Chickens dying one by one, please help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kristenm1975, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I bought what appeared to by a healthy four month old welsummer pullet a month ago. From the start when I got her home, she suddenly appeared to be falling asleep standing up, and she was always all puffed up. I put sulmet in the drinking water and hoped for the best. She just died this week. Now, two more are doing the same thing. One of them who's the worst off also appears to be having difficulty breathing. She coughs or sneezes, and clear fluid is bubbling out of her nostrils. She had not been eating or drinking much for a day, but prior to that had been very energetic. This hit fast. I have her separated from the rest of the flock. The other thing about her is that she has blackened areas around her beak.

    The other sick one is just droopy, puffed up and sleeping a lot.

    I've continued with the sulmet and have also added apple cider vinegar, goldenseal tincture and echinacea tincture as well as fresh greens from the garden, chard, spinach, beet greens etc.

    What am I missing here? Is this just a result of none of them being vaccinated as chicks? I also do not have medicated feed for them as I can't find it here in Seattle.

    Thanks for any suggestions. I hate seeing all of my chickens die one by one.
  2. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    Did you quarantine the 4 month old pullet that you got a month ago? I would recommend Tylan50 orally for 3 days on each bird. I would separate all the sick birds, but I would still treat the others as well.
  3. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

    Sep 16, 2008
    Levan, UT
    I'm sorry you're losing your chickens, but let it be a lesson as to why everyone preaches quarantine on here. Anyway, sounds like upper respiratory, like maybe coryza...unfortunately, any of your birds that survive this will be carriers and will infect any future birds that you get. [​IMG] Click search at the top, and do a search for upper respiratory in this section. Good luck.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Medicated feed is to prevent cocci. That is all it does and coccidiosis is a internal parasite. Same with sulmet, what it sounds like you got is some sort of respiratory infection. I can't help with that, but it is most likely viral and your flock will likely be carriers for life. Remember to quarantine for at least 30 days when ever you get a new bird so this sort of thing can be prevented.

    And one more thing, vaccinations as chicks is usually for mericks, which is not a respiratory issue so wouldn't have made a difference.
  5. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for the info folks. I did quaranteen the two that came together (the other one is the one getting sick too) but unfortunately, I didn't do it for long enough.

    I will check into the coryza. I have no idea about that one. It sounds like the sulmet isn't useful in this situation so I'll stop poisoning them with that stuff and stick to the herbal remedies. At least it might support their systems a bit while they try to fight off whatever else is going on.
  6. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm sorry to see you dismiss the use of antibiotics as "poison." Sulmet is an excellent sulfa type drug and has saved many a bird from death due to infections like Coccidiosis. Although it wouldn't be the best choice for treating respiratory infections, other antibiotics can be helpful. In the case of Mycoplasma Gallesepticum (for example, but also in the case of Coryza), the Merck Vet Manual says:

    "...many cases of M gallisepticum infection are complicated by other pathogenic bacteria; thus, effective treatment must also attack the secondary invader. Most strains of M gallisepticum are sensitive to a number of antibiotics, such as chlortetracycline, erythromycin, oxytetracycline, spectinomycin, tiamulin, tylosin, or a fluoroquinolone such as enrofloxacin. Antibiotic is usually given in the feed or water for 5-7 days..."

    Also, you should know -

    "Antibiotics may alleviate the clinical signs and lesions but do not eliminate infection."

    In other words, you can treat your sick birds with antibiotics to fight secondary infections and help to relieve the symptoms that are making your birds miserable OR do nothing and let the disease run its course - some birds will recover (although not 100%) but you should also know that sometimes those secondary infections can cause a fairly miserable death. If these are pets and you want to give them the best shot at staying alive, you may wish to consider appropriate antibiotic treatment. If you are breeding, showing, selling your birds/eggs, I think the prevailing advice is to cull birds with respiratory disease.
  7. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I apologize for referring to the antibiotics as poison. I don't really think of them that way, I was just feeling frustrated and at wit's end. I appreciate whatever is available that will help my chickens to feel better. I am continuing to utilize the sulmet as that's the only antibiotic I have been able to find, as well as adding raw apple cider vinegar, goldenseal and echinacea tincture, and poultry vitamins and minerals powder with electrolytes. So far, they are not getting worse, but they are not improving. I will continue to do separate the sick ones and give them the special water and see what happens.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
  8. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
  9. Schultz

    Schultz CluckN'Crow Farm

    Aug 5, 2008
    Quote:I have read that the apple cider viniger will inactivate the sulmet. In other words, make the sulmet useless. This just what I've read on other posts but if it's true than you are putting the sulmet in for nothing and it wont work for you. I'd suggest that you leave out the ACV for a few days and see if that helps.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  10. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for the tips, chkn and Schultz. Had no idea about ACV making the Sulmet inactive. Hmm. Need to check that out further.

    Much appreciated!

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