Molasses flushing?....Sick chicks becoming worse! :( Need help ASAP!


◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊
15 Years
Aug 19, 2008
I had another post about how my chickens (my rooster, a mother hen, and 3 young chicks) ate quite a bit of moldy feed that got wet from the rain.
Well, they were fine and I was convinced that it wasn't gonna affect them. They were acting normal and healthy as ever. Until a couple days ago, I noticed that the three baby chicks have been acting lethargic...feathers were all fluffed up, sad, drown-out peeping noises instead of their usual high-pitched and energetic peeping, slowness, etc. One of the baby chicks, the youngest, seems to be the worst...She often stands in one spot with her head tuck in her wings/back and very slow. They all still eat and drink and can walk around and stand up fine, but it seems to have been getting progressively worse over the past couple days.
Ever since I found out that the food was moldy and it was bad for chickens to eat it, I got rid of it all and bought some brand-new grower feed. They ate and have been eating that fine and always have fresh water available.

So I think that the way the chicks are acting lethargic and everything must have something to do with the moldy feed...

I've heard that molasses can be used to flush out their digestive system and treat infections from moldy feed. If this is true, how much should I use per gallon?
Are there any other solutions that I could use?

Thanks and any other information is appreciated!

(UPDATER: The three baby chicks are getting worse...Please see my post, which is a couple posts below this one, about it! Help!)
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I mixed in about 1/4 cup of molasses with about 1 gallon of water and all the chickens drank quite a bit...Hopefully it helps!
Activated charcoal may help if it is in fact feed intoxication. You can find it at a health food store. Comes in gelatin capsules. Make about 1/2 cup of mush (oatmeal, cream of wheat), break open 4 activated charcoal capsules and mix that into the feed. If any chicks are too weak to eat, you'll need to feed them with a syringe or eyedropper. Go slowly. Don't want them to choke.

ETA: If you have not been feeding medicated chick starter to those chicks, you may be looking at coccidiosis, not toxins from mold.
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Actually, the chick feed that was spoiled from the mold was medicated chick starter. That's what they've been eating up until it got spoiled (when they were 3-4 weeks old). Then I bought non-medicated grower feed for them instead.

UPDATE: After I did the molasses flush (mixed about 1/4 cup molasses into about a gallon of water, let them drink it free-choice for over 4 hours), nothing really happened...The baby chicks didn't get much worse but also didn't get much better either. And today the youngest one seems even worse; she seems slower and her wings are drooping.

Their droppings seem a little watery and I saw some blood in them...But haven't seen any recently.

How would I do that and what if they don't have cocci? I don't see how they would get it, since they were on medicated chick starter up until several days ago when I found out that it got wet and had mold in it...Since then until now, when they've been eating the grower feed, I don't see how they could have gotten cocci that quickly.

Also, I noticed that none of the chickens really like the grower mash. They don't eat that much at all. But when I give them treats, such as plain bread, they will eat it all like they are starving, even when they always have the grower mash available. And they free range.

Also, the chicks can eat and drink on their own just fine...But while walking around, they will all just stand there or walk around slowly and make low, sad-sounding peeping noises. But then when the mother hen finds a treat for them and calls them over, they immediately perk up and run over to her. While I was feeding them some plain wheat bread as a treat, they were much more enthusiastic about eating it than usual. As soon as all the bread was gone, they calmed down and started acting lethargic all over again.

Thanks for all the help!
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I would really try the activated charcoal like Mother said to, or Tetracycline in the water. (Do Both it can't hurt at this stage) Whatever you are going to do it had better be has fast as you can. They just wont handle bloody stools for very long.
Antibiotic. It is cheap and should be easy to find at the feed store. You can get a higher dose in the chicks than with just the medicated feed. It is essentially the same antibiotic as in the feed. It is used in humans also because it is a broad spectrum antibiotic that kills almost anything. It's been over used for years. But when you have a unknown potential disease process you just kind of need to hit it with as much as you can, without of course using to much and killing the chicks. Follow the directions for use on the package, it is a bit of math in order to make it into just a gallon or less of water. The antibiotic should rather inexpensive. I think I paid 3 to 6 dollars for it and I am living in a more expensive suburn area of the West Coast.

You should be able to find activated charcoal at a pet store (one with fish) or at a drug store like Walgreens or CVS. It should not be very expensive either.
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Fiberart57 posted this on another thread back in March:

"The medicated chick feed is amprolium for coccidiosis, an intestinal parasite that most chickens have. As they get older they become tolerant of cocci in their digestive systems. As babies they can easily become overcome with cocci and die as a result of a massive infestation. Amprolium helps control the amount they have until they build an immunity to them. By 12 or 16 weeks, or until they start laying, they should be fed medicated feed and then be able to be weaned off the amprolium."

So...when your medicated feed got moldy, you tossed it and bought non-medicated feed, which no longer helped to control the cocci protozoa that your chicks were exposed to. It's also important to note that not all cases of coccidiosis show the symptom of blood in the droppings. The other symptoms of lethargy, decreased intake of food and water, and diarrhea are almost always present. I believe you said your chicks exhibited all of these symptoms...including some signs of blood. Coccidiosis is common...far more common than botulism from moldy feed. It might have just been your bad luck to have an outbreak of cocci occur at the same time you found you were giving moldy feed.

If you decide to treat your chicks for cocci you should use Sulmet or Corrid (available at most feed stores). These drugs are in the sulfa drug family. It will not hurt your chicks. Whether or not it will help at this point is anybody's guess. You should understand that diseases that might take a couple of weeks to kill an adult bird, can kill a month old chick in a matter of a few days. I hope this works for you and that it's not too late.

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