Monday, June 13, 2016

Newborn Chick Death -Bad Smell

How frustrating to have newborn and other young chick dying. This year I have had a number of instant messages from breeders in various countries losing 50 of more chicks and puzzled about how to stop it.

A big clue is whether they detect a bad smell in the effected nests.  In breeding birds the most common cause of chick death when there is a bad smell is E. coli infection.  The preferred treatment is trimethoprim sulfa.


Made by Medpet in South Africa it is a common product sold to pigeon breeders all over the world. Since this is a fairly common problem it is a good idea to keep this on hand to use during infectious outbreaks. The source of the infection is contaminated food and or water. Water should not come from any holding tank or hose.  Good hand washing before making eggfood or taking care of birds is also important as E.coli is present in human fecal material.

An alternative treatment is pediatric bactrim 1ml/100ml water which like trimethoprim sulfa treats E.coli and coccidiosis. infections.

The good news is after 7 days treatment on trimethoprim sulfa all were rid of the problem without a negative effect on their breeding and went on to produce high numbers of chicks after treatment.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Identifying Signs Blood-Sucking Mite Infection

This chick has a gray look. Notice the feet are nearly white!

Look under the wings

When chicks are doing poorly, it is important to make sure they are not infected with blood sucking mites.

Blood-sucking mites include red mites which attack birds only at night and hideout during the day elsewhere and northern or fowl mites that spend its entire life on the host.

The whole chick looks gray and the feet look white instead of pink. The red color inside the mouth is light pink instead of the healthy bright red.

Looking under the wing you see raw places. You can also see mites under the tail where the new feathers are growing in.

If you find northern mites on the bird, check on your hands as they are likely crawling on you!

Air Sac Mite Treatment during breeding is best done with Dr. Rob Marshall's S76. This works very well for air sac mites where the sign is clicking or respiratory distress.

But for external mites such as the blood-sucking type, using Vetafarm Avian Liquidator with its long lasting effect is the way to quickly get rid of the problem. One spray is all you need and mites are gone even if any mite eggs hatch.


Note: the case presented is northern mites.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Broccoline Greens



Once the chicks are big enough for banding, I offer broccoline. Its head is loose and easier to eat making it preferred over broccoli. We are raising it in our garden and share with the birds. I process the leaves and add to nestling food.
I like to plant the broccoline heads through the wire on the bottom of the cage.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

2016 Lovely Cinnamon Border Chick



My favorite border chick this year is this lovely cinnamon. I have high hopes for her!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Remember Me? Hand Feeding Weaning Age Chicks

When my mother introduced me to canaries, she would have me hand feed one. I always like to stuff them and failed to notice it was a different chick each time!  So off and on I top off a few usually around banding age unless their is trouble and continue until they start to refuse and hide.



When I got close to this cage, feeding another cage, this weaning age chick started crying, FEED ME! Very unusual to beg at this stage, so I offered it food. The second chick initially wanted no part of it.


But then the next day it started crying ME TOO!

The disadvantage of hand feeding at weaning age is that it prolongs the time several weeks till they wean. Only chicks that were fed before the fear refusal stage will open wide. To transition to self feeding you will need to teach them to nibble.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Great Expectations - Irish Fancy



This Irish Fancy is just weaning and already has the eye and pose and potential to make a good show bird!!

No Empty Nest For This German Roller Chick - Taking Advantage of Options

Normally, chicks are anxious to leave the nest and start eating on their own on the floor.

But the large German Roller chick on the left, who was raised by his mother in the same cage, took advantage of his options and when he left the nest it was for the other hens nest! He adopted these step siblings and now his mother and adopted mother are feeding all four chicks! What a Big Baby!! No empty nest for him!