Has anyone ever dealt w/ this?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bighens, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. bighens

    bighens New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Hi All, I have a small flock of mixed variety of multipurpose hens and 1 rooster. Recently one of my 2 yr old hens ( a production red) started having a weird spasm that shook her head from side to side. She started avoiding the others when the twitching started, they've been cooped during winter but have ample space to walk around.
    This morning I went out like I always do to feed and check on them and she was sitting on the floor, head still twitching and didn't try to get up when I approached or when I filled the feed stand.
    So I picked her up and put her into a pen in the other side of their shed (shed is 2 rooms) with her own food and water as well as some fruit I know they enjoy. When I got home from school several hours later, she had manuvered herself to the water but was otherwise just laying in the pen with her wings somewhat splayed on her sides.
    She has no eye/nose or butt discharges but she does not look well and I'm pretty sure she will not last the nite. I plan to take her to my vet in the morning as I need to know what this is so I can protect my other chickens and we eat their eggs.
    There is no way they have been exposed to any other birds. These chickens are super spoiled getting warm oatmeal mixed w/ feed on cold winter mornings, fresh fruit and veggies several times a week and I am feeding them the same feed they have always gotten, a mix of poultry layer crumble and scratch grains.
    I haven't let them outside yet because I seeded their yards so it would be nice n green for them in a couple of weeks. They are not in cages or cramped quarters
    Please advise!
     
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    I would do a complete bug check ASAP. That head shaking is often indicative of a mite problem, which can be deadly.
     
  3. bighens

    bighens New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Oh thank you! What do I look for?
    And how could she have gotten mites? I'm about to go check on her and the others and will be inspecting her head area quite closely but I've never had a problem w/ parasites so am not quite sure what I need to be looking for.
     
  4. bighens

    bighens New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2012
    I believe you have hit the right answer! I just checked on her and she does have lots of tiny black bugs at the base of her feathers! I checked a few of my other girls out and they appear to be clean but know I need to treat the flock and coop to be on the safe side!
    Thank you so much! I never would have imagined mites given how I keep the coop clean and not ever having the problem in two years of keeping chickens.
    Now my next question, what do you guys recommend as the best, least toxic to the birds, treatment for my sick girl (yes, she is still with me...I thought for sure she wouldn't make it through the nite!) and the others + coop?
    I have a garden & poultry dust where the active ingredient is Permethrin, which I bought primarily for my garden but it says its good for poultry & Northern Fowl Mites.
    My poor girl looks to be infested :(
     
  5. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Unfortunately, less toxic is not going to cut it. You want to pull out the big guns for this problem especially with the sick girl. Get some Sevin dust and dust them all using a powder filled pantyhose stocking/powder puff. Once you finish dusting the birds, you will need to clean out the house from top to bottom. Remove all the bedding, treat the house with some sort of insecticide. I like Adam's Flea and Tick Spray. Then put a light layer of bedding in. You can use either the Sevin or the Garden Dust in the bedding. You will need to repeat this whole procedure in 10 days to ensure you get any eggs that have hatched.

    You will likely need to get the sick bird on a vitamin regimen to help build her blood reserves back up. I like to use Poultry Drench/NutriDrench. Just follow the directions on the bottle.

    The sick girl may not make it despite having found out what is wrong with her. Mites leave birds so debilitated that they can't recover. I hope you have caught her problem soon enough, but only time will tell.

    Good luck.
     
  6. bighens

    bighens New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Thank you again for your advise. I already have my sick girl on a liquid vitamin/mineral/electrolyte supplement. You are so right that she might not make it, I'm doing all I can...I've nursed back 3 chickens that literally had chunks torn out of them when a pack of dogs raided my property and they are still with me but this is a new crisis for me. She is extremely weak and I do not know how she is still alive but I am doing all I can for her. I have her laying under a towel w/ a heating pad on low and she will respond when I touch her. I treated her for the mites and the twitching has stopped...we also went in and totally cleaned out their coop and let them out even though I was trying to get their yards regrown. They had fun digging in the dirt and giving themselves dirt baths which I understand is good for suffocating mites.
    I also treated their brooding boxes w/ the permethrin and will be treating all of them as you suggested as well as finish treating the entire coop & shed w/ the permethrin and I will be bringing wood ash from my bf's woodburner and putting a tub of it in their coop for additional dust baths. We just couldn't get an entire clean/disinfect/chickendusting/chicken-nursing done before dark. Tomorrow is individual chicken dusting and getting the shed side treated. After I finish disinfecting the coop again, I am going to dust each girl one at a time before letting her back into the coop.
    We did remove the bales of hay I had on the shed side that I'd been using for bedding, I had a small problem w/ mice this last winter and thats the only thing I can think of that could have brought the mites in as they wintered in the same shed last year with no problem but no mice either.
     

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