Chicks gasping and dieing. Please Help!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickenpiedpiper, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. chickenpiedpiper

    chickenpiedpiper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, I have a big flock of free range chickens and Turkeys. (I know they are not supposed to be together, but they are, and are doing fine.) My problem is with my chicks. at between 2-4 weeks of age, about 30-40% of every batch of free range chicks start doing this wierd Gasping behavior. They stretch thier necks and open thier mouths wide, like they are yawning, over and over all day. They dont seem to eat as the bahavior gets worse, and ultimately they fall behind, and die! I have yet to see one of them get it and survive. But not all of them get it! The remainder of the group grows up healthy and strong, and look great!

    I have multiple roosters that range with these hens, and I have noticed that it is not specific to any one rooster, (so not genetic). I have done a little necropsy on one of them, but not having a comparatively healthy body to look at I couldnt really tell what was wrong. Except that the little guy was extremly thin, and the crop was empty. Lungs didnt look too bad compared to pictures I have seen in books and online, but it is so hard to tell.

    Has anyone else ever seen or had problems with this? Any ideas on what it could be, or what I could do to try and help them? I am becoming really frustrated, as now my little group of lavendar frizzle chicks are starting to get it!

    Please, folks, any ideas?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
  2. chickenpiedpiper

    chickenpiedpiper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone?
     
  3. turtlebird

    turtlebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh My! That sounds horrible [​IMG]
    I have no idea, except have you tried to confine these chicks....to not let them free range? Perhaps they are getting into something in the yard that doesn't affect the adult birds, but deadly to chicks? Like cedar mulch? or was that black walnut....shoot, I can't remember. Try confining them?
     
  4. chickenpiedpiper

    chickenpiedpiper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens all hatch at thier own rate, and it is a portion of each clutch that gets it, and at different times and ages, so I would have to have quarantine cages by the dozen, and all the chicks would be screaming thier heads off, (between gasps, and highly stressed, not to mention the hens.) Seperating them I dont think would do any good, just hasten thier demise.

    But I might try it with a few and see. Maybe I can medicate some, but I dont know what would work, I have tried teramycin in the water earlier this spring, and saw no improvement....

    Thanks for the thought, I will try it again with the lavendar frizzles, thier mom has so many she wont notice them missing...
     
  5. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have to do another necropsy, you might want to check for gapeworm. I would think you'd have noticed it though in some of the adults. Can you try treating them with an antibiotics in case it's something else? I'm sorry but I don't know what else it can be. A respiratory problem or gapeworm are the only things that come to mind.
     
  6. Rebel Rooster

    Rebel Rooster I Will Love! :)

    Jun 29, 2009
    Central SC
    My Coop
    are they coughing and wheezing? when they stretch their necks out do they sound like they are whinning?? if so... it could be a respiratory infection... if that is the case, you will need to treat the flock with Duramycin (tetracycline antibiotic) $6.00 for a bag of it at Tractor Supply... and u will need to do it fast! Hope everything works out... I went thru this last year about this time! [​IMG] Good Luck!
     
  7. chickenpiedpiper

    chickenpiedpiper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thats the really weird part, there is no gasping or wheezing, or gurgling! I hold them up to my ear, and cant hear a thing! They act like something is caught in thier throat, and they are trying to clear it, but both times I opened one up, sure I was going to find something, there was nothing!!

    I thought about Gapeworm too, but there are no signs in any of the adults, and everybody gets wormed twice a year. All the obvious causes have been checked and illiminated.... I am really stumped and frustrated...

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Cinderellasnickers08

    Cinderellasnickers08 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 7, 2010
    tnchickenut,

    On the chickens not breathing, it sounds like resperatory infection or a virus. Could be from being around the Turkey droppings. The younger ones are possibly more suseptable to it, because of their ages and immune systems not completely developed. I don't know what you could do except get an antibiotic from someone who knows the types of infections that a chicken could catch from turkeys in your area. You'd always have to treat all of them, but mostly you'll have to separate the turkeys from the chickens areas completely. It could take years to get the infection or virus out of the area that they are getting.
    I was warned about getting turkeys from everyone when I was picking out my chickens. They said their bedding could even keep it around if not removed from the property to avoid future contaminating of additional chickens, should I get more after the turkeys were gone if I had them. It gets into the soil too. I'm hoping this isn't what's going on for you though! It seems like it would be terrible to have that many not make it all the time. I hope you find the solution, mine is just an idea to check into and research. I have also had some microbiology that seems to point in that same direction for all of your information you've experienced. Still I pray it isn't it, for you and your chickens, & turkeys too:/ Hoping you get all of them through this & over it soon!
     
  9. chickenpiedpiper

    chickenpiedpiper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wondered about the turkeys, but the problem started before I got the turkeys. The turkeys are only 6-8 weeks old, and this started with the very first hatch in early April.

    I figure it must be some kind of respiratory infection, and some are immune, and some are not, I just cant afford the 100.00 test my vet wants to do. He has to send it out or something. I guess when the next one dies, I will take it to the state vet, and see if they can help me. I just really hoped someone would have some experience with this. I hate seeing these little guys suffering like this.
     
  10. Afrochicken

    Afrochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hmmm... i havent heard of anything like that. [​IMG]
     

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