Chicken with limp neck, mouth open and not able to stand.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by laceyharrison, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. laceyharrison

    laceyharrison New Egg

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    Aug 20, 2013
    Hoping for some ideas as to what this is? Nothing in her crop and her underside feels fine to me. Clean everywhere. Not bleeding or flinching when I press all over as if she had an injury.
    I noticed earlier in the day that she was trying balance and her tail was bobbing up and down. But then she was back to eating and I was on the phone. I feel guilty now! Gawd! By the time it was dark the rest of the chickens were on our deck screaming at us telling us something was wrong.
    She was barely standing up, neck bent at the shoulders and floppy and when I picked her up she just went completely limp. This came on within 24 hours or I did not notice something was wrong :(. She had her mouth open like it was hard to breathe.

    We had a chicken a month ago take three days to die while we were trying to save her and I still don't know what happened to her. I thought egg bound but now I wonder if we've got something's going on? We killed the poor girl immediately last night because we didn't want our other four girls getting sick too.
    Mareks? Botulism? Any ideas???
     
  2. laceyharrison

    laceyharrison New Egg

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    Aug 20, 2013
    Also I worked them all twice like the bottle says at thirty days. And I cleaned their coop with vinegar and water, after our first girl died.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    This illness does sound a lot like botulism. They also call it limberneck, and it comes from eating something that has decayed in an environment without oxygen or anaerobic. Decaying animals, fish, or rotting vegetation, even pond mud can be a source. It starts out with weakness in the legs progressing upward in the body to wings, neck, and then paralysis of the respiration. There is not much treatment, but some birds will recover. Here are a couple of links to info:
    http://www.avianweb.com/botulism.html
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/diseaseinfo/19/botulism
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Botulism is not a disease, its a condition brought on by eating a "natural" toxin or poison produced by a bacteria found everywhere in the environment. I mention this to remind everyone how hard it is to diagnose most chicken diseases, especially over the Internet. Eggcessive may very well be right, and I hope she or he is. May I suggest that if this bird succumbs that you send it off to your state poultry lab within 24 hours or less. Most states have a free or reduced fee program for small flock owners. That is the only way that you'll ever be even half way sure because there may be and inclusive report.

    I said this because if it is botulism you need to do some work to clean up or change a condition or conditions in your chickens' environment because over time it will reoccur, when the right conditions are met, like the pond mud that Eggcessive mentioned. Botulism is a big killer of waterfowl, especially in the winter.

    http://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm

    This link lists all the state labs thinks to Metzer Farms.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    It does sound like she had botulism. If you catch botulism in the early stages, you can treat it with a molasses or Epsom Salts flush, to get the toxins out of the bird's system. But in the latter stages, there isn't much you can do. Fortunately, it is not a disease, so the rest of your flock should not have been harmed by the one that died. However, the toxin that caused the poisoning could still be around--I'd look around for decaying animals/plant matter, moldy feed, and other things that botulism can be harbored in.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I don't have any experience treating botulism, but it isn't something most people think about. For instance, if someone has a lot of acreage, and an animal dies or a fish in a pond gets landlocked, and it gets eaten by a chicken unknowingly, they can become sick and die. It's good to know what to look for, and maybe not let chickens into the area of compost piles or other areas that might be a problem.
     
  7. laceyharrison

    laceyharrison New Egg

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    Ok thanks all. We killed her immediately because the first chicken about 45 days earlier had similar symptoms and she suffered for three days while we tried to save her. I didn't want th rest of my girls to get it if it is something. If I have another chicken with same symptoms I will take her up for necropsy.
    We live in Pac NW and it is always wet with decaying leaves etc. We feed them scraps where all the leaves are raked to. So maybe we are unknowingly making them eat decaying stuff that is bad for them. Thanks for the advice. We will make some changes and see if it helps.

    Do you think I should give the other girls molasses water just in case??
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Sorry for your loss. The flushes will give them diarrhea. If they aren't showing symptoms, I probably wouldn't give it. I don't think leaves would hurt them. Most of the time I think it is more from ponds, creeks, and when there is a dead animal carcass rotting, and the chickens find it before you know about it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014

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