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Lethargic 3 week old RIR

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChickenCheck, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. ChickenCheck

    ChickenCheck New Egg

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    For the last two days, one of our 3 week old RIR cockerels has been extremely lethargic. He is one of 25 RIR chicks purchased from McMurray. All were vaccinated for Marek’s and are being fed non-medicated starter/grower crumbles at the instruction of the hatchery. We lost one chick on the second day, but the rest have been thriving. They are all very active, eating and drinking well, and growing fast. I isolated this one from the others as soon as I noticed the lethargy. It seems to have similar symptoms to CJD’s ‘Sleepy Chick’ from her post. Our little guy will eat a little and drink a little in his separate box, but mostly just lays there and sleeps. He may walk around a little, but very slowly, and possibly a little tipsy. We do have him under a separate heat lamp and the temp seems good. When we do pick him up he seems to perk up and will start chirping. His poops are loose and watery and my son said he saw some red spots in one yesterday. This behavior also started right about the same time that a major cold snap came through the mid-atlantic area in which we live. Of course we have all the chicks in a brooder pen with dual heat lamps and a thermometer to gauge the temp. We have been lowering the temp gradually and it is presently in the 75-80 degree range in there. I hope I provided enough background for some suggestions on what we might be up against. I have tried perusing the other posts in this and the diseases forum, but saw only the one other similar post. If I am describing a situation that has already been reported and remedied, my apologies and a pointer to that advice would be appreciated. This is our first venture into raising chickens and so our experience comes from books that we’ve read and the real life experiences as reported by this wonderful forum.

    Jeff Puuri
    Check, VA
     
  2. Wes in Tx

    Wes in Tx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Take a poop sample to the vet and have it checkd for coccidiosis. Feeding a non medicated feed it is possible that is what is going on especially seeing red in the poop.
     
  3. ChickenCheck

    ChickenCheck New Egg

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    Thanks for your reply, Wes. I went back and checked the shipping order from the hatchery and realized that I left out the fact that our chicks were not only vaccinated for Marek's, but also for coccidiosis. I think that is why they required us to use non-medicated feed, otherwise it would nullify the vaccination. Is it possible for them to contract coccidiosis even with the vaccination? In any event, it only makes sense to try to find a vet that will run a poop sample test for us to see what we might be up against. Thanks again for the quick response.
     
  4. Wes in Tx

    Wes in Tx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is correct on the non-medicated feed. Yes it would still be possible for them to get cocci even if vaccinated as the vaccination is just to help them build up immunity to the cocci.
     
  5. ChickenCheck

    ChickenCheck New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2007
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    Thanks for the vaccination clarification. Fortunately, we are not far from Virginia Tech and I just took a fecal sample over to their Animal Sciences lab at the Vet School. They hope to run the test tomorrow, so hopefully I can find out pretty soon what diagnosis they might come up with and then a remedy from there. Until then I will keep this chick isolated from the others. Thanks for all the help!
     
  6. ChickenCheck

    ChickenCheck New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2007
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    In case anyone is interested I thought I would post an update for this thread on the current status of the situation. I had the fecal sample tested for both bacteriological and parasitic pathogens. Both tests came up negative which ruled out coccidia. The referring vet was pretty surprised by the results. At this point her guesses were some kind of vitamin deficiency or possibly some kind of toxin, although both of these would seem to have shown up in more than just this one chick. Since her diagnosis, and on her recommendation, we have been feeding it a baby cereal mash containing an avian vitamin supplement. This bird is still alive and it was one week ago today that we discovered it in its weakened state. Even with the new treatment, its condition has not changed. It will try to stand up, but after a few moments it will lay back down and close its eyes as if to sleep. It is able to eat and drink, but we have noticed that it is not growing like the rest of the chicks. If we pick it up, it will start chirping and show some vigor. Although when we set it down, it will not stay standing for long. I have noticed that when I pick it up, its legs and toes seem somewhat contorted and they do not react if I touch my finger to the bottom of the feet. Other birds will wrap their toes around my finger like around a roost. We still have this guy separated in its own box with heat source.

    I'm not sure that we are ready to spend a bunch of money for further veternarian analysis on this one bird, since the others are doing so well. My wife and I are thinking that it may be time to put this fellow out of his misery, although it would have to be done in a way as to not upset our 8-year-old son who has adopted this bird and is trying to do what he can to nurse it back to health.

    If anyone has any further thoughts on what we might be dealing with or how to best proceed, I would love to hear them. Thanks!!
     
  7. Forest_Nymph

    Forest_Nymph Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Poor little thing...

    I might suggest massage therapy on its leg and toes, even extending that process up into its thigh. It may have just pulled a tendon somewhere along the line and is in distress from the pain.

    I once had to do that to a young pullet. I'd distend her leg and return it to a normal position repeatedly. I held her constantly (it seemed) and just "fingered" her muscle structure, massaging it until one day she let out a holler(squawk) and thrashed her leg around a bit and when I set her down, she resumed walking again almost normal. I believe the PT that I did while holding her helped keep her muscles limber. She remained a house chicken for the whole winter and then I returned her to the flock (gradually) the next summer.

    Hopefully the circulation will return in its legs...

    Having good thoughts to send you for doing what needs to be done. Good Luck
     
  8. ChickenCheck

    ChickenCheck New Egg

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    Thank you for this suggestion!! I would never have thought of this, but between the three of us, we should be able to take turns doing PT on this bird. I will report back to this thread in a few days with an update on how this is working. It is certainly worth a try, plus this bird is used to being picked up by now. Thanks again!!
     
  9. akcskye

    akcskye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a RIR chick (Natalie) that also exhibited these symptoms and was free from parasites, etc.

    She would literally fall asleep in my hands and was always more "lethargic" or "weak".

    Hubby discovered her in the incubator one day, dead, and it appeared that her rectum was pulled out some.

    We don't know if her 2 sisters did this discovering she was weak (all were about 2 months old when this happened), or if they poked and pulled on her after her death, which was overnight.

    I hope your little chickie survives and that the PT works.

    Please keep us updated.
     
  10. ChickenCheck

    ChickenCheck New Egg

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    Thanks to everyone for their ideas and support provided to us through this message thread. Unfortunately this bird finally succumbed to whatever it was that was ailing it and passed away. We continued to provide multiple times daily physical therapy in the form of leg massages and leg extensions as well as trying to get him to walk across the floor. What we noticed when it tried to walk forward is that it couldn't get enough distance between its legs and one foot would keep stepping on the other as it tried to proceed. When we would put it back in its box, it might walk around for a little bit, but then would lay down in the vicinity of food and water and just stay there and softly chirp. It must have managed to eat and drink enough to sustain itself but it did not really grow much since the onset of this illness. I was actually surprised how long it hung in there. It was being kept in a cardboard box right near the broooder pen where all of its brothers and sisters were kept. They all went outside to the portable coop and range area that we set up for them last week. We kept the sick chick in the same spot so that it would continue to be under the heat lamp, but it died within of few days of its separation from the rest of the group. I wonder if the sound, or lack thereof, of the rest of its group being removed from nearby could have made a difference, or if it was just ready to give up the fight. In any event, the other 25 are absolutely thriving in the outdoor environment, so whatever this chick had did not seem to be contagious. Thanks again to everyone for their help.
     

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