Please help, my poults are dying FAST!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by One Acre Wonder Farm, May 31, 2010.

  1. One Acre Wonder Farm

    One Acre Wonder Farm Songster

    Feb 20, 2009
    I have Narragansett poults, approx 12 days old. They've been in a cardboard box brooder, on paper towel bedding with water and medicated chick starter crumbles. (I realize that they need a higher protein starter and it is on my list for the next feedstore trip).

    Today it was quite warm, so I put them outside on hay bedding in a wire cage outside, on top of our rabbit hutch. I went out to bring them in this evening and one was dead, one was near death. The others were up and running around. It didn't look like they'd eaten much food or drank much water.

    I put them in their brooder box, to bring them inside. We put them under a heat lamp and gave the dying one some water. Within a few minutes two of the seemingly healthy poults opened their mouths like they were choking. They would stagger backward, and their heads would bend back and touch their backs. Literally within minutes they were gone. I've lost a total of 5 (of 10) in the last hour.

    I am so frustrated; why are they dying? I've researched coccidiosis, but I'm not convinced that's the cause. Other suggestions?
  2. longranger

    longranger Songster

    Apr 23, 2009
    laguna hills CA
    That is weird. They are most likely cold and stressed unless the outdoor temps were similar to your brooder. Get them warm, eating and drinking. Put a tsp of brown sugar per quart of warm water. Unless they had something working on them prior to going outside an infectious cause is very unlikely. Is there any chance that the hay had some toxic vegetation in it they nibbled on. Unlikely but what you are describing is unusual. Hope the others make it.
  3. One Acre Wonder Farm

    One Acre Wonder Farm Songster

    Feb 20, 2009
    I agree, it is odd! Almost like they've been poisoned but there was really nothing they could have had except for water, their normal feed and the new hay bedding. The outdoor temps were in the 80s today, so very near the brooder temps they're used to (I try to wean them off heat more quickly at this time of year). ccc

    They are inside, under a heat lamp, with water. Adding sugar is a good idea, I will do that.

    I swear one was near death, on its side, unconcious but breathing, I walked away to help my children with something, came back a few minutes later and it is cuddled up with the healthy ones, like nothing happened! I had to count them again to make sure I was not imagining it. It is the strangest thing I've ever seen.
  4. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Songster

    Feb 22, 2010
    I'm not experienced enough to offer an informed comment but could the cause be a shock reaction to the change of environment and temperature?
  5. One Acre Wonder Farm

    One Acre Wonder Farm Songster

    Feb 20, 2009
    Thanks thaiturkey for the suggestion! For the last several days I've put their cardboard brooder box outside during the day, so I'm not conviced that it was temperature related, but I suppose it is possible that the new bedding/cage could have done it...

    They really seemed not to know where their waterer was today, which was quite strange. I wonder if severe dehydration could have been the cause or at least a contributing factor? Though they all drank when I put them back in the brooder and I lost a few shortly after they drank. It is so bizarre!
  6. lorieMN

    lorieMN Songster

    Apr 19, 2008
    80 degrees is to cold for 12 day old birds..they chilled,..My birds stay under heat until nearly feathered out, when they are not looking for a heat source any more.
  7. I agree with lorie...any bird especially what I hear turkey and peafowl need around 85-90 degrees until about 3 weeks, then wean them down a few degrees each week... I've had chicks and ducklings do that on me after my power went out once...sounds pretty similar, especially after coming back in under the light...temp shock.

    Though with me, my chicks in warm weather 80+ I do like you do, i take them off the light and let them out in the middle of the day, and then return them to the light in the evening...I mean its pretty much what mama chicken does. However it seems baby chicks seem to be hardier than turkeys, peafowl, and ducks in my experience [​IMG]
  8. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Songster

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I would lean more towards dehydration as 80 should be fine, but I am thinking maybe they were in the hot sun and the temps may have been higher than that for a bit? A mamm'a turkey forages with her babies all day long, and they spend very little time under her brooding. They are usually eating and scratching, as least thats what mine do. After the first 3 to 5 days, they are all over the yard, even when the temps are much colder. I bet those birds got over heated, and even though they drank, it was too late. Which is so easy to do. Good luck with the rest of them, HenZ
  9. One Acre Wonder Farm

    One Acre Wonder Farm Songster

    Feb 20, 2009
    I am leaning toward dehydration as well. The temps yesterday were temps they'd been accustomed to for at least 3 or 4 days prior and they did not act chilled at all. I'm not new to chicks, ducks, or turkeys and I completely agree with lotzahenz that mommas are far less fussy about temps than we are.

    Two that I counted as goners last night seem to have recovered and are well this morning. They'll stay in today, rain in the forecast.
  10. mamawolf544

    mamawolf544 Unbreakable Heart

    Apr 29, 2009
    alvarado, Tx
    I think dehydration too. Poults are dumb, there is no nice way to put it. Mine are a week old now and I still keep something shiny in there water dishes. I learned my lesson from last year. [​IMG]
    I would just keep them inside until you are comfortable taking them outside to live.
    I am really sorry about your babies. [​IMG]

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