Lost 5,4 wk old chicks, now my all black cutie is listless


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 2, 2009
Grafton MA
I don't know what's wrong. They are on medicated chick starter, clean pine shavings, fresh water w/ acv, and 100 watt red lamps moved 4 ft away. They are not huddling. I put roosts in that they use. There are 9 chicks in the cage. It's dimensions are about 2 1/2 X 3 1/2 and 3 1/2 tall. The chicks that died got lethargic, didn't eat or drink, fluffed out, and would not move. I gave them water with a little mash diluted in:( with an eye dropper to no avail. I don't want to lose this one! He's all black, beak and legs with a little crest. The chicks are passing about a week apart. Poops look fine. Help!! Thank You, Donna
Boy, I wish I was better with the emergencies. I've seen posts with reccomendation to give poly-vi-sol w/o iron, pedialyte, and/or sugar water. and per your other post- 4 weeks is not too young for egg. I would suggest seperating out any ill chicks. Hopefully it isn't some disease that has spread throughout all of them. Sounds like you got a handle on things. Hopefully someone with more experience with this will come along and offer better advice. Try doing a search. Good luck.

Thanks Imp. It's worrisome! I'm thinking maybe I need corid but not sure, but I suppose it's one of those things I should have on hand, along with vetrx.
Is there any discharge from eyes or nostrils? Any other symptoms at all? Every time mine have hunched up and not eaten they have needed antibiotics. I hope someone with more knowledge comes along to help.
dsvabulas wrote:
I don't know what's wrong. They are on medicated chick starter, clean pine shavings, fresh water w/ acv, and 100 watt red lamps moved 4 ft away. They are not huddling. I put roosts in that they use. There are 9 chicks in the cage. It's dimensions are about 2 1/2 X 3 1/2 and 3 1/2 tall.
this is too small of an area for 9 chicks
have they had opportunity to be out on soil?

The chicks that died got lethargic, didn't eat or drink, fluffed out, and would not move.
this sounds like coccidiosis
and yes you need either sulmet or corid 9.6%
and the whole lot of them need treating

I gave them water with a little mash diluted in:( with an eye dropper to no avail. I don't want to lose this one! He's all black, beak and legs with a little crest. The chicks are passing about a week apart. Poops look fine. Help!! Thank You, Donna

here is what I would do to help them immediately
find some corrid if they do not have it in your twon call
first state vet and get some

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personally I feel sulmet is the best thing here
as it will doctor the gut for the lathargic problem
generally they have a brown diarrhea also

this info is on brown diarrhea and some help from a friend of mine

(1 did you ever worm them?
(2 do any of them not eat or drink yet?

(3 do you see any signs of blood in the manure?
can be slightly if first day
most times they only drink not eat

(4 for coccidiosis I like amproylium best generally corid
but most feed stores don't stock it
so she mentions sulmet

Nathalie Ross"

(1 coccidiosis I think it might be helpful for you to know that coccidia are
very VERY hard to trace in a fecal. When I worked as a vet tech, it
was common procedure to go ahead and treat with a combination
antibiotic/antiprotazoan medication like Sulfa products (Sulmet being the most
common) based on symptom diagnosis rather than physical evidence of the
oocysts. use Sulmet to treat them for coccidiosis

This is less true of other parasites like roundworms and such,
but still true. Often vets recommend a routine worming program to kill
worms not found. Worms aren't always shed into the fecal matter, nor
are their eggs, but that doesn't mean they aren't up there chowing down
on your birds' food in the gut and leaving scars which make it harder
for the birds to digest feed in the future.

(2 worms
So, think about a twice a year worming program. My personal program is
to worm in the fall with Ivermectin, in the spring with either
Ivermectin or another BROAD spectrum medication like tramisol or worm-ex.
Note: I didn't mention piperazine. Piperazine is a one-worm wormer -
rounds only. You'll want to use it for your very first worming to decrease
the parasite loads (which are undetectable unless they're really very
heavy) to prevent the possibility of the bird going into anaphylactic
shock or being blocked. These two last dreadful things can happen if
there are parasites up there you don't know about, and you use a
super-wormer (like the 2 mentioned above) which kill everything all at once. So
do piperazine the first time, or with new birds with unknown histories,
then use the super-wormers from then on.

(3 gut bacteria
At 7 weeks, the babies are still in the
process of getting their gut bacteria in order. See, they're born
without any bacteria at all in their gut. So they eat at day 2, and put
food in there as a food source for themselves but also for bacteria.
Basically, it's first-come-first-serve for bacteria. If the bad ones get
there first, they take over and your birds get ill. IF there are some
good but mostly bad, the same thing happens. If you give your birds
probiotics (substances containing live beneficial bacteria) your GOOD
bacteria will have the advantage. Those good bacteria crowd out the bad,
make it impossible for the bad bacteria to live in anything but minimal
numbers, and thus help your birds to stay healthy. So I always
recommend giving probiotics weekly from week 2 til point of lay. Then I move
to once a month or as needed. You can use live-culture yogurt

(1 teaspoon per 8 newly hatched, moving up to 1 teaspoon per point of lay
bantam, 1 tablespoon per point of lay large fowl - no more please). You can
also use powdered livestock probiotics (Probios dispersable powder
being my absolute favorite - it's the choice of exotic bird breeders, and I
also have hookbills).

Or, you can go to the human health food store
and pick up a human supplement like "acidophilus" (Lactobacilus
acidophilus), or a combination of acidophilus and B. bifidum sold to combat
yeast infections. The latter is a particular useful thing for a poultry
hobbiest to have. The addition of b. bifidum helps combat thrush.
Thrush is essentially a yeast infection that is common to birds because of
the way their crops store feed in wet conditions. Things tend to get
fungus and yeast there, and thus the yeast infection. That infection
goes throughout the bird's system and is really a mess, so that
bifidum/acidophilus mix is the best. Try to find a non-dairy liquid, and you'll
have the ultimate probiotic.

So, there are some options. I'd tend towards those.
Also, if you're
prescribed antibiotics for your birds' infection, you'll want to give
PRObiotics daily during treatment. Antibiotics are unfortunately going
to kill the good bacteria which are having such a difficult time getting
established in y our babies as it is. The antibiotics will possibly do
as much harm as good, so combat that bad effect with probiotics. Try
giving them daily for about 3 days after the last batch of medicine.

(4 E.Coli
In case your babies are said to have an infection of E. coli (most
likely case) then you can try putting some vitamin E in their feed.

( GLH- advises using the 1000 mg capsules cut end off and squeeze into wet mash
and putting in a wet mash for them to eat
( use one capsule Vit Eper bird treating and do this twice a day for a week

Vitamin E helps fix E. coli overpopulations. You know what else helps fight
E. coli? Guess:

b. bifidum. It secrets a substance that E. coli just
can't stand. See where this is going?

Nathalie Ross, Houston, TX

GLH I will put more about sulmet on the next post

email me with any questions
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This information on using sulmet is very important
besure and make the wet mash with sulmet so it will be given by hand as a wet sauce with medication

at best if they won't eat it then make just water
3 tsp of water and 1 tsp of sulmet
put it by eye dropper in the chicks beak three time today
then it may eat the food and water and sulmet
all the time make sure it is in the water for the rest of the chicks

and cut tip off the vit E and drizzle it in the chicks beak

email me if any questions so you are not confused Glenda

Nathalie's explanation of sulmet is
Sulmet is sulfamethazine. coridis amproylium
Sulmet is used for treatment against bacterial scours in cattle, which just happens to be E. coli.

It also is used against Coryza, Pastuerella, and Salmonella Pullorum in poultry. It's an old fashioned sulfur drug, very broad spectrum, safe for babies, easy to give.

then give them the wet mash probiotic so they can make good gut flora

Here is the way I would use and have used sulmet for coccidiosis

Now what to do and what to feed after medicating for coccidiosis

to make sure they eat the medicated wet mash do this first and second day of treating and medication in the water 7 days
also I use the wet mash with sulmet or corid

18 tsp of dry crumble feed
36 tsp of water
3 tsp of sulmet
mix good and feed each chick 2 tsp of this

if using corid 9.6%
for 9 chicks
18 tsp OF of dry mash
36 tsp of water
add 2 tbsp of corid 9.6% to the water
feed 2 tsp per chicken for a feeding
feed this two mornings to get the medication in the birds
also at same time put the corid or sulmet in the drinking water for 7 days

each chick get 2 tsp of the wet mash with coccidiosis meds

speckled hen gives corid(9.6%) liquid in 3-4 tbsp per gallon of water

and after medicating give the following things

either the corid amproylium or the sulmet will work for coccidiosis but I think sulmet is the best answer now

but now you have a difficient gut problem with the E.coli
and it needs to have the Vitamin E and selenium put in the wet mash probiotic to help the E.coli gut problem
do this

now the
natural probiotic recipe is is:
1 qt of dry crumbles
2 qts of milk, sweet, sour, or buttermilk or a mixture of all or some
1/4 cup of non flavored yoguart ( no artificial sweetmer)
mix good

and add 1- 1000 mg of Vit E by cutting the end off the vit E capsule for each chick fed this wet mash
putting it in the wet mash

this for each chick your treating
so for each chick use 2 tsp of mixture and 1-1000 mg of Vit E
and 1 sleinium tablet crushed in the wet mash probiotic
twice a day for them till the manure is solid

and feed each chick
2 tsp full of the wet mash probiotic and what they will clean up in 20-30 minutes
then clean wet feeders and restock dry crumbles

do this twice a day for a week
till the chicks manure is right
then quit the Vit E make just the wet mash probiotic
then once a week for life

All the while after mdicating the birds use
do not use ACV with medication

2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar per gallon of the chicken water so their gut flora wil be regulated they should have this at least 3-5 days a week
then three days aweek after they are over coccidiosis

the vit's are neccessary to clean up the damaged gut problem
take all the electrolytes out of the water

email me any questions so you are not confused
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I agree with the sulmet. My daughter lost 6 wlh babies and 2 banties with the same symtoms as yours. We put the rest on the sulmet for 10 days and the others are fine now. We also gave them plain yogurt with the starter crumbles mixed and the rest are doing fine now. She got her birds at the local TSC here.
Good luck and keep us posted.

seems to pop up more during the warm rainy season. I keep Amprolium (Corid 9.6%) on hand as I can't just run to the store to get it here. I've gotten it at First State, but www.Jedds.com has a 16 oz bottle for a pretty good price too.

Basic steps are
a) separate the chicks and either put the affected ones on fresh shavings and change it often, or put them on wire so they can't get to their poo. Change all the bedding.

b) add a heat lamp so they don't have to expend energy keeping warm. You know how a warm blanket feels really nice when you're sick?

c) cut back on the protein... no yogurt until after treatment is done. I mixed ground oatmeal 50/50 with their chick crumbles.

d) fresh clean water daily dosed with Sulmet or Amprolium as specified on the bottle.

The cocci can also impair their immune system at this time, so if they're really not responding I've given Tylan 50 injectible to make sure that nothing else takes hold while they're recovering.

I agree that it seems like that space is a little too small for that number of chicks. Can you increase their space at all or split them up?

I found out the hard way that chicks don't ever have to go outside to get cocci. All it takes is for me to step in their enclosure with contaminated shoes once... that's why biosecurity is so important.

I'm sorry for your troubles... good luck.

Edited to add:
Also a thing to check for is what medication is in the chick feed... I buy chick starter that says "medicated chick feed", but I finally read the label and realized that it does not contain Amprol as cocci prevention. It contains something else that is supposed to "enhance the well being of the birds"... check the ingredients to make sure you're getting Amprol or Amprolium if you're trying to prevent cocci.
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Thanks Everyone....it seems a bit overwhelming! I have 3 of these pens w/ 9 chicks in each. I thought they were okay because they all get along, but obviously I wasn't seeing the complete picture. My husband is working on their coop now! I will call a feed store about an hour and a 1/2 away, another nice byc person emailed me about. I wonder why most feed stores don't carry it. I will keep you updated. Donna

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