Two Weeks, Two Deaths Baby Chicks Need Input/Suggestions PLEASE What am I doing Wrong?!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by smalldog, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. smalldog

    smalldog Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello BYC Friends: I have not posted in a long time and usually just read the great information on this wonderful site. However, I really need your help today and hope you can give me some suggestions.
    My chicken background is that almost seven years ago now I bought two 8-week old chicks. They grew wonderfully and I was officially hooked on chickens. I kept only those two, Gertie and Scarlett. Scarlett died last January from cancer. Gertie, thank Goodness, is still alive and well. She is almost seven years old.
    I write this b/c I want you to know that this is not my first foray in to chickens and I think I have been a good chicken mama so far.
    This summer I built a larger coop with the dream of getting another six or so chicks. My dream came true and on New Years Day I adopted seven chicks, various breeds. The man I got them from told me they were approx. five weeks old and could come out of the brooder.
    I brought them home to a coop with the following. Cinder block construction (I had a ton of extra block from another project) with shingled roof and an enclosed run. I used clean, course construction sand to cover the concrete floor of the coop. I set up a chick feeder with medicated chick starter and also a nipple drinker which they all learned to use immediately. I also set up a shallow box filled with alfalfa hay for them to snuggle in at night. On nights when the temp drops below 60 F, I have brought them in to the house to sleep in a makeshift brooder since they are still so young and pin feathers still coming. This week I have allowed them to stay out there even if it's in the 50s b/c I have a radiant heater that brings up the temp around 10 F, so they are never below 60 F.
    During the day they love to run around in their coop. They have discovered the joys of scratching around and taking dust baths. Grass is the primary green in the run but there are also a variety of weeds (some I know, some I do not know), including dollarweed and etc. I resisted the urge to pull out unknown weeds b/c most of what I read says that we should not create a sterile environment for chickens. They generally know what is safe to eat and they like variety. So, I have not gone through to identify specifically what is growing in there.
    Around five days after I brought them home, my reddish/golden chick was lethargic, standing around, fluffed out, not eating, not interested in moving, and had really smelly poop - like rotten eggs. I separated her from the rest and tried to by some Corid 9.6% at Tractor Supply, suspecting that perhaps she had coccidiosis. Tractor Supply was out and I could not find it anywhere. I ordered it next-day-delivery from Amazon. But by the time it arrived the next day she had died. I buried her without knowing what killed her.
    The other chicks seemed fine and unaffected. As a precaution, I added the Corid to all of their drinking water to treat them all for 7-9 days.
    All seemed well. In fact, last night I was sitting out in the coop and one of the chicks (Beatrice) flew up from the ground to my lap. she wanted to be held and play in my hair. She sat on my shoulder and seemed happy as can be. I thought, Beatrice is going to be my lap chicken as she grows up. So affectionate!! She showed no obvious signs of illness or lethargy and I left for the night to let them all sleep. I went out to the coop around 1 AM and did not turn on the lights. They were all huddled in a corner in the coop snuggling. The temp inside the coop was 54 F so I turned on a radiant heater to keep the chill out of the air. This will usually bring the temp up to around 64 F. Nobody was standing around by herself at that time.
    This morning around 8 AM, I went out to the coop and discovered Beatrice standing by herself with feathers fluffed and eyes closed. I picked her up and immediately felt that her crop was full and her abdomen was hard and distended. I brought her inside and tried a warm water bath, massaging her belly, massaged her crop, and tried to vacuum out a blockage using a syringe from her vent. I noted some yellow, pasty poo below her vent. I was able to extract some yellow pasty substance from her vent, as well as some blood, but did not know if the blood was from the aggravation of the suction. She did not go to the bathroom. I tried giving her water with some unadulterated cider vinegar. Nothing. She would not drink and could hardly stand. In less than one hour she convulsed and died in my hands.
    Can anybody tell me what is going wrong here. I do not feel that the first chick and this chick died of the same thing. I feel that something caused this chick's body to stop digesting and excreting. I do not know if this is a parasite, whether she ate something that was poisonous, or etc. At this time the other chicks look okay.
    Do you recommend that I take her for a necropsy?
    Also, is there anything I am doing that seems wrong or ill-filled for chicks of this age, which I assume are now around 7 weeks old.
    Any feedback, comments, constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. Please give me your thoughts. Thanks for reading this LONG feed and for your consideration. I really want to help my remaining chicks to survive and thrive.
     
  2. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    Hi I have a question about the yellow poo. Did you happen to notice if the urate was yellow as well? The urate is the usually white cap that is on top of the poo. If the urate was yellow as well this can indicate liver failure.. it does sound like it's possible that something bad was eaten.if you are ever in need to flush a chickens system due to something bad eaten you can use a molasses flush. The molasses will make them go to the bathroom. Was the birds vent pasted as well? If it had a blockage that was keeping it from being able to go to the bathroom that would possibly explain the destined hard belly. I do recommend you do a post modem exam and see if you can find out what killed her.i would take a guess that either she had eaten something bad or she had a type of internal blockage. Of course these are just guesses. Was her crop impacted as well? If you do the post death exam please share what you find. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help. Perhaps someone else has some other ideas. I wish you the best and do hope you get it figured out.
     
  3. smalldog

    smalldog Out Of The Brooder

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    May 17, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Hello, Realsis: Thank you for answering.
    Yes, as a matter of fact everything was yellow. Her belly was hard and distended and her crop was full. It felt like the crumbles were still moving around in the crop; in other words it did not feel like a solid, impacted ball. Her breath was also normal so I do not feel like anything in her crop had gone bad. Like I said, she was perfectly fine last night and no signs of anything. Her crop was a bit full when I held her last night, but they had all just eaten. Her abdomen was soft and normal so I did not suspect anything was wrong with her at that time. By this morning, she is swollen, full crop, swollen belly/abdomen, yellow goo coming out of her vent that was stuck to her rear skin. Could barely get anything else to come out but what did come out was yellow goo.
    I am taking her for a necropsy to see what results we get. I will post when I get them. Can you think of anything else?
    Do you think the coarse sand on the floor of the coop or the alfalfa hay is a problem? Perhaps she ate something poisonous in the run?
     
  4. smalldog

    smalldog Out Of The Brooder

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    May 17, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Realsis, what is your recipe for the molasses flush. I would like to have it on hand. Tell me how you make it and how to administer it, please.
     
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss... do you have any pictures of the poop?

    -Kathy
     
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    You can make a molasses flush out of four tablespoons of molasses and one quart of water. Just mix it together well. If the bird is drinking well, just let it drink the molasses water on its own. To make sure that it gets enough of the molasses water, you can also give some by eyedropper or syringe. If the bird isn't drinking at all, you could do it by tube feeding
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Quote: " I brought her inside and tried a warm water bath, massaging her belly, massaged her crop, and tried to vacuum out a blockage using a syringe from her vent."



    I think your chicks are still suffering from the original coccidiosis. The second chick that died obviously had been exposed to coccidia, and she succumbed to it. The medicine isn't a miracle cure--it needs to be given right away at first signs of illness, and many don't keep Corid on the shelf. It isn't uncommon to lose one or two with cocci. I would never place a syringe in a chick's vent and try to vaccuum out contents--that could kill. She was probably showing signs of bleeding into her intestines with the swollen abdomen, and crop stasis is fairly common with cocidiosis. When chicks get coccidiosis, many people recommend every 3 weeks giving a preventative dose of Corid or amprollium, after the initial treatment. This is 1/3 of the treatment dose for 5 days. When any chick gets cocci, they can have intestinal damage, and may never be as large, healthy, or lay as many eggs as those who haven't had it. Sorry for your losses. Here are a couple of good articles about coccidiosi:
    http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex4616
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/coccidiosis-what-backyard-chicken.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Did the poop look like this:
    [​IMG]


    If so, I would bet money that it was coccidiosis. I had necropsies done at UC Davis with three that had poop that looked like this, all three had coccidiosis.

    -Kathy
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Yellow like this is blackhead (histomoniasis) - Blackhead was confirmed by LSU necropsy. Bird also had secondary e. Coli and yeast infections.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    -Kathy
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  10. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    Yes Kathy is right their is a difference in the yellows. In the pictures which yellow was it?The molasses flush is 1 pint of molasses to 5 gallons of water given for no longer than 8 hours. The recipes from my chicken health book.hope this helps. As Kathy said if the poo was yellow like the cocci picture it very well was cocci. But if it was yellow like the other picture with the urate being yellow that points to liver involvement..it's hard to guess not seeing the poop.which yellow was it?
     

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