Final Pathology Report Results


9 Years
Jan 7, 2011
Oklahoma City
All the adult birds of the flock have tested positive for Mycoplasma gallisepticum. This organism causes chronic respiratory disease in chickens. It is not communicable to humans, but it IS very contagious among all fowl. It is also, apparently, very prevalent in Oklahoma. The state veterinarian, the pathologist at Oklahoma State University and my veterinarian are all in agreement that most flocks have it. If the birds don't get sick from the organism, they become carriers. What it does, is basically weaken the bird's immune system so that it is easier for them to get sick. If they're stressed, then they'll be more likely to get ill. Which explains this outbreak. The heavy predator losses in the first of the month triggered illness in the susceptible birds.

Our options are depopulating or living with the disease and managing it. Commercial flocks manage it by giving their flocks antibiotics their whole lives. Obviously, we're not going to be doing that. Currently I have the birds on an intensive treatment with several natural therapies. I am giving them unpasteurized, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar and garlic in their drinking water. I am mixing olive leaf extract powder into their food. I am supplying them with plain yogurt for probiotics. Every day we catch all the birds, from one week old to mature birds and spray their throats with olive leaf extract spray.

The plan is to continue treatment with the above measures for two weeks. At that time I will continue feeding them yogurt, and will probably continue apple cider vinegar in their water. We will switch to nipple drinkers to reduce the chance of contamination by wild birds. And we will just allow the birds to live their happy, chickeny existence here on our place. We will not be replacing birds as they are lost either to old age, disease or predators. We will simply let the flock depopulate by attrition. Charl and Pac's little boy is shaping up to be a fine looking rooster. He was destined to be a capon because I didn't want the Rhode Island Red genetics in my Dominique breeding birds, but at this point that really doesn't matter. We'll keep the top two roos from this spring's hatches and all the hens. Then, we'll just see what happens. After these birds have died, whenever that ends up being, then we'll disinfect everything, let it all lie fallow for six months and start over with our heritage breeds.

At this point I have a closed flock. I won't be taking the birds off the farm for any reason. I won't sell or give away chickens, chicks, or hatching eggs. No shows, or swap meets or anything. Does that sound appropriate to you guys? I wish I'd known when I bought these birds that chickens don't get colds or have allergies. My very first birds, the breeding group of six pullets and one cockerel I bought had this. I noticed the rooster had watery eyes and mentioned it and the breeder told me "he's not sick. He just has hay fever." Gah, what a moron I was. Could have saved myself a lot of heartache, but I hadn't found BYC then.

What you are doing is very admirable. Some people would have just culled and started over. It shows responsibility and care for your animals. I commend you for it and you have my admiration .
To you and yours. Ingrid
I noticed the rooster had watery eyes and mentioned it and the breeder told me "he's not sick. He just has hay fever." Gah, what a moron I was.

YOU were not the moron. That was inexcusable on the part of the so-called "breeder" to foist sick birds on you. Happens way too often, I'm afraid.​
I know I'm fixing to get alot of flack over my post, but No One can say they are MG free unless their entire flock has been tested, and according to the State of Florida (this is what they stated: It is unlikely MG will be eradicated from the commercial poultry industry in the coming years. However, through biosecurity programs and effective use of vaccines, losses can be reduced.)

MG has been a problem for years and it will continue to be a problem as long as wild birds exist, unless you can build confinements that are 100% wild bird resistent.

The vaccines only mask the actual illness and birds will still acquire the disease, just not show symptoms. This still isn't eradicating the problem, it's only hiding the problem.

They are trying to reduce losses caused by MG by vaccines, not curing any illnesses. There is no vaccine that will make birds immune to this disease and not become carriers.
Though it is very nobel to keep the flock, sadly they sort of become part of the bigger problem by hosting MG and potentially passing it along back to wild birds and then on to other flocks.

For example if a farm down the road decided to close a flock or herd due to disease I would not be pleased due to the transmission risk. So the other way around if my chickens or other animals for that matter catch nasty kooddies the most responsible thing might be to cull them.

Sorry, not nice to have to face these things.

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