sick birds...HELP.

bucky1198

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 21, 2011
59
0
39
colorado
I need some direction, I had 19 meaties and lost a couple to something that looked violent they were on there backs with there feet in the air. Since then I have lost a bird every couple of days. I noticed that they get very lethargic and don't seem interested in food they also have very red skin all the others have pink skin. They will just lay very still breathing shallow for hours then they die. I house them in a barn with fresh air and plenty of room to roam around. Started off feeding them unmedicated chick feed and then switched them to standard meatbird feed. They get food for 12 hours then it is taken away for 12 hours. We were hoping for organic chicken but would be willing to give antibiotics if that is what is necessary. We do not want to lose the entire flock. They are approximately one month old.
 

PotterWatch

My Patronus is a Chicken
11 Years
Apr 22, 2008
5,470
33
288
Virginia
No need for antibiotics. It sounds like your birds are dying from heart failure, otherwise known as "flip". They often die flipped over onto their backs, hence the name. How much are you feeding them in that 12hr period?
 

bucky1198

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 21, 2011
59
0
39
colorado
only two of them were on there back with there feet in the air the others were just laying on there stomaches

The 14 left eat about 7 pounds of food a day
 

myhubbycallsmechickeemama

Songster
8 Years
May 9, 2011
570
13
131
Arco, ID
Have you cut one open to see what the insides look like. Look for yellow fluid in the body cavity (suggestive of congestive heart failure or ascites). Do your birds that get lethargic have purple combs, feel the chest cavity, does it feel squishy like water (not the crop)? Also, that seems like a lot of food to me for birds that are that young. Mine eat about 9 quarts (never weighed it) of feed a day and I'm feeding 35 CX and 13 pullets.

I think you're overfeeding and they are getting congestive heart failure.
 
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bucky1198

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 21, 2011
59
0
39
colorado
I will cut there food back. I just looked at the one that doesn't look good and the chest is a little soft and the comb has a little purple to it how much food should I give them the hactery website said to feed them so that they don't have any food left at the end of the 12rs
 

phalenbeck

Songster
11 Years
Aug 14, 2008
340
8
131
Canton, N.C.
I have only raised 2 batches, and feed them 2 times a day--what they can eat in about a hour a.m., and evening. I also had them chase me around the yard (carrying food) for exersise. One went down on her legs, and the others were 5 lbs dressed at 9+weeks. They were fairly active till there heads came off.
 

SIMZ

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 29, 2011
2,168
207
271
Northwest Indiana
We've always fed our meaties free choice during the day and let it run out at night. Once they don't have a light anymore we just leave the food because they don't eat in the dark. We've only lost two birds out of 79 raised to "flip" around 6 weeks of age. You can certainly cut back a bit on their food and possibly feed them a lower protein %, but it seems to me there is something more going on - especially since you're taking food away for 12 hours a day and they're only 4 weeks old.

Could it be a temperature issue? Is something harassing them and causing stress? We lost one once between our layer flock broke into the meatie pen and it was too much for one of them. I hope you get some answers! How frustrating!!
 

myhubbycallsmechickeemama

Songster
8 Years
May 9, 2011
570
13
131
Arco, ID
There's a chart from Welp Hatchery that is a good guide to follow. Meaties will literally eat themselves to death!!

http://www.welphatchery.com/cornish_rock.asp

I'm feeding mine Purina Flock Raiser with an equal amount of grain mix (corn, barley, oats, wheat) but I am also fermenting. Last year I fed 18% protein to my CX from 4 weeks to finish and I didn't lose any due to heart issues. They dressed out between 7 and 10 pounds at 10 weeks (life got in the way of butchering).

Good luck with the rest of your birds and hopefully cutting back will help. Are they able to free range at all? Make sure you keep feed at the height of their back so they have to stand up to eat, you don't want them just laying there eating and place water as far away from food as possible.
 
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myhubbycallsmechickeemama

Songster
8 Years
May 9, 2011
570
13
131
Arco, ID
We've always fed our meaties free choice during the day and let it run out at night.  Once they don't have a light anymore we just leave the food because they don't eat in the dark.  We've only lost two birds out of 79 raised to "flip" around 6 weeks of age.  You can certainly cut back a bit on their food and possibly feed them a lower protein %, but it seems to me there is something more going on - especially since you're taking food away for 12 hours a day and they're only 4 weeks old.

Could it be a temperature issue?  Is something harassing them and causing stress?  We lost one once between our layer flock broke into the meatie pen and it was too much for one of them.  I hope you get some answers!  How frustrating!!  :idunno

Only 4 weeks old and eating a half a pound of food a day each!! :D

I decided to weigh my feed this morning and mine are 5 weeks and only consuming about .35 pounds per day. Mine are also in in an enclosed pen with lots of room to run and eat grass and bugs (which they do very well) so if they are still hungry, they can work for their food. :)
 

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