Chicken Death Sentence ?? Time to cull?


12 Years
May 11, 2009
Kentucky, Cecilia
Ok I have 3 laying hens in quarantine. They started off on the way home just making these odd almost hiccup sounds and doing funny stuff with their head. ( It was hot and they had been without water and had no symptoms whatsoever when I got them) Still eating, still drinking, still active. For a single day they had slightly purple tips to their combs but that faded with being kept in a shady cool spot with water to drink so ... Then we moved onto sneezing. No drainage, still eating, still drinking, still active. Then we moved onto clear drainage still eating, still drinking, still active. Now we have added runny poo which yesterday was still green but today is rust colored and smells up to high heaven.

So in the course of less than a week they have moved from nothing at purchase to 3 hours later making odd noises and jerking their head funny to sneezing, clear drainage, and runny rusty colored poo. They are still acting fine otherwise. They even laid eggs every day which was supprised me. They eat and drink a ton. What am I looking at?
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No ideas at all? Today we also had eggs covered in blood. Not little streaks. Covered. They still don't seem uncomfortable . They are quick to eat everything I put in front of them. Drinking a good bit.

I am not treating with antibiotics because they are in quarantine. So if this is something they will become a carrier for if they get over it I need to go ahead and cull.
For the definate answer to that, you'd need to contact your state vet and have them tested.

Respiratory diseases in chickens are never a good sign and I don't mess around with them, I cull. The only one that doesn't make them a carrier (that I'm aware of) is Infectious Bronchitis but even if it's IB it affects their reproductive tract where they lay wrinkly eggs for the rest of their life and/or are at greater risk of becoming internal layers. With MG, there's some debate whether they all become carriers, but intensive testing over time is required to see if they test negative after testing positive.

Now I'm super careful and I don't buy started or adult birds and I don't show my birds. I'm sorry you're going through this right now.
Yea never any more birds bought like this. For now on its trusted sources and babies. Too stressful. My hubby is very upset over this whole things. He is not thrilled about culling sweet little hens. The mean roosters that attack him are one thing but a little hen just sitting there laying eggs he feels bad. I might call our agri center.
I'm really sympathize with your husband and if I were you I would do everything possible to cure your hens first. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Mareks and Cocci as possibilities. Doing a little research on these two diseases might pay off. I saved this but must admit have no first-hand experience with the diseases. Maybe this will help you.

If they have coccidia (which they might if they have had dirt exposure at your place or at the seller's and they now have bloody diarrhea), there are medications you can get from the feed store- depending on what country you are in, there are different ones available. If you want to know what parasite you are dealing with (if it is one), arrange to have a fecal looked at by a vet, or hook up with an experienced local chicken do-it-your-selfer who has a microscope.

If they survive the acute coccidia exposure and infection, they should become immune. The fancy birds you purchased probably had not been exposed before to coccidia or maybe your place's particular coccidia species. Pretty much anywhere that has chickens on dirt or pasture has resident coccidia in the soil. Anytime you bring new birds in, you may see this. Some people feed medicated chick start to the newbies to help them not be overwhelmed when exposed, and some add sulmet or similar to the water of newbies.

If you are in the US, sulmet is a water soluble coccidiostat. If you are overseas- look into baycox for coccidia. and have a fecal sample looked at to make sure you have coccidia before buying the treatment.

Best of luck to you!
These hens probably have MG (Mycoplasma Galliseptum), which is a long-standing respiratory problem that rears its head when the birds are stressed. It is present in nearly every backyard flock in the country so most people take measures to keep it under control. While some people cull, it is certainly not a death sentence & will probably not be an issue so long as the hens are well cared for. I'd recommend getting Denagard (a swine pneumonia treatment) & start them on it immediately at the rate of 15 cc. per gallon of water. It sounds like they are fine other than the respiratory issues so I would treat, not cull. If everyone in the country culled for respiratory issues, there would be very few chickens left in the country I'm afraid. Getting chicks is no guarantee against this illness because it can be transmitted through the egg. Although it can make some chickens quite ill, it usually presents as a mild respiratory distress with sneezing & sometimes slight wheezing. Good luck, Karen

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