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I thought chickens were easy!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I had six hens. I bought a EE hen ($30) from someone in the Orlando, FL area because I wanted blue eggs. I have only had hens for about a year. I did not know all EE's did not lay blue eggs. I found out the hard way. She just started laying and its BROWN!! On top of that she gave my entire flock and upper respiratory thing. The state is coming to test my flock of 7. After calling they told me it is probably MG. I did not lose anyone, at first sign of rattle, I immediately came to BYC and did LOTS of research. BYC is awesome!! 

 

Symptoms: rattle while breathing, some gasping, lethargic, coughing, I got a soft shelled egg, laying dropped off. Acute onset and wiped through my whole flock in two days. No swelling or bubble in eyes.

 

I started antibiotic injections and VetRx before second hen started with symptoms. It went through all six hens, never touched the new EE which i quarantined for almost three weeks thinking I was being a good chicken mommy. NOT

 

Two of my hens are only 22 weeks and have not started laying. Bought them as one day old chicks. Four of the hens are a little over a year. I have a RIR, two leghorns, a manchester red, buff orpington, and a black chicken the feed store said was a sexlink and not to forget teh EE.

 

 

 

 

Now I have inhaled everything I can find on the net about MG and IB. It seems hopeless to keep any of this out of your flock if you free range, which I do. 

 

I have had chickens for one year and already encountered this as well as what I thought was bumble foot. It ended up not being that. Just a puffy foot from injury. I wish I knew about all the chicken diseases BEFORE getting chickens. I love having them but I thought it was going to be easy. Feed them healthy non GMO food, free range, worms, keep coop clean, fresh clean water every day and I would get eggs in return. 

 

I hope things will calm down and we can get back to enjoying having them again. Chicken TV is the best. 

 

I still want a chicken that will lay blue eggs. Americana seems the best route. But, I am at the understanding that I might not be able to bring in any more hens until these have all "gone" 

 

If anyone can give their opinion on this VERY confusing issue, it would be much appreciated. 

post #2 of 5
Hi there. As someone who's had an MS/MG blood tested positive flock for several years, I completely understand what your are going through and am so sorry this has happened to you. The reality is that many of these diseases are not even all that common, it's just that many of the people who are irresponsible/uneducated regarding poultry diseases are also the people selling all kinds of birds willy-nilly on Craigslist and at auctions and the like. Most people don't bother having their birds tested and they assume that they simply have a "cold."

First off, your actions in this situation are commendable. Getting blood tests done and starting antibiotics early on is generally the best route; I don't usually recommend starting antibiotics so soon since most people don't want to pay for blood tests and if you treat as soon as symptoms show you can't really diagnose based on symptoms, but when doing tests straight off the bat, starting medication early can be a really good option. Can I ask what antibiotic you're using? There are different options of medication you can use, depending on what disease the blood tests say it is. For MS and MG, I've had incredible luck with Denagard (tiamulin). Baytril will also treat nearly anything that can be treated, though that one is tricker to use and I'd reserve it for use in pet birds and only when they are very sick, since it's just such a strong substance.

Re: adding new birds. Well, this is tricky. Yes, if you add a new bird, it will become infected with whatever disease your flock carries. You can never sell or transfer it out of the flock again. It may remain asymptomatic or it may develop symptoms. If you treat it at the same time as you add it to the flock, it has a pretty good chance of showing no or minimal symptoms.

If you want to be positively, absolutely, 100% sure that you have a blue egg layer, get yourself a True Ameraucana. It's the only way to be 100% sure. Otherwise, you can go the Easter Egger ("Americana") route again, and have about an 80% chance of getting a blue or green egg layer.
Edited by QueenMisha - 6/1/16 at 11:10am

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer. It says in your profile you have 250 birds? All of them are positive? Do you continue to bring new birds in? How do you do it? Your comment gives me hope one can live with it and move forward.

 

I used Tylan 50. Injected. I know many people dont like antibiotics but I did not want to fool around. I have been breeding and showing Shih Tzu for 15 years and have found being pro active is the best way to approach matters like this. I have a very good vet that is about an hour away. Im not sure she does much with poultry.  I spend a ton of money on dogs every year with testing and general check ups so spending money on chickens is not an option if it can be avoided. I have learned over the years how to treat many common things that go wrong with animals and have a small amount of prescriptions on hand. I am very familiar with water soluble Tylan as it is used to treat low grade infection in dogs with much success without taking out the big guns. I have baytril on hand but decided not to use that because after reading it seemed the Tylan 50 was the best route. I have not had any birds up to this point to its live and learn drawing on my experience with dogs. 

 

I should have known not to buy the EE in the first place after going into the pen and seeing all the EE's she had to offer. I noticed something on them that did not look normal and told the woman I thought something was wrong. She then explained to me about stick tight fleas and said it was nothing to worry about. She would treat the hen before I took her and walla!  I really wanted those blue eggs! I picked the hen that was least effective. She treated it with Ivermax and reassured me all was well. When I got home I immediately did research and found this was a big problem. I treated her with some kind of spray form the feed store for a couple weeks and sprayed her area. I did not have any problems and she got rid of them. She looked much healthier. I text the woman she said I could bring her back and she would refund my money. I did not want that because I did not want her to be in that environment anymore. 

 

After this issue, I called her to tell her what happened and it would be advisable for her to have her flock tested before selling anymore eggs, chicks or chickens. I also told her I wanted a refund with no return of the hen. I know 30.00 is not a huge amount of money but I felt she should not profit from this train wreck of a transaction. I do not believe she knowingly sold me a sick bird but that is what happened. If I sold someone a puppy and there was an issue I overlooked or something that came from my dogs I would give a full refund without asking for return of the dog. What is right and moral is just that. 

 

Needless to say this has been an emotional ride. I do realize the birds are here to serve a purpose but I dont like to see an animal in distress and would never allow one to suffer. I have never culled a bird but hopefully if and when that time comes I will be able to step up to the plate. I was just hoping it would not be so soon. If its not an emergency situation I plan on having my son take care of their final journey when they are no longer serving a purpose.

 

Showing and breeding dogs has been very intense at times. I have had to make some tough decisions. I am facing one in the near future with my 15 year old. I blindly thought having chickens would not involve all the drama. 

 

If you can take the time to give me instructions on how you would bring a new bird in, I would be very grateful. Sorry to be so long winded. It is nice to get it all off my chest. ;o) 

post #4 of 5
Yes, I haven't counted this week though it's not down to about 210 because of a big coccidiosis outbreak in my brooder. I do continue to bring birds in. At some point in the next few years I'll be moving to a new property and starting a new flock, at which point all the projects I'm working on will be scrapped and most birds sent off to freezer camp. I don't and won't sell, it's all for the practice and educational experience.

Tylan is a good choice, probably second best to Denagard. Good that you have Baytril on hand, that stuff can come in very handy.

Stick tight fleas? I'm surprised that you were able to get rid of them that easily. Those things are an absolute pain to kill, I had to pick them off each bird by hand from my quarantine pen once. About the seller... Disappointing that some people think so little of selling sick birds.

You definitely want to quarantine any new birds you bring in. Whichever disease your flock has - be it MG, MS, or another - there are many more besides it out there. It's ideal to use a canary; a bird from your own flock which you are not fond of housed with the new bird. In fact, since your flock already has one contagious disease, I'd say it's necessary. Let's say you bring a bird in and it starts to show symptoms - you don't know if it's due to your own known disease transferred by second hand contact (you forgot and wore the same clothes when handling each, didn't wash your hands well enough between feeding and watering) or something new with similar symptoms to your pre existing issue. But, if you add one of your own recovered and asymptomatic birds into the flock, and it also starts showing signs of sickness, you can be pretty sure that it's not something coming from your own flock. Once quarantine has passed and you are sure the bird isn't bringing in any outside diseases, you can add it to the flock. This would be the time to medicate it to prevent it from showing too severe of symptoms. You have to keep in mind that there's a chance the bird may become symptomatic or even die despite precautionary measures like this. Not all bird's immune systems are built to handle these sorts of rigors.

When buying stock, be careful where you buy it from; I've found that breeder stock tends to be much more hardy and vigorous than hatchery stock. 50 years of selection for birds who can handle the real world and frequent exposure to all sorts of bugs and stressors at poultry shows tends to produce a lot stronger of stock than birds kept in indoor barns with attention paid only to production qualities and no focus on their health or the strength of their immune system.

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

Reply
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Will my flock become symptomatic again with the same problem? 

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