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.
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