chickens sick and dying - what can I do to stop this?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ejctm, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my hens is quite poorly and very underweight. She is 3 years old and a RIR/LS cross. She has been unable to fly/jump up to the roost for the past few days and this was what alerted me to her illness as she otherwise looks fine.

    She has really fluffy feathers so I didn't notice how thin she was until I picked her up. There is no sign of any injury or trauma, or lice or mites. She has access to food and water. Her poop is runny and smelly. Their food is fresh with no mould.

    I have now wormed her and brought her inside. Fed her scrambled egg and mealworms, added garlic to her food, given her vitamins in her water, and apple cider vinegar. She is eating but not a lot. Have syringed water into her mouth to make sure she is hydrated. What else can I do? The vets around here know less about chickens than I do, so no point in taking her unless she needs antibiotics. Her comb is nice and red, and eyes bright, no discharge from eyes or nares. No sneezing or coughing. She is listless and just sits there.

    I went into the coop today and another hen was dead in the nest box. She was a good weight with no signs of illness we had noticed, so a real surprise to find her dead. No predators have been. All my other birds seem fine.

    The only thing that has changed recently has been the addition of a new duck to our mixed flock of chickens and ducks about 3 weeks ago. I did not quarantine her as she came from a good breeder whose birds were all healthy. Wish I had now, but the duck is fit and healthy. Could she have brought a disease to the chickens that is not affecting her?

    Tomorrow I will scrub out the coop and dig over the ground they are on. Can they be poisoned by dirty ground? Are they dying of old age? Haven't had many eggs for a couple of months, but it is winter here and I expected them to take a break.

    I am at a loss to understand what has happened.

    Can anyone advise?
     
  2. chickengrl

    chickengrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, sorry about your hens. Wish I knew more about whether a duck can pass illness to a chicken. Wanted to say I am sorry and bump you back up and hopefully someone with more knowledge will see and respond. [​IMG]
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Could be internal laying with your 3 year old hen. That is the classic age for it to start, 2-3 years old, and they lose massive amounts of weight. Has she been laying at all that you know of?

    Weight loss also can be worms, so you'd need to rule that out first, but I've lost so darn many to internal laying that it's the first thing I think of. Look up threads about internal laying and read up a bit. They can also die suddenly of egg peritonitis, which is an associated ailment and sometimes the way internal laying begins in the first place. Sadly, I'm losing one of my favorite hens right now to this, and she will be #10 to go that way.
     
  4. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    There are some strains of cocci that can affect older birds if they have never been exposed. Ducks and geese can carry cocci and not have it affect them.....

    Try some amprolium.
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    You know, Jean, I rarely think of coccidiosis with older birds who have been on the same ground most of their lives. It's a possibility, I suppose, and Amprolium (Corid) can't hurt anything since it's not an antibiotic and won't mess with their gut flora.
     
  6. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the tips. I will try and find an online supplier of Amprolium to the UK.

    I have never heard of internal laying before. All but 1 of our 5 hens have been taking a break from laying, but I put that down to the winter and the low light (we don't supplement with extra light).

    We have had our hens since they were a day old, and since they are pets we are quite attached to them. I am still really shocked at the apparently healthy hen who just died so suddenly. The sick one's poop today is even runnier - like yellow water. Yesterday it was like brown custard. I don't know if this is a side effect of the Fenbendazole (Panacur) I gave her yesterday or a deterioration in her condition.
     
  7. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, I could not find any supplier of Amprolium to the UK, but when I wiki'ed it, I learned it is a coccidiostat. The hens were all given medicated feed when they were chicks so shouldn't they be immune?

    I could get some more medicated chick feed for them - is this suitable for older hens? I think it is poisonous for ducks anyway.

    Going to look up internal laying now...
     
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The coccidiostat in chick starter will not make them immune. In fact, it's just a tiny boost to help them till they develop immunity. I still have to treat for cocci, even with medicated starter, just as soon as chicks who have been in the brooder for weeks touch the ground. With a 3 year old hen, I seriously doubt cocci, though it's not impossible.
     
  9. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is there anything I can give her for the diarrhoeia?

    She is eating and drinking a little, but the smell of the runny stuff coming out of the other end is disgusting! and in my kitchen! She is probably dehydrating but we are encouraging her to drink.
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    will she eat plain yogurt? also butter milk and kefir are really good to help with gut issues.
     

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