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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:58 am 
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On Saturday I uploaded the following pics to the Gallery:

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Yesterday the little chick second from right in top photo, far right in second pic died. I noted that in the photo her stance seemed a bit hunched and am kicking myself for not taking it more seriously. The foster hen is a Speckled Sussex, very active scratcher and very unhappy if confined so I had let them have the run of what were originally constructed as duck-breeding pens ( completely enclosed in aviary mesh) . The ground is composty and parts slightly moist, straw mixed with soil to about a spade depth. Some sprouting grain but nothing mouldy or rotting. The starter crumbles and water is inside the shed and they were going back and forth readily – maybe it was too far away and she became de-hydrated? In put out Sulphaquin in the water yesterday morning when the chick was showing signs of being unwell, just not as active as the others and her crop was empty. I encouraged it to drink some medicated water and left it at the feed dish only to come back later to find it dead. It was otherwise plump and apart from the slightly hunched posture evident in the photos and not as boisterous as what I think are all male siblings seemed healthy enough. I am not sure of cause of death, only suspecting it might be coccidiosis.

This photo was taken only the day before yesterday's loss and nothing jumps out at me as being amiss? Image

Six chicks hatched. On the 3rd evening I found that only 5 chicks were under the hen and later found, too late the missing dead chick. Separation from mum for at most 3 hours, in fairly warm weather didn't really account for the loss of an otherwise healthy chick. I really am not sure how hard I should be kicking myself but am quite dismayed at these losses. All chicks I hatched previously have been raised to maturity without problems. I have the hen and remaining chicks back in the shed, concrete floor with clean shavings and Sulphaquin in their water. Hatch date of chicks was 30 Nov so the surviving 4 chicks are 18 days old today.

Thoughts on what I might have done and can do to prevent further losses? ( Even if they are all cockerels destined to be re-homed.)

(Edit: typo only straw instead of repeated soil)


Last edited by Cackles on Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:35 am 
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Yes, it does sound like coccidiosis. I don't use broodies here for this very reason. In a warm moist climate it's very hard to manage chicks free ranging with broody mums. I know people on here will say that it's fine and you just give them some meds, but it has never worked for me. Even with meds I can't keep the numbers of coccida down without controlling the environment and their level of exposure, especially with chicks of that age. If you live in a drier climate, with different conditions obviously things work differently. At different times of the year things seem to be more or less successful as well.

I wouldn't be kicking yourself at all. Chicks are so good at scampering around and looking healthy when you see them that it's pretty hard to spot a sick one. As they are free ranging you really never get to see all the droppings. I prefer to have them in completely dry conditions. The reproductive cycle of the coccida require moisture. If you can keep everything totally bone dry you have a serious head start. It sounds like you've done the right thing now. Keep it clean, keep it dry, keep the water medicated during the course of treatment, and feed them on medicated starter. You can only respond to a health crisis once you know about it and often the first death is what alerts you to a problem.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:03 pm 
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Thanks, Cathy. Chooks haven't even been kept in the pen - only allowed in to help me turn the straw litter and dig over after ducklings and manure and any wet material removed. The hen was free-ranging and excavating the same sort of material laden with compost worms. I will certainly be more careful in future!. It has been a real wake-up call and a lesson learned the hardest way - the period from showing real signs to death was less than half day although I feel the writing was on the wall in the first photos a few days ago had I only heeded it properly and started treatment at that time. :oops: :cry:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:49 pm 
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So sorry to hear of your loss, its never nice. Just make sure your starter is medicated and u keep up the sulphaquin as suggetsed. The weather we have been having is not helping chicks at all. Its either hot and horrible or cold and wet right now. All you can do is keep a eye on them and see how they go. Your a good mummy and i know that, so dont kick yourself. Just live and learn like us all!! :grouphug:

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:24 pm 
i have found in cases like thisit is not coccidiosis. i have found the chicken just becomes too exhausted to eat. force feeding them some wet bread if they will not offer food given.

mother hens often go faster and faster the more their chickens cheap. they will not stop and let the chickens rest. a bowl of food and water protected from the mother (like in a cage with wire big enough for the chickens to slip through) is best. also stop the mother from dragging her chickens out at the crack of dawn. another is ensure they have a good feed before mum drags them off. top them up in the evening, force mum to bring them in early and check to see if everything has full crops at night. if not get them to eat.

an excelent starter for the day is soured full cream milk with bread to soak up the wey and fed to them...ensure they get as much as they need before mum scoffs it.

from someone with loads of experience with broody hens and still stuffs up.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:37 am 
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Thanks, Ruff. I appreciate your comments and will keep them in mind for next time. :)


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