Sneezing in new chicks for first flock.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BluElf, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. BluElf

    BluElf New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2014
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    So, of our two groups of new chicks the 3 12-13 week old Dominique pullets started with the sneezing and slight bubbles from noses. A few of the younger ones (4 week olds) had this off and on earlier this week and we attributed that to stress of the transition since it did seem to clear up. (We got them all Monday afternoon in an unexpected opportunity to start a much anticipated and dreamed of laying flock.) None seem to have anything worse than a case of sniffles so far.

    FYI for the younger ones (a group pullets of 4wks-7wks Speckled Sussex, Amberlink, and 2 Guinea Keets which may be pullets, hard to tell.) I have them on the ACV water (2Tbls per gallon), a little dairy kefir stirred into the bottom of the chick waterer and that seemed to help along with a better heat lamp. (They were kept inside until recently when they went out to a wooden brooder box on the front of our house to transition to cooler temps.)

    For the 3 month olds, I had them on the ACV water only and when they showed signs of sneezing I added a little kefir stirred in that. They are directly on the ground for 24hrs just now where they are currently at and before that they had a fresh layer of mulch on top of old mulch every 2 days or so until we cut the bottom out of the rabbit coop/cage someone gave us so we could start getting them used to being directly on pasture and moved them to fresh pasture. Dimensions are about 34 inches by 5ft. The sniffles started the day or so before we put them directly on the ground. They have a roost they sometimes use. Any further ideas? I'm thinking they need to be moved to new ground and we will probably do that soon here, but wondering if there are other ideas worth trying that we haven't yet? And if we need to be putting a heat lamp in there at night? (Regular bulb or red heat bulb?) The heat along with the ACV, kefir, time and of course prayer seemed to help the younger ones earlier in the week, but we haven't used heat lamps with these older ones at all so far and of course I want them to feather out prepped for cold and don't want to compromise that process. (Our neighbors have chicks the same age I think that are spending nights roosting outdoors by one of their house windows, by free choice. Those are different chicks of course, hence me seeking ideas.)

    For reference, we are in SW VA with warmer days in the 60's just lately (a little weird for this year) and nights warmer at 60' last night (really weird for this year) but usually in the low 50's, 40's or even 30's. The woman we bought these from said the 12 week olds didn't need a heat lamp so long as we wrapped the rabbit hutch cage with plastic, which we of course did right away upon their arrival, (3 sides plastic with cardboard flaps over the front window so we can open it up for them during the day and a bed sheet over that and the door at night to cut the wind etc.)

    My goal here is to strengthen their immune systems to do the work they are designed to do as much as possible since they will be exposed to things no matter what being out on pasture. Budget is super strained so trying to not have to spend more on medications too. This is our own personal egg laying flock we are starting and while I'd hate to lose any, I know things can happen, especially with new chicken keepers. We are trying to make the best of an unexpected, great opportunity to finally get this started. Ultimately we plan to keep them on pasture in a hoop coop that we are preparing to build in the next couple weeks (I hope.)


    Thank you in advance for your kind thoughts and ideas! This forum was highly recommended to me by a farmer friend of ours whose animal farming practices we admire and appreciate.


    Update: Now one of the younger speckeled sussex chicks is mouth breathing/gasping and sneezing. Because my husband and I are third shift right now, I was doing chicken care chores after sunset and might have allowed more cool air in there than she could tolerate. :( I refreshed their waterer while I was checking on them just now and pulled the plastic cover over their brooder box a bit better to keep more cold out and heat in to hopefully help her.

    Update again: She wasn't gasping or mouth breathing when last I checked on them. Seemed better. Hope this improvement continues.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
  2. votegoode

    votegoode New Egg

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    I would get a veterinarian to look at them, It sounds like it could be one of two things first of all it might be avian influenza the sneezing and respiratory fluid makes me think that it might be that. Get a veterinarian's opinion and see if he or she wants to run some blood tests. They are simple and take about 72 hours-2 Weeks to get the results. It could also be coccidiosis this is a disease caused by the protozoa Eimeria this can cause diarrhea (often but not always bloody) it often come and goes when the brooder gets wet or dry. The fact that it went away when you got a better heat lamp and moved them to a new brooder makes me wonder if maybe this could be an issue. Were they ever in a particularly wet or drafty area? This to can be diagnosed by your veterinarian by looking at a stool sample under a microscope. Some more information that could be helpful: what state do you live in? And where did you get your birds? Do the guineas have it also? I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to send me a private message I would love to help more.

    Thanks for you consideration.
    .
    Sincerely Colton Bennett
    Summit County Utah 4-H Poultry club manager & teen leader.
    10+ years of raising ducks, chickens, guineas, turkeys, and geese.
    6+ years participant in the 4-H poultry program.
    Putnam County Indiana 4-H Poultry club historian 2012.

     
  3. BluElf

    BluElf New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2014
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    Thank you for your feedback.

    As I mentioned above, we live in southwest Virginia. We are in the Blueridge Mountains. Actually, the weather in the last 24-36hrs has been excessively dry for our area, which is to say a daytime humidity in the 30% range I think and right now it is 57% when it would usually be around 80-90% on average I think.

    We bought our birds from a local woman who breeds her birds and sells the chicks. She lives only 15 minutes from us and appeared to keep a clean operation when we visited and really care about their well being.

    Bear in mind we have two different groups of birds. The younger group had a few of the youngest birds showing symptoms after the move to our place and they did get a drafty chill during that transition. They improved some once the new heat lamp was on them as they were kept inside in an unused room. I am not sure if any of the guineas showed symptoms. To my knowledge they did not. Recently with the much warmer temperature Friday and their improved condition as well as due to them not having the space they appeared to need, we moved them to a larger breeder box to keep them on the ground out front of the house, still under a heat lamp in the wooden brooder box up against the house and mostly covered with a translucent plastic sheet draped over it and tucked around it.

    The second group of birds is the 12 week olds who have always been outside in the converted rabbit hutch without a heat lamp. They only just started showing symptoms maybe 2.5 days ago.

    The thing is, I would rather not get into a cycle of having to give antibiotics every time symptoms show, and a viral infection is not a bacterial infection anyway. I want to have the information I need to make the best choices we can afford for them and for our laying flock on our limited budget.

    What costs am I looking at to treat with corid? I'm assuming I'd have to treat all the birds as they would all have been exposed. I am giving them Apple Cider Vinegar in their water at the rate of 2 Tablespoons per gallon.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I didn't see anything in your posts about what their poops look like, what their activity levels are(eating/drinking/running around well) or what you're feeding them.

    Chances are they are adjusting to their new environment, being exposed to different microorganisms.
    Or they could have already been carrying some respiratory illness organism and the stress of a new place might have allowed it to start showing symptoms.
    Many respiratory issues are carried without symptoms for the life of the bird.

    I'd agree not to treat for anything indiscriminately. Giving them a good, nutritionally well balanced starter feed and good dry and draft free housing will be the best bet in building strong immunities.

    Corid might be good to have on hand, if you need it you'll need it now.
    I bought a pack of it, because I didn't want to use the amprolium dosed starter feed, but never needed to use it.
    I found it at Tractor Supply in the cattle section here's the dosage for the formulation I have:
    Corid
    The Corid 20% soluable powder dosage is 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water for 5 days.
    Make it fresh daily, dont add anything to it such as ACV, electrolytes, vitamins etc,
    Must be their sole source of treated water to drink.
    1/2 tsp 4 Qts
    1/4 tsp 2 Qts
    1/8 tsp 1 Qt
    1/16 tsp 1 Pint
     
  5. BluElf

    BluElf New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2014
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    They are eating and drinking well so far as I know. Running around quite well so far as I can tell. Some most definitely. Due to the age differences I am feeding them Purina's Flock Raiser as that was what I could get at Tractor Supply, would do well for all the ages over time, and it was what their previous owner was feeding them. I refresh the waterers daily (2-3 times a day on average for the younger group) and clean and refresh their feeders daily. The younger chicks get access to a few greens I pull and toss them and all get some veg, and fruit scraps and some sunflower seeds I toss them in small portions from time to time as well. I do toss them some fine gravel bits from our driveway for their use since I am giving them some food outside their bag feed like this.

    As for their poops, that is harder to tell.. Some are more firm, some seem more wet and not firm. In color they range in browns with some white..? I will pay more attention to their poops over the next 12-24hrs.

    Due to the cooler nights to come this week and in an effort to reduce stress on the birds, we set up a line and heat lamp for the converted rabbit hutch for the 12-13 week chicks.

    I went ahead and moved the 13 week chicks to fresh ground last night and then this morning, and I think I may move them again this evening. Just to minimize their exposure to ammonia, oocytes, etc. And they seem to appreciate the fresh greenery. It's more movement than I planned on having to do for them, but I really want to maximize their chances to over this.

    Also, plan to move the younger set this evening so they are on new ground too, not just fresh mulch.

    Thank you for the corid dosage information. I may go ahead and pick some up. I am aware this is not an ideal time to be raising chicks in this area, even if we are technically "in the South." We are zone 6b and it is tough for them sometimes, and I don't have a garage, barn, etc for them, so it may end up being worth treating them with it to help them cope if this is what is appropriate for their symptoms.

    Thank you for your feedback as well.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    As long as they're active and not lethargic, I wouldn't treat unless they become more symptomatic and you know for sure what they have.
    Search on specific symptoms using the advanced search>titles only to help diagnose.
    I wouldn't treat for cocci unless they have consistently bloody poops. JMO

    Here's some examples of poops....all shapes and sizes can be 'normal'...and even an 'abnormal' one once in a while is no reason to panic.
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    You bought these birds from the same flock? That's good, at least they should all have the same exposure to possible diseases. Was it a npip certified flock? Mycoplasma free? The stress of moving can cause issues in birds that were symptom free before. I wouldn't treat unless you have a diagnosis either. Hope they are all doing better. Mary
     
  8. BluElf

    BluElf New Egg

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    Thank you both for the comments as well. So far, the 13 week chicks are still sneezing, there is a 5 week Speckled Sussex that is still sneezing and having breathing difficulty occasionally, and now a 6 week Speckled Sussex is showing those symptoms. Poops mostly look normal enough, I think. Not being familiar with normal chicken poop, and them having such a range, it's hard to be sure.

    Yes, they are all from the same flock, although the age ranges came from three separately kept groups.

    I just asked the previous owner about the mycoplasma and she said after we bought the chicks she did notice some of them being unwell and that they had coccidiosis. Even if these have that though, I am hearing it does not account for the respiratory symptoms they are having.

    At this point I was suspecting Infectious Bronchitis, except it isn't aggressive enough for that either, and the symptoms don't seem to include tracheal rattle, which seems to be pivotal for that.
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    southern Michigan
    I'd be contacting my veterinarian, especially the state veterinary lab or poultry expert. Find out what testing can be run for various respiratory diseases, and the cost there. You need a diagnosis, so you can have a plan, before getting more sick birds. So sorry! Mary
     
  10. BluElf

    BluElf New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2014
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    Update: Birds still about the same. Plenty lively, active, growing, just this sneezing from time to time (not related to drinking or eating) and the occasional clear bubble from a nostril in the 15wk old Dominiques. My farmer friend who raises lots of birds for meat and eggs for their customers and who used to be in the veterinary field stopped by a couple weeks back to see them in person and offer her opinion. She thought they all looked fine at that time and had no further ideas about what it might be given their condition hadn't deteriorated at all, etc, and suggested more air flow so I'm experimenting now with that too.
     

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