What's Wrong With Our Birds? Can't Figure It Out!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sparklee, May 7, 2009.

  1. Sparklee

    Sparklee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ruffled feathers, but still some preening. Seem to be eating well.

    The flock is some that were hatched a week before the others. Hatch was April 18 and 24. They are about 2.5 weeks and 2 weeks.

    The olders got their feathers ruffled before the youngers who are just now starting to get their feathers ruffled. They stand hunched. But they all also run around at times.

    Poo is pretty normal usually. No blood. Loose 10% of the time, though I don't stand around for hours watching.

    They are eating homemade feed.
    They're eating a few tenebrio molitor larvae (mealworms) each day
    and a homemade chick starter (18.7%) with these items in it:
    Field Peas
    Wheat
    Corn
    Alfalfa Pellets
    Fish Meal
    Millet
    Sesame Seeds
    Cultured Yeast
    Diatomaceous Earth
    Oyster Shell
    Lentils
    Kelp
    Salt
    Vitamins/Electrolytes

    They are in a brooder house. Warm enough under one of the
    1940s Plamondon hover with two lights. They moved here on Friday of last week. Temp is variable depending on how close they are to the lights. It's at least 90 by the lights. But in the 70s way out at the edges of the brooding area. Drafts few. The hover has a skirt on one side.

    They have a feeder that doesn't get hardly any poo in it. None yet anyway. I ditched their other feeders that they kept flicking pine shavings in and pooping in.

    I change their waterer 2 times a day.

    I changed their pine shavings yesterday.

    They are getting grit. Tiny stuff. Granite.

    They were on Corid amprolium 9.6% at 2cc a gallon until last Saturday when their feathers started getting ruffled. The 2cc/gallon is supposed to be preventative. On Saturday, I switched to 4cc/gallon.

    They are not getting better and it's been 5 days. More and more are getting ruffled feathers and hunched shoulders.

    Why?

    Please any ideas?

    Let me know if you need more info.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    First off, I would eliminate the salt and the oyster shell immediately. Do you have instructions from an ag dept or vet on adding salt to their diet? Salt can be dangerous for their systems. Oyster shell will damage their liver (this should only be given to adult laying hens).

    I would also get rid of the grit. If you feel they really need something, you might allow a tiny(!) spoonful of very fine grit or sand on the brooder floor, so they cannot fill up on this. They can very easily become crop-impacted from grit at a young age. Birds will hold grit in their crops for weeks; they don't need a lot of this.

    I am also curious about the addition of yeast to the home made feed. I personally would eliminate this too, as birds can also succumb to yeast and fungal infections.


    So - - salt, oyster shell, excessive grit, and yeast infection are all possible causes of hunched, fluffed up chicks.

    Vitamin deficiency is another possible issue; continued use of Amprolium in young chicks can cause B1 deficiency according to some studies.

    Just a few ideas - - please let us know how this develops. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  3. Sparklee

    Sparklee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for reply.

    Why do chicks hold the grit in their crop for weeks? I know that it's supposed to go to their gizzard and then the granite grit grinds the feed there, in the gizzard. But why does grit stay in chicks' crops? I'm sprinkling it on top of their feed like pepper. Their feed has some big chunks in it and I imagine they are getting a little bit of pine shavings, too, that must be ground up somehow.

    Yeah, about your comment about the vitamin deficiency. It looks like Vit A deficiency can cause the ruffled feathers. But they're getting Vit A. So. We're going to get some new vitamins in case the old ones were outdated (no date on the package, but bought just a month ago).

    Anyway, if anyone else has an ideas, please help. There's a lot we don't know about chicks. I don't even know which questions to ask.
     
  4. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    You won't want to give the chicks anything with Vit B1 in it while you are treating with Amprolium; Amprolium is a thiamine (B1) blocker, and its action is essentially to starve out the coccidia (protozoa). Giving them B1 will essentially cancel out the Amprolium, and possibly create super-protozoa.

    Sorry about mistype re. grit - I meant it is held in the digestive system for weeks. I just lost a 10-week chick to impaction from grit, and my avian vet indicated they just don't need free choice grit in any quantity. X Ray showed some in crop, and large qty in proventriculus.

    Do be sure to chuck the oyster shell until they are laying age.


    . . . this is why I am afraid to mix my own feed. There's too much to learn!

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  5. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm in agreement with Jenski; if you are new to chickens, it seems like the easiest course (and the most most of use) is to feed commercial starter feed. It's developed to be a complete feed, and the manufacturers have put years of research into them.

    Best of luck!
     
  6. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I never had grit destroy the chicks
    IF you are feeding grains you WILL need to provide grit. So don't stop feeding GRIT
    They DO need it to grind the grains
    Also they need the vit-electrolytes but in less amt

    Also they DO NOT need calcium yet so do not give them oyster shell

    and the thing I would do is NOT feed any more coccidiosis medication

    I never felt prevention was good for chicks
    they need to go thru the coccidiosis with the medication after getting coccidiosis

    I would discontinue the medication and give
    natural wet probiotic mash
    1 qt of dry crumbles
    2 qts of milk any kind sweet, sour,buttermilk even dried milk, goats milk
    1/4 cup of plain onon flabvored yoguart

    feed this so each chick gets 2 tsp of the wet mash and eats it up in 20-30 minutes
    then clean feeders that are wet

    you could use those smaller feeders do this in the morning so they are hungrey
    then restock the dry crumbles

    their gut is hurting from the coccidiosis medications you have been giving them

    hopefully you will get them on a nice regi,ent of feed

    also give them in their waterers
    2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar per gallon of water

    the temp is too hot near the light
    should be around 85 degrees so they will be more stable

    you can email me for more info PM me
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  7. CountryPantry

    CountryPantry Fat Matt's Poultry Farm

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    Hayesville, NC
    Glenda, you hit the nail on the head. I was thinking the same thing and checked it out with my vet at the University of Florida. He said exactly what you did (Glenda)......he also reccommends that unless you are very good at mixing feeds, to discontinue the homemade feed and use a commercial chick starter until they are healthy again. Then you can start to wean them back to your homemade feed regiment. NO medication in the water.

    Hope your little ones get better.

    Debbie
     
  8. Sparklee

    Sparklee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oyster shell is powdered. I won't quit giving it to them as they need calcium for skeletal development, etc. Of course, I wouldn't give them chunk oyster shell. Glad you checked about that, though, because you just never know what people are thinking.

    Yeast culture. Would love to see your info that it has anything to do with the yeast or fungal infections that you mention and I will look into this more, although I did research it for a few days before buying it. It's not hurting our cattle or goats or older layers yet. Our starter feed contains 1.5 pounds per 100 weight. Basically what they recommend on the bag. Haven't heard anything but good about the products in this line so hearing something on the other side would balance things out a bit.

    Salt. No salt? I think I'll keep it in. At 1/4 of a pound per 100 weight, it's right in there on what commercial starter feeds include. Please, if you have info that chicks should not receive any salt, please let me know and I'll cut out the kelp, too. But I have to go with what I've read so far on salt being a necessary ingredient for chicks and just about every other living being on earth.

    It's easier for me to mix our own feed than to research all the feeds available out there to make sure they not feeding my babies other chicken babies' poo, etc. See article "Recycled Dried Poultry Manure in Chick Starter Diets" http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a784234583~db=all Blech! There is no decent commercial feed around here, imo--none that I want to give to my little darlings anyway. So while some folks think it's easier to use commercial feed, I don't concur. I don't think commercial feed is necessarily safer either. We all remember the organic chicken feed (soy) sent to France that was riddled with melamine (up to 30x more than is authorized), right?

    Yes, after 5 days and the medication not making any difference (from visual observation only), it probably isn't working and I will cut it out. Good. I hated using it anyway. Will begin with yogurt and/or *mild* kefir. I tried the kefir that I like about a week ago before they were ruffled, but it was too sour for them (or that's my best guess as to why they didn't like it). I was using raw unfiltered ACV before starting the CORID, so I'll go back to that.

    So thanks to all. This has been instructive.

    Oh, and btw, these are not military birds. There will be no "regiment" for them. Alternatively, a feed regimen (without a T) is okay. When someone writes, "feed regiment," I see all these little chickies all dressed up in their military uniforms, lined up, with their sweet little faces facing forward, and little swords dragging behind as they march toward the feeder. LOL, makes me laugh.

    Oh, and is there a chicken discussion board somewhere that welcomes (or caters to) those who mix their own feed?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  9. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and is there a chicken discussion board somewhere that welcomes (or caters to) those who mix their own feed?

    I would say the feeding and watering board.​
     
  10. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Sparklee wrote It's easier for me to mix our own feed than to research all the feeds available out there to make sure they not feeding my babies other chicken babies' poo, etc. See article "Recycled Dried Poultry Manure in Chick Starter Diets" http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a784234583~db=all Blech! There is no decent commercial feed around here, imo--none that I want to give to my little darlings anyway

    I'd not make any conclusions about current commercial starter diets based on the results of experimental feeding regimens from research conducted in `75.

    As you are obviously motivated (a good thing) to do the right thing by your chooks, I'd suggest reading Resolution's (a member) posts in this thread. I'm not endorsing his products, but he knows gallinaceous dietary requirements to a fare-thee-well.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=140469

    Good luck!​
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2009

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