black head and comb, and a leg injury? Pictures included

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kellybird02, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. kellybird02

    kellybird02 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Jan 3, 2012
    South Carolina
    Hi. I am new to posting but have been lurking for awhile. I haven't posted much because I have always been able to find an answer to my questions and I do not know enough about chickens to help others yet. [​IMG] This is a great forum - I really enjoy/appreciate all the info.

    I have a Delaware pullet that is about 7-8 months old. We were on vacation last week and had our chickens in the run for most of the time while neighbors fed/watered them. Usually they free-range all day.

    When we came home the Delaware (Lovey - a very sweet chicken) was limping/wobbling terribly and had black all over her head and comb (see pictures). I have not yet had a pecking problem (I've only had chickens for about 7-8 months) so I don't know what it looks like. When we saw her it looked like very rough, thick, black skin so I don't know if it was raw earlier and changed to this?

    We do not have any roosters at this time. We have 8 "grown" chickens and 9 six week old chicks being raised by a hen that went broody.

    All the chickens are eating chick food right now because of the chicks. However, they get most of their food from free-ranging and I thought the extra protein might help the 4 hens that are moulting.

    They have apple cider vinegar in their water. They occasional get fruit/veggies/whole-wheat bread as treats. They get a little bit of scratch as a treat about 5 times a week. Their bedding is pine shavings.

    Lovey is eating and drinking. Her poop looks normal to the best of my knowledge. I haven't seen any strange poop in the area she is in right now. We have her separated from the rest of the flock. She is in the run with a make-shift coop while the others are free-ranging as normal.

    A few months ago I had what I think was Marek's disease go through the flock. We lost about 25% of our flock. They would suddenly become wobbly and just never get better. I read that they should be put down so we put them out of their misery. It struck one right after another of our young cockerels and pullets but did not affect the older birds or the chicks. Lovey was one of the few that survived from her age group.

    I'm not sure now if that is what it is. I tend to think it isn't because she seems to be able to use one leg reasonably well (but I can't tell for sure whether it is fully functioning) while the other is pretty much useless. I have felt around her legs and joints and I can't find any swelling or signs of a broken joint/bone in the bad leg. The only thing I noticed was that the muscle is smaller in the bad leg. I guess that is to be expected.

    Whatever happened occurred sometime between Nov 21-26. However, the neighbor that took care of the chickens (and let them out to free range since we came home that evening) on the morning of the 26th said she didn't see any problems. Maybe it happened on the 26th but when we came home that evening her head was already black, thick and rough - not raw or bleeding. I guess I just don't know for sure when it happened.

    I called around looking for a vet for chickens but we live in the boonies and the vets that I called all said they didn't treat chickens. I will have to expand my search if I need to.

    I guess what I really need help with is to know whether the black on her head and comb is from pecking due to her injury/illness or is it something different?

    Also, if the injury is a leg injury rather than a disease, is there something I can do for the leg?

    Thanks so much for any help you can give me!!
    Kelly

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mskayladog

    Mskayladog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh that poor baby! I'm to new to chickens to help.
     
  3. armorfirelady

    armorfirelady Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,833
    331
    220
    Jun 14, 2012
    Hamburg, NY
    My Coop
    I am a newbie as well but looks like fowl pox to me. Google fowl pox and look at images.....looks like bad case from the pics I have seen,
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,312
    6,162
    721
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    Looks more like something got a hold of her, feathers missing too right? could something[pred] have grabbed her through the fence?
     
  5. delisha

    delisha Overrun With Chickens

    8,176
    527
    298
    Oct 13, 2012
    Racine, WI -
    My Coop
    It does not look like fowl pox, it looks like dried blood. If I were you, I would cull this bird and have a necropsy done. If you really do not know what you had before and did not have a necropsy done, it might be a secondary run through of the disease. Once birds are exposed to certain diseases they are prone to be sickly and have secondary infections from even minor injury's. Corza is a good example. The birds heal and seem fine and will be sickly on and off for the rest of their lives. I have done tons of reading on diseases of chickens and still feel I know nothing about them. I am of the mind set if you have any type of disease you need to do an all in and all out with a two month rest between with severe sterilization. A compromised flock of chickens has no food value. If I would not eat the diseased bird, it does not belong on my property, because I am not going to feed it. Earn your keep or get out. It sounds harsh, but, it is the reality of life. We have to sustain for the future, build for tomorrow. Have a healthy flock for them and for family.
     
  6. I agree with this .[​IMG]
     
  7. NikkiMiChickie

    NikkiMiChickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    188
    7
    83
    Apr 7, 2012
    Bridgeport, WV
  8. kellybird02

    kellybird02 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Jan 3, 2012
    South Carolina
    Thanks everyone! Sorry for taking so long to get back - family issues. I really appreciate your advice. We are going to cull her this evening and would have done it sooner except for other issues taking priority.

    I am not opposed at all to the idea of culling to create a healthy group of chickens. That is why we culled even our favorites as they got sick this past summer when we had what I think was Mareks go through the flock (based on paralysis symptoms and the age of chickens that were affected). My goal is to provide a healthy environment for a healthy flock without having to coddle the chickens along. I really really really enjoy them but I expect some production from them as well!

    I confess that I am disappointed at how much culling seems to be necessary! That makes me wonder if I am doing something wrong. Unfortunately, the way I understand Mareks, once you have it you will always have it because it is everywhere in the soil, coop, dust, etc and all following chickens will be exposed to it. I dread our next batch of chicks reaching the age where they become most susceptible to it.

    I looked into a necropsy briefly and it looks like it will cost around $90 just for the necropsy and any lab tests will be extra. I think necropsy is a great idea so I can figure out if I am doing something wrong or what I am dealing with. However, a necropsy will have to wait until the next chicken issue after the first of the year because right now time and money are tight and all the other chickens are healthy.

    I have spent some time in the past reading the "Old Timer's" thread. I enjoy it and will definitely get back to reading more of it.

    Thanks again for all your help and advice!
    Kelly
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  9. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    4,256
    36
    274
    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    In Northern California we have a University that does free necropsies. i found them through our State Vet, linked off our Department of Agriculture website. i did a search on South Carolina State Veterinarian and found this link: http://www.clemson.edu/public/lph/

    Maybe call tomorrow and see if they offer free necropsies. If they do, they will probably also perform the euthanasia for you. If you have already euthanized her, keep her in the fridge till you can contact them tomorrow. It's good to know what types of diseases you have in your flock.

    i've never seen anything like what your bird has, and would be very curious to know what caused it.
     
  10. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    4,256
    36
    274
    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by