Chickens getting sick one by one.....help appreciated!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by harleygirl6197, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. harleygirl6197

    harleygirl6197 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all...I will try to keep this short, but there is a lot of history. A year & a half ago we started our flock with 12 chickens. Had absolutely no problems, they all laid almost every day. This past spring we wanted to enlarge the flock. Got 12 more chickens from 3 different sources (local people with ads on Craigslist). Within 2 weeks of getting them one of the new chickens (just 5 months old) died. I realized after that she was sick when we got her. She would sit in my arms and not try to fly away. About a month later, another one of the new chickens I had gotten from a different source also got sick. Found a local vet who handled birds and he said she had "wasting disease". He said she would not survive so we put her to sleep. He sent out a blood test and we discovered she had internal parasites. Spent the weekend deworming the whole flock giving them medication 3 days in a row. 2 weeks later another one of the chickens from our original flock got sick. Took her to the vet, he ran a test and she had e-coli. He give her an injection of antibiotics. 2 weeks later she was bad again and I took her back to the vet. He gave her another shot plus gave me a bottle of the batril to give her every days for 10 days. Unfortunately she did not make it. Since then we have lost a total of 6 chickens with 2 more sick as I write. One has been living in our basement for the past 2 weeks. We were giving her the batril but after 10 days she didn't seem any better so we stopped it and figured we'd let nature take it's course. She still is very thin, you can feel her breast bone, but today she seemed to rebound and I took her outside for some fresh air. She is eating well, though her stool is green and watery (most of the time). Last weekend we were deworming the other chickens again (per Drs. instructions have been doing it every 3 months) and noticed one of our Americana's was very light in weight. Today she was clearly not feeling well, and tonight was not roosting so now I have 2 ill chickens. We are totally at a loss as to what the issue is. We've thought about going back to the vet, but between the office visit and any testing it usually runs at least $150....not really in our budget right now. We're afraid that whatever is wrong is eventually going to take out the entire flock. All the chickens that have gotten sick have lost a lot of weight, they were dewormed and we have checked for lice/mites etc. We spray them with poultry spray for insects, plus put DE in the run for them to take their dirt baths in as well as mixing it in with their food.

    ANY ideas or help anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!!
     
  2. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have no idea what is wrong with your flock, but I just wanted to say I'm sorry you, your family and your chickens are going through this. Welcome to BYC (though I wish your joining was under more pleasant circumstances). I hope someone with more knowledge than I, will be along shortly!
     
  3. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sorry you are having such a hard time. Green droppings are usually a sign that the bird is starving to death..for any number of reasons. The best advice that I can give you is to call your local government extension office and find the nearest lab that will do a necropsy. Call and find out what it takes to surrender one for testing. Most state labs do necropsies for little/no cost. If you try a private vet, it will run you about $300. This is going to be the only way that you will know what is going on with your flock.

    In the meantime, you can try feeding very high protein foods like tuna, liver, mealworms, scrambled egg, etc. This may help them maintain some weight until you can find out what is going on. Quarantine the sick, remove them as soon as you notice a problem. Clean and disinfect everything: Coop, feeders, waterers, etc with a bleach solution. Put a bleach solution in a spray bottle and spray down all walls, everything. Allow to dry. Replace all bedding.

    I know that this advice is going to come too late but,
    !. You should never buy chickens from multiple sources..especially from CL or chicken swaps. You just don't have any clue about how the chickens were cared for and what they might be carrying.
    2. When you do purchase chickens, they should be quarantined for at least a month before putting them in with your own flock. Each group should be quarantined separately. Chickens can be carriers of many deadly diseases that will not show itself until the chicken is under stress. That is the reason for the quarantine. Still others, such as Marek's, may never show itself in the carrier but, will wipe out your original flock. It is always best to buy from a hatchery or hatching eggs from an extremely reputible breeder.

    Sorry that you had to learn some of these things the hard way...you are not alone.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, wow! Your story reads very similar to mine. I too started with 12 last year, no problems at all. Increased the flock this year, big time, and to date have lost 65 birds. The symptoms sound very much the same as what is going on here with some of the birds I have lost, so I will give you some of what I have done.

    I started losing birds in June to what I believe is Marek's. The paralysis these birds showed didn't respond to any vitamin therapy. Normal sized and active until they couldn't get around very well and then they just started wasting away. Hand feeding, vitamins, antibiotics, nothing worked. At one point I had 16 birds unable to get around because one or both legs were no longer working, plus others that were showing signs that they were heading down the same road. We culled 24 birds one day because we knew there was no hope for them. The other chickens either showed no signs of illness at all or were only slightly affected. Over the Summer, my birds just kept dropping. I tried everything. I treated them for worms, I completely emptied the chicken house and cleaned it out with bleach and powerwasher more than once. Switched litter to sand mixed with DE and Sweet PDZ, completely redid their dusting box, limed their run. You name, I tried it. I am still losing birds.

    Last month,after trying for months to find a Vet to help with what was going on here, I finally was put in touch with the State Diagnostic Lab. 9/21 I lost another bird. 22 wk. old Jersy Giant which I sent in for necropsy. She was found to have coccidiosis in the mid small intestine. We had already done numerous treatments of Corid, and finally finished up with Sulmet. A lot of the birds, who had shown symptoms, seemed to get better after the Sulmet, but some did not. The JG was one that showed some response to the treatment but obviously not enough. The Vet who did the necropsy said this bird should have weighed 10 lbs. at 22 weeks, instead she weighed 1.5 lbs.. Guessing here, I would bet you are looking at the same thing.

    My advice, and that's all it is, is to stop the worming, and lice treatments. If you're not seeing lice, they don't need it and the worming seems to be working about the same as it did for me, not much. If you haven't tried the Sulmet, you could give them a treatment of that. The dosage is 2 tbls. per gal. of water days 1 & 2. Days 3-4-5, mix 1 tbls. per gal. of water. This has to be the only water available for them to drink! It needs to be there 24 hrs. a day as well, if one gallon will not get them through the day then mix up another according to the dosage needed. I kept my birds confined to their house and run for the course so I knew they had no other water available. During the course do not clean their house or run. Wait until the course is over then have at it. I went so far as to roto till their run and added lime and wood ash as we were doing so. Bleached out the house again and added new sand and shavings to the nesting boxes. Oh, 14 day wait for the eggs after treatment.

    If you choose to go this route, please do your birds a favor and give them probiotics and vitamins afterwards. 1-2 weeks wouldn't be a bad thing and will help them recover faster. I use Jeffers for my supplies and you can get the Sulmet there and they have something called 'Bird Powder' [sprinkled on food] that is loaded with vitamins and probiotics. That is what I use as well as a vitamins powder I mix with their water from Tractor Supply. As I said, not all of the birds responded to this treatment. Most did but I still have a couple who are symptomatic and I also just lost one that showed no symptoms until the night before she died. Something else I have started doing, I add 1 tbls. of cayenne pepper to their water everytime I fill it. The capsaicin, active ingredient in the pepper, makes their digestive system an unfavorable place for oocytes to live. It doesn't work over night, nothing does, but if given everyday it will build up in their system and work.

    I wish I had more and better answers for you, but as I am still trying to find my way through this as well, it's all a guessing game. I was told by the Vet to cull my flock and start over next year. Not an option for me.
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    All chickens have Ecoli bacteria in their guts, good bacteria normally keeps it in check. It's when it gets out of control is when there's a problem, usually due to stress. The same is true for coccidia. The stressor here would most likely be the introduction of new birds on various occasions into an existing flock. This is most dangerous as many types of parasites/diseases could be introduced into the existing flock. Quarantining for at least 6 weeks as mentioned by Leadwolf1 is best, but still doesnt guarantee there wont be problems as incubation times for certain diseases vary, some longer than others. At least it gives MOST diseases time to show themselves in that time frame.
    Ecoli is passed through feces, bird to bird. Treating a sick bird with Ecoli is time consuming and expensive. As mentioned; probiotics, poultry nutri drench, baytril all mixed together and tube fed to a sick bird might help her recover. Sick birds will NOT eat nor drink on their own, this is why tube feeding is necessary at least 4-5 times a day. If there's multiple sick birds with Ecoli, this might be an impossible task to accomplish. It might be necessary to cull the entire flock, disinfect everything and start anew several months later.
    Worms can weaken a birds immune system to the point where they arnt able to shake off infections/diseases. A regular worming schedule will prevent this from happening. I also agree that a necropsy should be done, there might be other issues involved as well.
    I've dealt with Ecoli and I wish you the best.
     
  6. harleygirl6197

    harleygirl6197 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks y'all for your answers and suggestions. Is coccidiosis the technical name for e-coli? The one thing I wanted to mention is that the chicken down in our basement is eating like there's no tomorrow. Doesn't want the feed pellets, but loves the uncooked oatmeal & the cracked corn. Our local feed store is Tractor Supply so will check if they have any of the recommended stuff. Again, thanks for your help!
     
  7. pasofinofarm

    pasofinofarm NONESUCH FARM CONROE TX

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    It sounds like your birds are weak and therefore are more apt to be seriously overcome by things that healthier animals would just live with i.e. parasites, e-coli.

    Have you been feeding the same feed? Is it possible it is contaminated or nutritionally inadequate?
    Is your water source clean?
    Does your housing have enough space and is it clean?
    Are there any other environmental issues or possible exposures?

    Not questioning your intents or practices but just trying to throw some ideas out there for you to look at.

    And most of all I just want to say I am sorry. It is very hard to lose an animal that you are trying to help live. (((( Hugs ))))
     
  8. pasofinofarm

    pasofinofarm NONESUCH FARM CONROE TX

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    Coccidia is a parasite that lives in the environment and is only a problem if it takes over in large numbers.It would probably have been discovered in your previous vet exams/necropsy. It is treated with medication over a few days. Every species has it own type so what birds have is not transmissable to humans or pets.
     
  9. harleygirl6197

    harleygirl6197 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks again to everyone for the thoughts & suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  10. harleygirl6197

    harleygirl6197 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have been feeding them the same feed, water is very clean, if I see dirt in the trough I clean it out. We clean the coop every 10 to 14 days by totally taking out all the shavings from floor & boxes and putting down fresh. Someone we ran into at TS today suggested spraying with a 10% bleach solution before putting in the new litter. Thank you for the hugs!!
     

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