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Chicken Drama- please help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Meganita513, Jul 21, 2019.

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  1. Meganita513

    Meganita513 Chirping

    May 22, 2014
    I have 19 hens and 1 roo. For the last year or so, due to repeated attacks and flock loss, I increased my run size and limit free range time. (They still get about an hour a day or so of free ranging.) So I noticed this spring (End of April/May) that some of the girls were molting. They are about a year and a half old, variety of breeds. No biggie. At the same time, we had a never ending stretch of rain. Weeks of rain left a sloppy and GROSS run, as well as limited range time. I did my best to keep them out of the muck, and keep fresh water. Their feathers were all kinds of crazy. 6 or 7 had naked butts, a few had naked necks, and then I noticed a few had bare backs, which I assumed was aggravated by the rooster. some of them had diarrhea. I started to get really worried. Then, one day I saw a roundworm.
    We had a gap in rain, so I attacked with DE, started adding ACV in the water, threw herbs in the nest boxes. I also started feeding feather fixer. I also started getting eggs with runny yolks. (I have dealt with that one other time a few years ago. Annoying, but it eventually passed.) After a week or so, I bought a soothing mite spray (Couldn't get close enough), mite spray for boxes and roosts, and also tried the natural worming pellets (Strike pellets.) After another week or two, some of the girls got feathers back, but not all. Most poo is normal, egg yolks firmed back up. I added a better dusting area to the run. No signs of worms anywhere.
    Last week, I noticed that a few of the hens have just never bounced back. There are STILL a few naked butts and backs with no pin feathers in sight. Diarrhea seems to be making a comeback, but it has been brutally hot and humid here. I am still feeding feather fixer. TODAY- I went to use eggs, (I gather every other day) and I had to crack 12 to get 4 usable eggs. The others were all watery, and most had extensive lines of blood and traces of an embryo. (SEE PICS)How in the world can that happen in 2 days? ( I do have three crazy broody hens but I cannot get them to break so I gave up- which I know I shouldn't have.) Everything seems to be a MESS.
    So my questions are...
    How do I treat them or do I need to? If I should worm, do I go with strong stuff or something like Zyfend A so I don't have to throw out eggs?
    Do I separate or get rid of the roo so they can have a break and their backs can regrow?
    I plan to go back to getting the eggs every day now.
    Is all of this because of worms and possible mites? Or is there something deeper going on? I need to hit the RESET button. Any advice appreciated!

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  2. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    I'll chime in with a few thoughts.

    I can get free wood chips by the trailer full from our county landfill. I have to go there and load up my trailer, but the chips are free. There are a number of people who are using wood chips to build up their runs so the chickens stay out of the muck. Search BYC forum for threads and YouTube videos on the subject and you will find many people satisfied with using wood chips.

    I have a separate small wire cage for a broody hen, or a sick chicken, etc... I think it might be a good idea to separate the roo from the girls for a week or so and see if things improve.

    Yeah, I don't understand how you got an embryo on a 2 day old egg. Somebody slip you a balut?

    You asked many other good questions and I will be following this thread to hear some of the answers by others. Good luck.
    Cryss, Sequel, slejdad and 9 others like this.
  3. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    I'm sorry you are having trouble.

    Can you post some photos of the feather loss and poop?

    If you want to treat lice/mites, use a Permethrin based poultry spray or dust.
    For worms, use a dewormer - you can find Fenbendazole (Safeguard) at feed stores like Tractor Supply. Valbazen is another very good choice, you can order that online.

    As for the eggs with an embryo, you may have missed s few that were hidden(?) I would try to collect them every day, place them in the fridge.

    If the rooster is causing a lot of damage, it won't kill him to be separated for a while to give the ladies a break, but taking him out may change the dynamics. If the feathers are broken and the shaft is still intact, those will not be replaced until molt.
    You don't mention how much space you have for the flock, but stress /overcrowding can have an impact as a whole on production, egg quality, flock interactions (feather picking/aggression), etc. You may need to add more space or reduce the number of hens you have.

    Watery egg whites can be from a number of things - high heat, old/stale eggs, parasites and disease like Infectious Bronchitis are a few.
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Glen St Mary, Florida
    Wyorp Rock summed it up really well. Zyfend A, ACV, DE, Strike lll pellets do nothing against worms. Get some Safeguard liquid goat wormer or Valbazen liquid cattle/sheep wormer and dose each bird individually. That way you know they got properly wormed.

    It sounds like Infectious Bronchitis (IB) is passing quickly through your flock. Watery whites are a dead giveaway for IB. Any other symptoms such as sneezing or wheezing, runny nostrils?

    After worming, give your birds buttermilk mixed in their feed for a few days. Buttermilk is an excellent probiotic and coats the intestinal lining. It should also stop the diarrhea.

    For wet weather, use sand in your pens. It wont create nasty mud puddles nor wash away. Sand dries quicker and helps deter parasites. It's easier to scoop poop as well. Keeping everything as dry as possible is always best.

    For external parasites, you're going to have to inspect each bird individually and closely, especially the vent area where it's warm and moist. Lice are white or off white in color and move quickly through feathers and fluff. Their eggs can be seen on feather shafts. Mites look like pepper, move slowly or not at all. They suck blood and cause anemia, then death. Permethrin will take care of lice and mites. Keep in mind that the interior of the coop will have to be treated, nest boxes and roosts included. It would be best to completely clean out the coop, spray Permethrin in the early morning and let it dry, then add fresh bedding. Permethrin is good for about 28 days.
    The best time to inspect your birds is early in the morning or late evening when they are roosting. Just snatch one off the roost and start looking for parasites. Inspect all your birds and treat accordingly.
    Sequel, so lucky, slejdad and 10 others like this.
  6. AmyJane725

    AmyJane725 Crowing

    Feb 22, 2019
    Western WA
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

    Get the run mess fixed...wood chippings are good for that, as long as you have no drainage issues.
    Wyorp's question about space is important.

    What all and how exactly are you feeding?
    Give a good chicken ration and plenty of plain clean water.

    Yep.... check for external bugs as dawg suggests. If you see any, permethrin.

    Where in this world are you located?
    Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
    Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
    It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
  8. cottagecheese

    cottagecheese Songster

    Mar 12, 2019

    Let's talk worms @Meganita513. I like doing my own research because I am aware of the many tricks played on the public by the medical system, usually they only have to use the magic word 'science' and everyone bows down. But... science is corruptible unfortunately, I should know, because I taught at one of the Ivy Leagues, and I can report back to my fellow chicken keepers and sing like a canary LOL. So I looked closely at worms, figuratively speaking, never had the pleasure of a face to face meeting. They are just like germs, or any kind of pathogen, meaning a strong immune system keeps them away. Using a chemical de-wormer, while providing temporary relief, does nothing to correct the weakness of the immune system, so the worms will keep coming back. Of note is the fact that the chemical de-wormers have side effects, some more than others, sufficient to say that the poultry dvm warns about them. Fenbendazole is bad news because of the admitted liver toxicity, the best avian vets stay away from it. http://www.exoticpetvet.net/ IT SHOULD NEVER BE GIVEN TO BIRDS WHO ARE MOLTING, but even for birds who aren't molting - there is a better alternative.

    Fairly recently I got into homeopathy, very glad I did actually, it is energetic or vibrational medicine and if done right it makes the body heal itself. Long story short, the homeopathic medication called CINA stimulates the immune system to make the body inhospitable to worms, especially roundworms, which are the most common. This is very effective and has actually been known for over 200 years, why on earth is it completely unknown on BYC (except for my own efforts)? It has no egg withdrawal, it is very safe and gentle and, like all homeopathic meds, it's very cheap. Don't want to make an overly long post, and I'm sure I don't need to insist. It's common sense to go through life using the best from every system of medicine, and not believing that what Big Pharma doesn't know or doesn't want to know - is not worth knowing.

    I highly recommend you take this route and would still recommend it even if your birds weren't molting, smh, that was a close one. I'd be happy to give additional information about how to store, handle, or any questions you might have.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2019
  9. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Nice to see you! Welcome To BYC:frow
    Where does it say the birds are molting right now? OP said "THIS SPRING (END OF APRIL/MAY)."

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2019
  10. Meganita513

    Meganita513 Chirping

    May 22, 2014
    Thanks everyone! I will look into all of this. The coop drainage has been fixed with sand and more elevated areas, and more stable cover on the run. I am located in Indiana. I haven’t seen any signs of sneezing or runny noses but I will check everyone tonight. Getting the rooster away will be tricky because he is majorly protective. I provide layer feed and oyster shell, and give occasional treats of veggies, greens and rolled oats depending on what I’m cooking in the kitchen. I’ll keep you posted!
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