UPDATE!!!!!7 wk old chicks found dead, help me figure out why

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by soehls, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. soehls

    soehls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 17, 2011
    We did loose a few more chickens before I finally figured out the problem. Here I was combing the web for different chicken diseases, ones Iv never even heard of, rare diseases etc. Guess what it was? Coccidiosis. Simple huh? I feel like an idiot. A few of you guys mentioned that it might be cocci. Oh well, guess I will never mis-diagnosis that again.

    Hi everyone,
    sorry to be a new member and need help right away. We have a problem and we are afraid we will loose the whole flock. I will give a brief run down. We have adults birds who freerange. They used to roost in the area we moved out chicks into. They are perfectly healthy, weve had them about 2 years with no sick birds. The outdoor run is about 20 ft long x 6 feet long.. The indoor house is 6 ft 6ft. This is where we moved the chicks to when they were 3 weeks old. They were provided with a heat lamp.
    There were 26, 3 day old chicks, we bought them from Mc murray hatchery. Weve always received quality birds from them. They did great until we put them in the outdoor house at 3 weeks old.
    There were 15 meat birds and 10 hens. We noticed at 3 weeks or so the meat birds were missing feathers in various spots. Only the meat birds, not the pullets. We were told they needed special grower food w/ more protien. We started feeding them that and their feathers grew back and they look almost 100% normal now.
    About once a week we would find a chick or two dead when they were fine the day before. They looked normal. The meat birds that died seemed to have less feathers than the rest (approx. missing 30% of their feathers) I dont know if, when they died, the others picked out their feathers or they were like that when they died. I think they were like that as we didnt find any feathers lying around the dead birds. The pullets that died looked perfectly normal with no feather loss or signs of illness.
    Due to having less feathers on the dead meat birds, we noticed when we found them dead, their rear end, around the vent and about a golfball size area around it was GREEN. Strangest thing Iv ever seen. We couldnt tell if the vent areas were green on the pullets since they were fully feathered.
    All birds have been housed together, we use wood shaving for bedding. No vaccintions at the hatchry. We just gave them access to the outdoor run yesterday and they are able to go in and out at will.
    Does anyone have any idea what we are dealing with? Could it be the feed? It is not moldy or even damp, and our free range birds have had a few handfulls of it and they are fine. Weve used the same feed store for years with no problems. This is driving me to distraction wondering what it could be.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I want to welcome you to BYC and add that I'm sorry to hear about your chicks.

    That being said, I don't think I can help this time. Hopefully someone will answer soon that, perhaps, has a clue.
  3. naakte

    naakte Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    Branson, missouri
    I am fairly new to chickens, but I know if you put new chickens with old chickens maybe the original groups will have built up an immunity to a certain disease, where you add new healthy chicks to your healthy flock and suddenly you have an illness problem..... you can drive down the road and run over a dead animal, now the bacteria is on your tires. If you free range you could have sick chickens just from what you drove over. so many variables. I know that the PO wont ship day olds that have been vac'd for newcastle, but i do not know why. I would strongly recommend you have a necropsy done, then you will KNOW exactly what you are dealing with
  4. MaureenC

    MaureenC Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 23, 2011
    I found this old post from 2008:
    according to Damerow's book "The Chicken Health Handbook"..
    florescent green , or blue green droppings is caused by moldy grain..

    green droppings can also be caused by undiluted bile from the liver..especially if they don't eat enough.
    Last edited by sammi (08/12/2008 8:25 pm)

    I hope you get everything back to normal soon - sorry for your losses​
  5. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    the first thing that comes to mind is cocci...are they on medicated starter? If you have moved the young ones out to the pen where the adults were roosting, it could have exposed them to cocci, which can kill suddenly...the second thing is a possibly high parasite load (worms). You can read all about worms and probably learn more than you ever wanted to know about them here on BYC.

    3 weeks may also be slightly young to put the birds outside full time. I go by the advice given to me here on these forums. I wait till all of my chicks have adult feathers coming in on their heads and over the rest of their bodies before leaving them out for extended periods of time. Chilled babies can equal dead babies very suddenly. Any draft, or any temp that creeps too low for too long can be deadly for the little ones.

    Another thing that came to mind reading your post is what kind of "wood shavings" are you using? Cedar is toxic to chickens, and if you have cedar shavings, or a mix of cedar shavings in your bedding, it may be causing some of the deaths.

    I am certainly not an expert, but those were just the things that came to mind when I read your post. I am sure some more experienced keepers will come to your aid. I hope you don't loose any more babies. My fingers are crossed for you!
  6. greenegglover

    greenegglover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2009
    Some more info would be helpful here...... How many 2 yr old hens do you have? How many new chicks are left?(26 is what you started with, right?) How old are new chicks now? Meaties need to be kept seperated since they require different feed. Sounds to me like too many chickens for that size coop and run, which explains the possibility of feather picking.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  7. PixieChixie

    PixieChixie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 6, 2011
    So you had 26 birds in a 6x6 coop? The general rule is 4 square feet per bird in the coop and 10 square feet per bird in the outdoor run. A six-by-six coop is only thirty-six square feet, which (following the 4sq' per bird nside coop rule) is good for nine birds. A six-by-twenty run is 120 square feet, which ( following the 10sq' per bird in run rule) is good for twelve birds.
    Oh, and my apologies if I messed that up. Chicken math is easier than the normal kind at this hour. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  8. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    Quote:Uh huh, I was thinking about the possible over crowding as well, but I got confused about who was where!
  9. soehls

    soehls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 17, 2011
    Im sorry I was so confusing. I re-read my post and confused myself! LOL I will try to clarify...

    The chicks were in the indoor coop only from 1-6 weeks old. They are now 7 weeks old and have access to the 6x6 indoor coop, and the 12x6 outdoor run. I have heard about the 4 sq. ft. per chicken, I thought it didnt apply until they were grown birds. I mentioned the grown birds used the outdoor coop for sleeping to let you know there were other birds in there. I didnt think it was a disease the chicks were dying from since the grown birds are fine (there are 7 grown hens total)

    We are using regular, light colored wood chips (someone asked about cedar)

    There are now 9 meat birds and 7 pullets.

    The dead chicks dont have green poop, the skin around their vent is actually green! I dont know if that is a symptom of why they are dying, or just some odd thing.

    Once we switched to the different feed for the meat birds their feathers all grew back in. There were a few who werent fully feathered out, those were the ones we have found dead. The pullets we found dead were fully feathered, and never lost their feathers at all.

    I think this is clear as mud, but I hope it makes sense. What do you think of the green skin around the dead chicks vents?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011

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