I have just joined in a rush as we have a problem with a couple of birds and are rather concerned.
I skipped my intro thread so a quick hello from Adelaide South Australia from Lauren Christian and all our chickens.
I searched the forums and did lots of reading but am still confused. Our case seems so complicated I decided to start a thread. I hope this is ok with fellow forum users.
Our flock consists of one isa brown of unknown age no longer laying ( bought as a rescue bird to live her years out here ( she is very old and nearing her end but seems healthy ),
three isa browns around 18 months old, whom were laying an egg a day until we received them a few weeks ago from a close friend whom hand reared them ( and now only one of these three lay ) These hens all still seem quite healthy although seemed to have lost a little weight.
A Japanese Bantam around 4 1/2 yrs of age no longer laying who has been with us since birth ( happy and healthy as old as she is )
.A large black Australorp cross around 18-20 weeks, Two white sussex's around 18 - 20 weeks and a silver laced Wyandotte around 18-20 weeks also , ( these birds were purchased from a breeder six weeks ago whom told us she had just treated her whole flock for a respiratory illness - however at this stage we can not get in touch with her to find out more in regards to this I.e type of disease and meds used ) one of these birds - the silver laced Wyandotte is showing signs of sickness which I will detail below.
one isa brown x silkie bantam around 18 - 20 weeks ( healthy and laying the very occasional egg ), one silkie bantam around 18-20 weeks and another silkie from the same seller at 2yrs old who also very intermittently lays - all seem healthy.
We also have two birds from another breeder. Both are golden laced Wyandottes whom are around 14 - 16 weeks old. One of these birds was half bald and we were told it was genetics and her mature feathers will grow and this seems to be the case. The other had some kind of hip complication and walked funny. My partner is the biggest animal lover I have ever met and I am close behind. We chose these chickens as we wanted to "save" them, thinking nobody else would take them. These two are quite sick, see below
So up until recently they were being fed on random kitchen scraps ( including the odd bit of avocado which I have since learnt to be toxic to chickens ) Generic laying pellets, fresh grass clippings and mallow weed ( which I have also since learnt may be toxic to chickens, some say yes some say no ) We are fairly new to chickens and are feeling bad for not knowing these things so we have come here to try learn as much as possible.
There open sun area is about 8x8 metres square, it consists of hard packed earth and about 6 bales of pea straw that we threw in two weeks ago which has almost composted down, They perch inside on fixed broomstick handles undercover from the weather. They have been dropping some fecal matter into the nesting boxes and onto the bantams who roost below. We are going to construct new perches away from the nesting boxes and want to know if hay or pea straw is suitable and how often should we clean the poop out ?? is it a problem ? they roost at night under cover and temps have been mild. Just yesterday we cleaned out the cupboard of heaps and heaps of raw legumes ( chick peas, lentils, rice noodles, corn, baked beans and split peas - all raw ) and fed them all to the chickens. We believe there may be mice coming in to feed at night too.
So one of the two gold laced Wyandottes we received from one breeder seem very sick, the one which has hip problems has a clear fluid coming from her nose, when she breathes her breath bubbles with mucous and she is sneezing constantly, her crop is almost empty and her stools are runny and light brown. The symptoms have been ongoing for two weeks now. The other gold lace who had the bald featherless patches which are growing back now seems to have early onset of the same symptoms, her crop is full and has firm stools but has clear nasal discharge and sneezing occasionally. Both have been removed 20 metres away in a rabbit hutch and put on kefir grains ( probiotic ), fresh kale, grass and laying pellets with a little ACV in their water.
Now down in the main coop the white laced Wyandotte that come from the breeder who told us she had just treated her whole flock for a respiratory problem is walking funny and unbalanced. I saw her lean forward and vomit a clear fluid which did not smell at all. All the other chickens raced in to feed on this bile. Her poop seems to be very dull brown and runny. we felt her crop and it seems to have a little food in it but not much at all. All the other birds have full healthy crops and are eating well and looking healthy but should have definitely been on the lay by now. This sick bird is still with the other birds in the main coop.
We must sound like terrible chicken keepers, but I plead ignorance and we are here to learn from fellow animal lovers with more experience than us. We do not have an aversion on going to the vets ( we recently just spent a fortune trying to save our ten dollar pet rat ) however we are somewhat financially restricted and was hoping online antibiotics and worming medicine will suffice ??
A complicated list of varying birds with varying symptoms and a less than perfect diet it now seems to us - So I know this may be a difficult one to answer but any help would be greatly appreciated. It hurts us to see our birds suffer and hurts even more to know it may have been our ignorance that has caused this.
So the plan to date is to find a very strong antibiotic and feed to the whole flock ( does this contaminate eggs forever ? ) and follow up with worming medication. ACV in water and kefir grains for probiotics too.
Any further help or advice would be very much appreciated.
Thanks in advance