Possible avian encephalitis in 2wk-old chicks

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BlazeJester, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    I posted earlier but after reading on chicken contagious diseases, this looks to be much more like avian encephalitis than coccidia.

    I have a 2wk-old partridge plymouth rock chick that is suddenly unable to walk. She is the only chick exhibiting these symptoms (I have 8). Yesterday I noticed her acting strangely, with her toes all bunched together and pointing forward; she walks on her hocks when she has to and this morning seems unable to stand on her feet at all. When I picked her up and set her back down, she wobbled and fell to a lying position. She then crawled over to the feeder and started eating. She will drink when I put the water directly in front of her. Her breathing appears to be labored as she takes large breaths, but she is not wheezing or coughing.

    Another chick has watery looking eyes and is not quite listless, but not active either. This chick has not grown nearly as fast as the others and while the rest have nearly fully feathered wings, she has only grown in the short feathers and has yet to sprout tail pinfeathers.

    I have isolated these two chicks together in a quarantine brooder (cat carrier). They are eating and I have put electrolyte water in their bowl, not wanting to unnecessarily medicate them for the wrong condition (I purchased sulfadimethoxine powder earlier in case of coccidia).

    The other 6 chicks are in an XL plastic dog crate with 3" sawdust, which I just changed. I clean the waterer every day and have added electrolytes to the healthy chicks' water as well. The only guess I have for the source of this illness is that I took them outside on Saturday and let them scratch around for an hour. I am not aware of the use of any pesticides or herbicides and no fertilizer or other lawn treatment has been applied in the past month at least. I certainly hope that letting them out this young did not cause this illness... [​IMG] I would feel horrible if I had to cull these 2wk-old babies. [​IMG] I'm keeping their quarantine brooder as far away as possible from the healthy one and the others certainly won't go outside for a while until I'm sure none of them are sick as well.

    Any ideas or suggestions for treating these chicks? Or other ideas for what this sudden-onset illness could be?
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Since you already know about AE, you know what you have to do with the affected chicks...it is contageous via direct and indirect transmission including through eggs, there is no treatment...cull them both. Then send them off to your state agriculture lab or university vet school for necropsy and verification. Contact your county extension agent or state department of agriculture on how to send them off, or contact a local vet.
  3. TinyBirds

    TinyBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2009
    I put mine outside very young this year too (some at 1 day old), and had some trouble with some dying also with some making a gasping and neck-stretching out type of movement (but without sounds), until I put them back in the brooder house. I don't have a light in there (temps over 100 so no need), so all I can figure is that maybe they were picking up worms being out on the same ground as the older chickens. I noticed they also got lice, so I put a drop of neem on each to get rid of the bugs. They seem much better now, separate from the older birds and on dry shavings.
  4. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    Where did you put the neem? On the back of the neck like cats, or somewhere else?

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