Dying flock...help?!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by m00res, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. m00res

    m00res Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lost a silkie a couple of weeks ago. Super thin in spite of free range and unlimited feed. Sent in for necropsy and the results are not in yet. No worms according to the vet, but I'm not sure which worms they tested for. They are an avian vet but I don't think they see many chickens. I now have at least 4 other birds with the weight loss! Who know how long the weight loss has been going on. I didn't know to check it before and I can't say that I actually knew what a thin chicken looked/felt like before now. The feathers really hide it. Rookie mistake. :-(

    I changed their feed today hoping it could be food related. Then one of my girls didn't go in to the coop tonight. We found her under the coop kind of spaced out. Very thin! I brought her in and fed her cooked eggs, yogurt and olive oil soaked bread. She acted STARVED even though her crop was full!! (not impacted, i checked about a week ago). Her feathers are a wreck. I thought she might be moulting. It actually looks like part of her comb is darker than the rest. Would this be possible? Part of it looks blueish/purple. Not black like pecking spots, just kind of discolored.

    I decided to bring in each thin bird individually and bathe them (poopy butts) and feed them the same olive oil, egg, yogurt treats. Same thing, full crop acting starved. After this, at least two of the birds pooped regular poop, but in a pool of water. What is that?! I also have at least 3 birds laying soft shelled/shell less eggs in spite of free choice oyster shell and baked egg shells ground up and put in their feed.

    3 new birds were introduced about a month ago. One of the new birds is sick. The other two are fine and they all came from the same flock. Very healthy happy girls. I also keep catching the local wild birds flying in the coop for the feed. I have to fix that, I know. No other chicken owners come to my house. No other chickens near by.

    Can you guys please help? I do not think the vet is going to know what to look for in spite of the billion dollars I just gave him. Could it be cocci? What about that purple comb? The silkie went SO fast and I'm really worried. Please help!

    Thank you!
     
  2. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You'll be looking for blood in their poo if it's cocci...

    How cold is your area?
     
  3. m00res

    m00res Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 25, 2008
    San Diego
    Oh, I forgot to mention that there is blood in the poop, but only a little. You have to really look for it to see it. (I'm becoming somewhat of a poop stalker - good lord!) I'm in San Diego so it is not cold here. I don't think it has been below 50 and their coop is pretty warm. Also, the sickest bird consistently lays eggs with large brown spots in the whites. That started about three weeks ago, maybe sooner.

    Sorry, it's late and I'm forgetting details. Thank you for reminding me and thank you for your help! :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  4. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

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    Fair Oaks, California
    Okay, i am not as much of an expert as some on this board, but from my limited experience, here is what i would check. My first thought would be worms but your vet has ruled that out. Next, you want to check for mites or lice. Pick up each bird and tip it over. Check around the vent area close to the base of the feathers shafts and see if you can see anything moving. Blood sucking lice can seriously deplete a chicken. My kids had lice, not all of them, just my super fluffy silkies. It took medication and several rounds of dusting with food grade DE to get it under control.

    Are your chickens free range? Could they be eating grass that has fertilizer on it? Could they be getting to plants or vines that might be toxic to them? Do they have access to grit? On the eggs shells, you don't want to put it in their feed. Offer it free choice either tossed on the ground or in a separate container.

    For the time being, you may want to offer them plain yogurt and scrambled eggs every day. It sounds like they need to get their strength up to deal with whatever this is.

    Just read your next post. Sounds like you may have coccidiosis. You will need to treat for that.
     
  5. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    I have understood you to say your vet (I assume avian) is doing the necropsy? I think you are better off with a poultry specialist (your state veterinarian will send to a specialist poultry diagnostics lab) rather than an avian vet (who in general does not deal with many poultry specific diseases).
    Ask for the countact information for the state vet at your county extension (I believe there is a sticky with the info how to find them at the top of the forum)
     
  6. Hattie the Hen

    Hattie the Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Try these 2 sites as they both have photos of chicken pooh---it might help! http://www.dlhunicorn.conforums.com/ & http://www.chat.allotment.org.uk/in *** My apologies fot leaving off part of these URLS previosly, Hattie***I hope I've put it right now! I'M SORRY BUT WHEN I CHECKED THESE OUT JUST NOW NEITHER WENT THROUGH TO THE RIGHT PAGES SO PLEASE DELEAT THIS POST. MY APOLOGIES ONCE AGAIN.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  7. Your links are to strange things Hattie.

    Please let us know what the vet comes up with.

    Chickens that get thin and die are not necessarily dying from Cocci.

    If you have blood in your poo, then you have a real problem though.

    White poo is another bad one on a continual basis.

    I gather you have no worms or have treated for these.

    Some chickens do recover, but they will be carriers of whatever virus you have. Chickens are notorious for this. A cold snap, a predator threat or whatever will make them shed a virus.

    Look for a compacted crop in you thin birds too.
     
  8. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    IMO I would dose for cocci anyway, if it is going to take awhile to get vet results. Corid is a little easier on them then Sulmet, but Sulmet is easier to find. Treating for cocci is one of the easiest and cheapest things to rule out. If not that, then go on to the next form of treatment. It may not be coccidia, but I have found in my warm climate to be more of a problem then most experience. I have also taken birds to my State department of Ag & Animals and they do fairly cheap necropsys. They are the ones that told me of the problems in my soil with coccidia.
    Best wishes for your birds and quick test results
     
  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    rimshoes: ...Your links are to strange things Hattie.

    LOL the first link is to the poo section at my library...with extensive info /articles on all things poo ... simple photos without the info to understand and interpret what you are seeing and tie it into other factors is limiting in its helpfulness ... there are not very many photos in the articles which is why I have an open invitation to all who take the effort (or are willing to) to photograph their sick poos before and after a faecal and medication.

    Thinness / losing weight is often called "going light" ... when combined with blood in poo this can be indicative of cocci (in younger birds > often no medicated starter was used > cocci is fairly uncommon in older birds) or
    worms (cappilllaria is often found to have damaged the intestines and often presents with blood) or
    other enteral disease

    going light/ losing weight while eating sufficent amount of food is a symptom of avian mycobacteriosis (avian TB)

    ... you can also have a combination of things going on... this is why it is so important to have a proper necropsy when you see it is affected more than just one or two birds.​
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  10. Quote:LOL the first link is to the poo section at my library...with extensive info /articles on all things poo ... simple photos without the info to understand and interpret what you are seeing and tie it into other factors is limiting in its helpfulness ... there are not very many photos in the articles which is why I have an open invitation to all who take the effort (or are willing to) to photograph their sick poos before and after a faecal and medication.

    Thinness / losing weight is often called "going light" ... when combined with blood in poo this can be indicative of cocci (in younger birds > often no medicated starter was used > cocci is fairly uncommon in older birds) or
    worms (cappilllaria is often found to have damaged the intestines and often presents with blood) or
    other enteral disease

    going light/ losing weight while eating sufficent amount of food is a symptom of avian mycobacteriosis (avian TB)

    ... you can also have a combination of things going on... this is why it is so important to have a proper necropsy when you see it is affected more than just one or two birds.

    NO, I was speaking of these links:
    http://www.dlhunicorn.conforums.com and http://www.chat.allotment.org
    They go to non chicken information as least on my computer.

    You Sir, are one of my very favorit people on this site. I do often trasnverse the dragons site. I have an account there. I found this site and others in the early summer of last year when I was going to butcher my meat birds and needed advise.

    I do a lot of lurking except on the BYC site.

    I feel it is EXTREMLY important to get a POOP page going. This alone has helped me to find out who is sick and who is normal and what to do about the sick ones.

    Perhaps some day I will get this together. For now it is a slow go.
     

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