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Deep litter method and gurgling hen

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I live in Michigan and the weather here has been a little bit of everything (rain, snow, sunny & warm).  I also used the deep litter method this winter.  THis is my first winter with chickens.  I now have a lady with gurgling noises.  She has no other symptoms (eyes, nose etc) that i can tell.  Would she maybe have caught a cold from using the deep litter method and this unpredictable weather we have had. Their coop has gotten kinda of gross from all the poo.  I am going to clean out the coop without using any water right now as i don't want moisture to settle in just going to empty out all the used shreds and fill with clean.  I kinda want to cull her so she doesn't pass anything on to the other ladies, but never have culled one before and kinda feel bad doing it without knowing what she has and also not willing to spend all kinds of money on meds.

 

Would cleaning out the coop maybe help her to get better?

 

Thanks for reading and any suggestions etc.

Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

Brought my lady in and checked her over.  she has no discharge, but has am guessing a fever. her head and neck are very warm.  i think i am going to break down and cull her.  I really don't want to lose my entire flock.  This will be the 4th one now that i have lost since bringing in a new flock to my old flock, will never do that again.hit.gif
 

Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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post #3 of 10

Do yourself a favor and get a necropsy done on her. If you live in the US, many States have a free service for backyard poultry. If you need help fining a lab, let me know.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Still haven't done anything with her yet.  she is quarantined living in the back of my sons truck in a cage right now.  Feeding and watering her.  seems to be eating, but not sure about drinking.
 

Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hen View Post

Still haven't done anything with her yet.  she is quarantined living in the back of my sons truck in a cage right now.  Feeding and watering her.  seems to be eating, but not sure about drinking.
 

Does she have a heat source?

post #6 of 10

Make sure you get your coop cleaned out asap and also make sure your coop has some ventilation up near the top of the roof on at least two sides. If you don't they will get respiratory problems especially when it gets damp from rain or humidity and it will get damp when it is closed up and they are pooping a lot too.  You might want to put your girl on Tylan or Duramycin if you can get some. Tractor Supply carries it or else you can order it online from Jeffers Livestock. One of the best ways to keep your flock healthy is keep everything clean and Dry and have good ventilation.

Specializing in Solid Black and Blue Marans also have: Wheaten,Golden Cuckoo, Blue/Blk Copper,barred BTB, BTB, blue/blk birchen Marans.  Lavender, white, buff, chocolate, black Orps, Silkies, Key West aka Gypsy chickens, Ameraucanas, Muscovies, Sebastapol Geese, Guineas,Gobblers, Parrots. 

~Sorry not selling eggs or chicks at this time~

 

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Specializing in Solid Black and Blue Marans also have: Wheaten,Golden Cuckoo, Blue/Blk Copper,barred BTB, BTB, blue/blk birchen Marans.  Lavender, white, buff, chocolate, black Orps, Silkies, Key West aka Gypsy chickens, Ameraucanas, Muscovies, Sebastapol Geese, Guineas,Gobblers, Parrots. 

~Sorry not selling eggs or chicks at this time~

 

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post #7 of 10

You mentioned using the deep litter method. When did you start this? Have you added any additional fresh litter on a regular basis? Do you turn the litter manually or add a bit of scratch to entice the chickens to do it for you?

 

Have any of your other chickens exhibited similar signs to the sick bird? While cleaning out the coop and starting fresh litter would be a safe thing to do, it may be unnecessary. Restarting litter in the middle of winter can be difficult since bacteria which help the deep litter method along grow more slowly and therefore composting action and heat generation (both of which reduce moisture) are reduced. What you get is fresh litter which seems to stay wet longer when dirtied (compared to what you're used to in warmer months). Increased moisture in the coop increases health risks such as disease and frost bite. 

 

You're going to need to make a decision on your sick friend. She can't live in the back of a truck forever while you ponder the next move. Either cull her or medically treat her w/ an antibiotic (such as soluble Tylan if you're not confident administering injections) and TLC.

 

Having chickens is an investment. Unless you plan on culling every bird that gets sick right off the bat, then its in your best interest to invest $50-100 into a basic medical kit including antiseptic, antiobiotic, wormer, etc. All these can be had at a local farm store or if you're way off grid and are posting on here, then any number of online venues. If you're serious about continuing your chicken endeavor, its a wise investment which will ensure the health of your flock well into the future. 

 

Hope things work out.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by casportpony View Post

Does she have a heat source?


No heat source right now.  The truck has a cap on the back.  We have her in a extra large dog kennel with blankets over it at night and then during the day I pull the blankets from the front of the cage.  I keep the cap closed up because we have had 2 days of heavy winds.  Thinking i might bring her in the house for the weekend, but afraid to keep taking her in and out and get her worse.  However, i guess she could stay in here until some warm days show up.

Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FenikT View Post

You mentioned using the deep litter method. When did you start this? Have you added any additional fresh litter on a regular basis? Do you turn the litter manually or add a bit of scratch to entice the chickens to do it for you?

 

Have any of your other chickens exhibited similar signs to the sick bird? While cleaning out the coop and starting fresh litter would be a safe thing to do, it may be unnecessary. Restarting litter in the middle of winter can be difficult since bacteria which help the deep litter method along grow more slowly and therefore composting action and heat generation (both of which reduce moisture) are reduced. What you get is fresh litter which seems to stay wet longer when dirtied (compared to what you're used to in warmer months). Increased moisture in the coop increases health risks such as disease and frost bite. 

 

You're going to need to make a decision on your sick friend. She can't live in the back of a truck forever while you ponder the next move. Either cull her or medically treat her w/ an antibiotic (such as soluble Tylan if you're not confident administering injections) and TLC.

 

Having chickens is an investment. Unless you plan on culling every bird that gets sick right off the bat, then its in your best interest to invest $50-100 into a basic medical kit including antiseptic, antiobiotic, wormer, etc. All these can be had at a local farm store or if you're way off grid and are posting on here, then any number of online venues. If you're serious about continuing your chicken endeavor, its a wise investment which will ensure the health of your flock well into the future. 

 

Hope things work out.


Thank you so much that response FenikT as it was very informative to me.  To answer some of your questions, i  do not turn the litter on a regular basis since this is my first winter with them and i thought if i turned it that would not be good bcuz of poo bacteria getting spread throughout the coop and i don't put scratch or food down in fear of them getting poo bacteria from eating off the litter which would cause them to get sick when now finding out it is just the opposite. 

 

No other chickens so far have experienced this as of yet.

 

I know i cannot keep her in the truck was hoping she might get better being by herself with fresh litter etc.  The truck does have a cap on it and i keep blankets over the cage at night especially since it has been so windy here.

 

i did not think about a med kit to have on hand, good idea.  i am willing to spend some money on them just am not willing to spend hundreds of dollars for vet bills or on trying one thing after another.

 

if she has a respiratory infection though isn't it best to put her down since she would always be a carrier and pass it on throughout future flocks?

 

Again, thank you for all the helpful information.

Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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Lovin My Ladies,  Kellie

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post #10 of 10

A respiratory ailment isn't necessarily a death sentence. Its all dependent on the severity, symptoms, resultant condition of the bird, etc.

 

There are far too many to cover in one post, however check out the link from U of Florida IFAS Extension concerning respiratory diseases - http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044

 

I'm not a big fan of throwing handfuls of scratch into the coop litter to entice them to go "dumpster diving." I have a bit of an aversion to my girls playing in pooh. My five seem to toss the litter around occasionally though on their own. I tend to turn the litter over at least once a week - more so if its cold & rainy during the week. Introducing new, dry litter to top off the dirty litter weekly also helps to wick moisture and insulate the composting organisms in the colder weather. 
 

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