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Third chicken now down with lethargy & weakness - losing a flock to something I cannot figure out!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello all!  So grateful for you all out there all these years.

 

Today in three months I have another chicken down.  None of them are egg bound.  Have read my books and looked through posts.  Everything seems mostly like I am playing a bad game of darts trying to nail this thing down correctly.

 

They start out puffed up, crouched, head tucked in, and tail slightly down with legs half bent but not sitting.  They have all been weak and slowly go down over time.  They will peck, groom, eat, and drink but it is minimal.  The first one we brought in, placed her under heat, gave her electrolyte fluids and duramycin - 10.  She lasted three more days and seizured then immediately gone. 

 

The next chicken a month later came down with similar symptoms.  We brought her in as well with the same procedure.  Both chickens fought hard when I would try to administer anything to them.  She ended up with a very bad mite explosion.  What an experience that was.  We treated her for that as well.  She continued to go down for two more weeks!  She was finally so weak, my husband put her down gently which I hated but I could not stand to see her suffer anymore.

 

We sterilized the coop/run, washed/bleached everything down and changed out all bedding and added in some mite control powder.

 

Now I have another three weeks later.  She is just starting to show signs today.  One minute she looks fine, the next she is all bundled up again in a half squat.

 

Their poops were never bad but just trended towards getting more bile-ish from lack of proper hydration.

 

Any guidance is greatly appreciated.  The mite experience was not fun.  So I am reluctant to bring her in just yet but I know cold can really affect them at this stage more than anything.  I've raised chickens for 15 years and never had anything like this.:hit

 

Thank you  for your input and help again! 


Edited by Choochoo - 1/30/16 at 4:56pm
post #2 of 9

How old are these birds?

wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
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wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
Reply
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

This will be their fourth winter here from being raised as chicks in the spring of 2012 if I have that right.  Thank you!

post #4 of 9
If they were young birds I would have suggested coccidiosis, and it still might be a good idea to run a course of Corid so you can at least rule that out. Have you brought in any new birds recently? Have they been dewormed? You might want to dust or spray the birds for mites a couple more times, 7 days apart, as well to make sure that problem is taken care, mites can really be hard to get rid of. That would rule out some of the most common problems but if you loose another it would be good to have a necropsy done to see what's going on. Or take one to an avian or exotics vet if you have access to one.
wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
Reply
wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
Reply
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

No new hens added or close by even.  No deworming.  Have never needed to do that but should I?  I agree on the mite treatment and we made a special dust bath for them so they can dust even though it is wet and not sunny out.  Thank you.  Wish me luck and cross your chicken or pigeon toes!  Will definitely do the necropsy if needed.  Never had this problem before in all these 15 years.  So strange.  Thak you again!

post #6 of 9

Your welcome, I hope you can figure them out.  Chickens can be so hard and frustrating to diagnose.  As far as worming, if they were mine I'd worm them so at least you know they aren't packing heavy worm loads that are either the cause of the problem or adding to an existing problem.  Valbazen or liquid Safeguard for goats are good choices.

wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
Reply
wife to long suffering husband who has built more miles of fence, barns, coops and enclosures then one man should have to, two teenage boys, current flock of 13 assorted hens, 1 big red roo and a list of other assorted farm animals. 
Reply
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much!  I think I should just go ahead and do all that to the flock.  Appreciate you taking the time to help me.  :thumbsup

post #8 of 9

Coccidiosis sounds like a real candidate to me...the puffed, hunched, internal, with little eating and drinking. 

 

Older birds can be hit with it too if it builds up too much in the soil (the protozoa). Is there a soggy, boggy place by food or water that might be breeding something? Usually it hits in warmer months, but if you have some wet underneath a heating lamp for warmth in the coop, that could do it.

 

I had a breakout and tracked it down to a leaking water feeder that was creating a sludge underneath.

 

I have really good results from Sulmet. It targets both Coccidiosis as well as gram-negative bacteria, like eColi, which overgrowth can also cause illness. You can get Sulmet at the feed store. If that is the issue, they tend to rally fairly quickly with it.

 

It sadly might be a slow moving Marek's virus. There are a number of strains and some of them cause a slow wasting that you don't notice until the bird is huddled and close to death. It would slowly work through the flock affecting those most vulnerable. The others would simply have the genetics to ward it off (or the effects).

 

It could also simply be different things that hit different birds. As hens age, they are at high risk to ovarian cancer, liver failure, and a number of things, especially the commercial layer breeds.

 

Since it is winter, the added cold stress can weaken those already weakened from worms or lesser constitution. I see much more illness and loss in the winter. Molting is also harder on their systems and can weaken those already weakened by other things. Being sure to feed a higher protein mix in winter can help your birds through the winter better. (I target 18% to 20% in winter).

 

I agree worming would be a good idea in case that is dragging their systems down to make them vulnerable to both cold and any viruses/bacteria.

 

My thoughts.

 

LofMc


Edited by Lady of McCamley - 1/31/16 at 3:06pm
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.
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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.
Reply
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much!  So appreciate your reply.  Will just have to hunker down and treat them all.  Chicken health cleanse!  :goodpost:

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