SICK CHICKS, WHAT DO I DO???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by 3scorpios, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. 3scorpios

    3scorpios Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2011
    Central PA
    I'm new to raising chicks, so I'm not sure what went wrong. I got 14 Cornish X chicks from TSC a week ago. I have them in a brooder indoors, heat lamp at correct temp, wood shavings for bedding, plenty of ventilation, constant supply of fresh water. One chick dropped dead yesterday, I have no idea why. Today I notice 3 chicks are wet underneath and their crops look rather large. I'm not sure if the crops are actually enlarged or if they just appear so because the feathers are wet. After reading the thread on fermented feed, I started fermenting their unmedicated starter feed on day three (soaking feed in water and a little ACV overnight). I let the feed run out around 10pm and replenish it at 7am. I've given them a few bean sprouts (that I sprouted) and some dried meal worms as treats. These (apparently) sick chicks are pooping solid poops and moving around, however they do fall over occasionally. There's no pasty butt or other signs of illness that I have observed. Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? Should I discontinue the fermented feed? Someone with experience, please help! Thanks in advance for your time. Here are photos of two of the chicks.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Coupe

    Coupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2010
    Highland, NY
    Can you post a pic of your brooder? Looks like they have been laying in their wate dish..
    Also why are you fermenting their feed? I havnt read that thread..maybe i should..but i still dont understand why you would ferment chick starter.
     
  3. 3scorpios

    3scorpios Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2011
    Central PA
    Here is the thread on fermented feed for meat birds: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/644300/fermenting-feed-for-meat-birds

    I spent two days reading that thread, I found it very informative and wanted to give this feeding method a try because chicks fed FF are supposed to eat less and be healthier - due to the probiotics in the feed.

    Here's my brooder set up:


    [​IMG]

    Temp is between 85 & 90 under the lamp, but they seem to pant when they are under it. They can easily get away from the heat if they want to. Bedding is kept clean and fresh.
     
  4. 3scorpios

    3scorpios Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2011
    Central PA
    Oh, and nobody's been lying in the water dish. I agree, that's what it looks like, but the water dish is elevated on bricks and they haven't been getting in it. I have two ducklings in the brooder as well, and the ducklings aren't really get in it either, except to dip their heads in.
     
  5. 3scorpios

    3scorpios Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2011
    Central PA
    I haven't been feeding them grit, and perhaps with the few bean sprouts and meal worms they need grit. I will get some today! That could explain the enlarged crops, but why the wet appearance? They are not actually wet to touch, more crunchy like they were wet and then dried sticky.
     
  6. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    Jan 17, 2013
    California
    please stop ferminting the food! it will off gas and swell the chick possiably killing them the apple cider vinegar is an acid and when given should be diluted. ive seen cattle get a hold of ferminted potato and swell four times their size and die from the fermintation. the ferminatation will off gas inside of them thus the swelling
    .it might also be crop impacted massage the crop give some oil and switch the food
    dont give bean sprouts right now. this is my opnion
    i would immediately stop fermenting! there little bodies cant handle the off gases it produces. its like the base for making alochol. its accelerating everything in the feed causing the off gases. this is just my opnion and what i would do if they were mine.i wish you the very best. i do hope they get better. God bless. and good luck
     
  7. Coupe

    Coupe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2010
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    I read some of the thread...iv never had meat chickens, so thats why i didnt umderstand...if it was water they would dry and not be crunchy..possibly they are throwing up? I would lower the temp in the brooder a bit, they shouldnt be panting under the light.Post on the fermented feed thread maybe they can help.
     
  8. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 25, 2010
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    It's hard for me to tell the actual size of your brooder but it looks a little "tight" on space for the number of birds you have. I agree with Coupe that you might try lowering the temp a bit. Good luck.
     
  9. 3scorpios

    3scorpios Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2011
    Central PA
    I believe the mystery is solved, and I want to share in case anyone else has these issues. Since the fermented feed is very wet, some of the more aggressive eaters are diving into the feeders with such vigor that they are making a mess on their necks/chests - causing "wet" feathers which then dry all sticky. The wet feathers makes their crops look much larger. The crops are a bit large, but I believe that is from giving them bean sprouts and worms w/o adding grit. I only started giving them these treats 2 days ago, and that's when the crops started swelling. Thankfully, I only gave a little, so the problem wasn't as bad as it could have been.

    And Eggsoteric, yes, the brooder is perhaps a bit tight, but we only are using it until the temps warm up a bit and we can put them in a larger brooder in the garage. It's been pretty cold where I live, and I just felt better keeping these new chicks where I can keep a close eye on them indoors (since I work from home). They will graduate to the larger brooder soon.

    I know there is some controversy regarding fermented feed. I studied up on in for quite a while before I decided to give it a try. When reading so much conflicting information on a topic, there comes a point when you just have to make a choice based on your gut instinct. I grew up on a farm and my dad fed our pigs fermented feed, so this was not as foreign of a concept to me as it is to some. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I respect and I appreciate the advice. There are definitely pros and cons to each side. I may look back on this experience with a different opinion in the future, but for now I think FF is more beneficial.

    Thanks for the responses. Hopefully there is information here that some will find helpful.
     

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