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Days-old chicks died. Onset was withdrawal and head nodding.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jjxj, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. jjxj

    jjxj In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2010
    Hi. I started this a few weeks ago in the hatching thread and it was suggested that I post here. This was my first attempt at starting a flock and the eggs were a mixture of Aracauna and Bantams...maybe some leghorns.

    They started hatching on a Saturday afternoon (June 26th), which was day 23. The first four that hatched lasted the longest (until Wednesday the 30th) and two of those were the largest.
    All seemed good until Monday morning (28th). There were 9 in the brooder and 2 would not get up. One large fully hatched chick was dead in the incubator and another in the incubator didn't seem as healthy as some of the first ones that hatched. The afternoon of the 28th four were down and almost dead and others had started to show symptoms.

    At the onset they would be withdrawn and unsteady. They would also nod their heads. As it progressed they would lie on their side with their legs outstretched with their legs twitching. If stimulated they would stand with help. Eventually they would just lie there and peep occasionally.

    I only saw one peck at some food and I never saw any of them drink. I dribbled water onto their beaks and some seemed to want to drink it.

    The brooder is roughly 2'X4' and I started the heat lamp about 18" above them and off to one end. They weren't huddled so I raised the lamp to about 4'.

    I don't think I forgot anything. I have more eggs coming and I don't want to make the same mistakes.

    Any suggestions? Thanks.
  2. IroquoisEgg

    IroquoisEgg Songster

    May 30, 2010
    Fair Oaks, CA
    I am a newbie too so don't really have any advice, but my thoughts are with you and sorry for your loss.
  3. Jeeper1540

    Jeeper1540 Songster

  4. burquechick

    burquechick Songster

    Jun 13, 2008
    Could your incubator have bacteria or fungus growing inside? Maybe the air they are breathing is making them sick. Could they not be getting enough oxygen? It just seems odd that they'd hatch alright and not survive long afterward. It sounds like an infection or something. I'm stumped.
  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Sounds like Cocci.
  6. jjxj

    jjxj In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2010
    Thanks for the input and thoughts. I got the eggs and incubator from a friend and I am not sure how he cleaned it. It looked clean but right now I don't know if he scrubbed it with disinfectant or soap or anything at all.

    When I cleaned it after this hatch I scrubbed it good with hot water but did not use any soap or disinfectant because I thought it might be too harsh. Should I disinfect the incubator with 409 or some other spray cleaner?

    I will look up cocci.

    Thank you. Jay
  7. burquechick

    burquechick Songster

    Jun 13, 2008
    409? I don't know. Might leave fumes behind. I would use diluted vinegar or something. Not really sure.
  8. nuts4chickens

    nuts4chickens Songster

    Sep 19, 2009
    Kingston, GA
    I would scrub it with some soap and hot water and let it dry in the sun. Hot sun will naturally disinfect it.
  9. Sooner

    Sooner My kids Mom!

    Mar 22, 2009
    I agree with cleaning the incubator, some on here clean with a mild bleach water solution. That is what I use on the cabinet incubator that I have but on the starfoam one I only use soap & water then dry in the sun.

    How are you eggs hatching out??? Are they hatching on day 21 or sooner or later? You could have a temp problem if they are stuck in the egg too long to make them weak to start with.

    Where is your brooder at?? If it is outside depending on where you live it could be getting too hot. I also give sugar water for the first 12 to 24 hours (changing often so not to ferment). Once the chicks are out of the bator be sure to dip the beaks every so often until you are certain that they are drinking. Do you put chick start on the floor to give them something to scratch in?? Just some idea's since I am unsure what your set up is.

    Good luck with your next hatch.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  10. jjxj

    jjxj In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2010
    Hi Sooner. They started hatching on day 23 and the last ones were day 25.
    The brooder is in my basement and it is plenty cool with a heat lamp on one end.
    Some of the earlier posts have me thinking that the problem started in the 'bator mid-hatch, if mid-hatch is a word. That would explain to me why the earliest chicks lasted the longest. They were fine in the brooder until sick chicks from the 'bator were introduced.
    Their chick starter was in small dishes and also on the floor of the brooder. It is not medicated.
    The floor of the brooder had newspapers. Are the newspapers OK or should I use wood chips? The brooder is a box that I use in the winter for kindling/firewood.
    How do you mix the sugar water--is the ratio terribly important or do you just add enough to make it sweet. Also, is the sugar for calories/energy or to get them drinking?
    I think I answered your questions but please ask away if you have more.

    Thanks much for the help, all.

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