5 wk Cornish X w/ Raspy Breathing & the runs. Cull & eat?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by RubysMomFP, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. RubysMomFP

    RubysMomFP In the Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2010
    Hey There,

    I'm new at raising chickens. I have Cornish Xs & layers (raised separately, of course). One of my meaties (5 wks) has had wet, raspy breathing for a week or so now. It was mild at first and now has gotten to be quite audible. He has runny poo, not bloody, and a "skid mark" down its rear end. That skid mark has been there for maybe 2 weeks now. He's eating, drinking, is alert and seems comfortable. His weight is good.

    I don't think the raspy breathing is going to stop. The other 11 meaties are fine, as are my pullets on the otherside of the coop, which is divided down the middle w/ chix wire. There is one other meatie with a "skid mark", but no raspy breathing. I believe the raspy breathing and runny poo are unrelated.

    So what do you think? Should I cull now rather than risk the bird dying? Can you eat a chicken that exhibits these symptoms?

    Thanks,
    Lauren
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010

  2. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Songster

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    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    When I move my meaties from the brooder to the tractor, I usually note some loose stool coming from them. I attribute this to a modification of diet. Even though I still give them the starter as food, they now have access to bugs, grass, and other vegetable matter. It usually clears up after a few days to a week. I also notice that when I restrict their food complete, prior to processing, so their digestive tracts are cleaned out, they "poop" out mainly liquids. That makes sense because that's all they're getting into them at that point.

    If the bird doesn't seem to be in distress I'd watch him for a day or two and then re-evaluate. Cornish X's are prone to heart conditions as well as other ailments and if it starts to exhibit other symptoms, like lameness or not walking/standing, then I'd process asap.

    Dan
     
  3. RubysMomFP

    RubysMomFP In the Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2010
    Thanks, Dan. These guys have been cooped up because we have a problem with hawks. They will be going out as soon as we get the netting over the run this weekend. Perhaps the runny stool is from the garden clippings that I've been tossing them.

    I'm mainly concerned about the loud rattle that I hear with every breath. It's a gurgle and somewhat "wet" sounding as if there is an infection in its lungs. (I guess I shouldn't have used the term raspy, which implies "dry".)

    So wait it out awhile? Thanks again for your help. I'm going through a bit of a learning curve...

    ~Lauren
     
  4. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Songster

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    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    Hey Lauren,

    I've had some meaties have that same sound too. I'm glad you clarified and said it was a "wet" sound. In my experience, this symptom is usually caused by inhaling bits of food or water. On this last batch I had one roo that was very weezy as he had inhaled a bunch of food. I wouldn't have known what happened to him except I saw it happen. He was plowing down the food in the morning when I first put it in. As I was returning the waterer to the tractor, he dove his head in the feeder and chomped a few times before throwing his head back and swallowing. Well he inhaled before swallowing all of the food. For the next three days, his breathing was audible and he'd be gasping for air. Every 5 minutes or so, he'd take a larger than normal gasp and then exhale with the loudest "Chooooooooooooo!" sound I've ever heard come from a chicken. Almost like a sneeze except it was deliberate and the "chooooo" part lasted about a full second. I felt bad for the guy but I just let him do what came naturally and it cleared up.

    A sick chicken is hard to mistake. Cornish Crosses will give you a full education in spotting ill chickens, for sure. But as long as they are eating, drinking, walking (waddling), rousing, preening, etc. normally, they usually aren't sick. My biggest, or most frequent indicator with chicken illness is they don't want to stand up or can't stand up. I've got one I noticed today that is starting to limp and that means he's probably next. I'll keep and eye on him because I want to let them go a bit longer but once they lose their mobility, there's noting you can really do for them except give them an easy and quick death.

    Another thing I've noticed is that every Cornish Cross I've had that wasn't able to stand up and walk, had fluid between the heart and pericardium. I'm thinking this is some form of heart disease. There was no obvious leg injuries or swelling on these birds. Just anecdotal but you might get some mileage out of that too. If you start seeing some go lame and notice the fluid, I'd start adding some vitamins/electrolytes to the water. When you raise cornish crosses, you'll wind up with some impromtu processing days throughout the duration. That just comes with the territory.

    Dan
     
  5. RubysMomFP

    RubysMomFP In the Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2010
    Thanks again, Dan. I appreciate you taking the time to help me out. I'm going to hold off on culling and keep an eye/ear on him. I do have a few more questions for you if you don't mind.

    *What vitamins/electrolytes do you use and where do you get them?

    *When do you "finish off" your chickens- switching from pasture to grain before processing?

    Thanks a million!
    ~Lauren
     
  6. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Songster

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    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    I get my vitamin/electrolyte from my local ranch store. I think the name is "Durvet" It comes in a sealed pouch and makes 110 gallons worth per package. I repackaged it in a UV safe container (the stuff degrade in sunlight or other UV light sources) and put on there how many grams to mix with a gallon of water. I don't have the original package so I can't be sure of the exact brand name. Sorry.

    I find that the impromtu birds I've had to process at this late stage have had just the right amount of fat on them. AFAIK, finishing is just a way to put some fat on the birds prior to processing. I don't see any benefit to adding more fat to them as last year I "finished" them and I was ripping out some large fatty pieces and throwing them in the offal bucket. I don't like my birds fatty though. In fact, I had an impromptu process this morning. That roo I mentioned that was starting to limp couldn't stand up this morning. I processed him right away and noted that his heart was also encased with fluid between the muscle and pericardium. There was also a large clotty blood mass that I squeezed out of one of the heart chambers. Not sure if the clot was there before death or not but the fluid sure does continue the pattern I'm seeing with lame birds.

    When I process the bulk of my birds, I like to remove the food totally for 36-48 hours to clear out their digestive tracts. Last year they were still in the tractor when I did this and their tracts were full of rocks and dirt. I would have rather they had food in there. It was gross. To help things this go around, I put them in an enclosure with a wire floor so there isn't anything they can add to their bodies except water. Make sure they always have water at that point. They are much easier to catch too because they are hungry enough at that point to come towards you for food rather than run away.

    Dan
     
  7. RubysMomFP

    RubysMomFP In the Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2010
    Thanks, Dan! I'm curious to see how this all goes down. I've noticed a few of the meaties have edema in their legs, but no lameness just yet.
     

  8. Loose stool, skid marks and CX's go hand in hand. If the bird is otherwise acting fine and gaining weight I would let it grow to maturity.
     

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