First time chicken owner requesting help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Anabariful, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. Anabariful

    Anabariful Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2017
    Beautiful Ohio
    Hello all, new here and new to chickens as I was born a "city kid." Fast forward 20 years and now living in the country with my husband and our chickens. When we bought our farm about 8 months ago, mother in law gave us two hens as a gift to our farm. One was a dark Brahman and the other is a buff Orpington. We have since added 8 "rare color Orpingtons" because I have fallen in love with Orpingtons. (4 Delaware, 2 lavender Cuckoo, 1 mottled, and 1 chocolate Cuckoo).. The original hens are a year now and my other Orpingtons are about 10-12 weeks old. They are cage free, free ranged all day, and return to their coops at nightfall.

    About 3 weeks ago I noticed 1 Delaware hen named Opal was acting a bit friendly. She would hang around the barn and come up to say hi whenever I came out to check on them. Usually they were a bit skidding. I attributed it to her personality and dismissed any illnesses as she was happily running about, eating, etc. As the weeks went on I noticed she started to hang me around more and more and less with the other chickens. Finally I noticed she was just walking about slow and ruffled. I picked her up and she was light as a feather and essentially skin and bones. I felt and still do, awful. How did I miss this? My husband and I both just thought she was becoming more friendly and unfortunately it was due to her illness. I made her an electrolyte drink, fed her mash and offered her the usual dry feed as well. I also offered treats to perk her up but she still passed away on Monday. :((( I have no clue what caused it. I looked her over when I brought her inside to try and nurse her back to health and saw no mites, no peck marks, blood, or any sign of trauma. Her eyes were clear. There was no mucus or drainage from her eyes, mouth, etc. She even was eating and drinking on her own while in her hospital box inside the house. She would attemp to jump out occasionally and then literally the next morning I found her passed away.

    My husband and his family although farmers didn't know what the proper care of chickens was: I.e. worming them, dusting, etc so I worry that may have caused my hen to pass. I discovered worming, dusting, etc. when looking up information for the sick hen. We have now wormed our remaining chickens with liquid Safeguard for goats although my husband still disagrees that they need it. What else regular care wise, should I be doing? When you know better you do better. :( Any idea what happened to my Delaware hen?

    Thank you all for the information and reading my long winded post. Much appreciated!
     
  2. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2015
    North Florida
    I'm sorry for your loss.
    Unfortunately there are a lot of possibilities as to what happened with your chicken, and without a necropsy there is no way to know.
    For future reference here is a list of labs by state: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahln/downloads/all_nahln_lab_list.pdf
    If you suspect parasites or cocci, then it is best to confirm with a fecal float test. Many vets will do this even if they don't treat birds, usually in the $20 range, give or take. That way you know what parasite and can make sure you use the best treatment.
    As far as general care, prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. Clean feeders and waterers, access to fresh, clean water all the time, adequate space, appropriate feed, clean living conditions (meaning not living piles of droppings), well ventilated coop, predator protection, and observation to catch problems as early as possible will go a long way.
     
  3. Anabariful

    Anabariful Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2017
    Beautiful Ohio
    Thanks coach723! They have access to clean, fresh water and food at all times. Their coop is very large and well ventilated, and we keep it pretty clean by changing the bedding every month. We use straw and a orchard grass mix. Should I be using something else or clean more often than once a month for 7 10-12 week old pullets?

    As far as care goes, I was meaning medications. Sorry for not clarifying. I know worming should occur every 6 months. What else should I be doing? How often should I dust for mites?

    I looked up Mareks (sp?) and some other diseases and none sounded like hers. It was like she basically just wasted away with no other symptoms. Her eyes weren't clouded, she had normal brown stools (no blood, not watery). She was able to walk. No limping, no splayed wings or legs. No vomiting although occasionally she would open her mouth and I saw some spit strings? Is that normal or a sign of thickness in the mouth fluids? No coughing or raspy breathing. No sour smells or lumpy crop. Thanks for the info on the vets and fecal floats. I'll be sure to get a sample in on my remaining hens as a just in case and if another one passes to do a necropsy. (Hopefully no losses though)
     
  4. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2015
    North Florida
    I use pine shavings in my coop. I don't use grasses because of the risk of impactions from eating it, and mold. My climate is extreme humidity.
    I do about the same cleaning schedule in mine, with the caveat that I have droppings boards installed under the roosts that get cleaned daily.
    This is also a daily monitor of health, as I see a good sample of droppings every morning.
    That is inside the coop/house. I have an enclosed run that gets cleaned once or twice a year, pine shavings again, that is using the 'deep litter' method. And I have a large fenced pasture that they range in during daylight hours. I guess what I'm saying, is that cleaning is going to be based on how much time they spend on that surface, whether it stays dry, and how many there are. I don't think there is one right answer. Unless it stinks! Then it needs cleaning!
    As for 'medications' my first aid kit is mostly geared towards wound care. I keep chlorhexidine solution, betadine, veterycin wound and skin care spray (I use this most), eye wash, neosporin, vet wrap, and some syringes (oral), epsom salts, castor oil (for leg mites), vitamins, probiotics, electrolites. I also keep safeguard and valbazen on hand because I do have parasites, confirmed, and corid because I do have cocci, confirmed. As for worming, I would confirm you have a parasite issue, and then the frequency of worming will depend on the severity of the load in your environment. Some people can worm once or twice year, some have to do it 3 or 4 times a year. You will have to see.
    Also, in the event you didn't know, for most common worms you dose, wait 10 days and dose again. This interrupts the complete life cycle of the worms. Also it is generally recommended that you alternate wormers to reduce the chance of breeding resistant worms. That's why I have two on hand.
    I don't dust my birds, never have, hopefully never will. I put wood ashes in their dust bath areas, and keep the coop clean, all surfaces are painted, I've never had mites except leg mites. Knock on wood.
    Hope that helps.
     

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