UPDATED: Foul smell coming from 9 week old, no discharge from nose. Still need help please!

Three4me

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 11, 2013
41
0
32
Pacific NW
I am a first time chicken owner and things are not going well. I really need some guidance.
I lost one last week and am so scared I am going to lose another.

Last week we had 6 chickens in the brooder. Three 5 week olds and three 10 week olds. Same brooder (had a divider until 2 weeks ago). Everything was going great until I noticed last Tuesday that one of the 5 week olds wasn't running up to me when I brought their morning treat of oatmeal and meal worms. She just sort of hung back and looked kind of puffed up. She did not have any sneezing or other noticeable symptoms. Then when I took them outside for a little afternoon sun I noticed she wasn't foraging around with the others She pretty much hung back from them and didn't walk around a lot. They pretty much ignored her and went on without her. If I picked her up she would eat a few pieces of oatmeal but that was about it. She looked puffed up so I put her back in the brooder cause I thought she might be cold. The next day was the same.
The third day Thursday I noticed she was laying down a lot and when I picked her up I could hear a popping sound coming from her lungs as she breathed. I segregated her and immediately called the farm store where we got them. They told me she could have a respiratory virus and to treat with Duramycin. I started that right away for everyone, not just the sick one. She died that night. I was giving her the treated water with an eyedropper and she was even eating a little. For the 6 hours I had her in the house in the hospital set up I noticed she did not poop even once. She was very lethargic, puffed up, using her wings for balance, had the rattly popping sounding lungs which progressed to labored breathing with her mouth open. She did not have any nasal discharge, sneezing, or coughing and no foul odor. It ended with her having a seizure and just dying. My 10 year old and I saw it happen and it was pretty devastating for us both. She was my favorite peep out of all of them and is the little blue cochin in my profile pic.

I have continued to treat the water for the other birds as I thought it best to continue the course of Duramycin just in case.
Well this morning my son's favorite peep seems to be getting sick. This one is a 10 week old Rosecomb. As usual I went out to the brooder to visit them and give the morning treat. She didn't run up like the others did and just sat on the roost a little puffed up looking. I picked her up to see if I could see anything wrong and noticed a foul sour smell coming from her mouth. Kind of reminded me of a fermented wet grass smell. Her crop is not full and actually felt empty. She has no nasal discharge. She looked puffed up and just sort of depressed. I just went out to check on her again and she is now laying on the floor of the brooder with her wings held away from her body a little bit. Any ideas what I am dealing with? Should I continue the Duramycin or try to switch to something else? If so, what?

I'm not sure what other information might be helpful so I'll just put down what I can.

These are all un-medicated feed store chicks bought 2 days after hatching. They are on Nature Smart organic feed and get probiotics & vitamins in their water daily. They are in a large brooder made out of 2 stove boxes hooked together and mesh wire windows and doors. They are on sand for the substrate and have good ventilation. I am still using a heat lamp but it is raised up really high. Temp stays at 75 degrees. I have not put them outside in the coop yet because I was waiting until they could all go out together to hopefully minimize any problems with getting along. The big girls pecked at the babies at first which is why I had the divider in the brooder but that has been down for the past 2 weeks and everyone is getting along fine now so I planned to move them outside soon. We live in the Pacific Northwest and have been getting a lot of rain lately which is what held me up.

If you have questions for me that could help I'll be checking this thread often. Please, if you have any idea of what is going on or suggestions for me please let me know. Thank you!
 
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fishnet1971

'Birds Momma
10 Years
May 25, 2010
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'Bird 'n the Fluffy Butts coop in Ohio
I know you said they are on sand, would that serve as good enough as grit for them to digest the oatmeal and other non chick food?

How is their poop? any blood or runny?

How do their eyes look? puffy and half closed or wide open and aware?
 
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Three4me

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 11, 2013
41
0
32
Pacific NW
Sorry, I forgot to say that even though they are on sand I still provide a dish of chick grit for them. I did notice the Rosecomb eating some grit this morning. Could this just be a coincidence with what happened last week? I did pick them all up and smell near their mouths and the Rosecomb was the only one I smelled that weird smell from. Her eyes don't look puffy and they are open but don't look as alert and aware as usual. I'll try to take some pics. Also, poop seems normal for all of them. No blood. Thanks for your quick reply.
 
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Three4me

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 11, 2013
41
0
32
Pacific NW
Yes, I have read up on coccidiosis. I have not seen any blood or mucous in their poop at all. Correct, they are on unmedicated organic food. Should I put them on medicated food right away?

Also, I should mention that I scoop out the brooder several times a day with a mesh reptile scoop that sifts the poop out of the sand. The brooder is in our garage which is why I am so OCD about cleaning it. I don't want DH to get upset about any "chicken smell" in the garage. He didn't want them in the first place and the kids and I talked him into them so I am making sure he doesn't have any reason to want them to leave. Taking a chicken to the vet would be one of those reasons...
 
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casportpony

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Jun 24, 2012
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Chick poop should be well formed with a white cap 95% of the time. If it doesn't look like the poop pictured below, I would say that there is a problem. The color will vary a little, but it should be very close to the color of the food that they're eating.



 

casportpony

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just my opinion, but i have always used it. Some do, some dont. It's just your preferance.

I don't think there's any smell with Cocci from the mouth either.

Any way you can get a look inside her mouth?
I've never noticed a smell in the mouth with coccidiosis either, but I have with bacterial, fungal and canker infections. Looking in the mouth and checking that the crops empty would be a good idea.
 

Three4me

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 11, 2013
41
0
32
Pacific NW
Ok, right now I am wishing I had used it because that would be one less thing I would have to worry about right now. The owner of the farm store I got them from is very oriented towards taking the natural approach and he talked me into going organic with them. I am not opposed to medicating them or switching to medicated feed if it will save them. Any ideas what could be causing the sour smell? From what I have read an impacted crop could cause that but her crop is pretty much empty. I just brought her into the house and she is normally quiet a loud mouth when you pick her up or take her out of the line of sight from the others. Now her peep is much quieter than normal which worries me and I still smell the fermented grass smell.
 

Three4me

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 11, 2013
41
0
32
Pacific NW
Thanks for the poop pics Casportpony. That was very helpful. I just brought her in the house and put paper towels under her so I can see what her poop looks like and know that is came from her and not one of the others. It is hard to know who did what in the brooder and the sand could be disguising it I suppose. What from I could see when I cleaned it earlier they looked normal but I have no idea that she actually pooped. I'll update when I have the evidence.

Thanks to everyone that has replied to me. These chickens are our pets and I don't want to have the kids come home from school to another sick one.
 

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