Green then Yellow Pasty Diarrhea, Not Eating/Drinking, Droopy Wings & Tail, Lethargic, Fluffed Feath

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Annie-Oakley, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. Annie-Oakley

    Annie-Oakley New Egg

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    About 2 weeks ago, my 2 yr old Cochin Barred Bantam, Harriet, started to become withdrawn spending time by herself in the coop, she also stopped laying. I instantly thought she was egg bound so I brought her into the house, put her in an Epsom salts soak for 30 minutes, gave her calcium, mixed electrolytes and probiotics into her water, made her a mash of organic oats and organic chick starter, also gave her NutriDrench. I set her up in our downstairs bath where it was nice and warm, quiet and sunny. After about a week or so of intensive round the clock care, she bounced back and was starting to act like her old self: chatty and active, or about as active as a little Cochin Bantam can be...lol. However, she never did pass an egg so after some probing, and watching her for over a week I came to the conclusion that she was not egg bound - I've lost an egg bound chicken before and her symptoms although similar were not entirely the same. So I decided to put her back with the general population.

    For the 1st 48 hrs back with the flock, she seemed a bit slow but otherwise ok. Then the 3rd day I noticed when she came out of the coop (very slowly) the other hens trampled her knocking her down, she made her way to a sunny spot, laid down, feathers fluffed (it was cold about 18°) and closed her eyes. Then immediately the other hens (much larger Black Australorps and Ameraucanas) went over to her and started aggressively pecking and jumping on her and she made no effort whatsoever to avoid the aggressive attacks. I rushed in, scooped her up and brought her back inside the coop where I have an isolation area set up. I put her inside it, gave her some fresh bedding, warm oatmeal mix, water with the electrolytes and closed her off from the flock - only wire separates them, but there's a private nesting box area for her. The next morning she was in dire straits! Very lethargic, pale comb and wattles, neck sunk back into her body, fluffed feathers, droopy wings and tail, eyes closed and she refused to eat or drink. So I brought her back into the farmhouse to administer round the clock care.

    I set her back-up in the warm and sunny downstairs bathroom. Made her a slurry of organic oatmeal, organic chick starter, organic apple sauce, organic honey, organic cinnamon and proceeded to feed her with a syringe. I also gave her the electrolyte water by syringe, and NutriDrench. I continued this supportive care for the next 3 days and she seemed to be holding her own. After researching the web, all I could find that she possibly had Blackhead Disease, so I rushed to the pet store to purchase some fish meds (metronidazole) the recommended med for Blackhead Disease. I managed to get 2 doses into her within 24 hrs but she crashed very quickly, and around 2:30am she started thrashing and screeching in her crate, woke us all up. I rushed down and she was having violent seizures, eyes closed, head bobbing, grossly dilated pupils, wings flailing, body twitching, it was just horrid! My poor sweet Harriet! This continued for about a 1/2 hour getting worse and increasing in frequency each time, we just could not stand to watch her suffer and die a slow agonizing death so we gave her peace and ended her suffering. I did manage to get video of her seizures. I then spent the rest of the night crying as I cleaned up the bathroom and washed everything down, including myself. I never did get much sleep after that.

    As it's -6° here this morning in the Great North Woods of Maine, I placed her back in the crate and put her out in the barn, it's Sunday so I cannot reach the State Veterinarian until Monday. I am at a total loss of what she contracted that lead to her death. I'm a bit panicked as I have 29 other chickens still in the coop and obviously I worry about a possible contagion taking out my entire flock. Has anyone on this forum had a similar experience or heard of something similar and could shed some light on this situation? I should note that she never had any blood in her poop, no discharge from her eyes, nares or beak, no respiratory distress, and her crop was good, it emptied as it should.

    I would like to note that I am relatively new to chickens but I have rescued and raised other animals (domestic, livestock and wild rescues). I keep my coop very clean, change and clean their water 2x day, put Bragg's Organic ACV in their water, feed Nature's Best Organic Egg Layer Feed. A feeder with just oyster shell and grit. Treats include organic rolled oats, organic scratch, dried mealworms from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm (USA worms only - no Chinese worms), organic veggies like kale, spinach and cabbage - they love the greens! And on cold frigid days/nights I supplement cracked corn. Yes my hens are spoiled, but all of my animals are spoiled, including my rescues.

    Any advice or words of wisdom would be most appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry about this!! Was she real light in weight---all bones or good weight? When was the last time you wormed her??
     
  3. Annie-Oakley

    Annie-Oakley New Egg

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    Thank you so much. She was very light, quite thin actually. I only just got this flock the end of October, they were a rescue. I hadn't wormed them as I didn't see any evidence of worms, they all appeared to be quite plump and healthy when they were delivered to our farm by a kind soul. And they've been giving us approximately 15-20 eggs a day even in the dead cold of our Arctic winter! That's why I'm quite perplexed as to why she got sick. I went to Tractor Supply and bought Wazine to worm the entire flock which, at the moment, all appear to be healthy despite the events of the last 2 weeks with poor Harriet. We stripped and cleaned the coop this morning, lined the floor with DE, and then covered it with a thick bedding of fesh new pine shavings. I also filled their nesting boxes with new shavings and straw. All new food, fresh clean water with electrolytes and probiotics. And in the morning I'll give them the fresh water with Wazine. We're just in the beginning stages of another massive Nor'easter so the girls will be coop bound for the rest of today and all day tomorrow, they're typically free range birds. Would parasites cause seizures and imbalance problems? As I said I'm all new to the chicken scene, although I grew up with them on my aunt's farm, I never really paid much attention to them, it was all about the horses and cows for this farm girl...lol...but interestingly enough, I actually really like the chicks and wonder why I never had an interest in them before this rescue flock came to me. Boy was I missing out, they are such comedians! I look forward to letting them out every morning, their antics throughout the day give me so much humor and enjoyment.
     
  4. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    I am sorry but in my opinion you should take the Wazine back and get a real wormer. Wazine will not touch a tape worm. They can drink it straight out the bottle----kinda. You need to get the SafeGuard Goat wormer---it has the fenbendazole in it it will take care of the worms the Wazine does plus tape worms. I wormed mine 2 years ago with wazine and I ended up loosing 27 before I got my results back from the state lab----Loaded with tape Worms----but I wormed them with wazine----no good for tape worms. 27 is alot but it could have been worse---I had several more skin and bones chickens that were sick that were saved as well as I had over 1000 chickens at that time----I wormed them all----no more problems----all gained weight. So Now all I use is what I said above. It works. If you do go and get it---it will not tell you how to mix it----want even mention chickens---you can IM (so I do not miss it)me and I will tell you how to mix and what to do. As long as it is mixed correctly---Worming them does not hurt the chicken even if the chicken has no worms---but you need to discard any eggs for 2 weeks or hatch them---not eat them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Tapeworm segments are pretty easy to see in droppings, as white specks that move. I doubt that it was what killed Annie-Oakley's hen, since they are fairly rare, and she has not mentioned white specks in the droppings.
    Without a necropsy, we can only guess the illness, but one thing to do some research on would be egg yolk peritonitis or internal laying. Cancer is also common. There are viruses that can affect immunity and cause wasting, such as leukosis or Mareks disease. Blackhead is more of a turkey disease than affecting chickens. Getting some droppings checked for worms and parasites may give a few answers. Cecal worms are usually present in blackhead. Coccidiosis is fairly common and also can be checked in a fecal test. It is true that Wazine will only get roundworms, the most common seen in chickens. Valbazen is good, and will treat most chicken worms. SafeGuard is good, but may require multiple doses for certain worms. But getting a fecal test would tell you what worms are present, and which product may be best. Maybe none is needed. Giving probiotics or plain yogurt can help with immunity. Chickens may have seizures and wild flapping just before death. Many things including dehydration during illness can cause imbalance.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  6. Annie-Oakley

    Annie-Oakley New Egg

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    Thank you PD Riverman, I will return the Wazine and get the other wormer you recommended. As I said no evidence of worms in any of my chickens, but Harriet's strange illness has me alarmed and I will be contacting our State Vet on a Tuesday morning as tomorrow all state offices, courts, and most private businesses here in Maine are closed due to the massive Nor'easter that's trying to bury us under feets of snow....ugh
     
  7. Annie-Oakley

    Annie-Oakley New Egg

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    Thank you Eggcessive for your recommendations, I often give the chickens organic yogurt, they love it! And I've been giving them an electrolyte and probiotic laced water since Harriet's strange illness and death. Yes, you are correct, no evidence of any worms in her poo or with any of my other chickens, I looked for that right away. I saved her poor body for our State Vet, I'm hoping they will be able to shed some light on what she had. In the meantime, I'm praying like crazy that whatever she had is not contagious. Thank you for your very informative suggestions and recommendations, I very much appreciate it.
     
  8. Annie-Oakley

    Annie-Oakley New Egg

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    You are correct, Blackhead is more of a turkey disease but up here we are loaded with wild turkeys and it's not at all unusual for a flock of 30 or more wild turkeys to walk right through the barnyard, even coming up to our front and side doors of the farmhouse! They're very brazen! More and more farmers up here are experiencing incidents of Blackhead and other turkey related diseases with their free range chickens and the common consensus amongst farmers is that the wild turkeys are the vectors. Of course we have no scientific data proving or disproving this claim, but it does seem coincidental that with the explosion of wild turkey populations here, cross breed diseases are increasing in domestic flocks. Maine State Game Wardens have given farmers the right to kill wild turkeys that encroach their farms and risk the chance of spreading contagious diseases to domestic flocks of turkeys, chickens, ducks and other fowl. We love seeing the wild turkeys but now that we have chickens, we are obviously concerned about cross breed infection of deadly, contagious diseases.
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I think it's usually chickens who are the ones that can cause black head in turkeys. That's why most advise people to not keep turkeys with chickens, since cecal worms are not super serious in chickens, but can cause blackhead in turkeys. Wild turkeys would be a threat to spreading it to turkeys. We have a ton of wild turkeys here, but no problem with blackhead in chickens. If you get a fecal test and there are no cecal worms in your birds, that would proabably rule that out.
    I hope that you can find out what problem killed your chicken. Rescuing chickens is tricky in that you never know that much about their past. I love visiting coastal Maine in summertime, but you have to be pretty tough to withstand those winters there.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  10. Annie-Oakley

    Annie-Oakley New Egg

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    Thank you for the insight on Blackhead, I was not aware of that, but very good info to know. That's what I like about this forum, the sharing of information which helps everyone. Yes, Coastal Maine is glorious in the Summer, and in the Fall, as well as the lake regions, especially during foliage season, but the winters are very tough. I was born and raised here, 10th generation with one of my ancestors (Edward Winslow) having been a passenger on the Mayflower. My husband also a 10th generation Mainah had an ancestor (Thomas Rogers) who was also a passenger on the Mayflower. We were bred to withstand the tough winters but in all honesty, I sure do wish that I could convince my hubby to move to a warmer climate....I would love to live in Kauai, we have a large extended family presence on Kauai and it's so difficult to leave when we go visit. And the wild chickens (Junglefowl) on Kauai are the most beautiful that I've seen, the island is known for it's large population of wild chickens. Anyway, off topic....lol....thank you again for sharing your knowledge. :)
     

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