Fourth "healthy" bird to die:(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sovia, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. sovia

    sovia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Black Hills of SD
    Last May, I started 15 black star pullets from Murray McMurray hatchery. They were vaccinated for Marek's and fed medicated chick feed for 20 weeks. At about 16 weeks, I divided my coop and put the pullets in one side with sole access to the run and left five hens from my old flock (that had not shown any health issues in the more than 2 years I had them)into the other side with access to free range. After several weeks of this arrangement, I finally blended the two flocks.

    A few months ago, I noticed a five-month old pullet appeared to be somewhat lethargic. She was a healthy-appearing bird - glossy feathers, clear eyes, no discharge, no difficulty breathing - absolutely nothing wrong other than she seemed "off" somehow. I found her dead the next day.

    Several weeks later, another pullet also became lethargic and showed signs of runny green poo, but nothing more. She had been remarkably healthy until this event. Laying, eating, everything. I isolated her and she managed to hang in there for about five days before succumbing.

    Three weeks ago, I found another dead pullet inside the run. I assumed that she had not made it inside the coop before the automatic door closed and that she had succumbed to the cold. It looked like she had been roosting on a ladder that I keep in the run and that she had simply died and fell:(

    Yesterday, I noticed a hen (one of the older birds) behaving a little "off" although she was very healthy in appearance and had been laying and everything up to this point. This morning I found her dead.

    Obviously, something is going on here. I've had chickens for five years now and have never experienced this. I haven't brought in any new birds. I feed 18% Nutrena flock raiser, free choice grit and oyster shell. Any ideas?
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    Sorry that you have been losing so many birds. There are so many things that can happen with chickens--coccidosis, worms, mites, impacted crop, respiratory infections, Mareks disease, egg binding or peritonitis, and so many others. The only way to really tel for sure is to have a sick or deab bird necropsied by the state vet or tested by the state agricultural agent. Even with building up an immunity to coccidiosis on your property, a new strain can always be tracked in on shoes or tires. Most of the time with an infectious disease, there are several who get sick close to the same time. Could there be any lead or poison that they are getting into? It is interesting that most of the deaths were the younger pullets. I hope you are able to figure it out, so you stop losing them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Sorry for your losses... Have a necropsy done:
    Animal Disease Research & Diagnostic Laboratory
    South Dakota State University,
    Box 2175, N. Campus Dr.
    Brookings, SD 57007 Phone 605-688-5171 Fax 605-688-6003
    http://www.sdstate.edu/vs/adrdl/
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Noobchick

    Noobchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, that's bizarre and has to be so frustrating and sad!! Is it possible that their feed has gone off?

    I agree with the others: get a necropsy done if possible. They're usually really affordable and can give you some answers. Please keep us updated!
     
  5. sovia

    sovia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Black Hills of SD
    Thanks for the replies! I will call the state lab tomorrow to inquire about a necropsy. I live more than 6 hours drive away so I'm curious as to how this will work. In the meantime, I put the latest hen in a trash bag in the freezer.
     
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    @sovia Refrigerate, do not freeze!
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Ignore the California specific details, it's a copy and paste from a post I did.

    How to Send a Bird for a Necropsy

    They need the whole bird, refrigerated, not frozen. If you live in CA, there are four labs that do necropsies on poultry (chickens, turkeys, waterfowl) for free. I know that they do out of state necropsies, but I think they charge for those. You could call them and ask what they charge for out of state "backyard poultry". The lab I use is the one in Tulare, CA. If you are in CA, call them and ask for their FedEx account number, it will save a bunch on shipping charges.

    CAHFS
    18830 Road 112
    Tulare, CA 93274-9042
    (559) 688-7543
    (559) 686-4231 (FAX)
    [email protected]



    The other labs are listed here:
    http://www.cahfs.ucdavis.edu/services/lab_locations.cfm


    If it's Friday, unless you want to overnight for Saturday delivery, I would suggest shipping on Monday for Tuesday delivery. What you need to do, if you haven't already done so, is put your bird in your refrigerator, NOT the freezer! Then you need to find a box, line it with styrofoam (I use the 4'x8'x1" stuff from Home Depot. You can also get smaller pieces at an art store like Michael's, but is way more expensive. Click here to see foam options. You'll also need at least one ice pack. Here are some pictures that I took of the last bird that I sent:

    Box lined with foam on four sides and bottom. Seams of foam taped sealed.
    [​IMG]


    Box, sides, bottom and and top.
    [​IMG]


    Frozen ice pack in ziplock baggie.
    [​IMG]


    Brown paper on top of ice pack.
    [​IMG]


    Hen in ziplock baggie on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]


    Brown paper on top of hen.
    [​IMG]


    Ice pack on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]


    Lid on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]

    Inside the box you should also include a submission form in a ziplock baggie. Do not tell anyone at FedEx that you're shipping a dead animal... that seems to really worry them. Just make sure that nothing will leak.

    Hope this helps!

    -Kathy
     
  8. BigECarter

    BigECarter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was able to send my hen to the state lab using the health department's courier service. It cost less than $10. I suggest that you call your state poultry lab and ask if they know an inexpensive method to get the hen there.
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    California will let us use their FedEx account which saves about 50%

    -Kathy
     
  10. sovia

    sovia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2008
    Black Hills of SD
    Yesterday, I was able to speak with the state lab regarding having a necropsy done. Apparently, everything has to go through a local vet and, obviously, the bird should not have been put in the freezer - a big "duh" on my part. I also spoke with the state vet who wasn't very helpful. I called my local vet and we discussed what's being going on and he agreed that I should try the Corid and Safeguard. He also said that I should contact him the minute I notice anything out of the ordinary or see any funny poo. At least I feel like I'm doing something now instead of watching my birds drop one by one.

    Question, the Corid I bought is liquid-based. Should I limit the flock to the coop/run for the next couple of weeks so that they don't drink from melting snow puddles?

    Thanks so much for everyone's help. It's always good to know that the forum is here as a resource/sounding board!
     

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