Newly hatched chicks dying one by one

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tadimaali, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. tadimaali

    tadimaali In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2008
    Europe, Estonia
    I am hoping anyone has any idea or suggestions.

    I have a second batch of grey partridge chicks (5 days old) dying one by one, last batch was 25 chicks and after the dying stopped (around at the age of 2,5 weeks) I was left with 8 ... Now with a second batch the same thing seems to happen. They just die, one chick every day. They will get weaker, sort of dizzy, do not eat-drink anymore, finally start to fall over and then just die, sometimes it happens with just one day, sometimes it takes two. They just seem to wither away. Not all of them are the smaller and weaker type, some are big and healthy looking. Some died in my last batch after they were eating and developing well, one even died during an antibiotic treatment I tried. My mother kept the first batch too warm for the first week, so I thought that was it, but they kept on dying during the next 1,5 weeks, when I kept them at the right temp.

    I can not see anything wrong with them, except the ones that start to get weak, keep their eyes or one eye closed. I thought maybe they are laying down on the paper towels, and there is also some feed spread around, they get the dust in their eyes, which hurts and makes them feel not best, so they quit eating. But I am not sure. Some of them, when I clean the eyes, feel better straight away. But not all. I see occasional scratching of the eyes, but mostly after cleaning. No crust or discharge, just some white stuff or pieces in some eyes that I am almost sure is pieces of food/dust. With this batch I do not think I see much loose droppings, I see some that I think might be ceacal. Not pasty butts (but I have had that before for the first week and it did not cause them to die, when managed) to clean, the ones that died, had some chalky white stuff on the feathers around their vent and some had waterish, transparent, slightly slimy poo with some white stuff (after they stopped eating and I had them drink vitamin water). I saw some droppings, that left a wet ring on the towel, and in the middle there was this grayish, light brownish poo in the middle (with some white stuff), the poo seems to be for the first days like the feed is not digested all and totally. I can see tiny fragments of feed in the poo. Not sure if that is what I should be seeing. The heat should be what they need, the bedding is shavings that are made for pets, on top of that I keep the paper towels for the first week. They get chick feed that I have used previous years with no problems (there are some bigger pieces or small chunks in it this year, but no bad, mouldy smell or anything), they get some very light camomile tea or vitamin water and now this year I have been giving (since this thing started) some hard boiled egg yolk (later the white too) with some grated white bread. The egg and camomile is a recommendation from an old-time breeder, the camomile is supposed to support their digestion and I have used this previous years with no bad effects. I am also giving the weaker looking ones the antibiotic treatment (with some other liquid to support the digestion with that, from a vet), but I am not sure at all they need it, or if it helps at all. I am giving the weak ones the vitamin water, but I cannot make them to eat and they die. I already have 4 to die, 2 that will and some that are a bit iffy. Total I think I might have around 30-40 chicks (I have been too distressed to even count them). The second batch is in another room entirely, in new box, I tried to boil or disinfect all that I could, but I guess there is a big chance still they got what the previous chicks had (if it was anything they could catch). No sneezing, head shaking, discharge from nostrils, beak ...

    I wonder how could I keep the towel totally feed and feed dust free, or them from laying down in the feed. They also peck on the droppings, I am not sure if I could ever clean it all off straight away (not with 40 chicks I think). Next thing, I guess, would be to change the feed, see what happens? The water is not boiled, but it comes deep from the ground, so I think there could not be anything in there.
    I read, that when you have old eggs, the chick mortality is high after the hatch. Is that true? I do have old eggs, I gather my eggs during the 24 days that my hatches last, since I only had one incubator, not too many birds and of course partridge eggs are said to be totally ok to keep for incubation at least 14 days, and maybe longer. Have done this the same last years and only had 1-2 chicks die (after hatching) in some hatches, out of 15 or 20. I also have had this year better hatch rate, and this last one no chicks with slipped tendons (I used to have 1-2, or the hatch before the last, I had so many I lost count). I used to have 50% of the chicks die in the egg at the last stages, drown I think (too high humidity, too different sized air cells during the incubation). So this year seems better, until they get out of the egg and THEN start dying ... Even when I think the ones that last years died in the eggs are getting out this year and then die, I have still too many die, more than I lost with the pipping and hatching stage.

    I will change the management of my breeding birds next year, also storing my eggs, and will be putting them to the bator more often. See if that makes any difference. But for now I wonder, is there anything I could try to do NOW, are they ill or just weak, poor quality?

    If anybody has any idea, I would be very thankful. It is so so sad to have them die like this, too many. I have spent all my days in there, trying to make them survive, make them eat, drink, medicate. But with not much effect.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  2. 500592

    500592 In the Brooder

    Sep 23, 2009
    i hope you get it staritened out good luck

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