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Advice for sick chicken please....

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Bizichick, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Bizichick

    Bizichick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2012
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    I have a 6 month old Jersey Giant hen. Earlier we went out to the run and she was just laying there, kind of half on her side, half on her stomach. Her head was up slightly but our other 5 chickens were gathered around her. Obviously stressed. I went out to check on her again a few mins later and her head is down and her breathing is very shallow.
    None of our other chickens seem sick and we don't see any visible injuries on her.
    Any advice?
    We are going to put her in a large dog kennel to separate her from the other hens. We are also starting to give her antibiotics. Since we don't know what is going on, we arent sure if it is too late to even save her. I sure hope someone out there has the answer, because I would hate for "Bubbles" not to make it. She is our fav chicken and my 5 yr old would be so sad.
    Any advice is welcome.

    Thanks!
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain Premium Member

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    Doesn't sound good... You need to bring her inside and keep her warm.
     
  3. Bizichick

    Bizichick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2012
    Washington State
    We moved her inside. Not sure whatelse we can do for her. :(
     
  4. TweeTea

    TweeTea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 11, 2012
    Canberra, Australia
    Is she raised from your flock or did you get her from someone else? Also, if she was raised in your flock did you have any other chickens introduced to your flock several months ago? It sounds a little like Mareks disease to me but If there were no new introductions to your flock it is highly unlikely.

    One of my girls had Mareks disease which is characterised by perfectly fine chook one day, partially paralised the next. It is a disease that causes nerves to cluster as i understand it. As the clusters slowly join and get larger they are unnoticable at first, until one day they get big enough to impair main nerves that allow the chicken to stand. From there they will have difficulty eating and swallowing. (once chicks get past their first year they are virtually immune to contracting the disease). I took mine to the vet and she told me there was no cure and no recovery. My poor Agnes went to slept that day with the vet.

    A few points :
    -Mareks generally takes months to develop, eg my day old got it from the hatchery but didn't pass away until she was about 10 months old. So if you introduced a new hen last month it is still unlikely to be Mareks.
    -Chooks older than about 12-18 months are no longer susceptible to contracting Mareks, but if they have been penned with diseased birds they have the potential to be carriers.
    -Most commercial breeders immunise chicks. Day old chicks can be immunised but older chickens cannot. My girls were supposed to be immunised but as they apply the immunisation as a spray it can miss some girls if the chicks are packed closely together.

    I have since read that others have kept their chooks going for a while by hand feeding and watering, but if your girl has this infliction and she is like my Agnes who took water in her mouth but can't swallow then it is not good :( I really hope for you that it is something else.

    I would look for signs of progression in paralysis to elliminate this as a possibility. Test her ability to stand (I tested the strength of both legs) give her treats she can resist to test her ability to swallow. If she only takes small amounts pick her up to see if the water/yogurt/treat is swallowed or simply sitting in the throat.

    Best of luck
     
  5. Bizichick

    Bizichick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2012
    Washington State
    Thank you so much for the info tweetea. I am thinking you may be right about what is going on. She can't/won't open her eyes. We can pick her up and she doesn't move. The only reason we know she is still alive is because you can see her softly breathing.
    She is not from our flock. We got her about 5 months ago. Which actually makes her probably closer to 8 mos instead of 6 mos. We got her from a guy who raises chickens. About a little over a month ago we went to the same guy and got 2 more chickens. Nobody else seems sick though.
    I will do a little more research.
     
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain Premium Member

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    I just had a necropsy done on a 2 year old bird... Merek's was listed as the cause of death. The avian pathologist that I use says that Marek's is one of the most common causes of death in birds that they see.
     
  7. TweeTea

    TweeTea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 11, 2012
    Canberra, Australia
    It would be good to contact the guy who hatched her and ask if he has had any other unexplained deaths (there is virtually no warning that the chicken is sick until it is paralysed) or any other customers who have commented on the same thing. Also ask if he immunises his chicks, if he has a small flock it is unlikely, but if he has a larger flock he may, so the other birds may be fine and your one hen may have just been the unlucky one like my Agnes that missed the spray.


    If it is Mareks disease then he really needs to go through a massive overhaul. Once it is in his breeding flock it is in the dust and dander of the pen, meaning that all chicks in that system have the potential to contract it. Unfortunattely there is no easy solution for him to sterilise the disease from his coop. It needs to be emptied of birds and completely scrubbed and hosed and sprayed, but the worst part is that no birds or chicks should be in that environment for 6-12 months from memory. It is for this reason that commercial hatcheries have such strict quarentine rules, because once this disease gets in it to a hatchery is such a pain to get rid of it.

    After Agnes passed I cleaned all the leaves, straw etc from the pen as best I could but kept Ruby in the pen (there was no where else). I also had to get new birds to keep her company and I worried about them contracting it. To reduce the risk I bought 8 week olds (the older the hen the better chance of not contracting it) and they are now about 2 years old and out of the danger zone.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain Premium Member

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    How's she doing?
     
  9. winchuck

    winchuck Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2013
    Near Brookings, Oregon
    I put one young chick down when I found her in a heap after about 4 days of noticing lameness with her foot turned under and a drooping wing. Sounds like Mereks. Now a week or so later I notice one other chicken lame and apparently hurting as she is slow to come to treats and wants to lie down instead of munch on watermelon with the rest. I am afraid I may loose everyone! Is it contagious and do I need to clean out the entire area as read below? I got my chicks from a local small time breeder so doubtfully vaccinated. So far this chick is only lame walking like an old woman with a bad hip (I'm old and have friends who walk like that). thxs for any help
     
  10. cdonze43

    cdonze43 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 9, 2013
    Question on sick 5 wk old chicken. Found her in the run like this when I got home(pic 1). After they were running they ran in to the chicken and she fell on her side and didn't move. She is panting like she hot, but high was only 85 today. Fine this morning.
    Please give me any ideas!!!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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