8-year-old daughter's birds dying, is this coccidiosis? UPDATE

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lceh, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. lceh

    lceh Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    1) What type of bird , age and weight.

    1 silkie, 1 bantam Wyandotte dead
    1 bantam Brahma and 1 bantam EE sick

    All are 1 1/2 years old.

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    Lethargy, orange liquidy mucusy poop. Last night the two birds that died overnight did not go in the house to roost. My daughter picked one up to put it in and thought it peed on her, but I think it might have been clear liquid from its beak. That one had regurgitated food on its beak when found dead this morning.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
    Not long -- the two found dead were lethargic for a just a day or so. Whatever this is happens fast.

    4) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

    5) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    Unknown. There has been no change in diet, bedding, location, or flock population.

    6) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    Southern States layer pellets, some watermelon rinds and picked-over corn cobs, peach scraps, leftover meusli, untreated water. These birds were raised on medicated chick starter as chicks.

    7) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
    Runny, with lots of orange mucus.

    8) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
    Just started Amprol in water late this morning. The two sick birds may not be drinking, tried to dip their beaks and the sickest one drank a little. Isolated the sick birds. Completely disinfected coop, waterer and feeder, and moved to fresh ground (they live in a tractor).

    9 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
    Treat completely ourselves. We have Amprol and Duramycin on hand, but are not using the Duramycin yet. I will take a fecal sample to a local vet tomorrow to check for cocci, although they will not actually treat chickens. If another one dies we will take it to the state lab for necropsy tomorrow.

    10) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.

    11) Describe the housing/bedding in use
    Chicken tractor, hay for bedding. No prior health issues of any sort in these birds.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  2. WingingIt

    WingingIt Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    I've never dealt with cocci, but going to bump this up for you. It's a little slower here on the weekends, hopefully one of the experts will be along and see this soon. Good luck!
  3. chickenlady08

    chickenlady08 Songster

    Jul 27, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    I don't know if Cocci is going to have orangish colored poop. I would think and have read that is is bloody and red. Do you know if they may have gotten into something to make them sick. Could it be possible that someone may have done something? How many other birds are sick, just the 2 you spoke of (not including the 2 that passed).

    [​IMG] to your daughter. What a responsibility she has taken on. That is amazing that she loves them so at age 8. My 10 year old son takes more interest than my almost 14 year old daughter. So very sorry to hear of your losses. I hope she didn't find them on the coop floor this morning. Poor dear [​IMG]
  4. lceh

    lceh Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Thanks for the bump. Yes, she found them herself when she went to let her girls out of the coop. Even worse, these were the two birds she's been using to compete in showmanship, so she spent a lot of time with them and was especially fond of them. Their names were Fluffina and Sophie. She's having trouble going to sleep tonight because she's scared others will be dead in the morning. I'm going to get up before she does to check so she won't have to go through that again. She did make a little memorial rock to put over the place her daddy buried them, I think that helped.

    She went with me to get the medication from her 4-H leader this morning, and she worked hard helping me scrub and disinfect the coop. She just turned 8, but is a wonderful flock mistress. I hate to see her go through this, it was so unexpected and the fear of losing others so strong. I guess this is part of the learning experience when you are responsible for animals, but it's one I've been dreading.
  5. NC29mom

    NC29mom Songster

    Jun 15, 2010
    Scotland Neck, NC
    Sounds like there's a strong possiblity it's cocci. It will kill a bird VERY QUICKLY! I noticed mine was sick in the afternoon (and I checked on them like every 30min), and the next AM she was dead. If I were you, I would definitely start treating with a broad spectrum antibiotic (Amprol is perfect). I might would even put some in a dropper and hand medicate. If the bird feels bad, it shouldn't be too much to hold them and insert medication into beak. Then you will be assured they are getting the medication.

    Whatever it is, I hope you can save them. There is nothing more frustrating than having a sick bird and knowing nothing of what to do for it. I will say a sweet little prayer for your birds and daugther.

    Keep us informed. [​IMG]
  6. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Not cocci, but I'm not sure what it is. Could there be some mold in the bedding or if you've recently changed it possibly some toxins were introduced that way?

    ETA: It would be very unusual to have an 18 month old bird succumb to cocci and it's even more unlikely that multiple birds of that age would have problems from that. I haven't had any with the symptoms that your describing, but I'd look for enviormental issues first--Unless you've recently brought in new birds. Hope things get better for you soon. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  7. MeettheFlockers

    MeettheFlockers Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    They could have e coli or a bacteria. It can get passed around through food, other birds, ect... especially with the hot weather outside being a special breeding ground for "nasties". It's actually fairly common and is known as Omphalitis or "Mushy Chick" when it happens in young chicks. I've seen it in older birds quite often, the treatment is a sulfa drug in water but usually when symptons show it's already to late. [​IMG]

    The other possibility is round worms. Check their vent for maggot looking worms.
  8. lceh

    lceh Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Update - the two sick birds survived the night, to my surprise. I will dip their beaks again today or use an eyedropper. They are just standing around looking listless, but their eyes look a little brighter if it's not my imagination. So far the rest of the flock seems healthy.

    In my reading on cocci, it seems that poops can range from bright red to orangey or rusty. I can't see any worms in the poop, although there may be small ones. I will do a vent check this morning too, although I would have thought that worms would cause weight loss and these girls seemed healthy one day and dead the next. Apparently medicated feed only offers immunity to certain strains of cocci, so it is possible for birds raised on medicated feed to still develop coccidiosis. In a way I hope that's what this is because I know how to treat it. But any experts out there, please correct me!

    I finally found a vet this morning who was willing to run a fecal test, so I will drop that off today and hope to hear something soon.

    Thanks for all the support. I was up at 3 a.m. checking to make no one had died in the night, and DH went out before DD got up so she wouldn't have another awful surprise.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  9. lceh

    lceh Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Here's an update for anyone following this. The two sick birds are greatly improved after 24 hours on Amprol -- no more runny orange poops, now they are solid and greenish. Their eyes are brighter, they are standing normally and showing some interest in water and food, and are talking to us again. I'll keep them in the house for another night at least. The remainder of the flock continue to be healthy. It took a while to find a vet willing to run a fecal test this morning but I finally found one. The test was inconclusive -- apparently if you want to test for cocci it's a good idea to bring a more normal looking poop from an exposed bird in the flock, not just a runny one. All the runniness of the bloody poops can dilute the concentration of cocci in the sample. Since I'd already treated everyone with Amprol it didn't make sense to run home and get another poop. With the sick birds improving so quickly on nothing but Amprol, which I believe is only effective on coccidiosis, I have to conclude that it either was indeed coccidiosis, or some kind of food poisoning that simply ran its course. Regardless, while my DD's still sad to have lost two of her favorites, she's so thankful that it appears that she won't lose any others. I really thought one of those sick birds would be dead by yesterday afternoon, she looked so bad. What a relief.

    Many thanks for the advice and prayers! This has been a hard but valuable lesson in chicken-keeping for my DD (and me too!).
  10. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Quote:Birds of any age can get coccidiosis; not just chicks.

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