Healthy Chick Dead, Please Help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by my sunwolf, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    History: This is my second time raising chicks... I ordered 25 Easter Eggers from Meyer, they shipped 27, and one arrived DOA. Over the next two days, two weak ones died.

    The Problem: Today, the chicks are 4 weeks old, and I found a dead chick in the brooder (out in the shed). He was lying directly under the heat lamp on a fairly warm day. No exterior marks. His crop was completely empty. I don't trust my skills enough to get any information from an autopsy. I found him this afternoon, and he must have been dead for a few hours because rigor had set in. This morning, all the chicks were alive, healthy, eating, drinking, running around.

    They were not vaccinated against anything, nor are they on medicated feed. I haven't found any bloody poop, but that doesn't mean there isn't any; there is a lot of ground for them to cover as they're in a 10x10ft room.

    Questions: Any idea what this could be? Coccidiosis? Mareks? I just have no idea.

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Guess it's sounding like Cocci right now, from what I've been reading. I don't want to use Corid because I would prefer a naturally immune flock... but from what I'm hearing I can lose over 50% of the birds. Grrr. It does say it tends to affect pullets hardest, and this first guy dead was definitely a cockerel. No smaller than the others, just as feathered in as the boys, was healthy this morning.

    Do chicks sometimes just... die?? At 4 weeks??
  3. loanwizard

    loanwizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sometimes chicks just die for no apparent reason which is why hatcheries send extras. I wouldn't worry about it. What I ALWAYS do and highly recommend is putting some apple cider vinegar in their water. I do this with day old chicks just received. Some say use Bragg's with the culture still in it but I have had great results with plain old Heinz.
    Anecdotal evidence, but I order 150 at a time and my mortality rate is way down and I no longer worry about pasty butt. Shipping does stress chicks, but this case is well beyond that.
    I also do not feed medicated feed to my chicks. They eat the same feed from start to finish.

    Good Luck,
  4. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Natural immunity will still develop even on coccidiostats, which control the number but do not completely eliminate the parasites. Because we keep the chickens confined, they are exposed to much higher levels of parasites (coccidia being the most important in chicks) than wild birds that range over a large area.
  5. miss silky

    miss silky Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 4, 2012
    I recently hatched out 3 soon 4 chicks, and was wondering if i need to medicate them with anything? I have them in a brooder in my house? I clean them daily, but they still step ontheir poop
  6. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    I really hope this 4 week old is a "no apparent reason" chick... The DOA and the two that died soon after had been trampled while being shipped, I think due to stress or for their quest to find warmth--there was no heating pad and temperatures were below freezing!

    I am doing deep litter bedding but no other chicks have touched the bedding--however, bits of poo are transferred from my adult chicken yard to their bedding daily. I thought this would be okay as it's very small amounts and could help build their immunity. Is this true? Can deep litter bedding make the cocci situation worse?

    I put 1 T of ACV in their 1 gallon waterer today, and I'll give them some yogurt with their regular oatmeal.

    How long have you been feeding non-medicated feed? Hav you ever had a problem with cocci? I'm really confused as to why a simple pH change from ACV would keep parasite counts low enough to avoid death, but I understand that it's anecdotal [​IMG] Most of my home remedies are as well.

    That would be pretty cool! Is there any research you know of? I'm really interested in this idea. I thought coccidiostats, when given in feed from day 1, inhibit the parasites from being there at all... but that if you don't start from day 1, they will only control numbers. Maybe that makes no sense. It still is not my instinct to give preventative medication, but if I could have an immune flock even while doing so, it might be worth it so as not to lose so many chicks.

    Thanks for your help, both of you!! I am feeling very stressed about making this kind of decision since we are on the verge of going small-scale commercial, and I really appreciate the feedback.
  7. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think it is a personal choice. I know A LOT of people who don't medicate or vaccinate, and they have very healthy chicks, but obviously that's not always the case. Hope someone who know more about cocci can help you.
  8. cutechick2010

    cutechick2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    The suggestion to add acv is a good one. I go one step further and feed my birds fermented feeds. You can ferment commercial feeds, or you can ferment whole grains, which is what I am doing. I haven't raised a whole lot of birds this way yet, but so far the results have been great. I raised a group of 20 broilers with no cocci meds at all, their first two weeks were on regular un-medicated commercial chick starter. At about the age of three weeks, I started switching them to the FF. I had about five or six that showed symptoms of cocci after that, but only two actually died. I also bought a batch of four week old RIR/BO cross chicks. They had been on medicated commercial chick starter until I bought them, I switched them straight to the FF whole grains when they got here, no meds at all here, and they have not even shown symptoms. I haven't butchered any that have been raised this way yet, so I can't tell you what it will do for the meat, but so far anyway I am impressed by the results health-wise. There are several threads about it in the Feeding and Watering Your Flock section if you are interested in learning more.
  9. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    This is what I do as well.

    Medicated feed has caused me too many issues to ignore.
  10. cutechick2010

    cutechick2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I haven't seen any issues that I can specifically trace to the medicated feed, although I did see last year that it no longer seemed to be working. The batch of layers/meaties that I bought in the spring of last year, before I started the FF, were on the medicated feed and I still had large losses anyway. Plus I am especially wanting to get all of my animals off of any GMO feed, and that isn't possible using commercial feed. I HAVE seen health issues that I am pretty sure are traceable to the GMOs in the feeds, so I am hoping to see improved health and reproduction in my poultry and my goats for 2013 now that they are all on non-GMO feeds.

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