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I need help - 13 week old chicks sick

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Gonda, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Gonda

    Gonda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have young orpington and wheaten maran chicks, all from the same hatch, about 13 weeks old now. I started with 14 altogether, and I've lost five over the last month, three this past week. I've brought the last two in for a necropsy, but the results won't come soon enough to save the next one probably. Another one is sick this morning.

    The symptoms: they just become inactive, and stand in a hunched up position, chest kind of puffed out. When I examine them, I can't find anything unusual. Soft crops, crops not full, no sour smell from the beak. No sign of diarrhea. Clean bottoms. No sign of irritation from lice or mites, around the vent or anywhere else.

    Of the three that died this weekend, one stopped eating, but two continued to eat until the last day. They stood up until the last day when they finally went down. The one that's sick now wouldn't eat this morning and is just standing with a slightly hunched look. I see no sign of bloody diarrhea in the coop, and the sick chicks don't have evidence of diarrhea. They get clean water with apple cider vinegar, and they're on grower mash. I clean the coop regularly. They're on pine shavings, and are out in the run during the day.

    Any idea what might be happening? I'm getting desperate, as I want to save this Wheaten Maran pullet (one of only two) and don't want the rest to get sick. They all look healthy so far.
     
  2. cindylo

    cindylo Out Of The Brooder

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    I really feel sorry for you and your flock. But I'm not really knowledgeable on what else you can try. But I have a question - are you using the same bag of grower feed for all birds and have you checked for outside pests getting into the run?
     
  3. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It could be cocci. Not all cocci results in bloody poo. Different strains (9) attack different parts of the intestines and affect different ages. Try putting them on Corid or Sulmet and see if that helps.

    https://www.firststatevetsupply.com/content/view/16/43/

    Good luck.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
  5. Gonda

    Gonda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It turns out it is in fact coccidiosis, at least for the two smaller ones of the hatch that died on Monday and which I brought in for a necropsy. The lab called me this afternoon with a preliminary report. The challenge now was to get hold of a vet and to find a place that sells the medication after hours. No success, so I'll speak to my vet tomorrow and get the remaining chicks on medication. I've separated the one that is showing some symptoms, although she seems to be doing a bit better today. She does now have diarrhea though, and that is the first one I've actually seen with diarrhea. And I've cleaned the coop and tried to clean up the run a bit, and put fresh shavings down. I read that Vitamin E can shorten the duration of the infection, and I had in fact been giving them all vitamins in their water since they started showing symptoms, so maybe that's helped keep it a bit from getting out of control. And kept the water and the coop as clean as possible. Hopefully I can save the one that's symptomatic now, and the rest so far are healthy and growing well. The two that died on Monday had been lagging behind in growth, so were more vulnerable to infection, or already had it for a few weeks and therefore didn't grow.

    Do you think I need to treat the 4 older chickens as well, or only the 13 week old chicks? I understand they're not as prone to getting it when they're older. Two of the hens are broody, one in her 3rd week and one in the first week, sitting on eggs.

    And, do you think I'll have to vaccinate the new chicks of the next hatch?

    Thanks for your responses!!
     
  6. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Treat them all! Infected birds shed tons of cocci in their poo, and chickens are always pecking at the ground. That's how they get it in the first place. WSome may already have it and not showing sy,ptoms yet.

    You should be able to get one or the other medicine at your local feed store, in either liquid or powder. Sulmet is liquid, or you can get sulfa-something-or-other powder. Corid comes in liquid and powder form.

    Sulmet is 2 TBSP/gallon of water for two days, then 1 TBSP/gal for four days. Liquid Corid is 1 tsp/gallon for five days. Powder Corid is 1/2 tsp/gallon, I forget how many days, it's on the package, probably the same. I never used the powder sulfa drug.

    It's important that the birds drink enough water to get enough medicine. If they're not drinking, then get them to do so by using a syringe. I had to do that the first day and after that, they began on their own, I could tell they started to feel a little better. No other water and no vitamins or ACV in the water, either.

    Keep their brooder or house as clean as you can.

    Good luck - it's one disease that is totally treatable! I had it earlier this year [​IMG] and all my young chicks survived. [​IMG]
     
  7. Gonda

    Gonda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, it took a fair bit of effort and perseverance - this chicken raising isn't for the faint of heart. My vet isn't too knowledgeable about poultry, so I contacted a poultry consultant who was going to sell me 4 L of amprol and wanted me to put it in the water at a ratio of 2 parts medication to 1 part water!! Fortunately, there is one other local source, a Pharmacy that deals with with animal veterinary medicine and natural remedies and is only 45 min. from where I live. The pharmacist was very reluctant, however, to answer any questions, as he has to be careful not to be seen as prescribing. So he put the products they sell in front of me and I selected Amprol, based on what I had been reading on the forums, and then had to do the calculations myself. The product they sell is 9.6% and they recommend starting at 0.0240% (2.5 mls/L or 2 tsp/gal) for the first 5-7 days, then go down to 0.0060% for 1 to 2 weeks. Fortunately they sell it in smaller quantities. I went away with 500 mls, and after I re-did the calculations (which were a bit confusing on the directions) I discovered I could have done with a smaller amount. Good thing I didn't buy the 4 Litres!

    I've been thinking about what to do for the next hatch of chicks (due two weeks from today). I read an interesting article by someone called Beth Rogers, on 'basic information about coccidiosis in chickens' which I think has merit and makes very good sense. This article suggests that if chicks are not raised by a mother hen, and are not outside scratching dirt early, and if they are not exposed to the coccidia protozoa, and are on medicated starter, they may not develop immunity. The chicks I have raised now (some of which died) were not raised by a hen and were inside for the first weeks, and we had a cool, very wet spring and early summer, and they were not on a dirt floor the first few weeks. And, they were raised on medicated starter.

    My next hatch will have a mother and it's now summer, and the ground is dry, so I imagine they'll be outside very quickly. In my previous experience, the chicks were outside within a day or two with the mother. I never had any sick chicks before, in three previous hatches. And I never used medicated starter. (My previous flock was killed by a dog, so I'm starting up a new flock, which is why I had chicks without a mother this time). So, I'm not sure if I'll use medicated starter next time, and having done the reading, I won't consider vaccinating them for coccidiosis, but instead will allow them to build up some immunity. Vaccination isn't apparently such a readily available option for a small flock anyway. And, having read this article, I also believe it's not necessary to go out and buy a super disinfectant to disinfect the coop. I've kept it clean, changed the water regularly, and still lost chicks. I am now convinced it was because of the way they started out in life. I wonder if they should have had extra vitamins in the next feed (after the 6 weeks of medicated starter), and probiotics. That is one thing the pharmacist was willing to recommend when I asked about what to do for the next hatch of chicks: use probiotics to build up their normal gut bacteria, to give the opportunistic protozoa less chance to multiply. Apparently, a few oocytes will help them build up immunity. So, I've just decided: instead of using medicated starter, they'll get probiotics, and they will be raised with a mother. I'm feeling much better already.

    The pharmacist also agreed, when I told him I had read that Vit. E can shorten the duration of the coccidiosis, that it could be helpful to give the chicks Vitamin E. I had read that in Peter Brown's article.

    My current flock is doing well, so far. And, having read up a bit on the need to encourage natural immunity and having read how Amprol works (preventing the multiplication of the oocysts), I think I will follow the recommendation for Amprol dosing that I've read on a few US sites: 0.0120% for 3-5 days (1.25 mls in 1 L or 1 tsp/gal.) for 3-5 days, then half of that for a week. The one chick that was showing some early signs a few days ago had already started showing signs of improvement. I had been giving them buttermilk and was putting DE in their feed. The pharmacist indicated that DE could perhaps be helpful for killing off the coccidia protozoa. So maybe that is keeping the number of oocysts down in their intestines and allowing them to build immunity.

    The poultry vet I spoke with also suggested at first that I could wait until Monday before deciding to treat the existing flock, as they could be developing immunity, he said. Then when I asked him if he would suggest that I do wait before treating, he said "they could all be dead over the weekend". Interesting how no one wanted to give any firm direction, but felt they had to be so careful to protect themselves. Makes it a challenge for those of us who are new to the business of treating sick chickens. I really found I had to do my own work from start to finish today. It's been a learning curve. And I have extra Amprol in my cupboard, if needed in future.

    Another thing I learned from the pharmacist, which neither the vet nor most of the literature mentioned, is that the amprol has to be changed daily and a new mix made up in order for it to be effective. And, another thing I've come across in some postings is that some people recommend chick starter with medication for treatment of coccidiosis. I have to go back to the place where I bought mine, but I did see on the label the other day that there is a caution about precisely that, i.e. it said NOT to use medicated starter if there is an outbreak of coccidiosis, and not to use it for chickens older than 14 weeks. I'll have to double check to see what medication is in that particular starter feed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  8. sherpagirl

    sherpagirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi,
    I came across your posts about cocci and I could see a lot of what's happening to a group of my chicks, 14 weeks. They had some kind of sleepy loss of appetite sickness 6 weeks ago and I treated with Amprol and then sulmet. Lost a couple and then they were absolutely healthy for 6 weeks. Was following Peter Browns cocci preventative treatment plan, did amprol again and then sulfadimethoxine. After the 2nd sulfa treatment they all got sick, just sleepy with no appetite. They already had so much med in them I couldn't give anymore, started feeding them lots more garlic and yogurt. Then we started tube feeding. I'm down to 8 from 12, still tube feeding one. I may have used sulfa drugs too soon again and i'm still not sure how often it's safe to use them. I was kind of panicking because the lady i got some of the chicks from had an unidentfiable sickness in her flock that seemed to be an Amprol resistant cocci. I had started out in 2009 being mostly organic and had no trouble and then i got crazy when they got so sick this summer and seemed so urgent to help them. People were telling me (and still are) to cull all of them since i don't know for sure what is wrong, but I'm still trying to save them, i hope I'm not making a mistake. Just wanted to let you know you're not alone and i completely can relate to how you have to figure everything out for yourself. I never knew raising chickens was going to be so complicated! I've fallen in love with them and now i'm pulling my hair out.
     
  9. Gonda

    Gonda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2009
    Hi Sherpagirl,

    One of my Wheaten Maran pullets, which had been the only one showing symptoms the past week, was dead this morning. I thought she wasn't so sick and had hoped she might improve by day 3 on the Amprol. Maybe she wasn't drinking enough of the medicated water. I had seen her drinking a few times and had given her a bit by syringe, just to make sure she was getting some. So I'd hoped she'd pull through, and was shocked to see her lying there dead this morning. Well, that's 6 dead. The rest still look healthy, so I'm hoping this is it now and that the remaining ones are going to be strong and healthy and resistant to whatever this is. I'm not convinced it's only coccidiosis that's going on here. I have a hen that's down too, sleepy, for a few weeks already. And she has what was probably an abscess below her vent, which seems to be healing, so I'm still hoping that she will come around again. But, I'm not feeling too hopeful as she didn't go up on the roost with the big roo as she normally does, tonight. Reminds me, I should go and check her over and give her some colloidal silver again, just in case she has an infection. And maybe soak her bottom in warm salt water again.

    All the best with your chickens!! That's great that you're being brave and tube feeding, and trying the organic thing as much as possible. I tried to save one of my chicks by tube feeding, and I'm afraid she aspirated and died promptly. Not very good on my part, I'm a nurse and used to tube feed babies!! I guess I was feeling too confident and not being careful about the anatomy. I felt pretty bad about that. But she probably wouldn't have made it, judging by how the others did.

    I was thinking of following Peter Brown's regime, but then when I read a bit more, I decided that my goal wouldn't be to try to knock out the coccidiosis altogether, but try to get it down to a lower level of risk and exposure, and allow the remaining birds to have a chance to build up immunity. I read an article by someone else which suddenly made the whole thing make a lot more sense. I found it at https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=26709-coccidiosis-and-medicated-feed.
     
  10. sherpagirl

    sherpagirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Gonda,
    That is a really good article, most of what it says it exactly what I've been deciding about cocci. I'm using up my last bag of medicated feed starter, wish I'd never heard of the stuff! I didn't know a lot about it or about cocci until just recently when I started to have trouble with it. When I heard it was interfering with the thiamine absorption, my first thought was that wasn't good for the chicks. When I was using med starter I was doing it wrong because I was giving them vitamin and electrolyte supplements. And when i used Amprol in the water I was doing it wrong because I wasn't mixing it fresh everyday! And when i used the sulfa drugs, I think I used them too often! My poor chickens! So,
    I am going to do what Beth Rogers suggests from now on, that was pretty much what I had decided, it's amazing how she read my mind, lol. I also want to supplement with yogurt, garlic and ACV, havve to figure out how often and how much. Also, the article linked below suggests vits. A & K. They suggest giving an antibiotic after the Amprol, but i think that's where the garlic comes in. Antibiotics may do more harm than good, killing off good bacteria too. I've also been adding a little turmeric to their food and DE.

    http://fowlfacts.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=afflictiondiseaseff&action=print&thread=1213

    I really want to have a few pages of info to give people that buy chicks from me. I think all of this could have been avoided if I'd had some practical information. I did read books but it never all came together the way it should have. Beth's article is a good start, now I need to figure out the correct amount of the other things to give for the first year and then maintenance thereafter.

    I think my most recent outbreak of cocci or whatever it was is over. The last one that we were tube feeding died overnight. She was my favorite, super super cute daughter of one of my favorite Barnie hens. I have 7 left out of 12. Originally, there were 15, the first outbreak I had claimed 3. This has been a pretty rough learning experience, I hope it's over, and I hope it was cocci and not something else, the other things chickens die from are even more mysterious. Sorry about your Wheaten Maran, hopefully your sick hen will make it. We spent soooo much time tube feeding, only one that we tube fed made it and that was probably just because she didn't really need it, doubt we'll go down that road again. We did aspirate one, we felt so guilty, but that was part of the learning experience I guess and, I know now, based onthe outcome of the others, he would not have made it.
     

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