Hey everyone, I'm 2 months new to chickens and have got a few health questions. I apologize cause this is gonna be a long one, but am gonna try to be thorough. I have 1 Light Brahma Rooster (Waylon) 21 weeks, 2 Buff brahma hens (Mable and Georgetta)14 weeks and a Rhode Island Red rooster and hen (Margaret who became Willie and Leo), also 14 weeks. The RIRs and Buff Brahmas came from a small local Farm/Hatchery/Feed Store. The LB came from an individual who had / bred several different breeds. We got them about 2 1/2 months ago.
Sorry dont have their weights.
They started out in a temporary pen, 2x4x2 (like a brooder pen, chicken wire all sides and bottom.) About 4 weeks ago they moved into the newly constructed coop and run (Inside 7x12 with about 10x15 outside run.) The whole building is insulated, with windows on all sides for ventilation, linoleum floor that was first covered with hay, but now has leaves (mostly oak) raked from the wood line for litter. I change this about once a week. Nest boxes have pine shavings, but they never get in them, too young still.
My neighbors chickens (free ranged during the day and slept on my porch for a month before we got our own) also moved into the coop and run at the same time. The neighbor chickens went home about 2 weeks ago, none of them showed any signs of illness and they still don't, not even a sneeze.
One of the buff brahmas sneezed a few times just before we moved them into the permanent coop, with no other symptoms and just occasionally. A few people convinced me that I was a Chicken hypochondriac so I decided to wait and see if it passed. By 2 weeks ago everyone was sneezing and rattling every now and then, and Willie and Mable developed a cough and also had a clear nasal discharge. Waylon didn't have the cough, but would open his mouth and stretch his neck out occasionally, not sure what the terminology for that is (could call is gasping but doesn't appear to be struggling to breath, or gaping). Everyone had great appetite, normal energy level and drinking and droppings normal. After driving myself crazy combing through the Chicken Health Handbook I felt pretty sure it was either CRD or Air Sac Disease. Since everyone seemed to have it in different stages, I thought no sense in quarantine, have to treat or kill them all.
After deciding to try to heal them rather than kill them, I started them all on Duramycin 10.(The individual we bought Waylon from said thats what he used when he heard a sniffle. Looking back, this probably should have been a warning sign.)
Since I stink at math and the dosages are in mg's I read around and somewhere found a dosage and started it: 1 Teaspoon to 2 gallons of water for 5 days. I just changed it every morning. They were still sick so I got extra help with the dosage. I hadn't given them near enough or for long enough. So I gave them ACV in their water for 3 days and natural no sugar added yogurt mixed with their crumbles, 2 Tablespoons per chicken 2 times a day for the same 3 days. Then I restarted the Duramycin 10 at 3 tablespoons per gallon of water (may be a bit higher but better than lower.) I make it fresh 6:30 am and 5:30 pm. I also crush an Acidophilus tablet every day and feed it in as equal portions as I can get it to each of them on a small piece of bread or biscuit.
First day: dry noses , but those who had cough still coughing.
2nd day: runny noses and those who had cough still coughing .
3rd day: dry noses , and another chicken coughing (Waylon.) When everyone was on roost and I went down to check on everyone and close the door, Waylon was standing on the roost with his right leg stretched straight behind the roost bar and his right wing was drooping. Like they do when they stretch, except he held it for what seemed like a long time; Kinda like he fell asleep for a bit like that.
4th day: same as day 2, except Waylon moves less and sleeps more. He seems to sort of start chewing after he coughs, is doing that gape thing and is scratching his head more than usual. I also noticed that his legs appear to be lighter than normal. They look whiter than the other brahmas. I gave Waylon only about 2 drops full of Wazine 17 in ¼ cup of water, mixed with just enough crumbles to not be watery. I was afraid to give him any more and was going to worm them all at full dose 3 days after finished with Duramycin and after I had a chance to build them back up with some probiotics. He has always been more laid back and quiet than the others, but this is definitely more than that.
Today: ½ noses are dry, ½ are runny. Waylon struck the stretch pose again, and at different times would be sleeping in the corner or sleeping while standing. He's never really alone, but is a bit more off to himself. At noon I found him sleeping in the corner of the coop and picked him up. His crop felt empty, so I went and got some applesauce (no sugar added) and mixed his crumbles in and he ate it, but not like the others wanted it. He looks a bit untidy. Ive see him at the waterer and he seems to drink his normal fill. The water level is right on par for the time of day, and was before I changed it this evening. This evening he is a bit more normal pecking around and eating out of the feeder, making trips to the waterer to drink.
This is a link to the video late this afternoon - Waylon coughs then the other 2 cough after he does. I think you can see Waylons legs in here too.
There should be 2 more pics if I uploaded right ( I didn't mention I'm new to forums too), one of the brahma ladies and one of the RIR's.
Everyone else is acting same as normal, rushing the chicken door in the morning, they scratch around, come running when I head for the coop.
The rest of the standard questions:
None of them have signs of trauma, bleeding or broken bones.
Im really not sure what could have caused any of this, assume someone was sick and I didnt realize it.
All 5 are on Medicated starter crumbles. The first bag of starter wasnt medicated. They have been on the medicated about a month. They get about a nickel sized piece of bread or ½ teaspoon of applesauce everyday for the acidophilus, and about once week they get fruit (watermelon, strawberry, banana) or veggie scraps (squash, cucumber, broccoli, lettuce.) Drinking water changed 2 times per day. I do have well water and the iron count is a bit high.
The poo is mainly whole, brown/green tube-like shaped about 1 ½ inches long with the top part white. Like regular whole brown/green poo on the poo site, just tube shaped instead.
I have seen it more loose the past 2 days, a bit dark clay brown solid color, Couple spots each day about the size of a half dollar, piled up as applesauce would if you put a tablespoon full on your counter. Tonight when I went down to close the coop up, I checked the poo and one of the loose piles had a dead long round worm in it. Ill get to my question on that in a minute.
I checked all of them for mites (Waylon scratching his head made me wonder), nothing.
Ive attached a link to a short video, I have Waylon coughing on camera, and you can hear the other 2 cough right after him.
Ive started looking for a vet that knows about chickens in my area no luck yet, but not a thorough check done yet either. I plan on contacting the County extension office if I cant find one that can do the culture testing for just in case future diagnoses. (hopefully mine get healthy and there is no need for future diagnoses.)
So now the questions I can remember after all that:
The Duramycin says administer for 7-14 days. I planned to give it for 10 and thought for sure that the symptoms would be on the way out by now. Does if it take the full 10 days to consistently clear up the symptoms, should I continue to give the meds for 2-3 days after full recovery? If the Duramycin doesnt do the trick, what next? Id still like to heal if possible, but I know at some point if I cant heal them I may have to just wipe them out, but it will be hard for me to start over if I have to do that. Whos to say it wont happen with the next batch?
The Worms: I thought it may be too taxing on their little bodies to use the Wazine at the same time as the Duramycin, but I think it may be the worms taxing Waylons system now. What do yall think?
Was my diagnosis off?
By reading on BYC, it seems not too many people use the Duramycin, is there something that is better to have on hand?
I got the chickens mainly for eggs and entertainment. Im okay if they become immune or carriers of this (as long as its not a reportable disease or something really dangerous like that.) I dont plan have any plans except for my own yard. Since the neighbor chickens didnt pick this up or show symptoms, can they be immune?
Waylon is 21 weeks old this week, and Im almost positive hes a Rooster. Four weeks ago he was trying to crow; he sounded more like a goose with his super deep chicken voice , but was trying. He would honk a couple times in the morning. He was always pretty quiet other than the occasional soft coo when I can with fruit scraps. Since hes started the coughing thing, I rarely even hear a coo. Can this be related to his illness?
In hindsight, I know that I should have done a few things different. Quarantine the first sneezer, and get the dosage right the first time! In this case I guess I wasnt being a chicken hypochondriac, but I could easily be one. I havent been around chickens close enough to know a quarantine flag in 25 years, is short list for newbies somewhere?
Thanks for your patience with this long post and for taking time to give your advice!
Edited by Mandy1296 - 7/25/09 at 7:02pm