Flock is sick again - advice needed

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BLaBauve, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. BLaBauve

    BLaBauve Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    Georgia
    About a month or two ago my flock was sick - symptoms were mainly sneezing. I put them on Sulmet for 7 days and Tylan for about 2 weeks. After that they went on Probiotics. They seemed to all recover and did well for 2 weeks. Now, I have a hen that is sneezing and another that is coughing (I think). She makes some weird honk sound, I think it's a cough. I do not know exactly what they have, but the antibiotics did seem to help. We just started eating their eggs again, I'd hate to put them back on antibiotics.

    Is this a pattern we're starting? Will they always be sick off and on? It would be really hard for us to cull our flock - but I'd like honest recommendations.

    Thank you,
    Beth
     
  2. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2010
    They likely have CRD... sneezing and coughing, some listlessness, eye watering and some nasal watering/discharge is common. Look up CRD and/or MG, etc.

    MG is especially slow moving through a flock... incubation is 6-21 days. This means it can take awhile to move through the whole flock. Some of them may not have gotten sick immediately in the first go-round, and now they're getting it, or they could be 'relapsing'. It's a CHRONIC...and once they've contracted it, they're carriers forever. They may never get sick again...or they may show symptoms under stress. They will infect new birds, and it can be passed on thru the eggs to the chicks. (eggs/meat are still safe to eat, however)

    Your options are:

    Treat it-- if/when symptoms reappear. It'd be best to separate the sick birds and treat only those showing symptoms. You cannot 'cure' them, but can manage any secondary infections that may arise during a flare-up. Isolating/treating only sick birds would prevent you from tossing eggs from the entire flock and prevent those NOT needing meds from being subjected to them.

    NOT treat it. Within this option are a few options, too. Some people (that aren't culling the entire flock) will NOT treat those with symptoms... if they 'make it' and 'beat it themselves', they feel that's what makes the flock healthier-- weeding out those that can't overcome it/live with it without constant medication. Cull those that obviously aren't doing well on their own... or let 'nature takes it's course', but that kinda seems harsh if a bird is suffering with a severe secondary infection. Or cull any that show respiratory symptoms as they crop up, immediately.

    OR-- cull the entire flock, sanitize and wait some time a bit of time for the virus or bacteria (MG is a bacteria, but behaves like a virus, which makes it capable of going into carrier status) If it's MG, it only survives about 3 days outside of the host. SOME of the things birds can carry, though, can live months outside of the host in the right conditions...


    IF you cull and start over, don't buy live birds UNLESS they are day olds (preferably from a hatchery that tests for MG/CRD since it can be passed to the chicks via carrier hen in the egg-- but this is at a much lower rate of transfer than direct contact with sick birds) or buy hatching eggs from 'clean' stock. Practice very good bio-security and never bring a live bird onto your property that could be a carrier of MG or any of the other illnesses that leave them as carriers.

    It's thought that the % of backyard flocks that are infected (carrier state) with MG or one of the other CRD illnesses is upwards of 80-90%. Many people have no idea... the initial infection may have been passed off as a "cold" (which chickens don't get in the sense that humans do), and then they remain carriers. With MG, the symptoms can be fairly mild...not all show symptoms (but can still be infected) and mortality is usually low in older pullets and adult birds. Not ALL in your flock MAY have it... or remain carriers, either. Without testing, it's impossible to know (or know EXACTLY what it is, too...but MG is likely contender). Some birds seem to resist it... others have more 'flare ups' and don't deal well with it.



    The birds that are sick now, do you know if they showed symptoms before? Perhaps they're just picking it up from the others, given the way it tends to move slowly through flocks. If they were definitely infected before, any number of things could make them have symptoms again--- stress (heat, cold, being moved, new birds, change in flock dynamics, etc).

    WHATEVER it is... know that it's a carrier disease (most things called "colds" in chickens are) and even if they recover after the initial, acute infection- as it moves thru the flock- and never show symptoms again...they WILL infect new birds. You shouldn't sell hatching eggs, live birds, or show your birds... basically, a live bird should never leave your property. Any friends with birds should be careful, very careful, to not track it home to their flock. Likewise, care should be taken so that you don't track it to 'clean' birds, etc.


    Sorry it's not better news--
    It's up to you how to proceed... it's a personal choice. Some cull immediately, some 'live with it' and take necessary precautions... and those that live with it, vary in how they deal with any flare ups. (as I said, some choose not to medicate... birds that overcome it and remain healthy get to stay, birds that can't deal with it-- are gone, one way or another. That's another personal choice to make.)
     
  3. BLaBauve

    BLaBauve Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    Georgia
    Gee, this is such great advice, thank you so much for taking the time to write all that!

    I have decided to contact our local poultry lab and have them test 1 of my hens showing symptoms (or her egg, however they do it). In the morning I will take the 2 out showing symptoms and put them in a tractor coop alone. I may give them one more shot at antibiotics, and hope for the best. Problem is I hate reintroducing hens to the flock - my girls get vicious with each other at first! They literally have to fight until one feels defeated, I feel like I have cock fights going on in my backyard!

    And to answer your questions I don't think these 2 hens showed symptoms the first time I saw all the symptoms.

    Thanks again.

    Beth
     
  4. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You know, I suppose at this point-- whatever it is-- it is just running it's slow course thru the flock. The others (at least several of them) have had it-- are probably still shedding the illness into their environment... SOOOOOOOO, of course, it's up to you, but there likely isn't a lot of harm left to happen in just leaving them within the flock. Don't treat the entire flock, just use injections or oral dosing for those you want to treat. Well, that is...if you know who lays what egg and can easily pick out the treated birds eggs to toss. That'd be the only reason (at this point, since it's already in your flock) to separate them. Tylan 50 or Baytril (you can get it in pills and split the pills up (into quarters) for oral dosing of individual birds, but it's Vet Rx only) seem to be about the best at handling most CRD secondary issues... the water soluble treatments don't really seem to do a whole lot. (in my experience, anyway)



    If you chose to treat secondary infections, I'd at least treat any that are 'honking' and really coughing/raspy. Say, for instance, you could choose not to treat if they just sneeze occasionally, but are acting fine, eating-drinking, not otherwise sick acting...

    The 'honking' and coughing are probably signs of a pretty good secondary infection going on in the respiratory tract.
     
  5. UrbanChick101

    UrbanChick101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 9, 2010
    Eastern Iowa
    I am new to this too, so this information is helpful. Had my birds for 2 weeks now and had one sneezing and now I am up to 3 or so sneezing. I bought the dura...cin that you add to the water. I know people should not eat thier eggs, can I feed them back to the birds scrambled?? Its so frustrating, as I just got my first two eggs Sunday and yesterday. Arggghh!! [​IMG]
     
  6. BLaBauve

    BLaBauve Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    Georgia
    Quote:Last time I treated them I used Tylan 50 in their water. I am very nervous to give injections, but do you think I should do the tylan injectable for the ones showing symptoms?
     
  7. IroquoisEgg

    IroquoisEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fair Oaks, CA
    Urbanchick101- No, do not feed them there eggs because if it is indeed CRD or MG this gets passed through their egg as well, so you'd be giving them eggs infected with the very illness you're treating.
     
  8. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can dose Tylan 50 injectable in orally- directly. Once a day. A 1/4cc for small birds/pullets (maybe less if very young and small), a 1/2cc for older pullets and smaller adults, 3/4 to 1 cc for large birds. (like large Brahmas, etc) Take care that they don't aspirate...getting it well past their trachea at the back of their tongue...

    BUT, to be honest... unless you're REALLY, REALLY afraid to give injections (I don't much like it either), they're actually easier to do than oral dosing some birds. Lots of people inject it into the breast muscle... I prefer subcutaneous (just under the skin). You can do the back of the neck, wing web.. just under the skin near the breast-- about an inch over from the keel bone, etc. The only thing I don't like about it injected is it apparently stings/makes them sore. Don't give it in the same spot every day... be warned that if given in the back of the neck, I've had a few that then walked around "hunch shouldered" for awhile because it doesn't feel so good I guess. I avoid the back of the neck now and try to give it in a place where they don't move constantly like their neck.

    BUT... while giving the actual injection to the bird, they didn't even flinch. Easy as pie. No squawk, no flinch... you'd not even know I was doing it. Wrap them in a towel, cover their heads if giving it other than the neck... pinch up some skin and inject. You probably won't even get a reaction on most birds.

    But you can dose it orally by syringe, it's just trickier getting in their mouths/down their throats if you've never done it. Once you get the syringe to the back of their throats, they usually don't struggle, but some can be quite hard to firmly-- but gently--get their mouths open. Tossing their heads, pulling away, etc. Injecting was actually much easier if you get passed the squeamish part of it.



    Are the ones showing symptoms acting poorly other than sneezing or coughing? Are they lethargic or not eating/drinking as well? I'd base my decision (if I were going to medicate) on that. The coughing/honking one would be more concerning to me than a quiet sneeze... it could be pneumonia setting in (OR, it cold be just the illness running it's course!). If I chose to treat one, I'd do the meds for 5 days... but you should see/hear improvement by day three or so.

    If they were otherwise acting 100% fine, I might just monitor them very closely for signs of secondary infections...and really watch their behavior and eating, etc.
    The MG/CRD usually takes about 2 weeks to run it's course in a bird... ABSENT any secondary infections. It's really only the secondary infections you're treating. If you treat for 3 days or so and there is NO improvement in symptoms... you're not using something that the illness is sensitive to OR you're not dealing with a secondary infection for the antibiotics to take care of.


    Urban chicken-- I would not feed them their own eggs. During acute infection, their hen to egg transfer rate is much higher... it falls off to a pretty low % later when in the carrier state. Feeding them their eggs would feed the infection to birds that may not have it (yet), etc. Consider Tylan 50 if you don't see very good improvement in three days and/or nearly 100% improvement in 5 days... or baytril (but it's vet Rx only). Those two seem most effective with most things that cause CRD.
     
  9. BLaBauve

    BLaBauve Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    Georgia
    The last few days we started eating their eggs again, should we stop because these 2 birds seems sick?

    They are acting totally normal, eating, drinking, laying, etc. Just every now and then they sneeze or cough. I was outside this morning for 10 minutes feeding them and didn't hear them make a peep.

    So you can really give the injectable tylan 50 that you buy at tractor supply to them orally? I had no idea!

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  10. coolchickens

    coolchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quick question... what is "tractor supply" and you said it was Rx only. Do you need an Rx at tractor supply? Is that an on-line business or something? Thanks... I've got a sneezing pullet also and put her on powdered Tetracyclin 800mg. in water. I had her on Sulmet about 2 wks ago and she got better but it seems to have reappeared so I was trying a different antibiotic. Is Tylan 50 more potent or something? Thanks
     

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