Uncoordinated, falling over, unable to walk.....botulism?!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NellaBean, May 14, 2010.

  1. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

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    I have had 3 chicks now that come down with what I would almost consider Marek's type symptoms.........but recover within a couple days. A while back I had a little olive egger pullet that was very wobbley, kept just sitting back on her butt....would lean and sway when tryin to stand. I separated her and after a couple days she seemed to bounce back and has been fine since.

    A few days ago I moved a bunch of babies in the brooders.........one of the buff brahmas in the outside brooder (who had been there a couple weeks) was found just laying on her side against the back wall of the coop, unable to stand up or walk. If i stood her up, she would flail and tip over backwards. Completely uncoordinated. She had been in this coop for a couple weeks, but i had taken out 20 older chicks and added 20 younger chicks the night before these symptoms appears.

    One of the light brahmas in the inside brooder...failure to thrive chick, is still all down even at 4-6 weeks.....just a few wing feathers....but I found her upside down in the brooder and unable to right herself. Day after I had moved a bunch of chicks around. She had been in that same brooder setup for weeks but gained some new roommates.

    I moved both the buff brahma and light brahma to their own brooder with heat lamp. The light spent most of her time crouching...the buff spent all her time sprawled out on one side, as she was unable to stand or sit up.

    That was day before yesterday....as of last night, the light brahma was doing much better. Walking around and pecking for food. As of today the buff brahma was back on her feet and able to walk around. Not 100% but considering she couldn't even sit in place or stand 2 days ago, she is doing awesome.

    What could cause this? Chicks to be wobbly and have no balance, unable to walk or stand, just falling over and not being able to get up. On a sidenote, the olive egger and light brahma chicks had never been outside the brooder when these symptoms showed up.

    Everything else is normal, food, water, eating, pooping.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  2. Chook-A-Holic

    Chook-A-Holic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is kinda puzzling. Have you checked the feed to make sure it's fresh, not damp or moldy? I don't know, mine have never done this. Maybe someone that has experienced this will chime in.
     
  3. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

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    Yes, I have TONS of babies so go through about 150lbs of chick feed every 2 weeks right now (iy yi yi)......I think the olive egger was on flock raiser when it happened but not positive. This was about 2 months ago when it happened to her. Both the light brahma and buff brahma are TSC chicks, from two different age groups and kept in 2 different brooders when this happened. The buff was outside, light was inside. They may have shared a brooder at some point previously, but not recently. The light brahma that had these sypmtoms had NEVER been outside and the only exposure to outside birds would be a single frizzle cochin that didn't do well in the outside brooder (too small) so got moved back inside temporarily.

    It is always possibly they are eating feed that spilled and then got damp in the shavings and molded....I guess.....would that cause these symptoms?

    The buff and light are back to normal today. No balance problems, walking around and eating and pecking. SO STRANGE.
     
  4. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Back when we first got chicks last summer, they were tiny little things indoors in the dog crate and we pampered them. My 8 yr. old was sure to feed them and keep feeding them. Well, one started getting wobbly. It couldn't stand up, it kept falling over. I was sure it was some kind of neurological disease and that it was going to die.

    Well, lo and behold, later it was just fine. After scouring the internet, I found that if they chicks get overstuffed on food, their stomachs weigh them down and they get all off-balance.

    I hope your problem is something as simple as this. Try cutting down on their food and see if the little things aren't just overstuffed. Hope so!
     
  5. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

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    I saw a chick in the feed store once with this problem. Mine are definitely not that. However, they are both better now. It is just the strangest thing ever. The buff brahma was literally unable to move in a coordinated fashion at all. I could stand up up on her feet as I would let go she would just tip over backwards and then flap and flail around. Sometimes even spinning in a circle on the floor of the brooder, trying to get up or move. She is now walking and running if needed.....balance seems back to normal.

    Any ideas?
     
  6. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

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    Both chicks are back to normal. I put them back in the other brooder with the other chicks. This morning I have a completely different chick with the same symptoms. I moved it to the iso brooder. Wondering if this is a form of botulism?
     
  7. Laina

    Laina New Egg

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    Nella,
    I have to say I am encouraged by your post. I have a chick that is doing the same thing. After reading so much information about Marek's disease I've gotten pretty worried [​IMG]

    I'm hoping that you can point me to some good information about how to help my chick. My chick is an americana pullet that we purchased less than a week ago from a feed store (doubt she was vaccinated, but maybe?) and is likely less than 2 weeks old. She is eating and drinking (less than my other chick, but regularly), but seems very wobbly. She will sometimes run with good strength in her legs, and generally seems to get around ok. When she tries to lift a leg to scratch herself she will lose balance and fall over, and we have found her on her back and had to flip her over several times. As far as I can tell her legs function fine and she has no signs of paralysis. Her poop has been pretty runny, and some was stuck in the down near her cloaca. I cleaned her off with a warm moist paper towel and her cloaca appears fine. I'm planning to get some vitamins for her (maybe Nutrical?) and offer her some egg yolk and/or yogurt. What seemed to help your chicks? How are they all doing now?

    Thanks for the help!!

    P.S. This chick was part of a shipment of 75 Americana pullets and will (hopefully) become part of our home flock (with a total of 4 birds if she makes it). I am not going to "cull" my flock. I just want her to be able to eat and drink on her own, and I'm happy to provide for her as best I can.

    P.P.S. My chicks are eating chick starter, on pine shavings, have fresh water at all times, a heat lamp, and will be offered parakeet grit when I begin to offer nutrical, egg yolk, etc.
     
  8. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    If these are chicks under the age of about 7 weeks, it could be a vitamin deficiency, specifically Vitamin E and selenium. Have your tried giving Polyvisol infant vitamins (without iron) to your chicks? I'd put 1/2 dropperful per quart of water and give it to all chicks whether showing symptoms or not. If the chicks are over 7 weeks old, you can probably rule this out and look at other diseases with neurological symptoms.
     
  9. robdolbs

    robdolbs New Egg

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    i agree with motherjean! laina, i have a 1 week old (just over) cuckoo maran chick that started out by doing exactly what your chick is doing, but got progressively worse. we started giving her polyvisol w/o iron yesterday and she has already seemed to improve. she is a bit more balanced and keeps trying to walk on her own. hopefully it continues to work!
     
  10. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

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    Just saw this....mine really seemed to be Marek's....it showed up in multiple birds in multiple pens, not just these few mentioned here. It has disappeared as quickly as it came. I lost 5 or 6 birds total, I think. All the rest seem to be just fine. Who knows if it was a food/vitamin issue....it affected birds in all brooders (only young birds) regardless of whether they were inside or outside. Never "spread" to my main flock, even when it came up in a neighboring baby pen.
     

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