Dying guineas at feed store!!! Please help!!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cjeanean, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    I went to the feed store today and when I opened the guinea brooder I saw several of them dead. Two were in the process of dying. I notified the manager, and he was already aware of the problem. He said that they've been putting electrolytes in their water, but they've still been dropping like flies. *VENT* None of the people working there wanted to remove the dead birds, who were starting to get pecked at by their live buddies. They said something about a girl coming in later that evening who would take care of them. Just a little frustrating - okay, a lot frustrating - that no one cared and wanted to pass the job off to someone else. *END VENT* (LOL) Anyways, I offered to remove the dead birds for them, and there were a total of 11 dead in the guinea brooder. There are two other brooders full of chicks right next to the guinea brooder, and those chicks are fine, no problems, although one was dead from what looked like normal chick casualties. I don't know what would affect the guineas but not bother the chickens, who are RIGHT next to them. While I removed the birds, I tried feeling their bodies to see if there was anything off.

    Crops in the dead birds felt like there were air bubbles in them, when I applied pressure they felt spongy and full of air.

    Birds seemed to be gasping for air every few minutes, and they staggered at times.

    Some of the live ones would run very fast across the brooder, almost as if compensating for their inability to walk straight by running as fast as they could in the direction they wanted to go.

    The two birds that were in the process of dying could not stand up or hold their heads up, and one of them that was a little further gone had a curled neck, almost like it was still in its egg. Neither could really move other than flopping around.

    The feed store told me they were feeding the guineas medicated chick starter, which I thought was odd cause I had heard that guineas needed gamebird starter just like waterfowl. While I was there I went ahead and culled the two dying birds with some scissors (much to the shock of the girl working there) and I noticed a yellow looking liquid come from the esophagus of one of the birds.

    Guys, the feed store is open to any and all suggestions, so please help me! I have never seen so many dead birds in one spot! Here are my opinions:

    Disease (duh)
    Brooder too hot (my hand isn't exactly a thermometer, but it felt a tad bit warm)
    Wrong feed (I know medicated can kill waterfowl, not sure if it's the same for guineas)

    Thanks, everyone, and please hurry! The store is open till 6, which gives me another 3.5 hours!!!! BTW, they're about a week old. What temps would week old guineas need?

    Edit: The brooders are all clean and the chicks/guineas have access to water and food. The feed store isn't leaving them in terrible conditions (although it sucked that they were too chicken to remove the dead birds) but other than that they are providing the feed, water, and heat requirements. I think this is a case of some employees not knowing how to care for guineas.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Medicated feed shouldnt kill the keets, but they are supposed to have game bird starter. It needs to be 95 degrees inside the brooder, but if it's too warm, they might become dehydrated. The fast running is typical of guinea keets, though. Not sure what to tell you. Maybe they just reacted to shipping stress more than the chicks.
  3. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    I know guineas should get gamebird starter with more protien in it and no medication. It may well be to hot! did they have water? in all honest all my brooder casualties have been from it being to hot not to cold even when I was working on the farm this summer and in charge of 400 cornish X chicks it was crushing or cocci that got them so I don't know I have never brooded guineas before.

    Good Luck hope a guinea expert answers the post you sound like you know way more then I do and are thinking clearly hope you can help them.

  4. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Their quart waterer was almost empty, but they had an individual waterer ( a jug outside the brooder with a little fount going into the brooder) and their feed was full. They appeared to be eating, I watched several of them pecking and eating. Their water hadn't been sitting empty, although there wasn't much in there it wasn't bone dry, and like I said they had another waterer in there. I'm wondering if it might be too hot, cause it smelled a little like cooked chicken in there with the dead ones. I don't think they have a temp gauge hooked up or anything. Are guineas really sensitive to temps? I know my chicks didn't have a problem with not having exact temps, but I've never had guineas....
  5. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    so could the medicated feed cause problems? Why should they get gamebird feed?
  6. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    They need gamebird feed because it has higher protein than chick starter. It is normal for keets to run around like their pants are on fire. They do tend to bunch up in corners, so it is also possible that they stampeeded each other to death. It may be too hot for them, but guineas are African birds used to heat. Wet conditions will kill a keet faster than anything.

    Sorry you had to see this situation occurring. Personally, I would report them to the county for animal cruelty. Leaving the dead in there with the living has to be a violation somewhere and is totally unacceptable.

    Always remember that even though you are a compassionate, resonable individual trying your best, it is still the feed and seed owner's responsibility to manage the welfare of his poultry/livestock. If he cannot accept that responsibility, you should report him ASAP.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  7. i'm not knowledgeable enough to offer any suggestions. i'm always dismayed at how casual feed store folk are about their chicks, when i fret so badly with my own, trying to get everything just right.

    Hope you get some good advice from the experts here. And bless you for caring enough to do what you can for the little ones.
  8. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    There are a number of respiratory diseases that sound like that, but they all require contact with a host or unsanitary conditions. Do you think they've been using the same brooder for other birds, or storing it outdoors without disinfecting it properly?
  9. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Quote:You know that's definately a possibility, but the problem is the fact that none of the chickens are having this issue, just the guineas. They've only lost a few chickens, but they've lost 30 guineas in just a week. Would anything out there just make the guineas sick and not the chicks? that's why I thought it may have something to do with either the feed or the temp.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  10. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I've been feeding my keets chick starter. I know they need more protein, but I'm using up what I have before switching them to flock raiser. They're happy, healthy, hyper and loud.
    The location of their brooder is such that the morning sun hits it and makes it quite hot. This went on for a more than a week before I noticed and they're just fine. If it's damp and hot, aspergillosis is a possibility, but it's rare. Could the feed be moldy?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: