2 month Chickens with CRD Help - general info, treatment etc! :(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CCsChickens, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. CCsChickens

    CCsChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 22, 2014
    First off a quick history of my chickens;

    I purchased them at 2 weeks old off of a lady who was experienced with chickens - I bought 3 ISAs and 3 Australorps.
    They are now about 2 months old, feathered and doing well! However about a week ago I noticed all 3 Australorps breathing with their beaks open, making crackly sounds and not eating well. Long story short I took them to a specialist vet who told me about Chronic Respiratory Disease. Being a beginner chicken owner I had no clue what to think! She assured me that I had caught it when it was mild however I still have some questions that I need answering as I'm worried that they'll get sick again and would hate for them to be in discomfort due to my lack of knowledge.

    After a 5 day treatment of antibiotics in their water (for the ISAs and Australorps) the Australorps started eating well with no symptoms of CRD. I found it odd that the ISAS did not get sick as all my chickens live in the same flock/together. Is there any reasons for that? Also is CRD a lifelong disease or can be cured through medication? Does the medication cure it fully or just lessen the symptoms?
    Also is this a recurring illness? Could there have been anything I could have done to prevent this? I've had no other contact with other chickens etc. (as I've read that disease can transfer by clothing, touch etc.).
    Is it safe to eat my chickens eggs if they have CRD?
    Sorry for all the questions but I'm still so unsure about this condition and am worried that I'm not doing all that I can to prevent it/treat it. Is it okay to keep my ISAs and Australorps together now? As they've been reunited since my Australorps health recovered.

    Any extra information on watching out for disease, preventing it or general info about what CRD is, how it is obtained and how to treat it would be so helpful! :) My Audrey chickie as seen in my picture is doing so well and I'd hate for her to get sick again!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chronic respiratory disease in chickens is caused by Mycoplasma. You can read about it here:
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/disea...ction-mg-chronic-respiratory-disease-chickens

    Once your chickens have it, they will have it for life and will spread it to any new birds they come in contact with, even while they are not currently showing any symptoms. You can treat them with antibiotics, which will get rid of their symptoms, but the symptoms will likely reappear whenever the chickens are stressed. Stress for a chicken could be anything like moving to new housing, predator scares, loud noises, bad weather, etc.

    Not all birds in the flock will necessarily have symptoms at once, but they are all likely to be carriers, including your ISAs. The ISAs have already been exposed, so it's fine to keep them together with the Australorps, especially if your Australorps aren't showing symptoms now.

    Your chickens could have been carriers already when you bought them. So it's important to make sure you only buy chickens from people that you trust, and always ask if any of their flock members have ever been sick. If these chicks have been outside much, it's also possible for them to catch it from wild birds. There's not much you can do about that. And it's possible for you to carry this in on your shoes or clothes if you've been to places where other chicken owners go (like the feed store). It's best to have a particular pair of shoes that is only used for being around your chickens. And now that your chickens have this, it's still a really good idea to have separate shoes. There are diseases out there that would be worse to catch and can also spread on clothes/shoes. Plus doing what you can to avoid spreading this to other flocks is part of being a responsible chicken owner.

    The good news is, CRD is unlikely to kill any of your chickens, and it's manageable. And the eggs are perfectly safe for you to eat. :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. CCsChickens

    CCsChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 22, 2014
    Thank you so much Amina - the vet didn't really explain whether it was a lifelong condition or not. Another quick question: If I was to buy more chickens from what information you've given me if I added them to my flock would they too develop CRD? Or would I be better off keeping them in a separate flock? I know that some people decide the cull the whole flock and start afresh but I'm horribly attached to my girls! I was so anxious when I found out because all I could focus on the was chronic disease label thinking I was some terrible owner :/ so I suppose its like having permanent flu for humans? Also do you know the mortality rate of CRD? [​IMG]
     
  4. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you buy more chickens, then they will get CRD too. They will probably develop symptoms, but even if they don't, they will be carriers.

    The choice to cull and start over is a very difficult, personal decision. If it were me, that's what I would do with 2 month old chicks. :( It would be a tougher decision for adult hens though. But while I'm somewhat attached to mine, they are not pets. So it's a different situation.

    If you start a coop far away from your current one, I'm not sure what your chances are of keeping that flock disease-free. I think you could do it but it would take a lot of effort and biosecurity. What you'd have to do is have completely separate everything for them - no movement of stuff back and forth. Each day you go to do chicken chores, you'd have to put on fresh, clean clothes, then go feed and take care of the uninfected flock. Then you'd put on your "dirty" shoes and go visit the infected flock. Then all clothes would need to go in the hamper to be washed. That's all doable for a while but it's a big commitment for the entire lifetime of the chickens.

    Most people with this issue either choose to cull and start completely over, or they let their current chickens live out their lives and then they start completely over, or they keep bringing in new birds with the understanding that they too will have CRD (but no bird should ever leave your place, of course, no matter which you choose).

    As far as mortality goes, I wouldn't even be concerned about it. It might have the potential to kill very, very young chicks on occasion. If you hatch eggs from an infected flock, it will definitely kill some chicks while they are still in the egg. The ones that hatch can be carriers already. It's probably also possible for it to kill an older bird that's already sick from something else. But I wouldn't even be concerned about it killing otherwise healthy birds.

    The biggest problems with CRD are just that it's unpleasant for the birds (probably like having a bad cold or the flu), plus they will not lay as many eggs.
     
  5. CCsChickens

    CCsChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 22, 2014
    Thank you! :)
     
  6. CCsChickens

    CCsChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 22, 2014
    Hi all, I have gotten into contact with the owner I bought my chickens from and she says that they did receive their day old vaccinations - does this mean that my chickens wouldn't have CRD? Or that they could still contract it just with less severe symptoms? As I read more about CRD I can see in my chickens that they have none of the eye problems at all (swelling, redness, discharge etc) or sneezing or coughs or wetness or runny noses. They only present the gaping mouth breathing problems when the weather is warmer. Could it be a misdiagnosis from the vet? They did undergo a 5 day antibiotic treatment in their water supply and were fine after that - like I said only have gaping mouth on hotter days (which I'm assuming could be normal if its hot enough?).
     

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