I was trying to incubate my eggs to sell the chicks this year. My first set of eggs died after piping, I only hatched one girl. I opened each egg to find out what happened so I could correct this problem. After this first chick survived we had several chicken owners at our farm picking out hens from one coop. After they collected a couple of hens, they came into my hatching room where my one lonely chick was kept so I could write up the paper work and show them the NPIP certification. The whole time this is going on my two week old chick was riding on my shoulder. I spent most of my day with her with me since she hatched. If she wasn't with me she would drive everyone nuts crying for me.
I was out of chickens to sell, but my second batch hatched a week later. My baby chick was now four weeks old and thought she was mom to the new chicks. She taught each of them how to eat, scratch, drink and kept them warm at night. Every morning when I opened the lid she would jump on my lap. That's when she sneezed on me, about two weeks after buyers had been in the coops and some had held her. I didn't think anything of it that day. The next day, when I got home I opened the lid to see my baby girl. The other chicks now a week old in the brooder were sneezing too. No other problems, just a simple sneeze.
I called the vet who got me in right away! They did a stool sample which came back negative and a blood test. He told me the white blood cells are slightly elevated and I had Mycoplasma. He gave me Tylan to treat everyone with. I looked up the disease and freaked.
After killing all my eggs in the bator and all my chicks I got on here and read a story of a woman who had the same problem. I don't remember who it was or where I found her story but I cried as she asked someone to come out and cull her birds. I cried for her, I cried because of all the people telling her not to cull them, to just treat them. We still have 8 birds to cull, and one more coop to bleach. I don’t want to pass this along to other chicken owners when I go out to buy feed or go groceries shopping. The disease can be spread on my clothing or hair, so I have been taking care of the remaining 8 to cull at night only, before going to bed.
I didn't know I had it, none of my other chickens showed signs of it (and still don't), just those chicks. They didn't even show signs when I stressed them out by chasing, chatching and culling half the flock. I didn't know that the people who were coming into the coop could be carriers. I didn’t know that my adults could be the carriers and not show any symptoms. My adults have not been tested for it yet, but will be culled.
I am going to start over. I have eggs on order. When those eggs hatch I have to wait two weeks then swab them and send the swabs to MSU. If they pass the Mycoplasma and NPIP testing then I would like to vaccinate them just like I vaccinate my dogs. I have contacted the company who makes the vaccine, but the only way they sell it is in quantities of 10. Each one would treat 2,000 birds and must be used as soon as I mix it. Each of the vials is around $60 which to me is worth it since each of those adult birds were $20, then $91 for NPIP testing, and I paid around $140 to be told the sneezing was a disease. After paying for that vet bill I discovered I could have swabbed my flock and sent the swabs to our vet school (MSU) and saved quite a bit of money.
After losing all my chickens to a disease, I discover it is easily spread by people, other chickens, wild birds and passed through the eggs. Most chicken owners don’t even know they have this disease, because the chicken only shows signs when it’s stressed. My only symptom was a couple of sneezes from week old chicks!
The hardest part about this disease and most chicken diseases is that a lot of people treat the chickens with antibiotics. When they no longer show any symptoms the flock owner keeps showing, selling and trading from the diseased flock, infecting others.
Sometimes being a responsible pet owner is the hardest thing to do.
Edited by Wickischickies - 4/12/12 at 8:21am