Is Cocci possible at 6 days old? Lost our first chick.


In the Brooder
May 31, 2017
Hey guys,

Just lost our first chick. We got in 11 chicks last Friday @ 8 a.m. that shipped on Wednesday night, so I'm figuring they hatched on Tuesday, putting them at 6 days old today. Been giving them distilled water with Sav-A-Chick electrolytes and probiotics packs we ordered with them. Started with Grogel for their first feeding, then Purina Start & Grow Medicated. There's probably about 1 quart left from the initial gallon of distilled water I'd mixed the packets with. One chick seemed a little more tired Friday night, but perked up Saturday. Then seemed more tired Saturday night, and wasn't quite as perky Sunday. Last night I was worried about it because it didn't try to run when I went to check it for pasty butt and seemed wobbly on its feet. Chirped loudly, but no trying to wiggle out of my hand.

It was very lethargic this morning. Made it some scrambled eggs, but it wouldn't open its eyes or eat. Dipped its beak in water and it chirped and opened its eyes for a second and drank what was on its beak-tip, but that was it. Went to TSC and bought meal worms; it didn't care. Wife went back to TSC a little bit ago to get some Nutri-Drench, but it had passed when she got home.

Brooder has been comfortable, and all the other chicks are thriving just fine that we can tell and very lively. We just changed the pine for the first time this morning, but it's only been in there 3 days and didn't stink at all (and they of course have kicked it everywhere and turned it over a bit on their own).

I know it was probably just weak and stressed to begin with, but it's still a bummer since this is our first flock ever and they seemed to be doing so well right after receiving them (especially after eating the Grogel). But I was just curious, is Cocci even a possibility during the first week? Figured it probably wasn't with the incubation period, but wanted to ask for my own peace of mind anyway.

Thanks, guys and gals.
- Dave
Been giving them distilled water with Sav-A-Chick electrolytes and probiotics packs
probably about 1 quart left from the initial gallon of distilled water I'd mixed the packets with.It was very lethargic this morning

Hi @PerlAddict :frow Welcome To BYC

I'm sorry to hear you lost a chick.

Yes, it is possible a chick can be overwhelmed by Coccidiosis at 6days. Chicken poop has a small amount of Cocci - it's when there is an overload/overgrowth that it becomes a problem.

From your description, it seems the chick was tired when you received him(?) Shipping can be very hard on them. It could have been shipping stress, not eating/drinking well enough, failure to thrive or possibly Cocci. There's no way to know for sure unless a necropsy is performed - then on a chick that small, it may be hard.

I do have a question (I always have a lot (I'm nosey:D) - any reason for the distilled water? Also you mention that you still have about 1quart left - this was initially mixed on Friday(?) Was it stored in the fridge?

Anyway...imho, they need to be offered water that they will be getting throughout their adult life - whatever your source is (well, city, etc.). You can add some poultry vitamins to the water if you wish - I usually save those when I have a chicken that seems to need a boost - but no harm to offer them a few times a week. Also electrolytes - they are good to have on hand for hot weather(heat stress), injury, illness, etc.

Mealworms are a great treat - make sure to offer chick grit (crushed granite) free choice so your chicks can process things like that properly.

Keep watch on the rest of your chicks - symptoms of Cocci include going off feed, lethargy, loss of balance, huddling/puffed up appearance and diarrhea with mucous or blood.

Just my thoughts:)
Welcome to BYC! :frow

It usually takes 6 days for symptoms of cocci to show up. IMHO that was not it. Especially if brooder conditions are good as you describe and you also have them on medicated feed. Medicated feed has a low dose Aprolium in it, the same medication as Corid. Which is not an antibiotic but a thiamine blocker to SLOW the growth of coccidia which are in every single chicken poo. As stated it is only a problem when there is an overgrowth. Sometimes you will need to treat even if you use the medicated feed, it may not be strong enough. Only one out of the 9 strains of cocci shows itself as blood in the stool. If the sav-a-chick has B vitamins in it, might be defeating the purpose of the medicated feed. But if you keep your water poo free and your shavings dry (sometimes wetter underneath than they look on top) then you should be fine. Probably the Nutri Drench defeats the medicated feed to. :confused: As far as I know, if you are treating for cocci.. supplementing electrolytes may be OK but you need to wait until after the treatment to dose with vitamins.

For ME, the Purina start n grow is too low in protein for chicks. I won't go less than 20% but prefer 22%. When my feed store switched to carrying this product from anther one made by Purina (20%) but sold under a different name and unmedicated, I quit buying there. :confused: I currently use Flock Raiser (20% protein 1% calcium) with oyster shell on the side because I have all ages in my flock. We did get cocci twice.. first time from really wet spring, 6 days after an all day trip out they showed sign. Previous owner here had lots of birds) The other time was my first large brood and a learning curve as I mentioned shaving being wetter than they looked. :oops:

I do believe it was shipping stress with failure to thrive for yours. Sometimes we just don't know what's going on inside. For shipped chicks especially I would definitely supplement with vitamins and probiotics/electrolytes. While you can OD them on electrolytes (potassium/salt) they cannot OD on vitamins. So anyone showing weakness will get a drop of straight liquid vitamins (even Nutri Drench) directly below their nostrils. And they usually gobble/swallow as it rolls around into their beak. And I often see immediate/temporary perk up. I will do that as many times as I need to until I see improvement. Making sure they are getting regular water every 30 minutes to 1 hour. They won't die from starvation, but dehydration is deadly very fast.

One other thing I have experienced is in larger broods I have a harder time seeing pasty butt. And it starts with lethargy.

I agree that you aren't doing your chicks any favors by giving them distilled water unless yours is unsafe to drink. People who try to protect their kids from everything by keeping them in a sterile environment are in fact diminishing the immune system. It cannot build any defense unless exposed. I would bring in a dish of dirt (or a big clump of grass with dirt still attached) if you don't have them out to pasture already. So they can get some exposure to you soil bacteria before they head out into it all day long. Plus they will have tons of fun bathing and scratching in it) and thank you. It does not need to be 95 degrees to take chicks out. Mine are out, depending on the weather by 1 week old with a box to huddle in and the opening facing south (short fencing for containment). Rarely ever do we see a day, even in the summer that get's above 65. So we are taking about 55 degrees. If I felt it was too cold, I might set up an outdoor heat source, but the simple huddle box is usually good enough. ;)

My biggest guess would be a missed pasty butt or genetics (I have had them fail around 7 days after shipping). Will note that doing a fecal float at the vet is usually around $15 to get a count to determine if treatment is needed for things like cocci and worms, and a good idea.

I am sorry for your loss. :( Hope everybody else is well! :fl
Hi Wyorp,

Thanks for the response. I wish I'd started her on Amprol last night, but I figured with having medicated chick feed from the start and thinking cocci had a longer incubation period, it might be over-treating her for a problem she might not even have. I didn't clean the pine litter daily because of things I'd read saying it wouldn't help them build up an immunity if they stay in a super-clean environment the whole time they're in the brooder. I know it's the nature of the beast, but you still hate to lose one.

As for the water, I just bought a gallon of distilled on my way back from the post office because we had no clean gallon jugs at home, and I figured it would make mixing the Sav-A-Chick easy and let me store the water for a few days. Yes, initially mixed Friday morning. Gave them the first little bit at room temperature, then put the jug into another water pot and kept it at 95-degrees then next couple of days using our sous vide heater. Took it out of the heater yesterday morning and started giving it to them at room temp. Never chilled it at any point. I figured when the first gallon was up, we'd just switch to city water with no added Sav-A-Chick in it. Should I have just given them the Sav-A-Chick mix for the first 24 - 48 hours and then switched off? I'm sure there are differing opinions out there on continued use for the first few days vs. limited use vs. no use at all.

Thanks for the info on the chick grit. Hadn't thought about needing that. The mealworms were kind of a last ditch effort (after the scrambled egg) to get her to eat anything. We'll keep the rest sealed up until they're a little older.

Everything you described sounds like how she acted, but then again, so does just being weak and stressed. She just seemed so good Saturday afternoon. :( We'll keep a close eye on the rest for signs of slowing down and started Amprol if they start acting similar. No vitamins, Nutri-Drench, Sav-A-Chick, etc. while taking the Amprol water, correct?
EggSighted just answered a couple of my questions while I was posting them, and I probably answered a couple of yours back to me in the process, as well. :)

Distilled wasn't too try and protect them from anything in the regulator tap water. Just needed a gallon jug to mix the Sav-A-Chick in and it seemed like the easiest solution for both accurately measuring/mixing and being able to save the remainder for a few days.
We all do things differently, and yes, you will see a LOT of different opinions here on BYC.

If you have grit available - there's no need to save those mealworms to later in life:)
I DO give "treats" beginning the 1wk. A sprinkle of oatmeal - I love the squeals of delight! A sprig of broccoli, chopped grape(1-2), cucumber, etc. - I get tickled at the curious trills and dancing around trying to decide if it's food or something that will eat them:lol: Of course they won't eat all of it -just may taste, but I like to introduce things they will see later in life.

I'm a huge fan of placing dirt, a clump of dandelions/sod in the brooder. The dirt I source from my adults run (so chicks will be exposed to their poop and whatever else is in there -sifted of course), various places the chicks will live, then add some sand, ash, etc. Nothing cuter than dust bathing babies.

I get it about the water - you just needed a JUG:lau I do recommend that you offer cool water and keep food/water on the cool side of your brooder (only one spot of warmth is needed in a brooder- let the rest remain cool/unheated). Chicks have a hard time regulating body temperature, so if they do need to cool down, having warm water won't help.

I hope all goes well, enjoy them while they are this age - they grow up fast - then you look forward to the snooty teenage phase:)
If I were gonna keep the mix and use it... I might refrigerate and return just the amount wanted to room temp before using. I'm not sure how holding at 95 will effect the drug itself since many drugs have to be held within a certain temp range, usually lower than that. Tried to find my bottle to see if it said anything about storage temp, alas despite my efforts to get organized it doesn't help if you can't find stuff! :he

Also, I just read another link that said there are only 7 strains of cocci so I apologize if I spread misinformation (by saying 9), but haven't had a chance to look further and see which is accurate. Even if I messed that one # up my info is still good.

What you say is true, so many differing... not only opinions but experiences as well. And no matter what, these are your birds and you have to do what makes sense to YOU! :) :highfive:

I understand how difficult it can be to get measures and get amounts right. I always mix less than the 1 gallon because I know I'm not gonna use it. But talk about numbers swimming around in your brain and trying to confuse you, definitely easy to happen. Funny that everybody has reasons why they do things even if we don't initially get it.

It sound more genetic or missed pasty butt (only mentioned because it happened once to me) after her initial recovery.

Also, no matter how many times I might recommend scrambled or boiled smashed eggs.. my young chicks never eat it. If you feed only starter no grit needed. It has been shown though having access to grit early helps develop the gizzard. I personally have never provided grit. All my birds have access to the ground and it has been sufficient thus far. Will change my practice if it becomes needed. I'm tight with treats for all my animals.. so the young ones probably don't get much before they are out to pasture.

I think all shipped chicks will need some extra support for a few days at least. The scientific statements I have read state not to supplement anything for more than 10 days. But you well know every situation (even within my own flock) is different.

Also worth noting that sometimes they will shed their intestinal lining which can be confused for blood in the poo. The one time I did have blood in poo it was bright red and kinda thin. And on top of that.. have followed them so closely to see that only the occasional poo was bloody out of the same exact chick. But it's really easy to see stained shaving in your brooder.

Best wishes, hope to see a pic of your lovely brood! ;)
I am sorry for your lost baby. I am going thru the same situation today with a 6 day old chick. I picked mine up Thurs afternoon from the Post Ofc. One is not eating, I have been feeding her with an eyedropper since Friday night. I hope she makes it, but not sure about that. The others are thriving, thank goodness. This is my second batch of chicks I've raised and haven't had a chick loss yet, so I am keeping my fingers crossed and doing everything possible to help this little one. I think I've read every article on BYC about chicks not thriving, not eating, etc., it is information overload at this point!
My wife has checked them daily for pasty butt (and cleaned a couple so far), so I'm betting it was probably just the genetics and/or stress. Like I said, this one was the one that seemed the least energetic from the start. We did notice its crop felt a little squishy compared to the others this morning. My wife had read up a little on sour crop, and she called up where we got them from to ask their advice. They said sour crop at this age was pretty unlikely, though. I've really enjoyed their website and service for our first ever chickens, I have to say. They did great with responding to an email I had with some non-emergency questions the day we got our chicks in, too (responded in less than 2 hours!).

I kinda wondered if we should take the water temp down to help slow any micro-organism growth, but since it was pure water to start with, I figured it probably wouldn't make a difference over a handful of days. No medicine in the water ... just the electrolytes/vitamins and the probiotics from the two Sav-A-Chick packets.

The kids were initially pretty upset, but they're resilient and understand. The rest of the 10 were super peppy when I went home over lunch. They're really starting to get their jumping legs under them. :D Funny little things to watch. I'm planning on getting a clump of dirt and grass for them to check out for a while this evening.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom