Silkie chicks stringy poop, lethargy

PrincessKiara

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Mar 2, 2020
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I'm gonna start off by saying I live in a very hot, humid climate. My chicks are all inside, none of my flock has contact with outside birds, I hatch my own eggs.

During their first few days, my chicks get medicated water...
  • RuViOtic (penicillin/dihydrostreptomycin/nutrient mix)
  • Avefenicol (sulfamethoxazole trimethoprim)
  • A bit of sugar

I keep this in the fridge to prevent bacterial growth and syringe them some every couple of hours. They also have a dish with plain water, and eat plain chick starter crumbles mixed with some plain turkey starter crumbles since they live with some button and coturnix quail as well. I was having great results with this system until this latest batch of chicks.

I noticed they kept stepping into their water bowl and then screaming because they were wet. I didn't worry too much since all the chicks I've had have done that, just patted them off, but then one of them became a bit lethargic though still eating w/normal poops. I upped the medicated waterings but he kept eating so I wasn't too concerned until that evening I found him trodden into the bedding by the other chicks, took him out and watered him but he died shortly after.

Now one of my other chicks seem to be beginning with that same lethargy, although not as bad as the other one. He's still mostly normal. He started to get pasty butt but I cleaned him off and then he drank a ton of the medicated water (of his own volition, I gave him a capful of it) and then settled down. Only I noticed some of his poops are... well suffice it to say I thought it was his guts he'd pooped out at first, it's like a long slimy greenish or tan string, but I took some paper and determined it is definitely poop and not guts.

I also noticed one of my two adult hens not moving around a lot, but it may well be that she's going broody seeing as how her sister is broody too. Her poops are normal, her color is good, she eats and drinks, she doesn't droop or anything, just likes to lie in a corner like she's sitting on a nest. Her crop is full and squishy to the touch same as the chicks'. If I'm not completely satisfied she's normal, we are heading to the vet Wednesday.

As a side note, it appears one of the healthy chicks was trodden into the damn WATER bowl by another chick, I found him weak, wet and lying on his back beside it. Not sure why he didn't get up himself? Anyway I washed off the gunked-up water/food with warm water, dried him off then put a hot water bag inside a shirt and put him next to it to warm up. His strength seems to have come back fairly quickly as soon as he got warm again, he's now standing and moving around so I'm hopeful he's healthy. I don't want to lose any more chicks. Any help, please?

I don't know if I missed any information but I will be closely watching this thread and anything I missed you can let me know <3 thanks in advance!
 
Last edited:

azygous

Crossing the Road
Dec 11, 2009
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First of all, you can solve that water bowl/swimming pool issue by placing rocks in the bowl. The chicks will then be standing up out of the water if they choose to stand in the bowl while drinking. Even chicks in the tropics can get hypothermia from getting drenched.

I have a thought on the crop issues. Perhaps the antibiotics are destroying the good microbes in the gut and allowing yeast to colonize the digestive tract. This can cause blockages far down from gizzard to the end.

I suggest using only pure water and skip the antibiotics. Instead, apple cider vinegar with the natural sediment left in will help the natural gut microbes and make the digestive tract unwelcome to yeast. You can add garlic to that and really create an unpleasant environment for yeasts and bad bacteria.

You may need to find an anti-yeast med such as nystatin to clean out the yeasts.
 

PrincessKiara

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Mar 2, 2020
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First of all, you can solve that water bowl/swimming pool issue by placing rocks in the bowl. The chicks will then be standing up out of the water if they choose to stand in the bowl while drinking. Even chicks in the tropics can get hypothermia from getting drenched.

I have a thought on the crop issues. Perhaps the antibiotics are destroying the good microbes in the gut and allowing yeast to colonize the digestive tract. This can cause blockages far down from gizzard to the end.

I suggest using only pure water and skip the antibiotics. Instead, apple cider vinegar with the natural sediment left in will help the natural gut microbes and make the digestive tract unwelcome to yeast. You can add garlic to that and really create an unpleasant environment for yeasts and bad bacteria.

You may need to find an anti-yeast med such as nystatin to clean out the yeasts.
Thank you! I gave them a dose of Coxi-Pet as per my vet and the sickest one perked up, however I still have one that's a bit droopy. I have white vinegar, will that work too?
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
Dec 11, 2009
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White vinegar has no live microbes in it. It's been distilled out of it. Can you look in your grocery store and see if they have Bragg's apple cider vinegar? On the label it says it has "the mother" in it, meaning the sediment has not been distilled out of it and contains the good microbes. It's super healthy stuff. Lots of chicken people add a table spoon of it in the gallon water fonts.
 

PrincessKiara

Songster
Mar 2, 2020
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Caribbean
White vinegar has no live microbes in it. It's been distilled out of it. Can you look in your grocery store and see if they have Bragg's apple cider vinegar? On the label it says it has "the mother" in it, meaning the sediment has not been distilled out of it and contains the good microbes. It's super healthy stuff. Lots of chicken people add a table spoon of it in the gallon water fonts.
I'm in Mexico, but I can def check!

Their crops are fine, though, they had just eaten that's why they were full. I'm worried about the poops and lethargy though. They are all still eating and drinking but one in particular is really lethargic.

They've been treated for cocci, so it's not that (also the poops don't look like cocci poops).
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
Dec 11, 2009
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Have you tried probiotics sprinkled over their food? I've seen that sort of stringy poop from my chicks on occasion, but it's not the usual.

I still am wondering if there's a connection between the antibiotics upsetting gut microbes. Have you heard of fermented feed? You cover some dry chick feed with warm water and natural yeasts will colonize in. Stir occasionally and it takes about two days to ferment. It will get very fluffy and have a yeasty tangy smell. This is what I feed my chickens all the time. It had all kinds of good nutrients.
 

PrincessKiara

Songster
Mar 2, 2020
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Caribbean
Have you tried probiotics sprinkled over their food? I've seen that sort of stringy poop from my chicks on occasion, but it's not the usual.

I still am wondering if there's a connection between the antibiotics upsetting gut microbes. Have you heard of fermented feed? You cover some dry chick feed with warm water and natural yeasts will colonize in. Stir occasionally and it takes about two days to ferment. It will get very fluffy and have a yeasty tangy smell. This is what I feed my chickens all the time. It had all kinds of good nutrients.
That's good for them? It gets that smell within a day here when wet and I always throw it out bc I'm afraid it will hurt them :(
 

PrincessKiara

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Mar 2, 2020
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Both of them passed :( they declined very quickly within the span of a few hours. I'm having the vet come over to take a look at the remaining ones, make sure they don't catch whatever it is.
 

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