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Cornish Cross, listless, standing with eyes closed, 20 days old

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by smokin_arkie, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. smokin_arkie

    smokin_arkie New Egg

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    Jun 17, 2007
    Hi All,

    I've posted here before, but not since they've changed the format around. I'm raising my first batch of 30 cornish cross chickens for meat. They're about 20 days old and most are doing well.

    This morning I noticed one of the smaller ones standing still near a corner with its eyes closed. I watched it a while and it seemed to just sit there not moving, head slightly drooped, with its eyes closed. All the other birds were doing their usual high level of activity, racing around, stretching, eating (of course), and just being active. This bird just stood there and would just get bumped around, most of the time not even opening his eyes when bumped.

    About 4 hours later I checked again and he was acting the same way so I put him in "sick bay" with food and water close along with a light to keep him warmer than the other birds. I also noticed another bird acting similarly, although not nearly as bad. Still sort of "sleeping on its feet" but not as listless as the other one.

    I know these little guys are eating/growing machines so they need lots of rest. Sometimes they'll just sit down and fall asleep, but I've not really seen any just standing up with their eyes closed like that. Seems to me this little guy is sick (and possibly the other one too, I put him in sick bay as well just for safekeeping).

    I'm not too sure what might be wrong with him so I figured I'd write and see if anyone else has any ideas. For reference I'm feeding them an organic crumble, 20%, pulled at night. I'm using deep pine bedding kept fresh and dry and they have good access to fresh water. Their food is unmedicated and they've had no antibiotics or vaccines. The brooder is smaller, about 16 square feet, but I'm moving them out to pasture in the next couple days so they'll have more room and fresh grass.

    Anyone got any ideas what might be up with this little chicken? I'm thinking I'll just keep him in the sick bay until he either dies or recovers and then I'll move him to pasture with the others. Hopefully the second one isn't really sick and just was acting a bit listless after eating too much and will be fine tomorrow!

    Thanks in advance,

    Jay
     
  2. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Jan 11, 2007
    ...might be cocci (which does not always present with bloody stools)... it would behoove you to take ample samples and have tested because if it is you will need to totally clean out your litter and disinfect and treat the entire flock.
    Here is a link on it from ATTRA (organic site)
    http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/coccidiosis.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2007
  3. smokin_arkie

    smokin_arkie New Egg

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    Jun 17, 2007
    Thanks for the info on the ATTRA website. I looked it over and it suggested that since fast growing broilers only stay in the brooder for less than 3 weeks there isn't much chance for the cocci to infect them there. Here's the passage:

    "When chicks are brooded in a separate area before moving them to the growout facility (two-stage production), the brooder stays clean of infective oocysts since fast-growing broilers do not remain past three weeks of age. However, chicks are at risk for coccidiosis if they stay in the brooder longer than three weeks."

    Since I'm still under 3 weeks (only by a day) it seems unlikely its cocci, particularly since this is the first time I've used this brooder. I was going to move them to pasture on Wednesday, but maybe I'll do it tomorrow instead, possibly if it was an infection then getting them out of the brooder sooner would be better. I wish I was ready to do it today, but alas, got to finish things up before moving the chickens in.

    Update: This morning the one clearly sick bird is still standing with his eyes closed but now I can tell he's losing his balance a bit and it also appears that his wing sort of drops down and then he pulls it back up. Its not looking good for him I think. The other one that I thought might be sick is actually looking pretty good now, seems like he might not be sick after all. But since he's been in the sick pen with the sick one I guess I'll leave him till they both get better or the other one dies.

    Thanks,

    Jay
     
  4. smokin_arkie

    smokin_arkie New Egg

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    Jun 17, 2007
    The sick one passed away today while I was out running errands. He didn't look like he was going to make it and sure enough, he didn't. The other one that I thought was sick is looking fine and now cheeping loudly since he's alone. Even the body of the other chick must have kept him company.

    Anyway no one else is showing any signs of sickness so maybe it was just a random thing where one of the birds was just weaker in constitution. I'm going to keep the other one that I thought was sick confined one more day and if he's still fine tomorrow then I'll reintegrate him into the flock.

    I sure hope this is the end of whatever killed that one. Does anyone have any idea what it might have been? It was nearly exactly 24 hours from the time I noticed him looking a bit wierd till he died.

    Thanks,

    Jay
     
  5. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    It could have just had a weaker heart than the others. Heart problems are common with cornishx.
     
  6. smokin_arkie

    smokin_arkie New Egg

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    Jun 17, 2007
    I was wondering if it might be a heart problem. Something like congestive heart failure due to super fast growth. I've been pulling their food at night to slow growth enough so they don't get ascites, but if one of them was congenitally weak in the heart that might explain it. Everyone else still looks fine so it may have just been a heart thing.

    I wish I knew enough to do an autopsy, maybe as I get a few cycles of raising birds under my belt!

    Thanks.
     

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