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Slightly ill flock, seeking suggestions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My flock currently consists of 8 silkie hens, 2 Roos and 2 chicks that are 8 weeks old. The hens and Roos are all a little over a year old. About a month ago I noticed one of my hens starting to sneeze. I read through the forums and decided to try VetRx. Since I rely on the eggs from the hens for my business, I'm seeking natural methods for illness.

After purchasing the VetRx I started to put some in the water for all to take and everyone was good except that one hen. So every night for about a week I've been scooping her up and rubbing the VetRx on her beak, her head, her chest and under her wings. I've seen a little bit of improvement but while she was ill it seems as though the rest of the flock has taken a disliking to her? Now one of the Roos is even aggressive towards her!

She still is acting like a loner, is better with her breathing but not fully back to normal either. Some of my other hens have started to sneeze now also, but everyone still eats and drinks as usual. The flock is kept in a well ventilated basement of a garage. The temp in the coop is kept between 45-60 (depending on temp outside), humidity 45-55%. Water is changed and bowels cleaned 2-3x a day. All poo is removed twice a day. Flooring is cement with pine and light straw (I'm considering doing away with the straw entirely).

Here are some questions that I have for the group:
--Are there any other natural remedies to help my flock kick this or are antibiotics the only way?
--How long after giving antibiotics do I have to wait until using the eggs?
--Will antibiotics (in water) harm my chicks?

I have tried separating the hen that was ill and she freaked out! Trying to keep her stress level down I ended up letting her roost with the flock, but during the day she sleeps mostly and steers clear of the rest. I haven't noticed as much congestion, but sometimes she does open her mouth to help her breathe.

Again, trying to do natural methods only because my business is centered around eggs and meat from chickens that are hormone & antibiotic free. If I end up having no choice, I can get an antibiotic, but prefer not to if I can help it.

Open to all suggestions!
post #2 of 7

A word of warning is that antibiotics may not help either. Respiratory issues can be viral, fungal, environmental, parasitic and even nutritional. Of the things that are bacterial, (the only thing antibiotics could help) only about half of those are curable. Also, you would need to know exactly what the problem is because you would need the correct antibiotic.

Egg withdrawal would be dependent on which antibiotic is used. My vet prescribed tetracycline for a clostridial bacteria in the digestive tract and egg withdrawal was 30 days AFTER the course of antibiotics was complete.

 

Some people think they have adequate ventilation, but they don't, especially in a basement condition.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-coop-ventilation-go-out-there-and-cut-more-holes-in-your-coop

Temperature really isn't an issue till birds get sick, then they need to be kept warm.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenCanoe View Post

A word of warning is that antibiotics may not help either. Respiratory issues can be viral, fungal, environmental, parasitic and even nutritional. Of the things that are bacterial, (the only thing antibiotics could help) only about half of those are curable. Also, you would need to know exactly what the problem is because you would need the correct antibiotic.
Egg withdrawal would be dependent on which antibiotic is used. My vet prescribed tetracycline for a clostridial bacteria in the digestive tract and egg withdrawal was 30 days AFTER the course of antibiotics was complete.

Some people think they have adequate ventilation, but they don't, especially in a basement condition.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-coop-ventilation-go-out-there-and-cut-more-holes-in-your-coop
Temperature really isn't an issue till birds get sick, then they need to be kept warm.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
The problem that I'm having is that I can't find an avian vet anywhere in the area. Even the vet we take our dogs to couldn't come up with one. Finally I did find one but she wasn't the brightest tool in the shed... She tried to explain to me how it's not a good idea to keep my roosters with my hens because people typically don't like cracking an egg to find a baby chicken. 😡

This was even after me telling her that I collect eggs everyday... Apparently chicks are ready to go in the egg when you have a rooster, they just wait 21 days to hatch. Lol. So needless to say I didn't bother paying her to come out to my house, let alone touch any of our chickens.

Being in North Central WV I'm not sure if I could find a good vet anywhere close. When my husband and i have talked about this, I figure that I'll do the best I can and if I have no choice, I might have to cull a hen or two.

I thought we were heading that way over a week ago, but then she started showing some improvement with the VetRx.
post #5 of 7

Oh that's sad. How could a vet, even a dog vet. not know that an embryo doesn't develop till it is incubated. Isn't that high school level biology?

 

As you've found, good avian vets are rare as hen's teeth and those with poultry experience are even rarer.

Perhaps this site may help though it doesn't list that many. There are about 3 good chicken vets in our area and the site only lists one and he's not one of the good ones. But at least he knows there aren't baby chicks in fresh eggs.

http://www.birdvetsnearyou.com/ml2/?v=1829859317&u=08F883869DEB9ACB0210818280F80718212095F6ACE0F9EFEEC7B701&gclid=CMDy5JzrmssCFcYdgQodnzQE0A

Another idea would be to check with one of the 5 or so veterinary schools that specialize in poultry and see if they can give you a referral in your area.

However, since you aren't opposed to culling that may be the way to go. Clean out the space or find a more airy space to keep your birds. Humidity can be a real problem for pathogens.

 

 

If you don't mind me asking, if you have a business that is dependent on egg production, I just wondered why you chose silkies. Between layers of small eggs, being poor layers to begin with and their tendency to go broody, virtually any breed would be more productive.

I would think it may be best to start replacing with productive breeds that earn their keep.

 

http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/chickenbreedcomparison.pdf

 

http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
I chose silkies because of the quality of egg that they produce. 😉 I'm the owner of a pet food manufacturing company and after running analysis on eggs from more productive layers vs silkies, there is one reason in particular I chose to go the way I did... Can't give away trade secrets though. Lol. Yes, the eggs are small, but I also have mix breed silkies. More Cochin then silkie probably.
post #7 of 7

That looks like my friend's silkie, cochin, serama cross rooster.

 

Egg nutrition is a function of the hen's diet, not breed.

If a variety of breeds eat and forage together and the nutritional balance of the egg is different, it could only be from a less productive bird that is storing nutrients, not breed.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply
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