Hard Lessons for a Newbie - DON'T get chickens on Craigslist!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by nmaniez, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. nmaniez

    nmaniez Hatching

    Aug 15, 2013
    My 11 yr old and I really wanted chickens and there is an old coop on our property, so we fixed it up a bit and imagined our sweet little flock enjoying the sun and new run we created. We looked online for local hatchery's and also on Craigslist. We found a place that looked like a garden store of sorts from the website that was linked from CL. On arrival, it was a backyard with a whole menagerie of animals including goats, piglets, turkeys, roosters, chickens, ducks, and rabbits. The place was by no means super clean, but I have never kept chickens, what do I know?
    I wish I would have listened to my initial reaction/instinct and went somewhere else, but those little piglets and pullets were so **** cute.

    First Rule of Chicken Rearing - don't let your sentimental side take over and blind you from good judgement. Small animals, no matter who cute, should not be bought from places that give you even the slightest sense of the willies.

    We brought ten pullets home on a Saturday. One of them kept sleeping a lot. We thought she was cute. We named her Dozer. Another one was clearly not a pullet, but an old bird. She had a case of scaly leg mites. I called the seller and she told us to bring her back and exchange her. Which we did. I didn't want mites in my new flock.
    Monday morning my daughter noticed Dozer's one eye was swollen. It didn't look like a scratch to me and looked more like her sinus was swollen, but it only seemed on the one side. She wasn't interested in food the way the other birds were. We put her in a box in our bath tub and called the seller. She told us to bring her back. Within 10 hours of noticing one puffy eye, both eyes were swollen shut. So freaking sad. She was barely moving and I was giving her a syringe of medicated water to keep her hydrated.

    I was getting tired of driving over to this ladies house 40 minutes away. We checked the flock one more time before going and noticed another bird was blowing snot bubbles. We decided to put her in her own box and return her too. Meanwhile, the seller had told us to get tetracycline for all the birds. Put it in their water. I didn't want sick birds. I wanted healthy birds that ate from the rich earth, had a deep litter bed and plenty of room and sun to keep them healthy with out the use of antibiotics. We dropped the two birds off and the woman wasn't even there, though she told us she would be. We went and got some cups to put water in the boxes and made sure they were in the shade. I called her a few times and she didn't call me back.

    Today is Wednesday. A few of the other birds have a sticky clear snot on their beaks. It smells nasty. They are acting normal. I am assuming they are all carriers for coryza. Or that they may come down with symptoms in the next days. Should we just bring them all back?

    I feel sad and angry, mainly at myself for being a dummie and getting chickens from this lady. But also that folks are out there spreading disease and not taking responsibility for it.

    Is it possible to have a flock of healthy birds, or is it common to have issues in a flock?
  2. Chickery Chick

    Chickery Chick Chirping

    Jul 27, 2013

    Mycoplasma Gallisepticum: a type of bacteria which can cause respiratory disease in poultry. Often associated with swollen sinuses, sneezing and foamy watery eyes. It can infect the oviduct thus altering egg shell colour and quality and thus it can be transferred via the egg to chicks. Once infected a chicken is infected for life although clinical signs will regress with time and treatment.

    Infectious Bronchitis (IB): IB is a coronavirus which causes sneezing, foamy eyes and swollen sinuses usually in young birds. However like Mycoplasma it can infect the oviduct again altering egg shell colour and quality but unlike Mycoplasma it doesn’t infect chicks via the egg.

    AvianRhinoTracheitis virus (ART): a pneumovirus which causes swollen heads, swollen sinuses, sneezing and in severe cases nervous signs.

    Infectious LaryngoTracheitis virus (ILT): a herpes virus that causes similar respiratory signs. ILT often leads to a plug of blood and mucus which can block the birds trachea (windpipe) leading to the bird choking to death. This virus like Myoplasma never goes away and can come back during times of stress.

    The pathogens above are mostly viruses which will not respond to antibiotics but these viruses often damage the respiratory system sufficiently to allow secondary bacteria such as E. coli and Pasteurella to cause infection.
  3. nmaniez

    nmaniez Hatching

    Aug 15, 2013
    I guess my biggest question, is should we just bring them all back? I don't want a flock that could be contagious to other birds, even if they do seem to function normally. My daughter wants to join 4H and I wouldn't want to infect her friends birds thru germs on our clothes, ect.
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    If it were me, I would bring them back. I know its hard, but I wouldn't want to risk infecting other flocks. Let the seller deal with that.
  5. nmaniez

    nmaniez Hatching

    Aug 15, 2013
    Thanks for the input. I have learned my lesson!

    Would folks recommend starting from chicks to ensure a cleaner flock?

    How long should we wait to get new chicks after we clean out the coop?

    I saw Murray McMurray Hatchery online... any feedback about them from anyone?

    I would prefer to get local chicks, but there is not a close hatchery to us that I have found in West Amwell NJ.
    Thanks again! I feel a bit alone in this situation, so nice to have some online support!
  6. Naunnie

    Naunnie Chirping

    Jun 6, 2013
    Buchanan, Georgia
    Hello and Welcome to BYC. So sorry this has turned out badly for you. I would take them all back and start over with healthy birds. While you are searching, take time to disinfect any areas where these birds have been.

    As I type this I find myself eating my own words! I could not take them back....I would kill myself trying to save each and every one. The thoughts of them going back to poor conditions would not work for me. It is up to you to decide if can put the time, money and work into trying to save them.

    Yes it is possible to have a flock of healthy birds. Proper nutrition, clean water, adequate, safe housing is what it takes. It is a shame that was not provided for these birds.

    If you decide to keep them, there are several things that can help. I would add poultry vitamins to the water first. Poultry Nutri-Drench is what I use for all my birds. Its works very quickly to boost their metabolism. Here is a link for Coryza:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/668326/infectious-coryza-and-chickens-its-like-a-severe-cold/10 If this is why they are sick, the outcome may not be good. I would try to confirm with a Vet.

    Hang in there. Let us know what you decide to do.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  7. Apdeb

    Apdeb Songster

    Jun 4, 2013
    Woodbridge Ct
    You are so close to pennsylvania
    Why dont you look on the chicks for sale on this website!!!
    Buy from a reputable breeder!!!
    I did i have 9 healthy 3 month old chickens
    You could keep in brooder/pen in basement until coop is safe to return to!!! Also dont count out the 8 week or older site!!! Lots of people downsizing for fall!!! Lots of luck to you and your daughter!

    LUVMYCHIKAS In the Brooder

    Aug 13, 2013
    Eastern Shore of Md
    I started my flock from Murray McMurray Hatchery. I opted to have the chicks vaccinated prior to shipping and also fed them medicated feed for 12 weeks. They are healthy and beautiful! We ordered 16, they shipped 17 (1 bonus) and lost 2 to shipping stress in the first 2 days. Since then no problems!
  9. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013

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