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Sick Chicks

ecgchickenecgchicken Junior Member
edited April 2011 in Producers and Vets
I am a small animal veterinarian who only sees cats and dogs. Don't remember much about chickens from vet school....

Recently I purchased chicks from a local feed store:
3 rhode island reds
1 black sex link
1 unknown breed pullet
4 ameraucanas
1 white orpington
1 speckled sussex

I also took a "sick" rhode island red chick who couldn't stand. Over the course of the day, the chick began gasping and was recumbent. We euthanized the chick.

The rest of the chicks have been doing very well and thriving. They are now 2.5 weeks old - at home in a brooder with chick feed with amprolium, water, heat lamp. Seem to be happy and healthy.

Last night I came home and one of the chicks (a rhode island red) was hunkered down in the brooder. When I picked her up, she could barely stand and also started taking occasional gasps. I supplemented her with small amounts of water overnight. She has gradually declined and this morning was laying on her side - unable to sit or stand, and gasping. My husband, also a small animal vet, took her in for euthanasia and hopefully necropsy.

Any ideas/comments? The rest of the chicks look good today. I am worried about the rest of them.

On a side note, can you mix young chicks with chicks 2.5 weeks old? Thinking about getting a couple more but don't think it will be good to mix them in the same brooder.

Thanks in advance


  • mollydollymollydolly Senior Member
    edited April 2011
    I would be wary of mixing really small one day old chicks with 2.5 week olds, although I wouldn't worry so much about the same chicks when they are 3 weeks and 5 weeks old. The one day old chicks are just so clumsy and small. And double careful in case it is mycoplasma or something because the youngsters will catch it.
    The older ones will move onto growers pellets in a couple of weeks where as the younger ones wont, you need to make sure they get enough chick crumb before they move on.

    Not sure on the death though sorry, there are a lot of minor viruses that birds get that the chicks might not have been able to fight off. The weak ones drop off along the way.

    As vets you would be eligible to go on one of the "The chicken vet" training days which are specially for small animal vets finding they are increasingly required to treat peoples chicken pets. St Davids poultry team ltd who run the courses are talked about in this months practical poultry.
  • ecgchickenecgchicken Junior Member
    edited April 2011
    Thank you. Can you give me more information or a link to the training course you mentioned? If we do get additional chicks, I will be sure to keep them separate. I didn't know how I would manage two different temperatures either. I am learning so much about chickens and really enjoy them.
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    edited April 2011
    Here's some info from the BHWT website:

    If you know a vet who may be interested in finding out about the Chicken Vet courses, please ask them to contact either Jane Howorth (info@bhwt.org.uk) or direct to Sandra Sampson at ChickenVet (sandra@stdavids-vets.co.uk).
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