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Skinny RI red

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have seriously had crap luck with chickens.
Have 3 jersey Giants an astralorp and four ameracauna babies with horrible respiratory and eye infections. (Separate pen) the ameracaunas had cocci at four days old even though they'd never been outside!!!!
I have an unknown, think sultan? Three fayoumis one with "ulcers" on her face. ūüź§
All my babies get to free range all day on an acre.
Only one bird lays, a barred rock, lays daily. Her female counterpart is actually a male. Got those from a lady told they were Marans. Yep Not!
Have five hens from a guy who claims they all used to lay.
They don't anymore.
Then there are the other random issues..
One died three weeks ago, no symptoms.
One died two weeks ago aparrent heart attack, have had her since day old....hard on me.
One died last week of Mareks, terrible to watch.
Yes we are super clean, their bedding is clean and they live in a beautiful environment with loving Kids, 4,7,9 years old.
And now I have a RI red eating everything in site, not laying, but her breast bone is so skinny I could grab and hold it. It's awful. I'm so discouraged. I've given her ground chicken, yogurt, veggies, you name it. I can not lose another bird.

Ok sorry first post!

post #2 of 7

It sounds like you have several different issues at play here.  Can you get photos of the "ulcers" on the face of the bird you mentioned? 

As to the skinny bird - aside from all the treats you listed , what is the base diet you are providing for the birds?  How much of that base feed is being consumed on a daily/weekly basis?   How often and how much of the treats you listed are you giving?  The foods you listed, minus the ground chicken, are not particularly nutrient dense with regards to the needs of poultry.  How old are all the birds?  How long have you had the hens that were reported to be laying when you got them?  Have you administered any treatment - ie deworming medication, anitbiotics, external parasite treatment, etc?  If so, what specific products did you use, what dosages, how did you administer it, when was it last dosed, etc?  Does the bird in question go to roost at night with a full/bulging crop?    What are the droppings of the bird in question like - color, consistency?

Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?
Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Holy questions lol!!! Ok so they have layer feed mixed with oyster and still some medicated feed. The treats are to try and pump her protein up. They are 9 months and they were definitely laying because the night I brought them home they all Layed one egg. Guy I get them from doesn't believe in vaccines. I've given oxytetracycline for the birds with resp issues but not for the weight loss bird. I put apple cider vinegar in their water always. With Mareks having been in the flock I'm just so anxious and everything is a symptom! [IMG][IMG]. The first is the bird who died of Mareks....
Edited by Chickobsessed17 - 10/31/15 at 6:45pm
post #4 of 7

I'm sorry you've been struggling with so many issues. That can be disheartening.


I agree with Old Grey've got a lot of separate issues going on.


I would have some questions as well. Do you know it was Mareks?  Why do you believe it was Mareks?


Did you isolate the new birds before adding to your flock? You've added a lot of different birds at different times...that could be a source of various infections and issues. You've had babies free ranging on natural ground, that too can cause some issues.


The one bird with lesions looks to have fowl pox which will make its way through the flock unless you isolate her. There are some vaccines for that. Usually fowl pox looks nasty but runs its course and then is done.


The very skinny bird who is eating and laying may have a parasite or worm overload or potentially slow acting Mareks which wastes them away....Mareks can take different forms....the neural paralysis (classis leg splay look) or the slow wasting or the eye tumor. Sometimes follicle tumors. Just depends on the strain. 


Don't leap to Mareks unless you know for certain. You won't know for certain if it was Mareks unless a necropsy is done. While Mareks is very prevalent in the environment, if you have one bird who gets it, others may not as they may have natural immunity...that's not a bad thing. The industry is moving away from vaccinations and to natural immunity as the virus continues to morph. Those birds who do not get Mareks symptoms after an outbreak are the birds you breed from. So Mareks is not the end of your flock...however it can be a real pain to deal with as some birds succumb. I like to mix my breeds and vaccinated with unvaccinated/natural immunity so that I don't risk all my flock going down with one strain.


As to your situation....I can give you general guidelines to maximize flock health:


1. Always isolate any new bird for at least 2 weeks, 1 month best...that means out of touch, no fence to fence contact, out of wind, no cross contamination with feces or feeding bowls/cans. Care for your existing flock first THEN take care of new birds with at least different coat and shoes.


2. Worm and parasite treat new arrivals as a matter of course to reduce cross infection to your existing flock. If you are not worried about egg sale nor organic regulations, I prefer Ivermectin pour on as that will rid most external and internal parasites. You can get that easily at most feed stores. Treat small drop at base of neck and vent, then treat again in 7 to 10 days. If you see any infestation at original inspection, treat again a third time being sure to clean litter each week and sprinkle poultry dust for external issues. Pull eggs for 1 week after last treatment. I also like to put new arrivals on medicated (amprolium) feed for at least 2 weeks as they acclimate to the coccidia in your soil to prevent coccidiosis in them. If I have suspicions of outbreak, I treat the whole flock with Amprolium based feed. If I see more signs, everyone goes on Sulmet regimen.


3. Periodically worm and parasite treat your regular flock, especially at times of stress or if you see symptoms of being unthrifty, slowing in laying, diarrhea, worms in feces. I like Rooster Booster Triple Action Multi wormer added to feed as there is no pull date for eggs. I do that seasonally. I also regularly dust with Poultry Dust and keep that in the coops under clean litter. If I have an explosion (like I did this summer with unseasonably long hot spell), I apply the Ivermectin.


4. If anyone shows sniffles or signs of illness, isolate in an isolation coop to help contain the infection until you can figure out what is going on. Often you need to treat the whole flock as mentioned above.


5. I didn't address it as you are already doing it, but good layer feed (or grower feed if chicks), plus oyster shell for layers, then apple cider vinegar (raw with mother) in plastic waterers, and periodic probiotics (yogurt or some probiotic supplements) with clean litter is 99% of caring for chickens. Unless you have an outbreak or new arrivals, then see #1 through 4.


I suspicion you have had different issues raised due to mixing existing birds with new arrivals, during warm/moist months which grows all manner of beasties.


Chickens are a great hobby, but they do take work. When I realized they are not a purchase and watch type of animal, it was easier for me to take the periodic frustrations.


I wish you the best of luck.



Edited by Lady of McCamley - 10/31/15 at 7:21pm
Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
Keeper of 15+ layers, common to specialty types for colorful egg baskets. Brooding Queens: The Queen Mum Silkie and 2 Bantam Cochin handmaids. Preparing to breed my own Olive Eggers! Barnevelder roo with Splash Marans and CL for egg color and color coding :D Former 4H leader, GDB Puppy Raiser, Homeschooler. Current ESL tutor. Proud new grandma. Loving wife to a very tolerant husband.
post #5 of 7

Unfortunately, if you have Marek's in the flock (and that chicken is in a classic Marek's  posture), then you are likely to see a few more sick chickens and probably deaths. I would advise you to stop adding to the flock as Marek's is very contagious and new additions or in fact, any change, causes stress to the birds and stress causes Marek's outbreaks. 


The RIR most likely has Marek's too. Eating voraciously but losing condition is another quite classic symptom and the skin lesions on the face of the other bird may well also be Marek's. The two previous ones that died suddenly could have been Marek's too... maybe visceral tumours causing heart attacks.... it is a disease that can show itself in many different ways.


Unfortunately Marek's can be contracted very, very easily (it is no reflection on the cleanliness of your set up.... it probably came in on a seemingly healthy bird) and as your flock is mostly young birds under a year old, they will be particularly vulnerable to it.


I would guess that most of the problems your flock has suffered can be chalked down to Marek's and sadly there may be more to come.


I speak as someone who has it in their flock although thankfully I don't seem to have a really virulent strain. I have probably lost 5 or 6 birds to it out of 40+ over the past year but many who have posted on the established Marek's related threads have lost whole batches of birds. It really is heart breaking. 


All I can advise is to keep stress levels to an absolute minimum. Happy chickens in a stable flock environment have a better chance of surviving it.


The other option would be to cull all birds. Give your coup an intensive clean (the virus is spread via dander dust) and restock in 6 months with vaccinated birds and keep your fingers crossed.


I know it appears that you have had a run of bad luck but most likely, apart from the coccidiosis,,  the rest can be put down to Marek's and will be an ongoing  problem. Getting your head round that and learning enough about it to improve the odds for your remaining flock is the best you can hope for. Good luck dealing with it.





post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by rebrascora View Post

The other option would be to cull all birds. Give your coup an intensive clean (the virus is spread via dander dust) and restock in 6 months with vaccinated birds and keep your fingers crossed.


Or keep the birds that don't succumb to Marek's and either add vaccinated birds in the future or as Lady of McCamley said breed your own resistant birds (ideally using a broody to reduce juvenile stress).


If there is Marek's in the flock then addressing all of hte other health issues (parasites, etc...) is vital as sick birds are much more likely to have a Marek's episode.

Edited by Sonya9 - 11/1/15 at 5:15am
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much. I added to a flock I got back in June, September. Yes isolated but they all wanted to get to each other and jumped coop. That's when issues (apart from the five I lost to a smart raccoon that dug under...) all started. The man I get them from super supportive but claims he NEVER has birds die or get sick accept for respiratory. I have been to his house he has over 200 birds including super exotic, uses deep litter, mansion coops.
Well this morning I let out to free range....another 11 month old RIR is sniffling and sneezing. Moved her in with the already sick babies. Unfortunately it's just a fence line.... I'll work on that. I always sanitize between handling a etc. The 12 week babies have been on meds over two weeks now with no luck! It's so disheartening. My guys that came in June apart from the brahma that died of Mareks had no issues until now. Oh and I believe Mareks because classic symptoms. Eye lesions ( I thought these were same as babies, guess no, followed me around like a puppy, hiding from flock, all of a sudden one side paralysis foot stuck in front. Removed from flock into a guarded cage and the other side paralysis. Stopped eating and slowly died in a split.) All have been dusted for external parasites and I do raw garlic and apple cider for internal but I guess more meds in my future. Only one hen lays, the Maran that turned out to be a barred rock. And with her was supposedly another female but she it he doesn't crow and squeaks female like but those tail feathers?! Also the fayoumi with face sores, all cleared up! That's good news.! I hate to sound heap, I paid for 6 laying hens, none lay ... I've spent over 309$ in meds that eye ointment is 27$ a tube and it's already gone. Vets want 50$ a visit and is an hour away. This land used to be a farm. So it's questionable.! The birds are so happy chirping and walking in the house for treats getting in your lap and cooing. Sigh. Sorry for long winded mess, but nice to talk to propel who know. Oh ps my friend works at Tractor supply, he wouldn't let me buy tylan 200 he said use human meds. Boy did that work fast! But alas I'm out! Oh and another from June flock has eye lesion things and is isolating herself and following me. My daughter has aspergers and her service dog Willow is the chickens best friend. They follow her and cuddle her it's insane....image knows when something is wrong with them and even knows when they die. It's hard for her believe it or not. Much harder with illness than an animal taking one. I am able to accept that. I feel helpless now. I was told I'm trying too hard by my chicken guy. I can't cull the flock because not all are sick. I won't give up yet. Especially not with these babies. Although the jersey giants are looking bad. [IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG]

Lol ok enough pics
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