Help, please! Chicks dying suddenly

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cortner1195, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. cortner1195

    cortner1195 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for reading this post, and any suggestions/info ate greatly appreciated.

    In a 4x4 foot small trailer I have 5 two week old layer pullets, and 30 one week old meat birds. They have all been doing well, but the meaties had pretty grungy bottoms, no real pasty butt, but several required cleaning up.

    My daughter asked if she could add a few to this group until time to enter the bigger flock. She came last night with three day old pullets. They were in the main group for about 20 minutes, but the little silkie was just too small and she was getting picked on. So I segregated the new birds in a box within the trailer. They all seem fine this morning. However I found one of the little meaties this morning buried under the shavings, fully stretched out, dead. There was another stretched out on top of the shavings, still alive, but when I touched it she started flapping her wings like crazy, but her back legs stayed out behind her. I put her in a box in another corner thinking she was actively dying. There are several others that are starting to stretch out on the shavings. When nudged lightly they are able to get up.

    The only other change was that I changed all the shavings in the trailer just before the new chicks were delivered. I took away the dry chick starter last night, as the meaties had bulging bellies, then started them on fermented chick starter this am.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. cortner1195

    cortner1195 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should have mentioned that all the chicks came from the same hatchery, just different shippments
     
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    You have 35 birds and then added 3 birds who are a day old or another number of three day old birds? 4x4 is not a large area for that number of birds - especially with the bulk of them being meaties.
     
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  4. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm reading three day-old pullets, one of which is a Silkie that got picked on. Is that correct?

    @Ol Grey Mare is right. 4x4 is NOT enough room for 35 birds. It's possible that crowding has caused pecking. What kind of brooder heat source do you have?

    It's also possible that they have Coccidiosis. Corid is the treatment for that.

    Unsure if it could be Marek's (legs stretching out). They could also just be basking in the warmth. I've seen my chicks lay on their sides with their eyes closed. Just about gave me a heart attack.

    Are any of them hunched up or pooping weird?

    MrsB
     
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  5. cortner1195

    cortner1195 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, I have:
    5 (two week) old layers
    30 (one week) old meaties
    and 3 (one day) old layers one of which is a silkie

    They are not over crowded to this point, with plenty of room to move around, and choose the group they wish to hang out with. They were supposed to move to the 4x8 utility trailer tomorrow (Saturday), and then the group will split apart when ready to the grow out pen for the layers, and the meat bird pen on the other side of the property for the meaties. They are fed in several small bowls of fermented grain, and then the food is removed. Trying to control the intake on the meaties as they are having problems with very full crops,and fat tummies. This is the same as we found with the meat flock in previous years, so this does not seem to be part of the problem. I have seen no evidence of picking on each other until I added the silkie yesterday. She is the size of a walnut. Just too small to get out of the way of the thundering masses. That is why I split the new ones off after just a few minutes together. One of the two week old layers flew into the box with them, and is very happy with them.

    My plan tonight is to set up the other trailer in the separate garage and move the meat birds only. That will leave the five two week olds and the three new birds in the 4x4 for now.

    I just heard from home, and it appears that two more have died, but everyone else is moving well. Now the worry is that if they have something it may be dangerous to integrate the layers when it is time (August). The grow out pen is attached by a common wall with the main coop, and disease could spread to my main flock quickly.

    I use heat lamps, and monitor the temp so they have areas about 100 at the highest, to 85 in the far corners. Most of the chicks range between the two heat lamps, sleeping just out of the circle of light.





    Any suggestions about possible diseases that may be involved?
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Coccidiosis can be a problem with chicks of differing ages being brooded together. They probably needed to be in their own separate brooders in the beginning. Also, with different ages, even those fairly close in age, they need different temperatures in the brooder as they age. I would give everyone a 5 day treatment of Corid (amprollium) in their water for cocci, since it won't hurt them, but could stop the deaths.
     
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  7. cortner1195

    cortner1195 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, I bought the Corid tonight. I split the groups apart. All fresh bedding, scrubbed feeders, and waterers. That was all done yesterday as well. Hopefully they will look better tomorrow. I still have several meaties that are laying down with their legs stretched out. I have one that is walking funny, like she can't straighten her legs completely to stand up.
     
  8. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    It's too early for Marek's symptoms.
    I think I would be doing what you're doing right now. Treat for coccidiosis, and I do like the idea of a wet mash, not sure about the fermented part- I haven't studied up on that yet.
     
  9. cortner1195

    cortner1195 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used the fermented grain last year for the meat birds after studying up on it. I used Apple Cider Vinegar to start the fermentation, and added a bit as needed to the fermentation buckets. It is a bit like sourdough starter. You keep it going by adding a bit more grain and water after you remove enough to feed. Then adding a bit of ACV if I let the fermentation bucket get too low. I used Braggs with the natural culture in the bottle. Eventually I made my own ACV with the cheap store vinegar, and added some of the braggs to the gallon, and let it sit for minimum of a month. Fermentation breaks the grain down for more bioavailability of nutrients so they cost less to feed. You feed 2-3 times per day, and remove the dishes after 20 minutes. There is a thread on here I follow for fermentation. It is a fair amount of work to maintain the fermentation, and feed 2-3 times daily so I don't do it for the layers. The meat birds are only here for a couple months. They are healthier, grow better, and are less messy. If you have raised meat birds you know what a mess they make of their food, and themselves. This has very little waste.

    On my sick birds: No more deaths. They are all on the Corid. The layers seem a bit lethargic, but are doing ok. The three new layers including the silkie are together and doing much better than expected. I do not have them on the mash yet as I keep the newborns on 24 hour access to starter for the first week. I will decide if I want to feed them mash after that. I still have several meat birds that are not walking well. That is usually something I don't see until they are near full size. They are just too small yet to have leg problems, so it seems to be something else. There is no leg stretching today, so I will take that as a good sign.
     
  10. cortner1195

    cortner1195 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just an update.
    Good news, no further deaths, and all meaties are sitting normally with their legs under them. I haven't seen any trouble walking since yesterday morning. The meaties have adapted to the fermented grain beautifully. They are hungry, and happy to eat at meal times, and there are no issues with bulging crops and tummies. Their crops are full after meals of course, but not like a few days ago where they were 100% stuffed all the time.
    The layers are more active this morning, and moving well.

    My heart is happy!
     

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