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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had made a few comments regarding an illness in my thread on the incubation forum. Not wanting to detract from that thread I'm starting a new thread here.

A brief outline of the past weeks:
20 Barred rock chicks ordered from a reputable hatchery, hatch on November 26 + 5 packing peanuts, recieved at my home November 27. All but one appeared healthy. Within 24 hours the weak one died.
The chicks progressed at a normal rate for about two weeks. First sign of illness noted was when one of the packing peanuts had leg failure. The chick could not stand, failure of what I would call the knee. The chick could not stand on its feet.
When chicks are this age I usually practice culling rather than treat an illness, when the illness reaches the acute stage. Still I was figuring the failed chick wasn't sick but was the victim of an injury or was malformed at hatch.

Over the next week I started noticing some of the remaking chicks walking with a staggering gate, some seemed to have balance control issues. These chicks were culled. One thing I noticed the affected chicks all seemed to have an extremely long middle toe.
Two days ago I noticed yet another chick with the beginning signs. This chick I decided to allow it to continue living and observe the progression. Over the proceeding two days the chick eventually got to the point where it couldn't stand and it could only push itself backwards. It's neck became curved until its beak layed on the floor of the brooder. At this point I couldn't stand it any more and culled the chick.
I have now three more chicks that will eventually be affected, they are much under sized and beginning to show signs of balance issues.
Concerning size, I have never seen so much difference in size in a hatch, from biggest to smallest- I'd say the biggest are three times the size of the four smallest chicks.
The chicks have all been on a steady diet of named brand medicated feed, freshwater. As my usual practice, for the first couple weeks this diet was supplemented with 2 scramble eggs one AM, one PM.
It has been suggested that the illness could be feed related. Vitamin deficientcy or aflatoxin. I changed feed.
Preventative/treatment, as I said earlier aggressive culling, and now I am treating with the recommended dosage of sulfadine.
Of a total of 25 chicks recieved I have 18 remaining with three that may be
culled very soon. At this point I may take the option of culling all the remaining birds, beings as how these birds were bought with the idea of improving my flock. Obviously whether its an illness, genetics or feed issue, these birds may have been damaged.
Ideas please.
 

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Flocker
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All I know to do is to contact the hatchery and tell them what has happened, and see if anyone else has had the same issue. So sorry, it is heartbreaking.

Or if you do a search on crooked neck, as you mentioned about one of them. That may not be the cure, but it could be a symptom. That is a vitamin defiency. A search will tell you what vitamin, and how much. I don't know it off the top of my head.
 

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The hatchery may also replace them when they hear your story. So sorry you had yo deal with this. New chicks should be fun and exciting. A happy time, not a sad time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys!

I am not exactly happy about this bunch, but I do understand that these things happen sometimes. It's all part of the experience. I try and learn from my negative out comes, as well as my positive.

Initially I thought it was a genetic/breeding issue. But after observing that the packing peanuts that are either RIRs or production reds were as afflicted as the barred rocks, I had to rule it out.

The second suggestion I recieved was that the ailment was feed/vitamin related. Possibly aflatoxin contamination or vitamin defecientcy. I changed feed brand, the cleaned and sterilized all feeders. Also I added a vitamin supplement to the waterers after sterilizing.

The above was done on the 3rd, today being the 7th. That's 4 days. I began noticing an improvement yesterday afternoon. The moderately affected chick seemed to be more mobile and walking with less staggering. The 1 chick that was more affected has not shown any improvement, but it hasn't gotten worse either.

Shooting from the hip, I believe the illness was a feed related. I will continue on with this batch just to see if they improve to a point of good health.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Day 6 of new feed and vitamin supplement.

All signs of the problem have dissapeared from all but the one chick that was affected worse than the others.

Still have the great difference in sizes and do not expect that to change for weeks.
 

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Flocker
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Sorry you and the babies had to go thru this, but thank GOD improvement in all except the worst, and no worse for her!! Great news! And we have all learned from it too, so the next one will benefit from it. Fantastic! :)
 

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I think everyone would be amazed at how much of our and are chickens health problems are due to issues with quality control at the feed mill. Glad I was able to share my wisdom of a scary industry.
 
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