Lethargic, droopy chick

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CheriK, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. CheriK

    CheriK Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2012
    Northern California
    One of my 10-day old Orpingtons is not doing well. She's really quiet, looks hunched & puffy. I think this started yesterday, at least she seemed less active to me when I had them outside in the afternoon. Weight gain has been good up until now, but she hasn't gained in the last 24 hours (we homeschool, kids are weighing daily - gotta make this a science project ;-). She has been our biggest and most outgoing chick so the difference is striking. Stools don't appear appreciably different than the others. No obvious nasal or ocular discharge. Possibly somewhat increased respiratory effort & rate, but hard for me to tell. We introduced 3 new chicks on Thursday evening (they are 3 days old, different breeds). All of the new chicks as well as the other 2 older ones look fine, getting along fine, extremely active, eating & drinking tons. They're in a re-purposed guinea pig cage under a heat lamp, eating medicated chick starter & treats (oatmeal this morning, also egg yolk, dried meal worms, whatever they scrounge from the yard at playtime), grit, on newspaper bedding changed daily. She is still eating and drinking, although when I tried to feed her this afternoon, I noticed her picking up and dropping the food, not swallowing.

    I've read the forums about offering things like Poly-vi-sol (no iron), Save-a-Chick, various antibiotics. . . Anything sound appropriate for this girl or just watch and wait?

    Thanks,
    Cheri
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I would definitely start treatment for coccidiosis. As in, today. It is a fast killer of chicks.

    Here is a link:
    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/200800.htm

    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/htm/bc/tpou03.htm

    So I'd get some Corid at the feed store (in the cattle section). The liquid is the easiest. 9.5 ml in a gallon for 5 days.

    They don't have to have bloody poo for it to be coccidiosis. I would treat them all. Don't give vitamins at the same time or you negate the corid somewhat (thiamine blocker). If you can't find Corid you can try Sulmet but it doesn't kill as many strains.

    Here is a fast read if you don't feel like reading the merck manual, LOL:
    http://www.clemson.edu/public/lph/ahp/disease_links/images/coccidia.pdf


    http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/coccidtable205.pdf
    corid powder mentioned
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  3. CheriK

    CheriK Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2012
    Northern California
    I thought that was the point of medicated feed, to prevent coccidia outbreaks.
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Yes, it helps. But it still sometimes occurs, unfortunately.

    They can stay on medicated feed even whilst receiving additional amprolium in the water (it is such a tiny amount in the feed of the medication).
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  5. Kaseykeepstrack

    Kaseykeepstrack Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2012
    NW Arkansas
    I had 1 of my 7 chicks sick at 5 days old with pasty butt. She stopped gaining weight and didn't look good. After treating her issues, I immediately put them all of sulmet for 6 days, because a few of them had very runny poop, and it totally did the trick. They are now 4 weeks old and thriving. That stuff is amazing. Good luck.
     
  6. CheriK

    CheriK Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2012
    Northern California
    So unable to get to the feed store last night (none "local" & only one w/ corid in stock is 40 minutes away and closed too early on Saturday, of course). I started ACV in their water, figured it couldn't hurt and might help. Made the sick chick a mash w/ her crumbles and some of the ACV water, which my daughter fed her, although she only ate a tiny amount.

    Before bed, she was perkier and eating/drinking on her own. This morning she's still lethargic; I have all the girls out roaming around and she's just standing and dozing. But at least she's alive! I haven't seen a stool in the last 12 hours that I KNOW was hers, but everyones' poop still looks normal to me. No blood. No one has had pasty butt at all.

    Since there are NO poop issues, should I try sulmit instead of corid, since as an antibiotic it treats more nasties? From what I've read, I know it's not as effective against coccidia, but I'm just concerned that it could be something else since the only clear symptom is lethargy, and am worried that if I use corid & it's bacterial, I won't be helping. Thoughts?

    Yes, I'm overly worried! I've worked in veterinary clinics for 20+ years and HATE just throwing medication at symptoms without really knowing what's causing the illness. And I know next to nothing about chickens so everything is a guess at this point! All I know about birds is that way too often by the time you know they're sick they are 3/4 dead already.

    Thanks so much for all the ideas!
     
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    In that age range (under 8 weeks old) if lethargy/feathers fluffed up/acting cold is the only sign of illness and you don't have other diseases on your property from older hens, coccidiosis is the likely culprit, I'm afraid.

    However, it is quite possible that something else is the matter, of course. Especially if you received your chicks from a farm or place that might have adult hens around with illnesses.

    I will tell you of one of my coccidiosis experiences to give you an idea of why I am so fast to jump on treatment: Two, three years ago (I forget when), I noticed one bloody poo in one coop, but everyone looked healthy in that area. One pullet looked lethargic in another area of my yard but no poo problems.

    I didn't start treatment that day. I was able to start treatment the following day, though. By that time the bloody poos were everywhere in the coop where I had noticed one bloody poo, and they still acted fine. The lethargic pullet still had no bloody poos. At the time I had 11 different coops/hutches going with chicken wire everywhere criss-crossing the yard.

    I started treatment with Corid. The next day, the lethargic pullet was dead. The bloody poos were gone within a day of starting the Corid, and everyone else acted fine the whole time.

    Then the bloody poos came back a couple of days after stopping the Corid. I had to retreat again for 5 more days.

    So, when I see a chick lethargic, I am fast to recommend treatment because I lost one that way. So if it were me, I'd try to hit all the different kinds of cocci to be safe. This is just my opinion.

    Go with your gut, I say. It is always hard to give advice over internet because we aren't there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Sorry for the additional post but if you cannot get the Corid then definitely I'd just give Sulmet if that is all you can get. I just reread your post.

    [​IMG] I hope your little chick gets better soon!
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  9. aznewmom

    aznewmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2008
    Tucson
    I am going through the same type of thing. It is so tough. Lethargic and not eating or drinking.
    I am using a dropper for some electrolyte water. She certainly gets feisty then!
    All the other babies (three of them) seem just fine right now. Guess I will have to treat them all, once I can get a hold of some medication!
    I hope to get the meds tomorrow. All the feed stores are closed here (Sunday afternoon[​IMG]).
    I wish you luck with your little one. It is really hard when they get sick.
    [​IMG]

    Stacy
     
  10. CheriK

    CheriK Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2012
    Northern California
    Just an update - chick is well recovered. Started Sulmed last Sunday and just cleaned out the waterer with the remains of yesterday's final treatment. I also treated the sick chick directly (low dose in the waterer, low dose direct orally to sick chick only - I wanted to be sure she got a big enough dose to treat whatever nasty she had). It took 48 full hours, then she started perking up and gaining weight again. She'd stayed the same weight for 3 days, even dropping about 3 grams the last day, which really scared me. Never acted sicker, though, kept eating and drinking, obviously not eating enough but some, and her droppings remained normal throughout. She started gaining again on Tuesday and has gained almost 43 grams since, which is rapidly catching her up to her two age-mates. Definitely some compensatory growth going on! So good to see her perky and friendly again. She really didn't like me giving her medication - Stacy, exactly like you said, it perks them right up - and was avoiding being handled, but has finally started hopping up on our laps again. Whew!
     

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