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Annabel

Chick suddenly unwell- any ideas?

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Hi, our two chicks are now almost 3 weeks. They have been absolutely fine up until this morning where Merry suddenly looked quite sleepy and lethargic. She wouldn’t eat any meal worms provided (unlike yesterday) and seemed hunched up with a droopy tail. At first I thought she may be cold as her feathers look a bit fluffed up and she was constantly trying to get under mum.

then she was being left outside a little as mum would get up to walk around, uncovering Merry who very slowly would plod after her.

i decided to bring both chicks and mothers inside as we are due lots of rain and they currently share a wooden hutch so I was concerned about damp.

A few days ago both chicks were free ranging with mums and somehow they got separated down the side of the coop (whilst mothers were inside on the other side of the wire unable to get them back). It was the day of the thunderstorms with severe rain and they were both wet- I brought both into the conservatory for about 45 mins and wrapped them in warm towels and hand fed them. When dry they were returned to mums who had gone to bed so they were straight under mums for the night.

could she have caught a chill? No discharge from nose. Will drink herself occasionally but not eat. I have mixed sugar into her water. I have fed her mixed egg white and yolk which she will take a little of quite frequently if her beak is dipped in. No other chickens are ill.

poo looks watery with red flecks (doesn’t appear to be blood- more jelly).

i am wondering if this may be the disease they can pick up from pecking at their own poo. 

Any ideas gratefully received as she is now much loved and part of our family.

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It sounds very much as though she has coccidiosis.  She needs a cocci medication asap.  Try Coxoid.  She will need to be kept warm, and her environment should be kept clean and the bedding dry, be meticulous.  There is a recent thread on cocci on here and probably a sticky, but you should also get hold of a good disinfectant, something like ViratecP or VirkonS to do a deep clean.  Cocci is very virulent, there are many strains, some are treatable, others less so I'm afraid, but move quickly to give her the best chance. 

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Thank you so much. Luckily I completely disinfected the room she is in and used all fresh bedding and completely disinfected their water and food. But will get her the meds now. Thank you for your swift reply

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I think it might be coccidiosis; the most risky age is under 6 weeks and that hunched stance is typical (we've had a chick with it). Damp is an important factor as that increases the risk considerably. Unfortunately it may be too late, but a vet will tell you? Has their chick crumb got ACS in it?

Our chick survived after the vet wrote her off. I tried something totally daft and syringed her crop full of probiotic yoghurt. Why that worked I don't know and no-one has been able to tell me? I'm not suggesting that as a first stage though; get to a vet.

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Agree with above I would be treating for Coccidiosis.

You're probably best to try a local poultry stockist to get Coxid unless you have an avian vet nearby as most small animal vets won't carry meds as standard so won't have them until Monday/Tuesday

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Hi all,

I've had one hell of an afternoon.  I phoned round all the vets that were still open in this area and got told to try and get an apt at a 24hour vets.  Most didn't deal with chickens so that made it quite hard so I ended up booking a virtual vet apt- however they said they didn't have the coxoid available.

I then phoned round various poultry stockists (thank you Lewis!) who also didn't have any until I found one an hour and a half away that had an out of date one (my husband is a chemist so looked at the active ingredient and said it would still be active) - so drove there and then at the back of the shelf I found one in date one!  The lady said she thinks there is a countrywide shortage as she has no restocking date from suppliers which is unusual and 6 customers on the waiting list.

So I've just treated the water and she drank a very little (maybe 3 sips of it) and then went to bed with the others (still very lethargic and chirping a bit more continuously than when I left her 3 hours ago).  I plan to pull her out from under mum in a few hours to have more of it (should I do this or leave her be?).

Thank you everyone who answered and offered advice.  Really hoping I don't wake up to a dead chick in the morning.  We would find that devastating.  Fingers crossed.

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Busy afternoon! I would give her a few hours then try her again, they can dehydrate fairly quickly and it would be good to get more Coxoid on board

Fingers crossed!

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Indeed, they are very vulnerable, so give her another dose, and then we will all keep ours fingers very firmly crossed for you.  Well done on being so determined in getting her the meds she needs, time is of the essence, you did a great job.  Good Luck to you both.

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Thank you very much.  I've seta two hour interval to take her for a drink.  The mums aren't protesting when I remove her and disturb them, I feel they know she is ill and perhaps understand I am trying to help.  Will let you all know in the morning.

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we all have everything crossed here in this house!  Going to be very scared going in in the morning but I will know I did the best I could.

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Well Merry is still alive but no real improvement from yesterday (though it does say 24hrs are required to see an improvement). She is still choosing to sit under mum most of the time but will drink a little when I take her out and place her near the water. 

She hasn’t eaten anything in 24hours(yesterday morning she had a little egg white and yolk but refused meal worms)- today she refused egg yolk as well. 

Im thinking I might try and look for some dead flies in our conservatory or the odd dead spider and offer those as the chicks think it’s a real treat.

she is still hunched, walking very slowly if she has to and basically falling asleep all over the place. Come on Coxoid!

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Whilst she peeled up slightly at the sight of my foraging collection, she only pecked at one fly and let it drop from her beak. She then pecked at a tiny spider but didn’t eat it

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Has she been drinking? Otherwise wet your finger in the water with coxiod and hold to her beak. She might drink the droplet from it.

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You could also wet some chick crumb/pellets/mash in water and try feeding her a tiny bit from your finger.  It will be a way of getting a bit of moisture into her as well as some food.  Little and often.  It may not work, but give it a whirl.

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Luckily she is alright at taking water.  If I place her buy it she sometimes has around 3-4 sips then when she is finished if I tilt her head down towards the water she will have another 2 sips.  So I am doing that every hour and half at the moment.  Not eating but did manage to get her to have about 3 sips of egg yolk (again by putting her beak in - feels like it is more of a reflex than an actual decision by her to eat it).

She won't eat any meal worms crushed, or wet crumbs at all.  I was going to try some watermelon as I give that to the adults on hot days but I am worried that she may not drink as much of the medicated water if she feels hydrated by that.  Will see how it goes.

I think the other chick now has some flecks of blood in his poo (which I'm guessing is very likely) but luckily he is still eating loads, drinking plenty of the medicated water and very active.  I've treated the whole flock and cleaned out absolutely everything and disinfected.

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Merry seems a little better than this morning.  She is still hunched and mostly sleeping but did eat some egg yolk and greek yogurt this evening so hoping she may show some improvement tomorrow.

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oh no, I had read this mixed with water and her chick crumbs was good for a chick failing to eat.  I hope I've not made it worse now.

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Can't find exactly what I had read now on a chick reviver article.  But this is generally what I seem to keep reading: 

It is believed by some dairy feeding chicken farmers that dairy products which don’t contain milk sugars, like yogurt or cottage cheese, are fine to give your chickens. Interestingly, yogurt does contain milk sugars when first produced, but the live organisms present in the stuff consume the milk sugars by the time it’s ready to be eaten!

Also as an interesting aside there was a study which found that chickens only consumed a minimal amount of dairy products of their own accord when allowed free reign to eat as much as they liked (and had to be force fed to increase their lactose intake).  Guess they know what they need and don't.

Whatever the case, she ate so little that I expect it won't make any difference to her overall outcome.

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You are doing everything right. I'd give her the teeniest speck of NutriDrops (now called Power Drops) and see if she is more tempted to eat from a sparkly (tin foil) dish - it usually helps. I wouldn't normally suggest it for chooks, but this is critical, so try a teeny bit of sardine; the scent works magic on a bird which won't eat.

Good luck Annabel

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Thank you. I will try that. I let them out late yesterday afternoon with the mums who were so happy to be out. She plodded after them slowly (often left behind) and whenever the mums found a bug and called she would speed up but get there too slow. So this morning I took them out again but this time caught and crushed bugs up for her and she ate 3 earwigs and 5 woodlouse but very slowly (I was glad I killed them first poor things!).

She then reluctantly had a small amount of wet crumbs with Greek yogurt and water mixed. 

She is still very droopy winged, hunched and it looks like she breathing more heavily than the other chick. Going to try the sardines now.x

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image.jpg

Here she is today. Not looking much better. Dogmother- I don’t have sardines but have tuna or crab paste (will either do or is sardines the best for her?)

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