Have I changed feed wrong, they all have diareah

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by appps, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    I don't know exact age but think the chicks are now 6 weeks. I had run out of chick starter so bought new feed and salesman said get pullet grower. But they have all got the runs now.

    Do I leave and it will settle down?

    Or should I buy some more chick starter and do a mix of the two for a while?

  2. JHorn91180

    JHorn91180 Songster

    Mar 20, 2011
    Northeast KY
    At 6 weeks its not advised to completley switch them off chick starter. I gonna guess they probably have a coccidia about which left untreated can b lethal at this age. Here is an article I wrote for another thread. I copied and pasted it for u. Maybe this will help.

    I grew up in a region that raises many game-birds and to some people that is their livelihoods. My uncle owned a large hatchery and I grew up raising, Turkeys, Guinea fowl, Peafowl, Chukars, Partridges and many varieties of Pheasant and Quail and many breeds of Chickens. Some of my family and friends families still do this on a large scale. I have a small scale farm of 56 acres where we r now breeding and raising UK Orps, SQ silkies and seramas just to name a few. We also have registered Nigerian goats sometimes have litters of TICA Bengal kittens and CFA Exotic Short Hair kittens but also grew up raising and showing English Bulldogs. For personal choice our farm is no longer NPIP. We work very closely with the local farm vets and our local avian vet. We found it was difficult and a hassle getting someone out here to do the NPIP testing in my part of the state. Luckily our agriculture dept allows us to send off any birds that die to the University of Kentucky where they perform necropsy's and a battery of test and get back to us on the exact reason the bird died. We just drop off any bird that dies in air tight sealed containers to our local avian vets office and they take care of the rest for us. Because we work so closely with our vets and agriculture dept we have decided against dealing with NPIP testing in the future and is our own personnel choice.

    Coccidia affects many species of animals and is usually species specific, meaning puppies or kid goats arnt going to transfer it to our birds or vice versa as different strains of coccidia afflict different species of animals. Baby animals or animals that have an immune deficiency disorder r the only ones affected as they tend to build an immunity to it at a certain age. We have found in all the species of birds we raise its at about 12 to 16 weeks as it is with puppies and kittens. So in other words at a certain point it is normal for most animals to develop an immunity against it to where u no longer have to worry about it after a certain age unless the animals immune system becomes compromised and even at that point it is rare for coccidia to take hold.

    Game birds and peafowl are especially prone to coccidia. The best way to describe it is how my vet described it to me but if u think about it. These r wild birds that don't stay in one small place. The adult hens have ranges that they take their offspring around with them in the wild to feed and forage. In captivity we house them in small en-closers where there is always droppings. These droppings contain the coccidia parasite as it is being shed from the birds intestines. Besides bedding it often lands in the food and water source and is spread all around by the birds kicking and scratching. Then the birds r consuming the parasite further infesting themselves with it and infesting their brood mates as well. Diarrhea is the most common sign your birds have it, especially blood in the diarrhea. A simple fecal float is the best way to diagnose this.

    Coccidia is very easy to prevent. Back in the day, and many of u may have also heard this but especially with peafowl and turkey poults, the old timers would tell me to keep them up off the ground and on wire until they were 16 to 18 weeks old b4 putting them on the ground. Problem was many were never able to answer why this method worked better but would just say that it just did. This actually makes sense tho. If u keep clean food and water in with them the droppings fall thru the wire where the birds can no longer have access to them. Many of us start our chicks in totes and brooders tho and put them on bedding with solid floor cages once they r old enough to go out and some even put them on the ground which is completely fine as long as the homes r well bedded. U must stay on top of the bedding and change it often to keep it clean. Bleach water and disinfectant sprayed on on a rag to wipe out the brooders also helps kill the parasite but make sure it is completely dry or rinsed before adding new bedding as these chemicals can cause respiratory issues as birds r much more susceptible and have sensitive respiratory systems. This is why u never use cedar bedding with birds as it will almost always cause respiratory issues. Change and disinfect water and feed sources at least once a day to further prevent the spread of coccidia.

    That isn't always enough tho and many of us live very busy lives and can sometimes get behind on brooder and grower pen maintenance. The easiest way to prevent it is by using Amprolium. This is a coccidiostat that is commonly used in poultry. Its used as a preventative and a combatant to remove coccidia from your birds digestive track. Many people may not agree with this method as I have seen mixed reviews on this. I decided to ask my avian vet if their was any truth to the rumors I was hearing about using this next product and I will tell u what she said later. Medicated chick starter is not enough. Instead use medicated game-bird starter as it contains amprolium. Its usually about 28-30% protein which is where the controversy begins. I have read many threads here on BYC where people give advice saying this type of food has too much protein and can cause all kinds of issues from kidney failure to constipation but not once have I read anything they have added to provide evidence or anything to back this up. When I mentioned this to my vet she actually laughed at me and stated I wasn't the first person to ask her this. She said that this is a myth and not sure how those rumors got started but said it was probably with the broiler industry. She said body builders take in huge amounts of protein in shakes ect. and their kidneys don't shut down. The same thing applies to game-birds and poultry going on to say if this was true then free range chickens would die and your birds would also die if u fed them, milk, meal worms, yogurt or boiled or scrambled eggs. She also asked how many times my birds have gotten into the dog food dishes and cat food and ate their food. Turns out this is a myth. Wild game-fowl and chickens diet consist of 60% or greater insects, small reptiles and amphibians that r extremely high in protein. The rest of the diet is plant life and seeds. So by free-ranging your chickens, what do u think they r running around eating all day? Cheetos? LOL. Turns out just like us or any animal extra protein is not used and travels right thru the digestive tract never even going thru the kidneys or liver. Its is just expelled in the droppings. On another note its not recommended to feed this to broilers or commercial meat turkeys as it causes them to grow too quickly and they cripple up or have heart issues from the rapid growth and should only be fed to them in small rations. Any other game-birds or poultry can be fed this free choice. I also asked about constipation or pasty butts. She said there is a small possibility in firm poops but probably not constipation as long as water was available to them all the time but if I was worried about this I could give them iceburg lettuce as a treat about twice a day as it has very little nutritional value and is mostly just water and fiber which would aid in softening stool. She added pasty butt is a problem usually caused by too much glucose in the birds diet. Its a common practice for many of us to use sugar or other sugar based electrolyte additives in the birds water to perk them up and give them a sugar high of energy but if not needed it just causes the stool to b sticky and paste on their feet and butts and in those cases does more harm then good.

    This is how I have been raising my baby chicks for the past 2 years. Besides keeping bedding and food and water dishes very clean. I start them at day one on game-bird starter that contains amprolium until they r about 8 weeks old and then I begin mixing in a little scratch grain until they r about 12 weeks and then I switch them over to game-bird finisher that is about 24% protein mixed with scratch grains until they are 16 to 18 weeks depending on whether they r large fowl or bantam. At this point they go on scratch grains mixed with adult game-bird food and sometimes laying feed. Since beginning this practice I have never had any chicks lost to coccidia. I have also noticed the chicks grow and develop much faster then on medicated chick starter especially in the feathering out department. No ones kidneys have shut down nor have there livers failed or exploded or anything else crazy. I have actually had a huge decrease in the #s of babies that I have lost compared to raising them on regular medicated chick starter. Also the birds have reached sexual maturity and begin laying about a month earlier in my experience. Another benefit I have noticed is a lower mortality rate due to respiratory infections or colds. If the birds take a little longer to get over it while being treated then where they have extra weight from this feed, weight and mass of the bird when it begins to recover r still in normal range instead of wasting away while they r not eating as well due to illness.

    The only downfall to this method is the price of game-bird starter compared to regular chick starter is about $2 to $4 higher per 50lb bag depending on where I purchase my feed but then again I have alot of money in my birds the day I purchased the eggs or chicks.
    1 person likes this.

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