     

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