Meyer Hatchery and Yolk Sac Infections

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by GrassFarmer, May 5, 2017.

  1. GrassFarmer

    GrassFarmer New Egg

    May 5, 2017
    Just want to share my story, in case this has happened to anyone else...

    I used Meyer hatchery for the first time this year, but this was not my first time ordering chicks. First round I ordered about 100 chickens- Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, and Silver Wyandottes. A few DOA, to be expected, but everything went well overall. My second round of chicks- 140 Buckeyes, Delawares and , a few months later, did not go so well. At first, the order was postponed... we were told they had an underhatch. When we did receive them a few weeks later, we had 3-4 DOA.

    Once we moved them from the box to our brooder... they started dropping like flys. We lost at least 10 chicks the first day.. 8 the next.. 5 the next day.. 3 the next day.. and then one more the following day. A grand total of 27-30 chicks, a 21% mortality rate. They would get very lethargic and lay under the heat lamp. They couldn't walk or even keep their heads up, wouldn't eat or drink. We tried everything. At first we left them, hoping they would recover on their own, but they were being trampled to death. So we made a little chick hospital, tried eyedroppers of coconut water, to no avail. I researched every disease. Many chicks also had pasty butt, we spent hours cleaning 50-75 little butts. I sat with the last 4 chicks, and watched each one as their breathing got softer and softer. Finally, they would stretch out and twitch a few times, and then their breathing stopped. It was a very traumatic week.

    None the less, I refrigerated our last 4 chicks and contacted NYS Ag & Markets. They sent a Field Vet out to my farm a few days later to do a necropsy. After spending time with the chicks, and dissecting all 4, she determined they had suffered from yolk sac infections. All of them had unabsorbed yolk sacs, and at the time of their death they were about a week old. The yolk sac should be absorbed within the first few days. Thats the whole reason day-old chicks are able to survive without food when shipped. Many strains of bacteria can cause this, but it always starts and spreads in the hatchery. It doesn't spread once the chicks are hatched, unless they have unhealed navels.

    Part of me was relieved- it wasn't the brooder, or the food, or the heat lamps. But part of me was disturbed, especially because I got sick with a respiratory illness the night the chicks arrived. My doctor thought it was related. When I contacted Meyer to let them know, they told me they had a 48 hour policy in which they could help me, which I had obviously surpassed. I asked for more information about their facilities, why this might have happened. They mentioned their high standards for sterility said everything comes from one facility in Polk, Ohio. I was sent this link to see more:

    The video shows the eggs being moved to hatching baskets on day 18. The trays are stacked on a rolling cart, and moved into an environmentally controlled room. I am assuming theres more than one cart in a room. One cart alone would have thousands of eggs and chicks. You would think the hatchery would have heard about something like this happening before, nothing is perfect right? After all, its a disease specific to hatching eggs in incubators (or extremely dirty nests). When I asked how often this happens, they said never. I was a little shocked, and so I confirmed that since 1985 when they started operating, no one had heard of anything like this. If thats the case, and this is the first time its happened, thats awesome. I really hope this was a one time thing. But I can't help but feel somewhat concerned...

    Meyer hatchery has a minimum of 3 birds per order, making them a great resource for backyard chicken owners. However, I wonder, If I had only received 10 chicks... at 20% I would've lost 2 (not including DOAs), would I have been concerned? It might seem normal. Some people might think they did something wrong, I know thats what I thought. I hate to imagine families raising chicks for the first time experiencing what we did, and never knowing what happened...

    I am wondering if anything like this has ever happened to anyone else? Especially in the last month or two ordering from Meyer?
  2. Mountainmamma

    Mountainmamma New Egg

    May 1, 2017
    So sorry that you lost your chicks. Seems to me that Meyers should have helped even though their time limit had passed.
    Gee, now I am a little nervous. I am expecting some chicks from Meyers the end of May. I dealt with them about 5 or so years ago and had no problems, but something like this should not happen, at all. I will be even more watchful now since reading this and knowing how Meyers will treat it.
  3. GrassFarmer

    GrassFarmer New Egg

    May 5, 2017
    Yeah, Meyer should have taken some responsibility for this. After reading Google reviews, I realized this is not the first time its happened. I found 5 reviews, all a year ago or less, with very similar stories. No one got a good response from Meyer. So this has happened before, and Meyer strait up lied to me. I thought it was strange, never hearing of this sort of thing... I tried to be really understanding with them, accidents happen, but they really took NO responsibility. They seemed to think their sterilization standards were high enough, and I doubt they will change anything after having talked to me. I was ordering another 150+ birds at the end of this month, but I will be cancelling my order tonight. They have done nothing to show me they are concerned with this sort of thing. I cannot in good conscience take part in unnecessary animal deaths. This can all be prevented with a sterile environment. Those who refuse to admit their mistakes are condemned to repeat them. I'm ordering from breeders as much as possible in the future. Its just not worth it.
    Wickedchicken6 likes this.
  4. BlueShadow

    BlueShadow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2015
    My SIL got an order from Meyer a month ago. The losses were very breed specific. Australorps were fine, 2 of 10(ish) Welsummers died within a day, 1 Barnevelder was pretty lethargic but recovered, 2 of 3 Buckeyes were lethargic and died 5 days after arrival.

    However, she routinely orders from Meyer. This is 4th or 5th order from there, and the first to have this kind of trouble.
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  5. Mountainmamma

    Mountainmamma New Egg

    May 1, 2017
    Did you think about filing a compliant with the Better Business Bureau against them?
  6. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2010
    First, let me just say that I am incredibly sorry for your loss! That does sound very traumatic and disheartening. I got 40 chicks plus one from Meyer back in April. My parents went to pick them up. One chick was not doing well and died within thirty minutes, however the rest are doing very well. They are 2 weeks and 4 days old now. Hopefully were are out of the range of anything like that happening, I'm not really sure how that (yolk sac infection) works and if my chicks are still in danger. Again I'm so sorry for your loss.
  7. Rickba

    Rickba Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2017
    I bought for the 1st time from Meyer last month. I did so because they were the only hatchery that had Easter Egger Pullets ready to ship. I bought 15. When I received 'em 1 was lethargic and I called Meyer right away. They were very understanding and offered suggestions and said to keep them updated. I put Electrolytes in the water and made sure she drank well. I also ground the starter smaller to make it easier to eat for the 1st 2 days. Luckily, she pulled through and all my Easter Eggers doing fine. However, I think her name was Amanda, said that the chick has to actually die within the 1st 48 hours. Even if it's sick and they are notified within that time limit, if the chick does not die with in 48 hours, no credit. I think this policy is wrong. It makes me feel that some people would rather toss a lethargic chick in the can then try to save it so they can get the credit for it. Not me, but some people.
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  8. SilverKelpie

    SilverKelpie Out Of The Brooder

    May 16, 2017
    I've read this forum for a few months, but I finally signed up because I actually had something useful to contribute for once, hence my low post count.

    I ordered from My Pet Chicken, which sources from Meyer as I understand it. The chicks hatched on 5/8 and arrived healthy. All are still healthy as of 5/16. Breeds were: Easter Egger, Dominique, Welsummer, Appenzeller Spitzhauben, Sumatra, and Fayoumi.
    Hamiam and BlueShadow like this.
  9. h2oratt

    h2oratt True BYC Addict

    May 3, 2015
    Morada, california
    Why do you think your illness had something to do with the chicks dying. Is there an illness we can catch from yolk sac infection?
    AUChickenGal likes this.
  10. ChcknNurse

    ChcknNurse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2015
    Lancaster, Pa
    My understanding of the situation is that Grassfarmer was concerned --that the reason for the chicks' illness was related to his/her own illness. That was prior to diagnosis. It turned out to be coincidental.

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