chicken epidemic!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rachel N, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. Rachel N

    Rachel N Out Of The Brooder

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    So I have raised chickens with my mom for 7 years while I was young, and now that my husband and I bought a house, we got our own. I had NEVER experienced this before and I hope someone can help!
    So we got chicks to raise and it went great, my husband built a beautiful coop! While my sister watched our hens while on vacation a rqcoon attacked and killed them all :( ( they were around 3 months at this time) anyways, since I was so heartbroken, my husband suggested to find quick replacements of older hens so we could get eggs without starting from scratch. We found some on Craigslist and even drove over an hour to get that. I had a bad feeling about them when we got tothe farm, but I really wanted chickens again, so we bought them. He told us they were almost 4 mi the old, so I expected eggs quickly.
    We brought over a rooster from my moms and within a day he was sick. Sneezing and comb turning blue. We brought him inside and managed to nurse him back to health with antibiotics!!
    Then ons after another these new chickens died. First one had the same symptoms as thethe rbooster but never got better from medicine and died. The next too, had squinty eyes ( like this when we bought them) and ending up not eating and eventually dying. Their eyes were cloudy and running and they hardly opened then. Just stood around all day with they're eyes closed.
    The next slowly had droopy wings and eventually couldn't walk at all! She would flop around in the ground. Shed still eat well, but we eventually killed her because she was clearly in pain.
    Let me point out that NONE of these ever laid eggs. They were well over 6 months at this point and never laid and eggs and had no gobbles or combs develop, which is so odd. We had one die just suddenly in the night and 2 more from the "cold" like symptoms.
    One more had the paralysis and we had to kill her too!!
    When I thought I could take no more, one chicken FINALLY laid an egg ( the only hen who actually grew a comb). Strangely enough, she started brooding, right before winter (ho figure). She actually hatched the chick, but it was found dead the next morning :(. So I have one rooster (who is doing fine), one hen (who is still in her brooding stage, without a chick) and one more hen ( who has been showing signs of sickness. I have brought her in out of the cold, but think she'll be dead by morning)
    I don't know what to do?!? I have given them abgoos life, but maybe just bought all diseased chickens?;?
    Any response is appreciated! I apologize for the long post, I have just been through a lot!
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  2. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Look up info for Mycoplasma Gallisepticum(MG). With Mg birds may be cured of symptoms,but will NOT be cured of disease and will remain carriers for life. Periods of stress tend to trigger attacks. Unfortunately Mg can pass to chicks from parents through egg.
     
  3. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Sounds like they have a respiratory illness, like CRD caused by mycoplasma. The stress of moving caused them to show symptoms again. This is a nasty disease that is even passed through the egg to chicks, so that would explain the dead chick too. You can treat the symptoms, but the birds will always have the disease, always be carriers, and will pass it to any new bird you ever acquire and put with them. Even the rooster has it, you just treated the symptoms. Honestly, the best thing to do here would really be to cull your flock and start over with birds from a trusted, disease free source. Might also be a good thing to contact the seller and let them know, as they may not be aware that they are selling sick birds to others. It could also be other things, like infectious bronchitis or coryza if their nasal discharge has a smell, but just like with mycoplasma they will always carry it and pass it to others. You could treat your flock for the illness, but they would always be sick, and you could never sell birds or chicks or eggs to others to hatch or you'd be selling them sick birds and spreading the disease.
     
  4. Rachel N

    Rachel N Out Of The Brooder

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    Ten chicks, first, thank you for reading my post! I am new to this and was worried it was too long! Just so many things to cover! :p
    So MG makes sense on why they would never lay! Does it transfer easily to other chickens? My mom gave me three of her old hens, just so the rooster wouldn't be lonely threw the winter ;) haha they haven't shown any signs of illness yet. Hoping this is a good thing! I just don't know what to do and I was so scared it was Marek's!!
     
  5. Rachel N

    Rachel N Out Of The Brooder

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    Pyxis, oh jeez that sounds awful!! We never had any of these problems with my moms. I'm having such bad luck and it breaks my heart every time one dies! So if this is what they have, what's sets off the symptoms? Can they live a full life without another breakout? And are there eggs ok to eat if I bring in new ones in spring? I just can't bear to get rid of my rooster! He is so sweet! You can even hold him! :)
     
  6. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Chances are the other hens have caught it. MG can have an incubation period of up to three weeks, so it can take that long for symptoms to appear. If you want to run a closed flock and are attached to them, I'd say keep them, but you'll have to medicate them, and MG causes a huge drop in egg production so they may not be very productive. It's a really nasty disease. Also be very careful - it is easily transferred on fomites - that would be any object that comes into contact with the chickens and their bacteria, like clothes, shoes, etc. So you want to avoid accidentally passing it to your mother's chickens that way.
     
  7. Rachel N

    Rachel N Out Of The Brooder

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    So what do you suggest is the best way to treat them? Do I wait til they show symptoms? Is there a telltale sign to know for sure this is what they have? The rooster has not been sick since the first time in the beginning. I make sure not to walk in my moms yard with my shoes and she stays away from mine, so we have that covered! :)
     
  8. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Sorry, just saw your follow up post! Yep, eggs are safe to eat, but you'll probably get less of them than you would with a healthy flock. I recommend Denagard to treat with - it's actually a medicine for pigs, but mycoplasma has no resistance to it, and there's even been talk that treating with it for six months straight can cure the disease, although that I am not sure of. Of course there is a withdrawal time after treating with it that you don't want to eat the eggs. Stressful periods bring on the symptoms, like you transporting them to their new home, for example. The onset of egg laying is stressful and might cause an outbreak, and during molting when their bodies are taxed and their immune systems are challenged they are likely to have outbreaks. You can treat during these times and they'll go back to being symptom free, but it's a not nice disease and some birds just never fully recover and generally don't thrive like they should.

    You can treat proactively if you would like - some people even give a monthly dose of Denagard as a preventative to keep an outbreak from happening. Symptoms you are looking for are sneezing, gasping, nasal discharge, swollen eyes, bubbly eyes, but not all birds get all of the symptoms. If you notice a really bad, almost roadkill-like swell coming from the nasal discharge, then it's actually coryza, and you'd treat differently, but without that, I'd think it was MG. If it was infectious bronchitis, the rooster wouldn't have responded to antibiotics, since that's a virus, so we can rule that out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  9. Rachel N

    Rachel N Out Of The Brooder

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    I see! Sounds terrible! :( we had used duramycine (only thing we could find at fleet farm) when the rooster was sick, but it didn't help any if the hens. Does this not help at all? Does mg also cause the paralysis that I saw in two on the hens?
     
  10. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Duramycin is actually a brand name for tetracycline which, yes, does treat MG. Are you sure it was true paralysis or were they just very weak from illness? I don't believe paralysis is a normal symptom of MG.
     

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