Sneezing, drooping wings, lethargy, death

Melfa, VA(Zone 8a)

I purchased a few chicks from a local breeder and am having a problem.
Purchase was 4 days ago. One chick looked like it didn't feel well. Yesterday it died. It has been rain, rain, rain and cold at night. He kept them in a large, round tub like thing, rubber tarp over top and a lamp inside.
I already had a few and have kept mine in a box with a heating pad! then moved them into a pen with a box inside. ( Upside down and hay in the bottom and a lamp.)
The symptoms were: sneezing, droopy wings, then lethargy, and after 3 days, death.
Now 3 more of the chicks I purchased from him are sneezing, drooping wings, lethargic. There are no other symptoms! No runny nose. No diarrhea. No sores. Not anything!
Any ideas? Maybe colds? Should I try antibiotics?
My DH and I moved the cage and pen outside the garage ( where they have been heat...but the first I got are still ok). I shooed all out of the cage so I could clean it. They soon had a blast, scratching and pecking around, fluffing their wings and rolling on their sides in the grass. The droopy ones did some but not much.
Later they got back in the cage, we covered it up, and I put the heating pad back over their inside box again with hay in it. The heating pad keeps the interior of the box nice and warm...much nicer than the lamp.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I dont' know about those symptoms, maybe someone else can chime in, but the purpose of the lamp is so that the chicks can scoot away from it if they start to get overheated. They will move to the best temp for them (chicks seem to be good at that). Is there an area in the box where they can move off of the heating pad if they start to over heat?

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

I'm with Terri, mine always seem to be in a "ring" around the edge of the (100 watt bulb's) reflector's circumference. Sometimes closer, sometimes father, but it's usually a pretty uniform circle. They need to be able to cool off if need be. If you watch babies with Moms, they spent lots of time away from her direct presence, but run back when needed.
As to the symptoms, other than saying it's likely some form of upper respiratory disease, I'm not much help. I'd say antibiotics might help, but if it's viral, you may be out of luck.
What antibiotics do you have?

(Zone 6b)

This is a sad one, and sounds like some type of disease. I googled the symptoms and saw some things it might be, but didn't go any further. Sounds pretty serious.

Maybe someone else has some experience with this.

Hope you can figure out what it is and how to treat it.

Not long ago I bought a cockatiel that seemed kind of "laid back" but I didn't think much of it. Just thought I'd get it in peak shape soon. Well, it has been several months and it isn't any better and one of my healthy ones has now died, and another one has this same look. Just kind of puffed up a little and just doesn't look like it feels well. I don't know what to do either.

Barbourville, KY(Zone 7a)

I've never posted on this forum, but this thread caught my eye. The symptoms make me think of Coccidiosis, which is very common in young chickens and highly communicable. They may have been infected before you received them from a chicken area or barnyard or utensils used by adult chickens with the disease.
Medicated chick feeds guard against the disease, but there are valid reasons that some people prefer not to use them. I usually do use a medicated feed for a few weeks to give the chicks a chance to get a little stronger, just in case they are exposed, and I isolate them from other chickens for a time, just in case.
I am sorry for your losses. It is very frustrating to prepare for and get attached to the little fluff balls and have them get ill and die without being able to do anything about it.

AuGres, MI(Zone 5b)

Were the chicks vaccinated? My last flock I bought as day old chicks I paid a dime extra and got them all vaccinated. There are so many things birds can get. So far they are all nice and healthy and a year old.

(Zone 6b)

Keep thinking about this and read this website and it says:
"Droopy wings and panting, may simply be the "I'm hot!" stance, when your bird holds her wings out from her body and breathes with an open beak to help cool down. Use common sense when making the determination if your bird might be ill."

Richmond, TX

Welcome Poisondartfrog (what a great name!) I too like medicated chick feeds to start babies - they get exposed to so many things.

Light for Jesus I thought of the possibility of being overheated too; my hens certainly hold droopy wings when they're hot. The sneezing, however, must be something else.

Melfa, VA(Zone 8a)

I went to Southern States yesterday and bought some medicated chick food. The medication was for coccidiosis as well as a couple of other things. I know it is not that but it does have antibiotics in it. I used to raise parakeets...had 100 at one time. Brought in an English that had it...I didn't know...and when I found out I traeted all. Lost just one bird..not that one.
Also bought some med for colds etc (for my chicks). They could be used together, also had some vitamins in it. One of the other pkgs had molasses in it (as well as electrolytes). Figured I didn't need that, I didn't want to put too many things together. The ones I did get could be mixed...made sure of that. I have molasses, have had it forever and it is still good!!! Added all to their water (except feed!). They actually look better this am after losing two more yesterday evening... Banties.
The heating pad is wrapped in a towel and on top of the box. Hay in the bottom of the box. They are in a small poultry house with a pen attached that they can get in when I open the door. Only let them out when it is warm out and the grass is not wet. So, they can get away from the heating pad. They all go in there at night, and some stay at times during the day.
Just started a thunder storm out...heavy rain. DH covered the pen and cage with a tarp last night and I am not letting them out today. Hopefully I will see no more losses!
Thanks for the input!

This message was edited May 4, 2012 6:22 AM

(Zone 6b)

My experience with baby chicks is a light bulb works well. They seem to love it and thrive. Not sure about the heating pad.

At first I bought the red light, but it quickly died, and I resorted to the light bulb. The men at the store kept saying, "All you need is a regular light bulb".

(Zone 6b)

Estrail1rider, thank you for posting this, and hope your chicks get better soon.

It was a wake up call to me to get some help for my cockatiels and not just sit and hope they get better. So I have some baytril on the way. I hope it works for them.

Thanks again.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Keep in mind that baytril (enrofloxacin) will only help if it's something bacterial. Most of the respiratory infections are viral. But, baytril will help/prevent secondary infection, so is a good tool to have.
Where did you order the baytril, if you don't mind sharing?

Melfa, VA(Zone 8a)

Mine wasn't baytril. I think maybe a compound of a tetracycline but I will look at the pkg. later. After changing food and water to my mixtures, I lost 3 more but the rest are now doing much better. Of course, they are now getting greens from the grasses in the bottom of the pen, too. They really like certain kinds and it is almost gone. I have been pulling more and putting it in there.
We put a tray of sand in the pen the other day thinking they might take "baths" in it, but all they do is EAT it. I was a bit worried about that as a feed dealer told me they didn't need grit as it was in their food. I guess no one told the chicks that. It hasn't hurt them and they have eaten a LOT. There are now 30 chicks left. I had 35. Most will be "stewed" as about 1/2 of them were sold as pullets ( I know that those come 90% correct) and the others were straight run. I want a barred rock rooster, a couple of Cornish hens, my Cochin, and the rest hens. I only plan to keep around 8 through the winter. Just waiting to see which is. Read how they were supposed to be sexed...think I need to read that again!!! LOL! Of the ones I caught I thought only 1 was a rooster and the others pullets (I checked about 8 in all).
I really like the speckled Sussex and my 1 cochin. A few of the others, too ....I have forgotten which is which of the others but do remember what I am supposed to have. Will have to wait until they get a bit bigger and all of their feathers grown out. The silver seabrights are cute!

(Zone 6b)

My cockatiels are both doing much better, I'm happy to report. Cat, I bought the baytril at Sorry I was so late in replying, I couldn't remember at first, then went into paypal and looked at the history.

I'm so happy.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

So glad they are doing better:)

And thanks for the info. I've never used it in drinking water, only orally or by injection, so I'm off to learn about that...

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