Sick Chicks Dropping Like Flies

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CityChicker, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a group of Lavender Orpington chicks we received last Friday. They are not thriving at all. Two were dead in the box and the rest were *very* lethargic. They are just not normal, active chicks. Since they arrived, about half of them have died now including two today and two more that are ready to go at any minute.

    What would you guys do? They are acting the same now as they did right out of the box, no improvement. I have done everything we would typically do. I separated them into two different brooders as some were much larger than the others (two of the larger ones died in transit). Of course, I hoped they were just weak from the trip, but when they never perked up this weekend, I added some vitamin water/karo syrup. They appeared to be eating, just not as much as normal so we added some soft food (hard broiled egg). I don't think there is much more we can do. There is no way to describe it other than they are just not thriving. They appear very weak and just stand heads hanging. They are not active at all, very lethargic. They are eating some, just very minimal. I guess my question is threefold...

    1. What do you think may be wrong with them? (Right now, I am leaning towards perhaps that they were exposed to something in transit like fumes or something).

    2. What would you do? Would you just cull all of the ones that appear weak at this point? (that is all, but 1-2 of them though).

    3. If you wouldn't cull them, what would you do? ( We are already trying some vitamin water and soft food/hard broiled egg).

    I am really not sure that anything can even be done at this point. We have been pretty lucky until now. I have never had chicks arrive in such bad shape before. I think they had to have been exposed to something in route. Whatever it is, they are just not snapping out of it. I know what I would normally recommend someone else to check for and we have already considered everything. They definitely arrived weak like this. The temperature is fine, no signs of cocci (they are on medicated Start and Grow), the feed is fine (a couple other groups of chicks have been eating the same feed and are fine). I really think something happened en route, like exposure to a toxin (or I suppose possibly overheating, but that doesn't seem likely).
     
  2. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Can you up the protein to 22% or higher for food, mix with water, feed very liberally? I'd switch the Caro corn syrup to plain sugar, mix 1 tbsp to 1 pint of water.

    I would not cull, but that is just me. I had a very weak runty chick in my batch that I had to hold and hand feed for about the first week of her life because the others would trample her. I also had a chick with a broken leg that I had to hand feed/water every few hours for the first 2 weeks of her life. Both survived and are lovely chickens no ill effects. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

    Best of luck to ya.
     
  3. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sorry, for the second post, but I was just thinking...

    The other thing that is also different is that the chicks arrived in one day. That is unheard of here. Since we started getting chicks at our house in town, they have never arrived in less than 2 days, even with Express. I wonder if they were shipped by a different carrier than normal and therefore handled differently (doesn't USPS out source some to Fedex?).

    I wonder if it is something like that and they were shipped in a non-pressurized area or something? They are just not acting right at all. It just seems odd that they arrived in only one day, in pretty much perfect temps for shipping, and yet they arrived so weak with some already dead. Anyway, I won't be back online until later tonight, but I look forward to hearing what you all think it might be.
     
  4. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thank you. I sincerely appreciate it. I generally try to keep only the strongest birds. The only reason I would seriously consider more valiant efforts with these guys is because I think this is something that happened in transit, not the result of illness or general weakness of the parent stock. I can certainly raise the protein pretty easily if others think that may help. We are trying some egg and I also have some fish meal.
     
  5. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    I really like Blue Seal over Purina foods as well - If you have something else closer I'd switch from Purina. I had great luck (100% survival) on the 22% crumbles from Blue Seal. I also supplemented with a lot of meal worms, crickets and scrambled eggs. I'm one that thinks nutrition has a lot to do with survival and thriving.

    I also think only USPS can ship live animals so I don't think you got a different carrier. Obviously we'll never know what type of conditions they were exposed to on the route, but only you can decide how far you want to go. My general rule of thumb is to keep it up as long as they (the animal) wants to. If offered food/water do they partake at least a bit? Are they pooping? If yes, I continue to baby them.


    Please keep us updated.
     
  6. Shared Acres

    Shared Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't cull. I would try boiled eggs mashed up for them to eat. Maybe some baby food with a meat in it. Also pedialyte.
     
  7. Ceilismom

    Ceilismom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know nothing about shipped chicks, having never received any yet. But, is there any chance they were more than the typical 24 hours old when they were shipped?
     
  8. wpalmisano

    wpalmisano Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Where are you located, ie: region ? I lost a batch of quail to the cooler weather I think, and that's how it looked.
     
  9. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner, LOL. That is exactly what I was thinking as well. Some of them were definitely more than 24 hours old. They were double the size of the others and had fully feathered wings and some feathering on their backs. I have raised thousands of chicks. My guess is that those were probably around 2 weeks olds. I am now wondering if perhaps the younger ones were also 2-3 days old when shipped. That would explain why they have all been so weak. Obviously, the older ones would have had to have been fed (even though 2 died in transit), but the younger ones may have not even have been fed yet. Anyway, just wanted to say that this thought has crossed my mind as well.


    Quote:
     
  10. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Superchemicalgirl- I don't think what is going on with these birds has to do with the feed since they were dying in the box upon arrival. As far as our flock in general, we don't always use Purina. We vary what we give. We use a commercial pellet/crumble for about 50% of the diet and then mix that with a custom mix that we do for our farm that has several additional ingredients (mixed grains, alfalfa meal, vitamin/mineral pre-mix, fish meal, brewer's yeast, etc...). The only time we leave them entirely on a commercial feed is when they are very young and as I say, we do not always use Purina. I will check into the Blue Seal. I don't think I have seen that here. As far as shipping, I have heard that USPS contracts out some of their express mail shipments now in some areas (I think just to Fedex). The customer only deals with USPS, but Fedex carries the package part of the way (yes, even though they don't themselves ship lives).

    Shared acres and wpalmisano- I am going to keep trying that. Hopefully, they will pull around. If it doesn't seem like they are going to, I will decide then about culling. I don't think the weather had anything to do it with (although, of course, they could have been left in a hot truck or something). The weather has been great recently though for shipping day olds, so I don't think that was it.
     

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