Chick Disease

by Teresa
(Canada)

Question

Chick Disease: I have twice purchased chicks (unvaccinated) and they have done well until about the 10 to 12 week age.

Then then seemed to develop a health issue where they were wobbly on their legs and within a day they were dead.

One would die then the next day another would develop the same symptom and die and so it went until all but one died. On my second batch, they all died.

Just wondering if you have any input on what that would be and how could I prevent it from happening again.

Answer
If you purchased these chicks from the same source, I would suspect the hatchery or farm has been contaminated with disease. This is a just a guess.

It’s possible that your brooder is contaminated or the area they are in has an airborne virus or bacteria that is affecting them.

I’m not sure if you are against the idea of vaccinated chicks or if that is just what is available, but I would suggest vaccinated chicks next time.

Make sure your brooder is the right temperature for their age, to help build a strong immune system, and to continue to provide heat if temps are near 70F or below.

(I don’t know what kind of climate you live in.) Young chickens have limited resources to protect against cold and would rely on their mother and each other to keep warm, even at 10 -12 weeks, until winter temperatures pass.

I think it’s best to continue to provide heat until young birds stop using it and night time temps aren’t too low.

Poor nutrition could be a problem or even a bad bag of feed, but without knowing a lot more about your set up these are the most likely possibilities that come to mind.

I’m so sorry this is happening. I can only imagine how frustrating it is to put so much work and care and even expense into these guys and lose them.

The most critical things to focus on when raising chicks are: heat, good ventilation(but no drafts), good feed, fresh water, exposure to sunlight (when possible), frequently cleaned environment.

It would be important to thoroughly disinfect a brooder or area where sick chickens have been before introducing others. Hope this helps.

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Thanks
by: Teresa

Thank you for your comments. I am thinking now that maybe my coop was too cold. At about 12 weeks I just put them in the coop.

I didn't have a heat source as I thought they would be old enough to handle it. Maybe they just got too cold.

They did well for about two weeks and then they started to die. With my next batch, I will definitely put a heat source in the coop and see how that works out. Thanks.

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