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Black spots on comb?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by krista74, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Victoria, Australia.
    I just noticed my RIR hen has some black dots on her comb, on both sides. They are not raised lesions, nor are there any yellow or white bumps. It just looks like someone has splashed her with motor oil!

    She seems fine otherwise and is currently on the nest laying.

    I thought perhaps fowlpox, but it looks more like an ink stain than a raised pock mark.

    Then I considered frostbite, but although it's cold here (Winter, and about 5 degrees last night) I didn't think it was cold enough for that.

    Any other ideas? All the others seem fine. I am perplexed. She looked fine yesterday herself. Should I do anything?

    - Krista
     
  2. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Victoria, Australia.
    Hmmm, the more I think about it the more I wonder if it might be the beginning of fowl pox.

    I have had a good look at the other 6 birds and I think two others are beginning to get the black marks too.

    It is late Winter (coming into Spring) here, we live on a creek that is quite still at the moment, and there are loads of mosquitoes after recent heavy rains.

    Can anyone please advise what (if anything) can be done for fowl pox?

    Is it fatal? How long will they have it? And are they likely to be too uncomfortable with it?

    Also, in your experience, is egg laying greatly affected?

    Thanks,

    - Krista
     
  3. mightymax

    mightymax Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Coast, CA
    First of all, take a look at the picture below and tell me if that is what your birds' black spots look like.

    [​IMG]

    THAT is what fowl pox looks like.
     
  4. mightymax

    mightymax Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you suspect fowl pox, you should immediately separate those birds that for sure have it from the rest of your flock. In actuality, it may be best to remove the NON infected birds to a different coop or area and leave the infected ones where they are because no matter what, you're going to have to do a complete tear down and sanitization of the coop they're in currently in order to get rid of any
    'leftovers' from the disease.
    There is a vaccine for fowl pox, and if you can get it, go ahead and vaccinate the rest of your flock in an effort to get their resistance to the disease stronger.
    The disease itself can last 2 weeks and doesn't always result in death.
    Pallative care to the scabs can help alleviate your chickens discomfort. This can be done while wearing gloves so as not to cross contaminate common items. You can lightly debrid the scabs and pour hydrogenperoxide on them, then moisten a rag with warm salt water and hold it on the wounds for about 10 mins., or until your bird says otherwise.
    Oh, there are 2 kinds of fowl pox that chickens can get...dry...and...wet...
    The dry was just explained above.
    The wet involves pustules in and around the mouth, down into the lungs and eventually it becomes one big respiratory headache. I sure hope you don't have that form.

    I hope this helps you in some little way...good luck!
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  5. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Victoria, Australia.
    Thank you for your words of advice.

    I only have 7 birds all up, and two available coop spaces - One is currently occupied by my broody hen, and the rest of the birds are in the main section. Unfortunately that's all the spaces I have.

    Of the other 6, four are showing symptoms of the black spots, but I would presume that since they all sleep squished up together at night because of the cold, they probably all have it by now anyway, whatever it is. I have read about the wet/dry versions, and since everyone is breathing clearly, eating like horses and foraging through my garden as we speak, I don't think it's the wet one.

    The spots are quite tiny and do not have the pocked, raised marks I expected to see. Nor do they have any white/yellow lesions (and never did.) Like I said, it just looks like oil stains on them at the moment. None of them seem phased at all at this point.

    Is this something that worsens over time? And can they get it again once they've had it once? Is the dry version ever fatal? What other symptoms should I look for? Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions.

    Oh, I spoke to my vet a few weeks ago about my chickens. They said they don't deal with them, so I doubt I'd be able to get any vaccines. I think these girls are largely going to have to fight off the virus themselves. Is it possible they can just get the marks, and then 'get over it' on their own?

    Thanks, Krista.
     
  6. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Victoria, Australia.
    Whoops, just saw your first post with the picture, sorry!

    Um, the marks are that colour, but not that raised looking, and no-where near the size of those ones. And they don't look 'unwell' like that bird does either, they are all bright eyed and bushy tailed at the moment. Is it something that progresses in severity?

    If you look at the smallest spot on that bird, that might be like what mine currently have, but in several places, and flatter in appearance.

    - Krista
     
  7. mightymax

    mightymax Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, it can and usually does worsen over time. About 2-3 weeks is the time it takes to run its course. It'll get worse, level off and dry up, then it'll be gone completely. Usually. This version, the dry one, can be, but rarely is, ever fatal by and of itself. But if not cared for properly, your chickens could easily succumb to a secondary infection introduced by poor hygiene and/or a virulent strain of bacteria that crept in through the open sores. I'm not sure if they can get it again or not. I'll have to get back to you on that one. Other than the black scabs and some lethargy, the most commonly seen symptoms would have to be a sort of 'under the weather' look about them and a diminished appetite. Because like I said, it's usually a secondary, opportunistic pathogen that'll get them in the end, not the pox itself, per se. I really hope this helps you to get them through it. Please keep me informed of their progress back to health.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  8. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Thank you, I will.

    At the moment, whatever they have (and I'm not 100% sure on what that is exactly,) they seem to be unaffected by it other than having the marks themselves.

    I have seen some other pictures and it also kind of looks like comb damage from pecking.

    Not sure if this is likely or not since 4 birds out of 7 have it, but then again they have been fighting a bit since the broody went, well....broody! Now that she has been separated, things have calmed down significantly.

    I guess if the time I'm looking at is 2-3 weeks, the worst should be over the next week or so, so I'll keep a close eye on them and see if anything further develops. I am hoping that nothing worse develops.

    Thank you once again for your time.

    - Krista
     
  9. mightymax

    mightymax Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Man, I must be slipping...you say it's winter where you're at...any chance it could be frostbite? Sorry I didn't think about that earlier. I must be losing my mind...
     
  10. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Sorry. Maybe I should have mentioned the weather. I didn't consider it either! Yes, here in Australia it's nearing the end of our Winter. And at this point I am willing to consider anything OTHER than fowl pox, lol.

    Their coop is fairly big (15 ft x 14 ft), and is very well ventilated. By "well ventilated" I mean that the front of the coop has a full length wire door, and there is a massive wire window, so all up 75% of the front of the coop is wire, and therefore open to the elements. That being said, it's positioned so that it faces away from the direction the wind generally comes from. (Although this may be why my birds face the wall when they are on their roost - the wall that faces away from the windows, that is, so any wind would be at their backs. I always thought that was odd.....)

    The coop floor is dirt, and we have hay on it which I change out fully once a week. It does not leak in the coop (anymore.....we have covered the whole thing with a gigantic tarp!)

    This week I have been letting them out into the run earlier than usual (at 8 - 8.30am) which is new. Prior to that, they were always let out into the run at 10.30am. The only reason I've changed that is because Broody is in the coop in a separated pen, and it's calmer when they can't see her.

    Outside it has not rained this week. It has been windy though, and even though the temp outside may have been 12 degrees, it felt more like -1. It was bitterly cold some mornings. We have had some cold-ish days, with the maximum being between 12 to 15 degrees Celcius on average (53 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit.) The mornings have been quite chilly, between -2 to 5 degrees Celcius for the past 5 days (28 to 41 Fahrenheit) in the mornings. We had frosts for two days at the start of the week, not that the birds were walking through frost per se - all traces of grass in their run have been demolished, ha ha!

    So would that be cold enough to cause frostbite? What temperature would it need to be to freeze their combs? I can't really see any white or yellow patches on them at all, which is strange since all the literature says that fowl pox start off as whitish spots. They just went from normal to some black spots on their combs all of a sudden. The black spots are both on the tips & in the middle of the combs, so quite indiscriminate.

    What do you think? Maybe I need to google some frostbite pics now....

    - Krista
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014

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