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chicken dilemma

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ems1536, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. ems1536

    ems1536 Hatching

    Nov 13, 2016
    I have raised/been around chicken my entire life. Lately, I have had some issues. We raised 15 buff orpingtons, along with 50 meat chickens. Butchered the meat birds and continued to care for the orpingtons. We got them March 23, 2016. The orpingtons ar not laying yet. They also seem to be getting sick. Four have swollen eyes, which are closed entirely, One was very sneezy and rattled. I started putting tetracycline in their water. They seemed to be getting better. The other day, the worst one took two drinks, arched her neck, squacked a noise I had never heard from a chicken before, flopped an her back, flapped her wings, and died right there. I have since lost three more, but these were not showing any other cold-like symptoms. I should also mention that I purchased ten 12 week old pullets 3 weeks ago that appeared very healthy and came from a very clean and healthy environment, I also purchased 15 pullets from a free range farmer in July. They get well water (water tested every year), cracked corn, and a little laying mash and protein, There are let out into a pen during the day, shut up at night, and let out to roam the yard now that flowers and garden are done. No pesticide use.

  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    So, my thought would be one of the groups of birds you bought was a carrier for a respiratory disease. My guess is the most recent ones. Doesn't matter how clean their environment was, they still could have had the disease. Chickens don't get colds like we do, this is some kind of disease. They can carry these diseases with no symptoms in between outbreaks.

    The really devastating thing about these diseases is that a lot of them can't ever be cured once the birds have them. You can treat the symptoms but they will reappear every time the bird is stressed, such as coming into lay, during a molt, during a cold snap, etc.

    You can try to treat this and it will get rid of the symptoms but the birds will possibly carry the disease for life and if you ever do get more birds they will pass this on to them. If there is a bad smell coming from them, especially from their nasal discharge, it's likely coryza. If no smell, you can try treating for mycoplasma as it is possibly that. To find out definitively what it is you could ask a vet to run a blood test (which will probably be expensive and upwards of $100) or you could cull one and send it for necropsy. These are the only ways you will ever know for sure what this is though, and you have to be aware your birds will quite possibly be sick for life even if you do treat them now.

    There are a couple viral diseases it could be too, such as infectious bronchitis, and that would just have to run its course on its own and treating won't help, but again, to find out what it is you'd have to test or cull one and send it for a necropsy if you want to be sure.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  3. Sony57

    Sony57 In the Brooder

    Nov 17, 2014
    I agree with Pyxis, there are several possible causes but the only way to know for sure is to have them tested or to send for a necropsy. I think, if you can afford to, especially since you have lost a few, that you should do one of these two things. You may find that it is something "herpes" like where they are carriers for life, or not...but you do not know unless you try to find out. You can check with a local avian vet or Zoologix does testing on swabs from live animals, I have not used them but I do intend to. Otherwise, some states offer free necropsy's so it is worth looking into. Perhaps it won't be Herpes like in nature and they need just need some basic antibiotics or time to fight off a regular viral infection, you don't know unless you try.

    I would also separate the new chicks from the old and the sick from the healthy if possible....and then wait for any results.

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