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3-days-Lethargic, 10-month old hen dies, now a Roo showing symtoms

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by davemonkey, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Someone told me "Marek's", but I don't think so given the slow nature of symptoms and birds affected, given the age of the birds. But...I'm a noob so I admit I simply don't know. Here's what I've got:

    It started with an EE about 3 weeks ago. She went a bit lethargic and progressed into "very lethargic" over a period of 3 days (that I noticed). Then she died. No other birds showed signs, but now my Roo (Fayoumis) is showing the same signs, and possibly another hen (Production Red).

    To date, this flock is 10 months old (hatched last Christmas), except the Prod Red which is 7 months right now.

    The behavior starts off as being simply sleepy...just a tid-bit....on the first day I noticed. Nothing really out of the ordinary. On the second day, the sleepiness is a larger part of the day, movements are slower, much more sitting on the ground, etc... Third day isn't here yet (and I'll be away tomorrow), but for the first hen to succumb, the third day she barely went anywhere, and when she did, she walked very slowly. In her normal state, she HATED being handled, yet on this day I was easily able to reach down and scoop her up. [I checked her butt for being egg-bound, but there was no egg in there.] The next morning (4th day I suppose) when we went to let them out, she was dead.

    This is the first case of disease we've seen in the flock since bringing them home 3 months ago. 3 days of symptoms, then death for the 1 bird...and I expect to lose the Roo and the other hen soon. We had 20 birds total (19 now). There were the 12 from the original flock we brought home (EE, BR, Australorp w/Fayoumis Roo), and then 2 months ago we brought home 8 more pullets (Wyandottes, RIRs, Australorps) who are now 4 and 5 months old.

    We've seen no bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

    Food consists of Layer Crumble mixed with Scratch Grain, soaked overnight in UP/ACV. They are also free-ranged on a quarter acre (2 separate paddocks, each 0.25+ ac, that they rotate on, opposite my dogs). I occasionally put UP/ACV in their water, but not always.

    Poop looks normal. An occasional runny stool, and once had an intestinal lining show up, but mostly just normal chicken poop.

    We've done zero treating so far.

    They spend most of the time out in the yard. The coop is just barely enough to hold them at 3.8 sqft per bird. Plenty roosting space. The floor of the coop is natural soil (the coop is built in-ground with the ground being the floor) and I have a layer of sand to make it easier to rake out the poop. I rake it out every 3 days on average. There are 4 nesting boxes situated under a shelf to prevent poop from getting on them, and 2 additional boxes that they never use.

    I'll be gone until next week, but will give my wife this link and she can answer for me in my absence.

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Chicken deaths are difficult to figure out without checking all of the organs. First thing is I would treat everyone for coccidiosis since you have been adding new chickens to your flock--new ones can bring in strains of coccidia that older ones haven't been exposed to. Treat with Corid (amprollium) liquid 2 tsp or powder 1 tsp per gallon water for 5-7 days. Worm with Valbazen or Safe-guard liquid goat wormer. Check everyone's vent and neck areas for mites and lice eggs. Check the crops first thing in the morning to make sure they are emptying. If they are full, something is wrong. Make sure your coop is clean and dry, and letting them out on grass daily will keep them healthy.
     
  3. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice. I did forget to mention that several weeks ago (maybe 5 or 6) we treated with Sevin for lice and followed up a week later with DE on the birds, their dusting areas, the coop, boxes, etc...

    I did tell my wife that if the Roo passes while I'm gone to freeze him so I can autopsy when I get back...get a look at his organs.

    I had ruled out cocidiosis because the poo was normal, but I'll look at getting the Corid.

    Can worms lead to death in chickens?
     
  4. BigECarter

    BigECarter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It could be Marek's, but agree with Eggcessive to treat for the common and easily fixed ailments. Some of my Marek's birds went quick (2 days), but most went noticeably downhill over a week. I think they die of dehydration if you don't do anything special with them.

    If you are still losing them after the treatments, I suggest getting a necropsy done at your state lab.

    Hopefully they will turn around with the cocci/worming treatments. Good luck!

    E
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    southern Ohio
    Yes worms and mites can kill chickens. Do not freeze a chicken for a necropsy--it has to be refrigerated. DE is okay for prevention, but not if you had an infestation. I would re-treat them and repeat in 7 days for the eggs that hatch.
     
  6. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, I just went out and inspected, and there are no mites or lice. They are clean as bells. I think it's safe to rule that out.

    Just for the sake of argument, let's say it's Marek's. What then? If it's spread through follicles/dust/dander/etc..., then it's safe to assume all my chickens have been exposed to it. Is it just a matter, now, of waiting to see which ones die and which ones don't? The vaccine only works if they have not been exposed yet, right?

    And, if I have a clutch of chicks gonna hatch in 2 weeks, is there a way to vaccinate "DIY-style"? Or does the nature of the vaccine and how it must be handled preclude the average folk from doing it? (I've read it's rather complicated, and the vaccine must be stored in liquid nitrogen, and then completely used/disposed of once it's thawed...)

    Corid and Safe-guard seem to easy NOT to do...so I'll definitely do those, and keep an eye on lice and mites as we have been doing.
     
  7. BigECarter

    BigECarter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definitely vaccinate your chicks. Jefferspet(?) has one. The way I understand it, the vaccine we can use is derived from the turkey strain if Marek's, which is something chickens can easily defeat, which gives them some immunity to the chicken varieties. That is the most common Marek's vaccine and it is fine for most flocks.

    It does take two weeks for the chicks to develop immunity, so bio separation is critical.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/741957/not-an-emergency-mareks-in-the-flock/1260#post_12171823
     

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