Sick Chicks - can't diagnose!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by COURT3800, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. COURT3800

    COURT3800 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2008
    Hi all,
    My first time raising chicks, and I might have sick chicks (and the chicken health handbook is not helping with diagnosis!!)

    My chicks are 3 weeks old, and I have already lost one. The chick I lost died at around 5 days. She was gasping and was having convulsions - flipping around uncontrollably for several seconds at a time. We tried antibiotics but with no effect. We isolated her as soon as we saw the gasping.

    Now several others are gaping and have small occasional spasms. They also have loose brown stool.

    Our brooder is at 80-85 degrees, and change out aspen shavings every several days - litter is always dry. Commerical feed, and was also giving mealworms as occasional treats.
    We have started letting them outside in a small pen for an hour or so a day, we're in Florida, so it's hot but, but they stay in the shade.

    What am I doing wrong?!
    Thanks!!
     
  2. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

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    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    OH I am so sorry for your loss! I'm not sure what to tell you but wanted to pump your post so others could see it and maybe help you. The only thing I could think of is Mereks? Do they have any type of marks on their body's? Tumors or any lesions. Are they drinking ok? Did you dip their beeks when you first got them home? Hope someone else can help you out! Poor babies!
     
  3. sammi

    sammi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    you feeding them chick or starter feed?

    this sounds like either a vitamin deficiency
    or some form of aspergilliosis.
    or that they are eating the bedding..

    I would say to change the aspen bedding to commercial pine shavings, or to just go with that rubbery non-slip cabinet/shelf lining.
    does the aspen shavings have much saw dust?

    do you have a temperature gauge in the brooder, to make sure of temp?

    check the crops for any lumps or obstruction.
    check throats for any visible obstruction.

    are they eating and drinking?

    the droppings could be loose due to crop problem, not eating enough feed, and drinking water.(too much fluid, not enough solid)
    could possibly be a sign of cocci.

    if they have obstructed crops..a little oil soaked bread given to them, and massaging the crop might help move things along.
    there are many threads/posts on the subject here if you do a search.
    if you massage the crop, be careful not to push it up into the throat.

    are they getting vitamins?
    do you have electrolytes on hand?
    if not, until you can get a commercial mix..you can use diluted Pedialyte (unflavored if possible)
    try and get some chick vitamins and some Poly-vi-sol liquid baby vitamins, Enfamil brand, if possible, no iron..give 2 drops on beak once a day for 2 weeks, tapering off for a week.

    good luck.fingers crossed for the chicks.
    maybe others here will have suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  4. COURT3800

    COURT3800 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2008
    They are on a commercial starter - 20% protein. They were on medicated starter for the first 2 weeks. They were vaccinated for maerk's.

    They were on pine shavings for first two weeks - aspen is just more readily available and has no oils/scent, & doesn't seem dusty, but I'll switch back to pine.

    Temp is deff. hovering around 80 on the temp guage.

    I bought an electrolyte blend at the feed store, but have them started on antibiotics thinking it might be a respiratory infection (?!). Thus I didn't want to mix the antibiotics and the electrolyte blend and overwhelm their systems.

    I have been giving chick grit also and they all seem to be eating and drinking plenty. Just massaged chest and neck and none have lumps or bumps.

    I was wondering about a possible neurologic issue since the first chick had convulsions?

    Thanks for the replys so far!
     
  5. sammi

    sammi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    for now..go with the Poly-vi-sol..the vitamins it has might help the flipping/seizure problem.

    go with some newspaper or ribbed paper towels for now...
    keep checking the crop and droppings.

    check the feed for possible mold.

    clean up any spilled feed.
    some feed might have spilled and got wet and went bad.
    possible bad mix of feed..it happens sometimes.

    stop antibiotic...go with the electrolytes..


    describe the droppings.
     
  6. COURT3800

    COURT3800 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2008
    Thank you so much
    I will take out all shavings, and start them on the vitamin/electrolyte blend right now!
     
  7. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

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    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Yes I would check for mold too in the food. Some of us here have had prob with buying moldy food right from the distributor [​IMG] I would try paper towel for now and see if that helps. Good luck. HOpe your other babies make it!
     
  8. COURT3800

    COURT3800 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2008
    food looks perfect - and this has happened right through three bags of food from two different feed stores
     
  9. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

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    Fair Oaks, California
    All i can suggest is what has been suggested already. If it were me i would put them on paper towels, take out the shavings. Just feed the chick starter and either Avia Charge 2000 in the water, or the electrolytes with the polyvisol vitamins. i wouldn't give them antibiotics without knowing what they have and knowing the medicine is treating what is wrong. Otherwise, it could just be compromising their health.

    i would not give any extra treats at all. Check that feed, smell it, to make sure it's not moldy or old. If it is, get a fresh bag. It does sound neurological.

    Can there be any contaminants in the room they're kept in? Has it been cleaned with strong chemicals? If you've had them outside, could there be fertilizer on the grass? Have you sprayed for bugs lately?

    Gosh, that's all i can think of right now. Good luck. Please don't feel bad or think you've done anything wrong. Sounds like you are doing your best. Please let us know how things go.
     
  10. therealsilkiechick

    therealsilkiechick ShowGirl Queen

    Jul 18, 2007
    Northwestern, pa
    i agree with everything above only other thing i can think of is u said outside for a bit each day. is there anything at all they could be getting into that coud be poisoning them or toxic to them?? any kind of weird weeds or anything other than grass mabe?? do u have gardens they could be getting into or flower beds??
     

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