Dead 3 week old chick, why?

Discussion in 'Meat Chickens' started by Carol B, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    We moved our 20 meat (RC) chickens outside at the begining of the weak. Everything has gone fine but hubby commented he smelled a sick smell. I did not smell anything but chickens. We move them every night and take food away, so mornings are a feeding frenzy. This morning I found a dead chick in a corner. 2 did not run to feed. I think what was happening was 1 was standing guard over another because as I watched, another chick came over and took over while the first one went to get a drink. I see what looks like blood on 2 of the chicks but see no one bleeding and no wounds. No sign of anything getting in with them. No holes, no pieces of another critter, no fur, nothing. I did see 1 chick poop and it was liquid and looked mauve in color. These guys were supposed to have been vaccinated for everything so I don't get it. No body parts missing.
    Any clue what's going on?
     
  2. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Could very well be Cocci. Look for bloody droppings that will pretty much confirm it. If you find any you'll have to get them on amprolium asap.

    When you say you moved them outside, did you provide them with heat for the night if your nights are not at the recommended temp? Piling happens when chicks get too cold and it can cause those on the bottom of the pile to die.
     

  3. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    I was told at 21 days they can go outside in a tractor. Our tractor is occupied for at the moment so we're using old puppy pens with 6 to 8 in a pen. It's summer so the nights are not all that cold. Was told at 21 days they could take down to 34 degrees. In week 2 I saw a little blood in a poo once, the again a day or 2 later. Then nothing more. I looked at the "poop chart" and it appeared it could be normal so haven't thought much of it since everyone was acting fine.
    Where do I get amprolium? They used to carry meds for coccidiosis at TSC labeled for chickens that I used for puppies but it's since been pulled thanks to our lovely government that think we don't have a brain and they need to control everything.
     
  4. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    Also, we have tarp on the west side where the wind comes from and on top.
     
  5. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    Ok, I found TSC has it. Will get that and start it. Even if it's not cocci the amprolium won't hurt them. But I bet that's it. I know puppies have a sick smell to their poop with it. For some reason I can smell that some of the time but other times I can't. Weird. Guess hubby has a better tuned nose.
     
  6. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    The rule of thumb for being outside at night without supplemental heat is if they're fully feathered. Even then their body thermostats are not fully mature and have a tough time cooling or warming for a bit longer. So, if it's getting below 90 degrees at night and they're not fully feathered they're struggling to keep warm.

    Good on TSC having it.
     
  7. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    I've noticed the RCs tend to overheat at 90 degrees. They are not fully feathered until almost time to slaughter. My oldest ones are 7 weeks and seem mostly feathered now. They tend to not feather on the underside period. When we first got this group of older ones out in the tractor we noticed they sleep in the open end at night and hang out under the tarped part during the day. Unless it's raining at night they are under the stars (and hardware cloth).
    We'll see about enclosing the younger ones a bit more at night. Heading out for meds.
     
  8. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I have no experience with meat birds except what people have said here so if that's what they say, then that's what they say. I can't argue with something I'm not really familiar with.

    I never had any of my birds vaccinated for anything. Over the years I've read that the cocci vaccines don't cover every type of cocci infection. You might have hit the short straw with them getting infected with one that isn't covered.
     
    Poultry Judge likes this.
  9. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    I bought most my birds from either TSC or Family Farm and Home. Both places said their chicks come in vaccinated. That's all I know on vaccinations for them.
    I have them on the medicated water now so we'll see what happens. Thanks!
    We have layers and meat chickens and there's a big difference between them. Meat chickens poop a ton compared to layers but they grow faster than even the hybrid layers. I have some hybrids and some heritage. Been interesting to see the differences between them all.
     
  10. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    They're also odd looking when they get bigger. Although some here can ID a meat bird when they're chicks. I'm not so good at it.

    Does that mean you have to move them around a lot since they are such prodigious poopers? :p

    What I read about it is there are multiple strains or types of the cocci bug and that vaccinations don't cover them all.

    I'm hoping after all this that's what the problem is and can be fixed quickly. You know if you have a vet that will work with you you can collect the cleanest droppings and take them in to be checked. They don't have to be separate, just clean and fresh.

    This is a disgusting conversation. I'm eating dinner while typing.
     
  11. Sylie

    Sylie Super Moderator Staff Member

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    As far as when a chick can go without supplemental heat is 70 degrees, day or night. Until they are fully feathered, they need to stay at 70 degrees or higher depending on their level of feathering. (fuzzy baby chicks start out at 90 - 95 degrees and decrease by 5 degrees per week until you reach 70 when they don't need it anymore.)
    The thing is that if the chick were with it's momma, her body temperature keeps them between 90 and 95 degrees, as they grow, they spend more and more time out from under her and growing in feathers that help them stay warm in the world outside of momma's feathers. Also, it takes that long for their internal thermometers to kick in and start self regulating.
     
    Poultry Judge likes this.
  12. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    I agree with that for layers. Have you raised any meat birds? These RCs don't get completely feathered until, gosh, I don't know, maybe it was 6 weeks? The males feather later than the females so the males are the ones that look real ugly. They are putting more into body growth than feathers early on. I think the rate at which meat chickens grow produces body heat.
    I've tried following the temp. recommendations for the RCs but they end up panting, it's just too warm. The first couple weeks they need the heat but what I've seen is you can drop the temp a little faster than for other birds. When it was running in the 90's outside I had to freeze water in pop bottles and put 1 or 2 in the brooder to keep the chicks cool enough. They self regulate temp this way. I would not try that with new hatchlings but they were in the 2 to 3 week range. Too young to be out of the brooder and old enough they had started feathering. If you think I'm crazy try it sometime when it's really hot out and you have panting chicks, then watch them. Some will get close enough to feel the cool air from around the bottle, others will touch it for a few seconds and back off. I had one nap on a bottle of melted ice as the bottle was cool not cold at that point. I started this years ago with my litters of puppies and no AC. Puppies before they open their eyes know how to regulate their body temp with these. And mom could lick the bottles to cool off. I've saved many overheating babies this way.
     
  13. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh how I wish you had gotten a pic of the peep resting on the cooling bottle. That would have been absolutely precious.

    Cuteness over now, how are they doing so far today?
     
  14. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    So far no more dead chicks. Everyone in that group was eating this morning, so that was encouraging. I cleaned all food dishes last night and let them dry overnight after spraying with vinegar water. Since we take food away at night it makes it easy to do that.
    Yes RCs are ugly chicks. The females feather faster than the males, so it's the males that look so ugly. We take our first ones to be processed next week and the males feathers look nice now. Just in time to butcher. Oh well. They're nice and plump.
    Meat chickens eat more and grow supper fast. Ready to process at 8 weeks. They are super efficient at converting food to meat. However, this process produces a ton of poop. We built our tractor to house 20 meat chickens. We currently have 10 in it and we move it every night, then wash the poop into the ground. Once they are gone next week we will be moving the 20, well ok now 19, into it. My husband and I have decided we will be moving it twice a day with full capacity. To give you an idea the size of tractor, if we put layers in it we'd only be able to put 4 chickens in it. The space requirements are totally different with meat chickens. I used to think people were cruel to the meat chickens but I see things differently now. Meat chickens are lazy. Lol. One night we tried moving them across a section of yard. We got about halfway there and one chicken sat down. We thought maybe it's leg was hurt. Nope! That chicken was saying we moved far enough and was not budging! So we left them where they were. Lol. Crazy lazy chickens!
    When this last batch of meat chickens got out of the brooder I put some young chicks in it to let them grow more before the next phase in including them with the flock. It's been amazing after cleaning up after the RCs at how little poop these layer chicks create. I started with a batch of layers, 2 batches of meat in between and finishing out the year with a batch of layers. What a difference it makes on what you're raising! I used to think a bird is a bird. A bird is not a bird.
    I did not realize there are different straines of cocci. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since there are different strains of Lepto and Coronovirus.
    Yes, there is better dinner conversation for sure. We had a dog get sick one Thanksgiving diner right at our feet. We stopped, cleaned the mess, and went on with our family diner. Then we laughed. Not a lot of families could do that. I've always been one to talk about any topic while eating a meal...and have gotten in trouble for it many times.
    I'll have to check around for a vet. I know the ones I use for my dogs will not be options. Covid 19 has changed a lot with vets here. I'm probably on my own unless I want to take one to Michigan State Vet Clinic at the school.
    I appreciate your input and hope this medicine will take care of it. So far so good. I have read many threads here on this forum and have learned so much. This has been a wonderful resource.
     
  15. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm not so much sure they're lazy but that their cardiac systems can not take much physical activity. That's one of the things I've read consistently about them, that most of the time one drops dead it was probably heart related. Their cardiovascular systems just can not keep pace with all that growth in a short period of time.

    The virus has everyone being very cautious right now. Once things calm down ask if they would be willing to do a fecal check for the birds if you ever have another mystery like this happen again.
     
  16. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    That may be true. We take food away at night to slow the growth down a bit. 12 hrs free feed, 12 hrs off feed. This helps to not have broken bones and helps them not have a heart attack. My husband says the older ones look more like mini turkeys. Curious to see how they dress out weight wise this week.

    So far all the younger ones are doing fine. Seems we may have caught that one in time.
     
  17. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Sudden unexplained death is usually the case with all of the birds. I've lost count of the number of people that had a bird drop right in front of them. In many ways they're not much different than we are.

    Have you ever looked at if you can cross your own? Or is it more complicated than doing 1 plus 1 equals two. I've read that some of the hybrids are not so easily reproduced even if you know the crossed breeds.
     
  18. Carol B

    Carol B New Member

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    Since I've bred dogs for years and have studied genetics and pedigrees it has crossed my mind to breed my own chickens. I've read what you're saying too. It has to do with how many crosses you do from what I currently understand. The ones that work best are crosses from heritage breeds. You can cross a hybrid with a hybrid but have to be careful which ones as too many crosses are when you get into trouble. I have a lot of studying to do before I try breeding my own. If I do any I'm thinking I might like to breed Sapphire Plymouth Rocks. I have 5 young ladies now...or so I think...time will tell. For now I need to get the basics down and learn as much as I can about raising chickens and all the breeds. We got our first ever chicks Memorial Day weekend. We started with 6 Leghorns and 4 Asia black (1 turned out to be a rooster). When they got out of the brooder we got 10 meat chickens, when they left the brooder got 20 more meat chickens and 2 Barnevelders, shortly after 2 Buff Orpintons and 6 Sapphire Plymouth Rocks. 50 was my stopping point. Lol. Lost 1 layer and 1 meat chicken. Looking forward to when it's just 20 in the coop and no one else....and much less poop.
    There's a T-shirt I need to get. It says "Driving my husband crazy 1 chicken at a time".
     
  19. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    LOL That sounds more like a sign to put in your vehicle window and hang one on the outside of the coop.

    Chicken math, it's all about chicken math. They are addictive and the seeing another one not already in the flock is so tempting.
     
  20. Sylie

    Sylie Super Moderator Staff Member

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    omg that t- shirt is so awesome! I may have to make one for myself and one for him but change the wording a bit "My wife is driving me crazy 1 chicken at a time" haha