Fowl pox, molting, sour crop and ???

feather13

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 4, 2012
767
1,344
351
southern california
We seem to be having some multiple disease issues in our flock.

1) Yesterday one of our Crevecoeurs started acting strange. Standing in the corner, lying down, puffed up, generally lethargic. She had no injuries that I could see, but when I felt her crop last night, it was squishy and seemed painful/sensitive to her. This morning I found her dead. She had no wheezy breathing, odd smell, or fluid coming out of her beak.

Could she have had sour crop? Our flock free ranges during the day, have no access to grass, don't have moldy food, and get plenty of grit (their run and our yard have very sandy soil). Is sour crop transmissible?

2) Today I noticed one of our EEs and the other Crevecoeur are puffed up and kind of lethargic. All of our chickens right now are molting heavily (in 9-odd years of having chickens, I've never noticed so many feathers everywhere). Could they also be sick or is this common molting behavior? Our EEs and Crevecoeurs are very skittish, so I might be able to check them tonight when they are roosting.

We have Mareks in our flock (no active cases in 2+ years, but I know they've all been exposed to it). They don't have any of the tell-tale signs (legs in the splits, palpable tumors, etc.) though.

3) One of our Sex Links also seems to have fowl pox (attaching photo). She's a bit of a bully (why do we insist on getting Sex Links? They are very loud and they are bullies LOL), so I know these aren't peck wounds. She's also acting normal. We don't have standing water (we're in southern California where there's a major drought) and it doesn't seem any of the neighbors have standing water or pools.

After unsuspectingly buying chicks from an unethical breeder (who also gave us Mareks-infected birds), we had wet fowl pox in our flock which killed several of them. This doesn't look like that, but I don't know what else it could be.

Any help or advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. I'm going out of town on Sunday for a week, so I'm freaking out a little bit.
 

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Chicken poppy

Crowing
May 9, 2021
1,451
4,823
271
Connecticut
We seem to be having some multiple disease issues in our flock.

1) Yesterday one of our Crevecoeurs started acting strange. Standing in the corner, lying down, puffed up, generally lethargic. She had no injuries that I could see, but when I felt her crop last night, it was squishy and seemed painful/sensitive to her. This morning I found her dead. She had no wheezy breathing, odd smell, or fluid coming out of her beak.

Could she have had sour crop? Our flock free ranges during the day, have no access to grass, don't have moldy food, and get plenty of grit (their run and our yard have very sandy soil). Is sour crop transmissible?

2) Today I noticed one of our EEs and the other Crevecoeur are puffed up and kind of lethargic. All of our chickens right now are molting heavily (in 9-odd years of having chickens, I've never noticed so many feathers everywhere). Could they also be sick or is this common molting behavior? Our EEs and Crevecoeurs are very skittish, so I might be able to check them tonight when they are roosting.

We have Mareks in our flock (no active cases in 2+ years, but I know they've all been exposed to it). They don't have any of the tell-tale signs (legs in the splits, palpable tumors, etc.) though.

3) One of our Sex Links also seems to have fowl pox (attaching photo). She's a bit of a bully (why do we insist on getting Sex Links? They are very loud and they are bullies LOL), so I know these aren't peck wounds. She's also acting normal. We don't have standing water (we're in southern California where there's a major drought) and it doesn't seem any of the neighbors have standing water or pools.

After unsuspectingly buying chicks from an unethical breeder (who also gave us Mareks-infected birds), we had wet fowl pox in our flock which killed several of them. This doesn't look like that, but I don't know what else it could be.

Any help or advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. I'm going out of town on Sunday for a week, so I'm freaking out a little bit.
We have a sex link, and can tottally agree, most are noisy little snobby bullies that love food.
So, im not to sure, our chickens arent personally lethargic and puffy when molting but i could be wrong.
Keep in mind that fowl pox doesnt just come from mosquitoes, although them being the main carriers, it can slowly come from other chickens carrying the disease or other bugs,

i wish the best for your flock!
 

feather13

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 4, 2012
767
1,344
351
southern california
We have a sex link, and can tottally agree, most are noisy little snobby bullies that love food.
So, im not to sure, our chickens arent personally lethargic and puffy when molting but i could be wrong.
Keep in mind that fowl pox doesnt just come from mosquitoes, although them being the main carriers, it can slowly come from other chickens carrying the disease or other bugs,

i wish the best for your flock!
Thank you so much for your reply! LOL... your sex link sounds like ours. They have pecked holes in our clothing trying to get food. If I were very small, they would kill and eat me immediately. But they are also very friendly and egg laying machines, so I guess it evens out in the end.

Good to know about the molting. I really will need to check the puffy, lethargic feral chickens tonight when they roost.
 

Chicken poppy

Crowing
May 9, 2021
1,451
4,823
271
Connecticut
Thank you so much for your reply! LOL... your sex link sounds like ours. They have pecked holes in our clothing trying to get food. If I were very small, they would kill and eat me immediately. But they are also very friendly and egg laying machines, so I guess it evens out in the end.

Good to know about the molting. I really will need to check the puffy, lethargic feral chickens tonight when they roost.
i dont know why their like that! ours get on top of my pants and start scratching and digging for food even though theres grass and dirt right next to me! They are very calm tempered to, so i guess thats good. :)

keep us updated if something happens!
 

feather13

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 4, 2012
767
1,344
351
southern california
Glad you have such spirited sex links!

The Crevecoeur and EE are still puffed up and lethargic. They are so difficult to catch, but I can't see mites or anything else on them (because they're molting, it's pretty easy to see their skin). I'm leaving town tomorrow, so am pretty worried about them.

The RIR now seems to have fowl pox, in addition to the sex link :(

A fearless little falcon is also harassing them today, so it feels like an illness and predator tsunami :(

Question: If my chickens have sour crop, is it communicable to others like fowl pox is? Also, is there any thing I can do besides massage their crop?

Thank you!
 

Chicken poppy

Crowing
May 9, 2021
1,451
4,823
271
Connecticut
Glad you have such spirited sex links!

The Crevecoeur and EE are still puffed up and lethargic. They are so difficult to catch, but I can't see mites or anything else on them (because they're molting, it's pretty easy to see their skin). I'm leaving town tomorrow, so am pretty worried about them.

The RIR now seems to have fowl pox, in addition to the sex link :(

A fearless little falcon is also harassing them today, so it feels like an illness and predator tsunami :(

Question: If my chickens have sour crop, is it communicable to others like fowl pox is? Also, is there any thing I can do besides massage their crop?

Thank you!
Oh no, im sorry to hear that

sorry for the late response, sour crop is not contagious, however should be addressed ASAP to avoid further complications
 

kurby22

Crowing
Apr 12, 2021
1,817
4,785
406
Sacramento Area, California
Glad you have such spirited sex links!

The Crevecoeur and EE are still puffed up and lethargic. They are so difficult to catch, but I can't see mites or anything else on them (because they're molting, it's pretty easy to see their skin). I'm leaving town tomorrow, so am pretty worried about them.

The RIR now seems to have fowl pox, in addition to the sex link :(

A fearless little falcon is also harassing them today, so it feels like an illness and predator tsunami :(

Question: If my chickens have sour crop, is it communicable to others like fowl pox is? Also, is there any thing I can do besides massage their crop?

Thank you!
Hey there, I’m sorry to hear that you lost your chicken so suddenly :-( I also feel your pain about the illness tsunami before going out of town—it’s very stressful!

I am currently dealing with impacted crops and fowl pox, so here is what my vet has told me and suggested. First, sour crop is not communicable. It happens as your chickens impacted crop continues until it alters the flora in their crop and the yeast builds up and it becomes sour. If you didn’t smell anything sour it may not have reached sour but blocked enough that she wasn’t getting food. If you have others with impacted crops, you can do a couple things. There is an Epsom salt flush that can help clear the crop by acting as a laxative. My vet had me use a bit of Metamucil mixed in water and crushed papaya enzymes to act as a laxative. This cleared up one chicken but the other one is proving to be a tougher case.

Dry pox however, is viral and it can be tough to see on some chickens without close inspection. Mine have also been molting, which draws down their immune systems and if they also have Mareks they may not have a lot of fight in them for simple issues like fowl pox or sour crop. My one chicken had lost a bunch of neck feathers, so she actually had the pox on her neck and in the feather shafts instead of on her comb and wattles. And the lumps it caused were huge and she was very puffed up and miserable. We only figured out it was pox because a couple others got the normal lumps on their comb like your picture. I started treating the lumps and sores with a chlorohexidine antiseptic and that seems to be helping a lot. The worst chicken with the neck lumps is also skittish so I had to go at night and treat her so she was calm and catchable. Since I was going on vacation and we weren’t sure what was wrong, my vet suggested some antibiotics in their water in case of secondary infections and just for the boost while we were away.

I would up their protein by feeding them some eggs to help with the molting and check the puffy ones for lumps around their neck and face that haven’t scanned over. Good luck, I hope all goes well!
 

feather13

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 4, 2012
767
1,344
351
southern california
Hey there, I’m sorry to hear that you lost your chicken so suddenly :-( I also feel your pain about the illness tsunami before going out of town—it’s very stressful!

I am currently dealing with impacted crops and fowl pox, so here is what my vet has told me and suggested. First, sour crop is not communicable. It happens as your chickens impacted crop continues until it alters the flora in their crop and the yeast builds up and it becomes sour. If you didn’t smell anything sour it may not have reached sour but blocked enough that she wasn’t getting food. If you have others with impacted crops, you can do a couple things. There is an Epsom salt flush that can help clear the crop by acting as a laxative. My vet had me use a bit of Metamucil mixed in water and crushed papaya enzymes to act as a laxative. This cleared up one chicken but the other one is proving to be a tougher case.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience! Wow... you've had quite the illness tsunami, too. Thanks for passing along your vet's advice. I just ordered papaya enzyme and I'm going to ask my daughter, who will be taking care of the chickens, to crush it and add to psyllium husks and water. I'm also making a big batch of quinoa and eggs to feed everyone to help give them more protein.

If sour crop isn't communicable, how is it that several of ours have impacted crops at the same time? I'm just wondering what might be causing it. We've never had any chickens with sour or impacted crop, so this is all new to us.

Dry pox however, is viral and it can be tough to see on some chickens without close inspection. Mine have also been molting, which draws down their immune systems and if they also have Mareks they may not have a lot of fight in them for simple issues like fowl pox or sour crop. My one chicken had lost a bunch of neck feathers, so she actually had the pox on her neck and in the feather shafts instead of on her comb and wattles. And the lumps it caused were huge and she was very puffed up and miserable. We only figured out it was pox because a couple others got the normal lumps on their comb like your picture. I started treating the lumps and sores with a chlorohexidine antiseptic and that seems to be helping a lot. The worst chicken with the neck lumps is also skittish so I had to go at night and treat her so she was calm and catchable. Since I was going on vacation and we weren’t sure what was wrong, my vet suggested some antibiotics in their water in case of secondary infections and just for the boost while we were away.

Oh wow... I didn't even know chickens could get dry pox anywhere except their heads. Do you also have Mareks in your flock? We had wet pox a few years ago, which was horrible. I'm hoping that dry pox just resolves itself.

How did it go while you were away? Sending good thoughts for a speedy recovery for both your chickens with sour crop and the one with a painful case of dry pox!
 

kurby22

Crowing
Apr 12, 2021
1,817
4,785
406
Sacramento Area, California
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience! Wow... you've had quite the illness tsunami, too. Thanks for passing along your vet's advice. I just ordered papaya enzyme and I'm going to ask my daughter, who will be taking care of the chickens, to crush it and add to psyllium husks and water. I'm also making a big batch of quinoa and eggs to feed everyone to help give them more protein.

If sour crop isn't communicable, how is it that several of ours have impacted crops at the same time? I'm just wondering what might be causing it. We've never had any chickens with sour or impacted crop, so this is all new to us.



Oh wow... I didn't even know chickens could get dry pox anywhere except their heads. Do you also have Mareks in your flock? We had wet pox a few years ago, which was horrible. I'm hoping that dry pox just resolves itself.

How did it go while you were away? Sending good thoughts for a speedy recovery for both your chickens with sour crop and the one with a painful case of dry pox!
Thank you for the good thoughts! I’m getting a bit worried about the one hen with the impacted crop as it has been a couple weeks now :-/ She’s gotten really thin.

My flock doesn’t have Mareks but it does have infectious Bronchitis virus (ibv) and my vet said that because of that or any nasty virus, it can cause things to go awry in a bunch of weird ways. She said it was possible that the virus has impacted the crop muscles and they don’t contract as well causing a higher chance of impaction—which is why it seems contagious. If they all share the virus, some of them may have similar weird issues.

I didn’t know dry pox could be anywhere else either! All the things I read mainly discus their face and comb/wattles. But it does say that any non-feathered part of the bird…so I suppose if her neck lacked a bunch of feathers it was fair game? 🤷🏼‍♀️ That’s the vets thought anyway! I have heard wet pox is way worse…so far the dry pox has been pretty minimal and just made them all a bit blah.

As for the trip, the pet sitter was a disaster but the chickens managed to do fine health wise. The crop issues didn’t get worse and the dry pox progressed but didn’t seem to impact them much. I added Baytril powder to their waterers too so that made me feel a bit better that they were getting meds in case it was something worse I wasn’t seeing. We were gone for 7 days too—it stressed me out!

Good luck and I hope you’re able to enjoy your trip and the chickens do alright while you’re away! ❤️
 

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