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Too Many Chicks Dying

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So I've been running into some problems with chicks dying, the past few days. I've done a search of other people's topics on dying chicks, and I've learned that there are very many reasons that something can go wrong. I've done a lot of speculation about what can be wrong with my nests, and I've decided I'm just going to have to work really hard on optimizing my birds' conditions, and accept that if they die, they die. But this afternoon, I found one of the dead chicks' bodies, and it was completley different to any of the chicks that had died before. They all looked like normal chicks, only dead. This one looked like this:

 

001-1.jpg

 

002.jpg

 

 

This is the one who died over night in Teagan's nest, but whose body I couldn't find. Until my 3pm check, and there it was. Now, all of the other dead chicks did not decompose like this. (They were still at the top of the bin, and they still looked like they did when I found them.)

 

I'd like to know if anyone else has had a dead chick like this, and if you recognize why it turned like this.

 

I called an avian vet office as soon as I found it, because I felt that this was a more extreme case than the others, which I chalked up to poor mother-care, or just not being fit to survive. The vet was having a long day, and wasn't able to get back to me until 9pm, but I truly appreciate him calling me, when I'm sure he wanted to get home. He said it was probably too late to autopsy this one, but that if another one dies, I can refrigerate it, and try to get in to the office asap, and they can send it to a lab for a necropsy. That is, if I want to spend a fair amount of money to try to find out what to treat for, in the hopes of saving the others, if that's even possible. No guarantees that the tests will be conclusive, though.

 

He also said that if one of the other mothers gets sick, I can bring her in (along with her babies) for a swab and cultures, to try to get a good guess about what to treat for. He said that if I can get in and back home quick enough, it probably wouldn't upset the hen too much, and she wouldn't abandon her nest. I guess if I brought her in without the babies, it would upset things too much, by the time I got her back. (Please, please, please, don't get sick, hens.)

 

Other than that, he said it will just be up to me to keep an eye on the chicks, and hand rear some, if necessary, in order to save their lives. He also stressed the importance of handwashing between handling the different nests, to avoid cross-contamination, in case there IS some kind of bacteria or disease. I must admit, that until I started having problems, I just treated all 3 nests as though they already shared the same germs. Once chicks started dying, I started being more careful, and once I saw the black chick, I am finally taking this much more seriously. I have hand sanitizer, but I'm afraid it will hurt my already compromised chicks, so now I make trip after trip upstairs to the sink.

 

I forgot to ask him if they have crop needles and syringes at the office, and if I could be shown how to use them. I'll have to try to remember that next time I call. (Probably will be a next time :rolleyes: ) I ordered a crop needle, but the website didn't explain about getting a syringe separately, so when it comes, my crop needle will be useless. :rolleyes:

 

So, anyway, I realize that the details of my chick problems are scattered throughout 3 different topics, now. To try to recap, the dying chicks belong to Aveline and Teagan.

 

In Aveline's situation, the youngest chicks are fed and seem okay, maybe not the best fed, and maybe on the small side. But once they start to get bigger, they die. Usually with some food in their crops. I think I can blame two of the deaths on this: that I fostered them to Finnie, she got sick and stopped feeding them, and so I put them back with Aveline, but she didn't really accept them and care for them, so they couldn't bounce back. But that doesn't explain why a chick died in her nest BEFORE I returned the two to her. Or why the next two chicks in age order died. Now she has two very young chicks that are fed, and one more egg to hatch. So far the pattern is this: they hatch, live about a week, and then die.

 

Teagan's situation is a little different. Her first and second chicks are fine. About a week to a week and a half old, one is rung, both are active and fed very well. But the following 3 chicks never got much of a chance. Some were fed a little, the last one was never fed, except by me, and I was afraid I killed it by drowning or choking it with the solution. (I wonder if that could be why it turned black?) So those 3 chicks are the ones that died overnight, last night. Now she has a 6th chick that just hatched, and hasn't been fed yet. I will probably have to feed that one in the morning, and try not to kill it.

 

The vet suggested I might pull the two oldest ones out and hand raise them, which would force Teagan to turn her attention to the younger one. But I really don't want to mess up the only two healthy chicks that look like they will live.

 

Oh, there is so much spinning around in my head! :( What would you guys do?

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The dark dead chick just looks like some do when they arent found as quickly as others. Apart from that I have no answers for you on the colour of the body.

BUT when things go " pear shaped" in nests I immediately put Triple C in the water to cover any infections going on. It seems to help.

 

 

this article might be worth re reading deficiencies in vitamins And Nutrition, Cause and Effect With Eggs and Chicks but its mostly about deaths in shell not after.

 

 

PS Syringes are cheaply and easily bought at chemist shops.

Edited by KAZ

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okay ive just read over your post sorry took me so long ive been flat out

i have one thing to say

 

are these hens first time mums

????

 

and whats the story with finnie

is she unwell or was she just run down or you do not know still

 

how many chicks left

 

in what nest

please so i can assess it no names just

pair one

pair two

so on

i had simular issues just passed and it was so so simple i almost cried with joy and the feeling of stupidity

'ive pmed you to get some important information

from you but intill them if you have tripple c it wont hurt to give three day treatment just make sure you do follow it up with 3 day probiotics

i will send you a conversation i had with someone few months back this may help you out

it totally changed everything i do

no more soft food is one thing

and my whole rutine has changed with my breeders to my astonishment it was that simple :}

lets hope its same with you

everything looks just about the exact situation

but i cant be positive but worth looking at

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If i had to take a stab at it, looks to me like internal hemorrhaging. Vitamin K deficiency would be the cause of that as Vitamin K is essential in the blood clotting process and without it chicks can easily get mushed and start bleeding and not stop, then if they stop moving they get stepped on more and bleed (bruise) more. Thats my take on it anyway.

 

Excellent sources of vitamin K include: spinach, Swiss chard, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, kale and mustard greens. Very good sources include green peas and carrots.

Edited by Dean_NZ

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Thank you so much for your replies! :P

 

The dark dead chick just looks like some do when they arent found as quickly as others. Apart from that I have no answers for you on the colour of the body.

BUT when things go " pear shaped" in nests I immediately put Triple C in the water to cover any infections going on. It seems to help. okay, I will order some of that, today, along with some probiotics. It may not get here in time to save the chicks, but at least it will help the parents, and I will have it on hand for future use.

 

this article might be worth re reading deficiencies in vitamins And Nutrition, Cause and Effect With Eggs and Chicks but its mostly about deaths in shell not after. Yes, this was one of the ones I read yesterday. Some soluvetD is going in the order, because I checked ingredients, and my vitamins are really wimpy compared to soluvet.

PS Syringes are cheaply and easily bought at chemist shops. Thank you, I didn't know regular syringes would fit the needle. I figured it must have a special fitting.

 

 

okay ive just read over your post sorry took me so long ive been flat out

i have one thing to say

 

are these hens first time mums Yes, YES, and YES!

(That is the first thing the vet wanted to know, too. He pretty much said to give them a good rest, and try them again later, and it will probably be a different story. Also, in the future, I'm not going to be satisfied that the 12 month age mark has passed. I'm going to wait at least a few months longer.)

????

 

and whats the story with finnie

is she unwell or was she just run down or you do not know still I think Finnie was just run down. She is doing a lot better, and last night I heard her chirp some. Today I'm letting her have a little less covering on her cage, to try to ease her back into normal, a little. (Still using the light 24/7 though.)

 

how many chicks left

 

in what nest

please so i can assess it no names just

pair one

pair two

so on okay, we'll call Aveline and Aidan pair #1 and Teagan and Kevin pair #2. And we'll just leave Finnie's nest right out of it, since they are all fine.

As of 9-30-10, 8:30 am EST:

Pair #1:

Chick #6 was found dead, it was 4 days old. Chick #7 is 48 hours old and looking normal, and egg#8 is still unhatched. I guess due today. (So 1 chick and 1 egg, and 6 deaths in this nest.)

Pair #2:

Chick #1 is 11 days old. Well fed. But fairly calm and quiet, in my opinion.

Chick #2 is 8 days old. Well fed, active enough, but still too small to ring.

Chick #6 is about 12 hours old, and as yet, unfed.

Egg #8 is still unhatched. (So 3 chicks and 1 egg, and 3 deaths in this nest, plus 1 clear egg that was removed)

 

i had simular issues just passed and it was so so simple i almost cried with joy and the feeling of stupidity At this point, I would really love to feel joyful and stupid at the same time! :rofl:

'ive pmed you to get some important information

from you but intill them if you have tripple c it wont hurt to give three day treatment just make sure you do follow it up with 3 day probiotics

i will send you a conversation i had with someone few months back this may help you out

it totally changed everything i do

no more soft food is one thing Interesting. I wonder why not.

and my whole rutine has changed with my breeders to my astonishment it was that simple :}

lets hope its same with you

everything looks just about the exact situation

but i cant be positive but worth looking at

 

 

If i had to take a stab at it, looks to me like internal hemorrhaging. Vitamin K deficiency would be the cause of that as Vitamin K is essential in the blood clotting process and without it chicks can easily get mushed and start bleeding and not stop, then if they stop moving they get stepped on more and bleed (bruise) more. Thats my take on it anyway.

 

Excellent sources of vitamin K include: spinach, Swiss chard, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, kale and mustard greens. Very good sources include green peas and carrots.Hm, interesting. Spinach, broccoli, mustard greens and carrots are regularly in my birds diet, and the others rarely, except I have never done asparagus. I tried Swiss chard once, but upon rinsing it, it broke apart a lot. I have a feeling that GB's advice is going to include a lot more vegetables than I have been giving.

 

 

On the hand feeding note, I have really weighed the pros and cons of whether my trying to feed the chicks is harming them or helping them, and I have decided that even if I kill them with kindness, it is better than letting them die due to their mothers' ineptness. I'm just so afraid that I can't keep the formula warm enough, or that I make them aspirate it. Or that they might catch a chill during the process. (I'm already concerned that their mothers don't keep them warm enough even in the box.)

 

Does anybody have any tips on how they juggle all these things?

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Thank you so much for your replies! :P

 

The dark dead chick just looks like some do when they arent found as quickly as others. Apart from that I have no answers for you on the colour of the body.

BUT when things go " pear shaped" in nests I immediately put Triple C in the water to cover any infections going on. It seems to help. okay, I will order some of that, today, along with some probiotics. It may not get here in time to save the chicks, but at least it will help the parents, and I will have it on hand for future use.

 

this article might be worth re reading deficiencies in vitamins And Nutrition, Cause and Effect With Eggs and Chicks but its mostly about deaths in shell not after. Yes, this was one of the ones I read yesterday. Some soluvetD is going in the order, because I checked ingredients, and my vitamins are really wimpy compared to soluvet.

PS Syringes are cheaply and easily bought at chemist shops. Thank you, I didn't know regular syringes would fit the needle. I figured it must have a special fitting.

 

 

okay ive just read over your post sorry took me so long ive been flat out

i have one thing to say

 

are these hens first time mums Yes, YES, and YES!

(That is the first thing the vet wanted to know, too. He pretty much said to give them a good rest, and try them again later, and it will probably be a different story. Also, in the future, I'm not going to be satisfied that the 12 month age mark has passed. I'm going to wait at least a few months longer.)

????

 

and whats the story with finnie

is she unwell or was she just run down or you do not know still I think Finnie was just run down. She is doing a lot better, and last night I heard her chirp some. Today I'm letting her have a little less covering on her cage, to try to ease her back into normal, a little. (Still using the light 24/7 though.)

 

how many chicks left

 

in what nest

please so i can assess it no names just

pair one

pair two

so on okay, we'll call Aveline and Aidan pair #1 and Teagan and Kevin pair #2. And we'll just leave Finnie's nest right out of it, since they are all fine.

As of 9-30-10, 8:30 am EST:

Pair #1:

Chick #6 was found dead, it was 4 days old. Chick #7 is 48 hours old and looking normal, and egg#8 is still unhatched. I guess due today. (So 1 chick and 1 egg, and 6 deaths in this nest.)

Pair #2:

Chick #1 is 11 days old. Well fed. But fairly calm and quiet, in my opinion.

Chick #2 is 8 days old. Well fed, active enough, but still too small to ring.

Chick #6 is about 12 hours old, and as yet, unfed.

Egg #8 is still unhatched. (So 3 chicks and 1 egg, and 3 deaths in this nest, plus 1 clear egg that was removed)

 

i had simular issues just passed and it was so so simple i almost cried with joy and the feeling of stupidity At this point, I would really love to feel joyful and stupid at the same time! :rofl:

'ive pmed you to get some important information

from you but intill them if you have tripple c it wont hurt to give three day treatment just make sure you do follow it up with 3 day probiotics

i will send you a conversation i had with someone few months back this may help you out

it totally changed everything i do

no more soft food is one thing Interesting. I wonder why not.

and my whole rutine has changed with my breeders to my astonishment it was that simple :}

lets hope its same with you

everything looks just about the exact situation

but i cant be positive but worth looking at

 

 

If i had to take a stab at it, looks to me like internal hemorrhaging. Vitamin K deficiency would be the cause of that as Vitamin K is essential in the blood clotting process and without it chicks can easily get mushed and start bleeding and not stop, then if they stop moving they get stepped on more and bleed (bruise) more. Thats my take on it anyway.

 

Excellent sources of vitamin K include: spinach, Swiss chard, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, kale and mustard greens. Very good sources include green peas and carrots.Hm, interesting. Spinach, broccoli, mustard greens and carrots are regularly in my birds diet, and the others rarely, except I have never done asparagus. I tried Swiss chard once, but upon rinsing it, it broke apart a lot. I have a feeling that GB's advice is going to include a lot more vegetables than I have been giving.

 

 

On the hand feeding note, I have really weighed the pros and cons of whether my trying to feed the chicks is harming them or helping them, and I have decided that even if I kill them with kindness, it is better than letting them die due to their mothers' ineptness. I'm just so afraid that I can't keep the formula warm enough, or that I make them aspirate it. Or that they might catch a chill during the process. (I'm already concerned that their mothers don't keep them warm enough even in the box.)

 

Does anybody have any tips on how they juggle all these things?

lol no it is not its going to have more stable routine though and more seed

less disterbance of birds also

we need to talk id like to do it off topic please

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There was another dead chick this morning, and I got photos of it. This one looks more normal, as far as what I've been experiencing here.

 

001-2.jpg

 

005.jpg

 

002-2.jpg

 

006.jpg

 

003-1.jpg

 

007-1.jpg

 

004.jpg

 

This is from Nest #1 (Aveline)

It actually looks pretty well fed, so I don't think that I could have saved it with supplemental feedings.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that all the remaining chicks in that nest are doomed. (There are now 2 live babies and no more eggs.) So I have been considering pulling them out at this tender young age, and trying to raise them in a brooder. I feel that I have nothing to lose by trying this.

 

Is there anyone who has ever had success with hand raising ones this young? (1 and 3 days old) Do you have any tips? Also, I need to know what temperature to keep the brooder at. A quick and not thorough search of the internet turned up a temp of 95F, would that be right?

Edited by KAZ

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Poor little ino :P Stumped as to whats going on. If possible its really best to wait until the chicks are 7 days old or older before hand raising as your chances of success get infinitely smaller for every day younger they are than 7. The brooder needs to be at about 35-36 degrees for new borns, with about 40-50% humidity if i recall - dont forget humidity as the chicks lose moisture as well as heat quick quickly with so much exposed skin and dehydration is a huge risk when you are initiating hand feeding of young babies with small crops.

 

Thats my 2 cents at least :rofl:

 

Edit: You can reduce the brooder temp as they get older. I currently am having to hand raise two babies at about 4 weeks of age and its 31 degrees in the brooder and they're more than happy, actually snuggle up near the lamp sometimes.

Edited by Dean_NZ

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That last chick looks dehydrated.

Edited by KAZ

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I am seeing a crop full of seed that is really meant to be a crop full of crop milk not seeds.

 

Seems to me the parents arent feeding the "formula"they are meant to be feeding the chicks. If not enough liquid in the feedings this will result in dehydrated chicks as RIP has suggested. Inexperienced parents can feed wrong and dads who are keen to feed babies sometimes feed wrong. If you have additives in the water, they may be avoiding drinking it and then feeding a feed that doesnt have enough fluids. Just my thoughts.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY............you have had enough deaths to warrant the expense of an autopsy. Failing that I would shut down breeding for now if possible until you get some tests done on the birds.

 

 

Trying to remember something too :P ..............I heard something once about black toenails indicating an illness.....cant remember which illness it was..........the toenails on that red eyed chick are black and they shouldnt be.............should they ?

Edited by KAZ

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That last chick looks dehydrated.

my exact thoughts rip

ive been talking to fin and i think we are working out her problems so

i am going to be talking to her about the issues shes been having nd how to fix it

so far all what weve discussed has mad sense

so i hope i can work through some things with her over next week

 

also fin anythings worth a try to save a life

i kept chick alive under a 40 watt light and in a box so a broder you got way more luck

i feed mine off a match stick unders kaz feeding recipe i asked her to supply me one i could use for a young chick

the chick lived

i had a nest to pop it into after two weeks though

but at two weeks im sure you ca deal with it if you can keep alive fed them ever half hour till their two weeks old morn and night

chicks will live with one big feed at 1030 pm 230 am and 6 am then half hourly rest day till night whhen same routine aplys

good luck

Edited by GenericBlue

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I think there is something about black nails.But I would be looking at the the chick dieing from,being cold.The hen might be,being hunted off the nest at night.??

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That last chick looks dehydrated.

 

How can you fight dehydration if you think the chicks are? Because some of my chicks are looking like that in my colony breed situation. They have fresh water, but would putting a couple drops in the beak be okay? or maybe spraying nestbox air for humidity

 

 

they shouldn't be black

 

My exact thought :D

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Thank you so much for all of your replies. :D

 

I'm not sure if I'm going to take any chicks to the brooder, or not. I'm working on making one with a 5 gallon fish aquarium and a heating pad. The one I had set up for a trial (no chicks yet) got too chilly overnight. So I looked for a bigger heating pad. (The first one was for hermit crabs, and I think just not big enough.) Info I found says to put the pad under only half the tank. But that didn't seem to get it warm enough, either, so now I am putting it under the whole tank. If I can't get this right, I'll leave chicks with moms. I hadn't thought about humidity. I don't have a humidity gauge. What would you guys put in the tank to supply humidity?

 

As for chick being dehydrated, what has been said makes a lot of sense. Especially about the lack of proper crop milk. I wonder if the bedding is contributing to the dryness. I had pine shavings and oatmeal in there to begin with. When chicks started to die, I cleaned out the boxes, and the bedding was quite dry. It didn't have a bottom layer of moistness. Actually, that tells me right there that there hasn't even been enough moisture to dampen the bedding. The bedding is now only oatmeal, but even that didn't prevent dehydration in this last chick.

 

The vet, GB and I are all in agreement that this is a case of inexperienced hens not doing their jobs properly. Especially due to the lack of condition of my hens. I thought I had good plans for how to feed/care for my birds, in order to have success breeding, but I have made a few glaring mistakes, that have caused what I guess is a cycle of undernourished hens producing undernourished eggs, which hatch, but do not have the means to survive very long, since the hens thus provide sub-standard care.

 

Kaz, you have a good point about an autopsy, but for this round, I am going to figure that it's probably not a disease. GB is helping me figure out a better feeding and care plan, and after a good rest, when I'm sure they are in top condition, I'm going to try these pairs again. If that doesn't solve the problem, then, yes, autopsy can be done at that time.

 

Oh, I think the toenails were red. They just look black in the photo. And the beak looked like it had blood on it, so that's why I tried to get a close up shot of the face.

 

Basically this round of breeding is being closed up FOR me. :D But since Teagan has two viable chicks that will probably survive, I will leave her nest going. And Finnie's will be fledging soon. I'd like to leave the questionable chicks with their mothers until they reach 7 days, but I doubt they will live that long.

 

GB, I'm sure I don't have time to be feeding them every half hour, so I guess my chances of saving any are slim to none. I have been neglecting all my other responsiblities around her as it is, what with focusing so much time and attention on this bird problem. I have a lot of catching up to do.

 

Macka, you could be right about the cold, because when I check them when they are still alive, some of them feel less warm than others. And if I hand feed one, I am always worried about it by the time I get it back into the nest, and then the dumb mother is out in the cage eating, and she doesn't get back in there as quickly as I wish she would.

 

But as for night, they are in my basement. There are no mice. Those try to come later, in the cooler weather, we set traps out, kill a few, and then they stop coming for the rest of the year. My daughter sleeps down there, and she has reported no distubances in the night, but sometimes she hears hungry chicks making a clambor.

 

I am starting to lean towards taking the chicks this morning, after contemplating the issue with their mothers not warming them enough.

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That last chick looks dehydrated.

 

How can you fight dehydration if you think the chicks are? Because some of my chicks are looking like that in my colony breed situation. They have fresh water, but would putting a couple drops in the beak be okay? or maybe spraying nestbox air for humidity

 

Dehydration in not just about water(Hydrogen and Oxygen). Dehydration is caused when the level of salts within the body fall to a level too low to maintain healthy active celluler activity.

 

The way to fight dehydration is to try and provide adequate fresh water and a good quality scource of vitatmins and minerals in the diet. Exposure to sunlight or equivalent. If the hen has not been adequately prepared before putting down to breed she may well produce eggs but the chick quality and subsquent survivability will be low. This can account sometimes for the chicks who hatch and appear weak at birth and usually don't make it through day one.

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That last chick looks dehydrated.

 

How can you fight dehydration if you think the chicks are? Because some of my chicks are looking like that in my colony breed situation. They have fresh water, but would putting a couple drops in the beak be okay? or maybe spraying nestbox air for humidity

 

Dehydration in not just about water(Hydrogen and Oxygen). Dehydration is caused when the level of salts within the body fall to a level too low to maintain healthy active celluler activity.

 

The way to fight dehydration is to try and provide adequate fresh water and a good quality scource of vitatmins and minerals in the diet. Exposure to sunlight or equivalent. If the hen has not been adequately prepared before putting down to breed she may well produce eggs but the chick quality and subsquent survivability will be low. This can account sometimes for the chicks who hatch and appear weak at birth and usually don't make it through day one.

 

I agree, that is exactly what seems to be happening here, and I'm sure it is the reason for a lot of people's dead chicks. And if you're like me, and you thought you had prepared your hens well, but didn't, you wouldn't suspect right off the bat that this was the reason.

 

Well, Kevin and Teagan threw their chick #6 out of the box, this morning, so I have it in my "brooder" along with Aidan and Aveline's last surviving chick. I'm feeding them every half hour, now, like GB said to, but don't have a lot of hopes.

 

Have taken away A&A's box, and am prepping a cage to separate Aveline into. (With her out of the nest, Aidan thinks she's all his! :P )

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Update on these two chicks I'm trying to save.

 

It has been 3 days, and to my surprise, they are still alive. But I've been having some trouble keeping my homemade brooder at an even temperature. At first I was keeping the temperature at 97F (37C), at least I thought I was. But then a check with a different thermometer made me realise that it was really higher than that. Trying to keep it a little cooler has been a challenge, and now the temperature seems to fluctuate more than I would like.

 

My question is, since they have been exposed to high temps, even though it didn't kill them, would it have caused permanent brain damage? Because now I am wondering if I am just basically keeping vegetables alive.

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I asked some top breeders the other day about your babies. Got some interesting info. Another breeder was having losses just like you. Autopsy revealed Giardia...............

 

http://www.exoticpetvet.net/avian/giardia.html

 

 

further tests revealed it had come from the town water source out of the taps :wub:

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I know some people give their birds bottled water, because of nasties that may be in towns water. My birds get rainwater from our tank, just because that is the closest tap.

Maybe you should try rain/bottled water?

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I asked some top breeders the other day about your babies. Got some interesting info. Another breeder was having losses just like you. Autopsy revealed Giardia...............

 

http://www.exoticpetvet.net/avian/giardia.html

 

 

further tests revealed it had come from the town water source out of the taps :wub:

I'm familiar with Giardia in dogs, which is also supposed to be quite frustrating to deal with. After reading this article, I'm quite worried about the future of my breeding hobby. If this is truly what I have, it sounds like even with treatment and continual re-testing, it could hang on and crop back up randomly. Even if it were controlled and my birds were healthy, it sounds as though any future baby birds I bred and sold could be carriers that could pass it on to my customers other birds.

 

Also, it sounds as though the testing is difficult and often likely to come up with a false negative, which would lull one to believe the giardia was gone, when it might not be. I think I will need to look around for more info on this.

 

I think my only hope lies in the chance that my birds don't have this. In my favor, I already use bottled water for my birds, because we are on a well here, and I never have trusted the water that comes out of the tap. I do use the tap water to wash and rinse things, though. I wonder if giardia spores can be left behind from that. And I rinse all their vegetabes and greens in tap water, so those could be contaminated, I guess. I may have to look into whether there is a water test for the specific avian giardia that I can have done on my well.

 

Odd that the source of the giardia was the town water source. I would think that treated water would tend to be safe. But I have a suspicion that if it's a strain that is not dangerous to humans, it wouldn't be tested or treated for in the municipal system. (Although you wouldn't think it would get past what treatment the water goes through for other nasties.)

 

I know some people give their birds bottled water, because of nasties that may be in towns water. My birds get rainwater from our tank, just because that is the closest tap.

Maybe you should try rain/bottled water?

 

I appreciate the tip even though I already do that, Squeak, thanks.

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Thought perhaps we had been overlooking something more obvious so I did some searching and found that french moult can cause all the deaths / symptoms you've experienced with these nests, especially in your breeding setup. Read this about french moult infections in babies under 15 days:

 

What does it do and what are the symptoms?

APV targets just about every system, and can be seen in many of the organ systems. As the vital organs fail, the body is unable to process food, crop stasis occurs and the bird dies from dehydration even though the crop is full. Sometimes subcutaneous hemorrhaging (bleeding under the skin) occurs and other infections may have set in.

 

 

 

 

Taken from: Polyoma virus web page

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I want to thank you, Dean, for caring enough to look up that information. Also, I didn't mention it before, but Kaz, I also really appreciate your asking your friends about my babies' problems. :hi:

 

I did some research on Giardia, and then I also started looking up French Molt, too. But as for the French molt, I had just recently done some research on it, because a couple of months ago, I was wondering if one of my other hens had it. At the time, I was really concerned, because I had already set up my breeding pairs, and some were already on eggs, and I was worried about having French Moult in my bird room.

 

What I found out before about French Moult was that it can vary from killing the chicks young, (like Dean pointed out with the quote from the article), to damaging the chicks feathers, from which they never recover, to less damage that they do recover from, to not even affecting some of the chicks. Everything I read before said that there will usually be both affected and unaffected chicks in the same nest. (Of course, that doesn't mean it's always the case. I could get French Molt that kills ALL the chicks, I suppose.)

 

But, from what I've read, breeders should be able to identify that they have French moult by the way the chicks feather up (or rather, don't feather up.)

 

Well, it turns out that I do have a nest that has two survivors, (Survivors of what, we don't know yet, other than poor mothering.) And they are at the stage to get their feathers. And I have noticed they look a little unusual, from what few chicks I have experience with. I'll put the photos of them here, and any one who wants, can look and see if they think it looks like French Moult.

 

Chick #1, 18 days old:

 

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same chick, armpit shots:

 

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Chick #2, 15days:

 

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Another thing I've read in my search on French moult is that poor nutrition exacerbates it. So, I'm still of the opinion that my chicks had problems because their mothers lacked condition, and fed them improperly. But if French moult is added to the mix, it makes sense that these chicks would be the ones harder hit than most.

 

Also, the consensus with my other hen was that it didn't really seem like French moult. But I think the jury is still out on that one. She's had one month to "recover", and I'm planning to give her another one before I re-evaluate her and post more pictures. Here is the link to that thread, in case anyone thinks it's relevant: Is this French Moult?

 

 

Now as to the possibility of Giardia, I'm still working on that one. I've called the Health Department, about getting my well water tested. And also the Dept of Natural Services, who said it's pretty unlikely that surface contaminants could make their way down into the ground water table to infect my well. But they gave me the number of the department of environmental management, who would know about what types of contaminants/ diseases would be found in my area.

 

But from what I have been able to find out about avian Giardia, is that it is more likely to come in with an infected/carrier bird that showed no symptoms.

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The feathering on the chick looks normal thus far..............you tend to notice french moult at the age just before leaving the nest or upon leaving the nest. One minute feathers..flights and tail, the next minute none.

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