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What in the world is this disease??!!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

    I would love it if anyone has experience with this.  We opened our coop one morning to find our four year old rooster lying down on the floor of the coop, unusual for him since he always perches.  In hopping out of the coop, he flopped over, righted himself, but then walked very droopily, wings low, tail down for a few days.  He was unable to hop into the coop (a one-foot hop) after a couple of days.  He lingered like this till one day my husband felt sorry for him and went to put him down, only to have him die suddenly in his hands (Like a heart attack or something). 
   We had originally thought he just had a stroke but then a hen here and a hen there have exhibited symptoms.  They get sick one at a time and it can be days or weeks apart.  They always die and the hens only last a day or two, not as long as the roo did.  Always the same symptoms: Extreme weakness, droopiness, feeling light-weight when picked up.  Death.  No survivors.  
    I have seen threads just like this in other places, here and other sites, but none that have gotten any actual "diagnosis."  Everyone seems stumped.  Someone, somewhere must have an idea.  Hopefully it is one of you!  Any ideas?  Questions?

post #2 of 4

Have you added any new birds to the flock when you first started seeing the deaths? It sounds a bit like Mareks disease with the wasting, drooping wings, imbalance. Usually it affects younger birds, but if a carrier were added to the flock, it could cause symptoms within 3-4 weeks or more. Dehydration from summer heat, botulism from eating a dead animal carcass, lead poisoning by eating old lead shot or paint chips, or eating moldy feed could also cause similar symptoms.  Your state vet can do a necropsy on another chicken if you should lose any more. I can post that info in the morning for contact. Sorry for your losses.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you.  I have considered Marek's.  No, we did not add any to the flock.  And this flock was four, two, and one-year-old hens so not really just young or just old.  I was thinking of putting some kind of antibiotic in the water. As for toxins, I suppose it is possible that there is some kind of carcass of something hidden in the brush since their area is shrubby and woodsy over about half of it.  If they got moldy food once by mistake from table scraps that might explain one or two but this has picked off one at a time over such an extended period that I ruled that out.  The lead shot might be a possibility but still, the spacing of the sickness makes me wonder.  Thank you for your quick reply.  I really appreciate it.  

post #4 of 4

This link can give you contact information for your state vet in the US: http://www.usaha.org/Portals/6/StateAnimalHealthOfficials.pdf

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