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#85534 - 04/09/07 01:52 PM Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hello! I've searched this Web site and numerous others online, consulted every Storey publication I can think of, including The Chicken Health Handbook, and I still need help!!

1-We feed our chicks non-medicated Purina Start-n-Gro.
2-We use brand new or sanitized equipment when starting chicks.
3-We follow every "rule" to the letter. (Or at least what Storey and McMurray suggest.)
4-This is the first time I've put a little sugar in the chicks' water and the first time I've had any vaccinated (Coccidiosis & Marek's).

A week ago (April 2) I got a shipment of chicks from Murray McMurray, a mix of mostly bantams of all types and about 6 standard sized chicks (for a total of 27). Within the first hours of getting them home (not: I have gotten other shipments from other hatcheries, i.e. Ideal Poultry, with zero problems)they began dying. First, they look like they're just sleepy, then they can't chirp anymore, they open and close their little beaks and no sound comes out, it looks almost as if they are trying to breathe, but can't. Then they won't open their eyes, and that's when I know that they will not make it. I discovered that their crops are completely full of mucus ad bubbles, as if they have crop impaction, but not with feed. Then as they get progressively worse, their whole bodies feel really taught, like they've swelled up with air/water/bubbles, like a ballon. We noticed that if we massaged their crops and got the mucus/water/bubbles out back through their mouths, they could then make noises again, but then their crops filled back up again and they expired. From the onset of the first symptom(s), it took between 30 min and a day for each chick to die. Our previous shipment (which was from Ideal Poutry in TX) was in December. We didn't lose one single chick. First thing Monday morning I called Murray McMurray and stumped the lady on the phone, who had to go and consult their in-house chicken "guru". She called me back about 3-5 minutes later and said that they must have gone though a rough shipment. She said they were "water-logged" and that their symptoms indicated a high level of stress. She said we could start them on Terramycin in their water and also try the "honey trick", in which you place a drop of honey in each of their beaks (which sometimes works), "But," she said, "you are probably going to lose every single one of them." Well, she was almost right! We lost 12 of 27. The honey and Terramycin did nothing.

Murray McMurray sent us another shipment of the same order today (April 9), at no additional charge. The same thing is happening, only it hasn't been as widespread...yet. So far of the 27, we've lost 2, and it looks as if 3-4 more are soon to follow.

I've called all the chicken people I know, and no one has any clue of what to do.

Please help, I've tried everything common sense and not so common that I can think of.

royceandsarah@gmail.com

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#85535 - 04/09/07 02:22 PM Re: Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
Anonymous
Unregistered


I had the same thing happen to me from Hoover Hatchery in IA and the only thing I have been able to figure out is that the docks were extra cold where the chicks had to wait during shipment. Unfortunately, we had a very cold spell just as my chicks were sent and spending the night on those unheated post office docks just wasn't kind to my chicks. I found out about what happened by calling the post office where they arrived after their flight. I even ordered from a hatchery that I knew was only a few hours away to avoid that very thing. As it turns out, they drove them 2 hours north, then put them on a plane and flew them south again, then they sat in the post office one hour from me until the next day!!! (2 nights in the cold) My chicks were also gasping and stiff, not sure about the fluid in the crops, as I didn't think to look at that. Some where already dead, so I assumed since they (the dead ones) were all huddled together for heat conservation, that the live ones were also suffering from the same problem. I was pretty upset, and really was more upset that they suffered than I was about the money spent to get them. I hope you don't loose too many from this batch. Temps last night were in the 20's here.
I have gotten multiple shipments from McMurray and have never lost one chick, so I would suspect the shipping was the culprit. (just guessing)
How many days did it take for them to get to you? (1 or 2?)
Sure sounds like they had a very rough trip.
I wish you luck with this batch of babies.
Kelly

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#85536 - 04/09/07 02:23 PM Re: Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
I don't know what is killing your chicks but it sounds as if it would be wise to get some lab work done on some of the dead chicks to see just exactly what you have. I think I've read that state or university vets will do this for nothing but I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong. If you can get expert advice on the cause, you will be better able to fight the problem. My thoughts are with you. Foehn

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#85537 - 04/09/07 02:58 PM Re: Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
Anonymous
Unregistered


Kelly,
Thank you so much for your quick response. I was so worried that I had done something different/wrong with these babies. The first batch was hatched (or boxed and shipped) on 03-31, and I got them supposedly as soon as the local USPS got them at 7-8 am 04-02. This batch was labeled that they were hatched on 04-07, and I got them this morning 04-09. It has been really cold the last week and a half here (Bloomington, IN). Just before this cold weather it was 70's & 80's...tonight is supposed to be the last night it goes below freezing with the 10 day forecast saying highs should be in 50's & 60's. So I guess it would make sense that the shipping would be to blame. I wonder how I can avoid this in the future...I guess just don't buy any when it's cold. I can't believe not one was dead until I got them. frown If many of these die and the hatchery wants to send me more, I think I might wait another couple of weeks. The ones I got in December came all the way from TX to IN, and these are coming from IA to IN. Go figure! I gues Dec this year was pretty mild. Any more suggestions of how to save the rest (& future chicks) would be fabulous. Thank you so, so much for your time.
Sarah

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#85538 - 04/09/07 05:12 PM Re: Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
The air shipments we have been so used to having for day old chicks, is simply not reliable any longer. Some will receive chicks safe and sound, others will not. It has nothing to do with the chicks when they leave the hatchery,--- any hatchery. It has lots to do with the handling of the chicks, airlines, airports, weather at the time of departure, transfer and arrival at destination, and the employees of those airports who handle and transfer the chicks!

Indiana has been one of the difficult places to get birds in and out of, according to one poultry breeder I that I heard from recently. I can no longer sent birds from my area AT ALL. Feed stores cannot receive chicks by air and truck carriers are not a good way to travel for day olds. It is a real dilema for so many people who depend on obtaining their chicks for family meat supply, as well as for eggs!

Some shipments are going to be perfect, some are going to be disappointing. This will be true country wide and will vary from time to time. Chicks are very perishable if handled improperly and amazingly resiliant, if well handled.

Some small hatcheries have gone out of business, due to unavailability of safe and reliable shipping and handling of day old chicks.

One of the best suggestions, will be to ask for delivery of chicks a little later in the season--warmer, but not hot weather. And with the unusual weather experienced all over the country--this is not going to be easy, either. Wish you the best with your survivors--and keep after the Hatchery until you have your order safe and sound--best to wait a while for the next shipment i f y ou can! Hate to think of the losses. CJR

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#85539 - 04/09/07 06:39 PM Re: Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
Anonymous
Unregistered


Okay, just an update...
I had a brainwave. If they were alive when I got them, there is still a chance, even miniscule, that if the made the trip to here, they just *might* be able to pull through. So far, this time 2 have died. There were 3-4 that looked like they were also going to die, and I mean 2 were super duper on death's doorstep. So I made a concoction of warm water, honey, Terramycin, and purreed hard boiled egg yolk from Easter. And I started feeding a dropper full of this to each of the really bad looking ones. (I also started massaging their crops in a downward motion, thinking that if the full crop was stopping them from getting hydration, sustenance and maybe cutting off their windpipes, that it might help.) McMurray ended up sending us 2 Belgian Bearded d'Uccle Porcelains (we only ordered 1) and one of those was like 30 seconds short of a trip to the trash can. I fed her a dropperful of my magic elixir and massaged her crop and lo' and behold she started cheeping and walking around! So I did it to all of them, that was at about 3 or 4 pm this afternoon. I just did it again (9:30 pm), and I might get up in the middle of the night to do it to the remaining 3 or so that need it. I guess I'll see in the morning if my idea worked.

(PS 04-02 batch we lost 13 of 27. So far 04-09 batch we have lost 2 of 28.)

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#85540 - 04/10/07 03:54 PM Re: Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
Anonymous
Unregistered


Kelly,
Well, I did that, just with honey instead of sugar, also with a bit of Terramycin & egg yolk. It looks as if all the rest will make it. So far only lost 4 out of 28. There may be one more that despite my best efforts may not make it. Thank you for your help! I also found out that my chicks were at the post office Easter Sunday morning and they called while I was out doing chores. Then they didn't call again until the next day at 8am. frown I'm wondering how long my chicks were in town from the first batch; and I know I got only 1 phone call on Mon morning for that shipment. I don't think our USPS cares much about live shipments, I wish there were another way. If anyone knows of any hatcheries in Indiana, please let me know! I will definitely consider driving even a few hours to pick up my next babies!

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#85541 - 04/10/07 05:02 PM Re: Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Good luck, now watch them closely and you may have saved them! Honestly, hatcheries have been in business for YEARS and wouldn't be in business at all, if they did not mail lively healthy chicks--and it is the USPS or FedEx that becomes responsible for their safe arrival. There has always been risk in mailing chicks, but these days, the risk is greater. Our biggest future worry may be obtaining chicks at all--must be optimistic! CJR

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#85542 - 04/11/07 06:40 AM Re: Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
Anonymous
Unregistered


Good news! Have not lost any more babies!

Murray McMurray has been fabulous. Not only did they send me 27 when I ordered 26 the first time, but when half of them died, they sent me a whole other batch the next week, only this time with 28 chicks (2 of the d'uccle's!). And this time I have only lost 4! They were so excited to find out about the symptoms of this stress (they had never heard of it before) and the possible remedy, to share with future people in need. They also credited my card for the cost of 5 chicks plus vax for each! They have simply gone above and beyond, I'm just floored.

I've also got a plan for the next time that they suggested, you might try this too, from any hatchery. Put the shipping zip as the main hub where the plane unloads to, not your post office that you pick up from. And on the box, instead of it saying Post Office hold and call, put Hub hold and call, and also include 2 phone numbers. I'll try this approach next time, hopefully it will eliminate all the un-needed deaths!

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#85543 - 04/11/07 06:43 AM Re: Emergency: Day-Old Chicks All Dying!
Anonymous
Unregistered


I forgot to add:
They even took down the name of this website since this is the only place I could find on the whole web that helped, or had anyone that had had similar things happen! So, I'm sure McMurray will give out the name of this forum to their customers!

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