botulism and corn??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Pied Piper, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. Pied Piper

    Pied Piper In the Brooder

    Feb 10, 2013
    Recently I bought four twelve week old pullets. I fed them medicated chick starter. I also gave them an ear of corn to peck at. Day two one Orpington was head down in late afternoon with eyes partly closed. The next morning she was worse and I did some research. Symptoms were indicative of botulism. She was isolated and I began alternating water & Epsom salt with molasses in water. Also bought Polyvisol vitamins and pedialyte. In 24 hours she looked better and I gave her yogurt. 48 hours she was back to normal and joined the other girls. Caging was thoroughly cleaned.
    Two weeks later the pullets joined my hens in the coop and outdoor run. Day before yesterday I gave them some corn on the cob - cooked. Yesterday when I opened the coop up three of the pullets were under the laying boxes and a Barred Rock was head down, tail tucked, and unsteady on her feet. I thought maybe one of the hens had hurt her, but when I watched a bit, decided symptoms were much like the botulism. Brought her in and began treatment. Today she is fine. Head up, eating, had some yogurt and is back outside.
    Two totally different settings. Feed is dry and shows no sign of mold. Is it possible the corn on the cob is not readily digestible for pullets and spoiled in their stomachs? That is the only link I can think of between the two places.
    Any other thoughts? Hate to have another one go through this. Did find that rapid identification and treatment improved recovery time :)
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I doubt if it is botulism since since the toxin is so strong, that if they eat only enough of it to fit on a pin head, they would die. It causes severe paralysis of legs wings and neck, then death with 24 hours. Botulism comes from animal carcasses or vegetation that has been without air, such as being sealed up, under ground. Corn would more likely cause aflatoxin poisoning. I'm wondering if you aren't maybe seeing extreme weakness from either coccidiosis or dehydration? I would use caution with epsom salt or molasses flushes--they should only be given if you are sure there has been poisoning, and only given once. Flushes will cause diarrhea and worsen dehydration, and epsom salts is much stronger than molasses. This sounds like a mystery, so I hope you figure it out. Here is more info about botulism:

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