Dead and sick chickens. Don't know what else to try

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SweetandSavory, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. SweetandSavory

    SweetandSavory Out Of The Brooder

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    I have lost 2 chickens this week to I don't know what. 1st one stayed on the roost so around 10am we took him off, i gave him some water, he squeaked, gurgled and he died in my arms (americana 4 1/2 months old) 2nd one, a few days later, I could tell wasn't acting right (Cream crested legbar about 4 months old) she was all puffed up and staying in the coop, she let me pick her up (none of mine let me) I brought her in the house gave her electroytes and probiotics which came out of her mouth. She had mites on her so everyone got Ivermectin. She died that night so I figured she was anemic and I just got to her too late. Today I went out and I have 2 that have not been walking right, we just rearranged the coop and I thought it was do to that, so they're been in another building without any roosts well today one of them is puffed up and squawking like "help me" She ate some meal worms but not in the frenzy they usually do and her poop is like an cream ooze. I'm giving them Corrid thinking that its coccidia although I haven't seen any blood in anyones poop. My husband is picking up wormer on his way home but I've read that typically worms won't kill an otherwise healthy chicken. I'm not sure if this is going to work and I don't have any vets nearby and the state labs are not answering phones.

    Anything that you think can help please let me know I'm so upset and don't want any other to die.
     
  2. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! can you post some poop pictures?

    -Kathy
     
  3. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so sorry about your chickens!

    First thing I would do is separate the ones who are showing any symptoms. There's a good chance that everyone has been exposed but in the off chance they haven't, better be safe than sorry.

    Keep them somewhere warm and quiet.

    I know you said there are no vets nearby, but do you mean poultry vets or just vets in general. Just about any vet can/will do a fecal test regardless of the species. It's usually fairly inexpensive too, less than $20. it will tell you if you have coccidia or worms present in the flock.

    You said you gave one water and another electrolytes, how are you giving them these? Are you letting them drink them on their own or giving it to them with a syringe? It is incredibly easy to give a chicken liquids incorrectly and have it go down the wrong pipe. Anything given with a syringe should be directed towards the back right (your left if you are facing them) of their throat very slowly. Or if you have a tube small enough, you can use the tube to get directly down into their crop. Do a search for tube feeding for instructions.

    This thread has a lot of good information and helpful links; https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...rgency-and-supportive-care-updated-12-21-2015
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Research Marek's disease. Sometimes it causes lameness but it can cause quite sudden death without neurological symptoms.... possibly caused by visceral tumours. I would recommend getting a necropsy done on the next one that dies. Sometimes the lame ones will recover or partially recover but then have a more severe attack several weeks/months later. It's mostly young birds under a year old that succumb to it and outbreaks occur at times of stress so adolescence is a particularly vulnerable time. The stress of moving coop may also have caused the outbreak. Do you know if they were vaccinated for Marek's Disease?.... this would need to have been done within 24hrs of hatching, so if you bought them as chicks from a hatchery it may have been an optional extra.

    Unfortunately it is an awful disease which currently has no recognised treatment and is very easily transmitted. I have it in my flock, so I recognise the heartbreak you are going through.

    I'm not saying it definitely is Marek's Disease, but it is very likely, particularly now that you are seeing birds that are lame or having difficulty walking. I hope I'm wrong but it is an extremely common and easily contracted virus.
     
  5. SweetandSavory

    SweetandSavory Out Of The Brooder

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    I will look but probably need to post poop tomorrow, I wouldn't be able to find some in the wood chips, their the same color.

    I always separate as soon as I realize there is an issue. They always have free choice water with something in it even if just ACV. When sick I use a syringe and do believe I'm doing it correctly. Todays sick bird is still well enough that I'm place water in her mouth and she's drinking it. The other day I was forcing water on her and it sounded like digestive sounds. When I tipped her forward everything came back out tho.

    I don't have any poultry vets. I did speak to my vet today. He said they would look at 1 sick chicken so assuming she makes it through the night I'll take her tomorrow. Should I take random samples from everyone and bring them to the vet?

    The reason I was speaking to him today was because I had a fecal done for 1 of my alpaca and he has coccidia. I need to research more about that. How do I get it off my land? My chickens have had it before and now my alpaca.
     
  6. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Coccidia is always present. It is a parasite of opportunity. Best thing to prevent it is good husbandry, good diet and clean living conditions. Beware that some vets will see one cocci and call it an infection when in reality, they are always there. Not a bad idea to ask them how many they counted and double check the numbers.

    Not a bad idea to get a sample from one of your healthy chickens for comparison but I don't think it's necessary to do more than that. Just paying for the same test a couple times over that will tell you the same thing.

    Oh, and the water coming out when you tip her forward isn't much of a concern. Some of my hens do that when it's hot and they drink too much...

    Best of luck!
     
  7. SweetandSavory

    SweetandSavory Out Of The Brooder

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  8. SweetandSavory

    SweetandSavory Out Of The Brooder

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    I had thought of Mareks but it just didn't seem to fit but I will research again. I will guess that they weren't vaccinated.

    What are you doing to help your flock? So sorry to hear, it's heartbreaking to see them die.
     
  9. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For me it started with one lame one and like everyone you automatically think injury but then a second and third with the e type of lameness was too much of a coincidence. I had had deaths in one or two older birds prior to that, some quite sudden and others lingering, but then the 6month old youngsters going lame was the moment I became suspicious and then I did a post mortem exam on the first one that I decided to euthanize and found large tumours on her leg and abdomen.

    I did try turmeric and black pepper mixed into scrambled egg as that is supposed to reduce tumours but after a week or so they got sick of it and it just stressed me and them trying to get them to eat it. Now I feed the sick ones whatever they will eat. I have found that having the companionship of another hen in sick bay stimulates them to compete for food and keeps them from being depressed and getting them out on grass in sunshine (in a cage) but with the rest of the flock foraging around them makes a huge difference. Sadly here in the UK sunny days are limited, especially at this time of year and it's too cold and wet or them to go out on the grass, so all I can do is make them as comfortable and as happy as possible and hope that they will survive until the spring. I had to cull a cream legbar cock last week that had his first attack a year ago, when he was suddenly badly lame for a few days and then completely recovered over a couple of weeks and has shown no sign of any more problems until 2 weeks ago when I found him on his side and unable to get up. His leg had gone again and his neck was also starting to twist. He was still eating and drinking though, so I kept him warm and comfortable, but then his system started to shut down and he wouldn't eat and drink anymore and I knew it was time to call it a day.

    On the other hand, I have a young pullet that started with paralysis of her wing 6 weeks ago. It was so bad she was tripping over it. I trimmed the feathers to help a bit and put her in the infirmary with her brother who has persistent pasty butt which I suspect may also be Marek's related. They have both improved to the point that I let them out to free range with the flock through the day and they stay in the infirmary overnight, where I can monitor poop and I know they have good access to food and water. Both are under size but they have good quality life. My infirmary/brooder is in the hen house so that they can remain part of the flock.... My other birds have all been exposed to the virus so I don't isolate Marek's sick birds.
    I am lucky that the strain I have is not as virulent as some members of this forum experience. I've had 28 broody reared chicks this past summer all reared within the flock and only these 2 have shown possible signs of Marek's. There are 5 pullets just coming into lay.... got my first egg from one yesterday, so this is a critical time... Marek's strikes at times of stress and the confusion of hormones and egg laying can trigger an outbreak..... as can over enthusiastic young cockerels trying to mate them when they are not ready.

    There are several very good threads on Marek's on this forum and I know there are people trying human anti virus drugs on their sick birds and others trying St John's Wort. The difficulty is that some birds experience quite dramatic recoveries, with or without medication so it's very difficult to assess efficacy and of course others decline and die quite quickly regardless. I now just give supportive care.

    Whatever it is that is ailing your flock I wish you luck in dealing with it and if I can give you any further help just ask.

    Regards

    Barbara

    PS. If it is Marek's, keeping your flock as stress free as possible helps prevent outbreaks. Therefore avoid overcrowding, keep adolescent cockerels separate from the females (a bachelor pad for the boys is good until they get over the raging hormones phase) and ensure plenty of feeding and water stations so that all have access to food without risk of bullying.
     
  10. SweetandSavory

    SweetandSavory Out Of The Brooder

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    Barbara

    I think your right, its Mareks. At first it just didn't seem to fit (the 1st 2 had no paralysis just wasted away) but today, both with the lame legs are very sick . And yes it all coincides with the cockerels raging hormones.

    Now it all makes sense. I have a rooster with a twisted beak who's neck is also twisted and looks like 1 leg is longer then the other. He so happy tho, as soon as he sees me he runs to where ever I am. He is a favorite and I realize probably the 1st to show signs but I was too inexperienced to see it.

    I will call my Cooperative Extension today to see if there is another avenue to get necropsy. Thank you for your help and for giving me hope that they may not all die.
     

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