chicks dying for over a week

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by corvidae, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. corvidae

    corvidae Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2011
    Eight days ago, I received 18 Isbar chicks from an auction I won. When I got them, I realized they weren't all "day old" chicks--some were likely hatched within the previous day or two, but some were 10-14 days old, some maybe a week old. I was surprised, but didn't give it a lot of thought. As of now, ALL of the youngest ones are dead, leaving only the older ones (7, I think, though my brain just hiccuped and it could be 9). Most of them died within the first 72 hours after arrival. They appeared to be fine--no pasty butt, no symptoms of any kind that we could find, then an hour later, we would find another one or two dead.

    Unfortunately, when these chicks first arrived, I was in a rush and hadn't prepared their own brooder for them yet. So when we got them out of the box, I put them in another brooder with my BLRW's that I had hatched just two days before. All those BLRW's were looking great and they had never been anywhere other than the incubator and their brooder in my spare bedroom. The Isbars were in there for a few hours while we set up another brooder and got a few other things situated.

    Now all the BLRW's are dying. They started dying 2 days ago (so about 6 days after they had contact with the Isbars). We have had several die, and when I left for work, at least 6 more were dropping their wings down and acting very inactive. So, unlike the Isbars, the BLRW's are at least somewhat symptomatic.

    With the Isbars, we tried vitamin supplementation and ACV in the water. When that appeared to do no good, I discontinued that in the concern that it might have been making it worse. Didn't seem to make a difference either way. There are other chicks in the same room (ones I have hatched and some from Greenfire Farms), but in different brooders. None of them have died or are showing any symptoms. None of them had any contact whatsoever with the Isbars. We habitually use alcohol rub on our hards when moving from brooder to brooder in general cares (what can I say, I'm an ICU nurse!).

    I have no idea what to do here. I don't dare put the remaining Isbars anywhere near my remaining chicks. The ones that are left appear to be fine and no more have died in 2 days--just the BLRW's they had contact with. Does anyone have any idea what might be causing this? Is there something besides pasty butt that might kill off only the younger chicks and not the older ones? And, more improtantly, any suggestion on what I can try in order to save the remaining BLRW's? As far as I know, these chicks weren't vaccinated for anything. I'm hoping for something I can pick up at the local feed store in the morning when I get off work for these little ones. I'm also hoping I don't get home and find a pile of dead chicks. [​IMG]
  2. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    This is a great site for poultry diseases. It sounds like you have a highly pathogenic viral infection brought in by your isbars, which may have survived and are now carriers of the disease. Some of your BLRWs will live, but most may not, depending on the disease.

    I would continue to use the rubbing alcohol and make sure that NOTHING from the isbar brooder goes anywhere near other chicks. I would even move them to another room if possible (insects can transfer virus particles and infect brooders that have had no contact) and keep them away from your adult birds as well - it may be best to cull them all, wash the brooder with Oxine or another no-nonsense cleanser and call it a lesson learned. If you are spending the money for Greenfire Farms birds, it would be a huge waste to lose them to a viral disease that will perpetuate in your flock for lord knows how many years to come. It's best to never get to that point.

    I would highly recommend taking the next dead chick(s) to your state Agriculture Extension office and having a necropsy performed so you know what you are up against and can vaccinate, treat or cull accordingly.
  3. corvidae

    corvidae Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2011
    I've contact the Ag Extension here this morning and their vet feels it might be pullorum. She wants to test at least 2-3 of the dead chicks for a sampling. I've destroyed the previous dead ones, but I have one here who will likely be dead within the next couple of hours, and another 5 that look like they are on their way out (wings dropped, lethargic, etc). Two of them had pasty butt this morning, and when we cleaned it off, chalky white goo oozed out. Probably not a good sign. I've never had my hatched chicks show pasty butt before--only a few shipped chicks in the past and they recovered quickly, since we tend to catch it pretty early on with frequent checks. In any case, the vet said to freeze the dead bodies over the weekend, then get them up to her first of the week. I guess we will see what happens with the testing...
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  4. TinyBirds

    TinyBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2009
    Oh my gosh - that is so awful. I'm so sorry you're going through that. I didn't think pullorum existed any more, but our p/t tester guy said he does still encounter farms that have it and it passes to the chicks. I thought it was just an inconvenience (our p/t test for showing our birds), but now I'm glad we have to do it, just in case we ever get it. He said if you get it in your flock, they will test every bird on the premises and then cull any that have it. Then they come back in 21 days and retest all remaining birds and cull any that have it again. At least they know how to be sure you get rid of it. Luckily you're doing great with sanitation and hopefully can keep it from spreading, if that's what it is. Apparently is has become a more widespread problem fairly recently.... article.pdf

    We are dealing with fowl pox right now, and it is an awful illness too. I recommend vaccinating for it to avoid what we're going through right now. Our adult birds have never been sick before (free range) so it's awful seeing some of them with the pox (the wet pox is the worst and 1 even suffocated from it).
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  5. boykin2010

    boykin2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2010
    South Georgia
    Kind of sounds like Cocci to me but I am not sure. Were the chicks eating medicated feed?
  6. Lillahimed

    Lillahimed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2013
    I realize this thread is old, but I have to wonder, what was it that killed your biddies?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by