HELP! Chicken-sitting possibly sick chickens! - long

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by adalau, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. adalau

    adalau Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi Everybody! Thanks in advance for your valuable feedback.

    I am helping to take care of my neighbor's 3 backyard chickens while they are out of the country for 3+ weeks. The first week I had them I solved their thin shell/shell-less eggs & egg eating problems thanks to BYC:) Thank you all very much!!! Then I went on vacation and someone else was caring for them. I'm back now & the chickens don't look so good:-/

    Only one girl of three is laying. RIR #1 has white chalky discharge on her ears & her "voice" sounds a little gravelly to me, the feathers behind her comb look a little oily & her comb is a tiny bit floppy but she's had the floppy comb for a couple months. I am pretty sure she is the one still laying. She is kind of the alpha. RIR #2 has a little bald spot behind her comb, but no ear drainage & sounds ok. The third (an EE) doesn't have any obvious issues but she's seemed a little puffed up & irritated. She doesn't make any noise or have great big ear pads so I can't tell if she's congested/draining.

    Things I'm concerned about: their run is pretty poopy. Their owners told me not to worry about cleaning. I think they didn't want to inconvenience us with chicken poop, but now I'm worried it might be making them sick. I did go & buy pine shavings & I've cleaned out their coop twice, once before I left and then yesterday when I got back. But I don't even know where to start or how to clean their run. It's pretty big too. So I've been trying to let them out into the yard to free range as much as possible. My other concern is that another neighbor two houses away just got A LOT of chickens about two months ago. He has over a dozen chickens as well as some quail in a space as small as the run for the three chickens I'm describing. And he has a paved yard:-( So I'm afraid these chickens have caught some weird disease from his flock.

    What should I do? What do you think is wrong with the girls? Is there anything I can do for them? Should I be giving them garlic? Do I need to check them for parasites (ewwww, BTW). I am a city girl and have zero experience with chickens, but I really want to take good care of my charges.

    The chicken owners are out of the country for another 4 days. I know they don't take the birds to the vet, they just Dr. them at home but they've rarely needed to do that. If I can alleviate the problem or hold the chickens over till they get home I would rather do that then make them worry about their sick chickens when they can't do anything about it.

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  2. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: A friend of mine told me a story about taking care of chickens for someone else. They had a lot, over 20 chickens, in a too-small area, and it was absolutely filthy with poo. Chickens poop a lot, and some poo is to be expected, but this was just excessive. Under those conditions, only 3 of the 20+ were laying. On one of his first couple days caring for the birds, he cleaned out their entire coop and run. After that, nearly everyone went into full laying production, and he surprised the owners with 18+ eggs per day!!

    Anyhow, what I'm saying is, it very likely could be the dirty run (if it is truly very dirty). How old are they? They normally all 3 lay? Note that chickens can skip a day or two in between eggs during, their regular laying cycle (depending on the breed).



    Quote: I would only be concerned about the ear discharge here, my RIR's necks typically look oily/shiny, and floppy comb is normal.
    edit: I found this thread (http://club.omlet.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=36064) relating to discharge. otherwise I don't know much about this ailment, google is your best bet..


    Quote: Bald spot may be from someone pecking her, unless she's moulting, but you would have noticed that.


    Quote: This one might be the most concerning. If she is not walking around very much, acting lethargic, puffing up her feathers, she might be in pain or nauseated. These are the MOST COMMON signs of illness in chickens, ones you will learn to spot quickly. The trouble is, they can be symptoms of nearly any chicken illness. Make sure that you look at their poop; if you see blood in their poop, that bird is on death's door and needs to be isolated from the others. Runny poop is ok. Here is a poo chart to show you all the differences: http://pluckandfeather.com/chicken-poo-chart-graphic.html

    Poo really is the best way to tell if a bird is sick. :)


    Quote: What is their run like? Fenced in? Grass? Dirt? Concrete? Can you spray it out (concrete)?

    My method is to cover the floor of the run with fresh material once per month. Some people use sand to cover the floot, I use wet cocoa fibre and spread a 2-3inch layer over the entire run to keep it fresh. You could also use dirt, or maybe another material similar to mulch or something? Look up deep litter. They mix it all in when they dig and forrage. In the coop, I use pine shavings on top of a removable "poop board" that I clean out weekly.


    Quote: Yikes, that is scary. I'm not sure if that is close enough to catch their diseases, maybe someone else will know.


    Quote: Fresh gloves of garlic minced up and added to water dish is also a natural immunizer and protector against disease, adding to the overall health of your flock in general, or helping out a sick one. I feed garlic to my birds all the time. They always have a fresh water option, and their other waterer has Organic apple cider vinegar and minced garlic. Garlic and OACV are treatments for a number of chicken ailments, so I believe it's just a good health practice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  3. adalau

    adalau Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks!

    I think the poop looks normal, black, maybe a little oily, definitely no blood though & not watery.

    Their run is fenced, it is mostly gravel & dirt but there is one raised bed that is filled w/ dirt & straw, grass clippings, etc. The coop is raised and filled with pine shavings, there are also two nest boxes under the coop with pine shavings. I've cleaned out the coop twice and changed the pine shavings. But I don't know how they usually clean the run... I guess I could spray down the ground but probably not the raised bed.

    The RIRs used to lay almost every day but had been slacking for a couple weeks before I took them over. The EE has always been more unpredictable.
     
  4. adalau

    adalau Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh, missed a question. They are not quite two years old.
     
  5. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd be most concerned with the discharge and the fluffy or puffed up one, does the puffed up one look hunched? Is their poo runny? Are they eating and drinking ok? Same here on the neighbor, YIKES...some diseases can travel many miles...the puffy, or fluffy one, MIGHT have an overload of cocci...with the poo situation, it is quite possible, usually older birds do not have an issue with cocci, but a few do...what is that ones poo like? Is she looking hunched? More tired, not eating right, runny poo, even if no blood? If you see those symptoms, suspect cocci. IF you suspect cocci, Corid will cure that and you can get it at the feed store or TSC (tractor supply store) if liquid, 1 tsp, if the powder, 1/2 to 3/4th tsp per gallon of water. ONLY if she has the other symptoms too. It won't hurt her to treat her, but they usually will have more than one sign...if the egg laying was since the owners left, that could be a sign, but you say it has been a bit? So COULD be getting older? They do start slowing down each laying cycle a bit.

    The discharge is out of my league...someone else would have to take that one...sorry!!!!

    If you want to clean the run, I would just hose it down real good, if you can, since the owners will be back in 4 days. That should help a bit.

    Hope that helps a bit???? and hope someone with more knowledge of respitory symptoms can help!!! I haven't faced that...yet...praying I don't!!!
    Best of luck to you and your friends birds!!!!
     
  6. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    opps 2 tsp liquid, sorry...and if you do decided to treat they can all have it, as they could get it...it won't hurt them to be treated, but will hurt them if not and they do have cocci. Can you talk with the person who took care of them while you were away? See if they noticed anything odd? You could always call the owners to check in and just metion about the birds or ask them about them...most people love talking about their animals [​IMG] and you could glean some more info from them without worrying them?

    Sorry about the corrid wrong amount for the liquid.
     
  7. adalau

    adalau Out Of The Brooder

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    Ugh:-(

    When I went to feed them this morning RIR #1 was sitting in the coop & wouldn't come out. They usually all come running for food. I wasn't even able to coax her out w/ treats. She looks lethargic.

    I put some food in the coop for her. She took 2 pecks then closed her eyes again. I put water w/ raw ACV & garlic in the coop for her & locked her in to isolate her.

    The other 2 girls seem ok & are eating & drinking well.

    I'm emailing the owners now to see what they want me to do.

    Any other good advice???
     
  8. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: Perhaps she is trying to lay an egg? When my girls are in the process of laying and I try to fish them out of their coop, or even just reach my hand inside, they make what I call the "dinosaur noise." It's like a shrill screech warning sound. If she does that, she might be laying? Wishful thinking...

    The lethargy and lack of appetite are very concerning, and closing her eyes. Are her comb and wattles bright red, or are they fading to pink or pale white? Is it very hot there? Has she eaten anything? Is she drinking water? Water is vitally important to survival. If it were my chicken, I would bring her inside to monitor her condition. I'm not sure if you can really do this since you don't live there (?).

    If she refuses to drink, you may have to force her to. If she has not eaten, you can keep her alive with honey water. Raw organic honey is best. This information is from the user chooks4life:
    Quote:
    Maybe you can contact the neighbor with birds and see if he has had any diseases? That would at least give you a hint as to what it could be.. here are a few things:


    Coccidiosis is one of the more serious, as mithious pointed out. Symptoms are faltering gait, anaemic comb, mucus at corners of eyes, general debility/lethargy. Blood stained droppings and usually show roached backs.

    TB symptoms: general wasting (losing weight), accompanied by leg weakness, appetite irregular. When the disease becomes advanced, droppings have a fetid smell and are of green-yellow colour and appear greasy.

    Worms symptoms: Plumage, esp wings, loose and open, eyes dull, often w/discharge. Droppings blood stained and irregular. Vent soiled with fecal matter. Garlic is a natural wormer.

    Cold symptoms: eyes sticky with mucus, also mucus-clogged nostrils (says nothing about ears. how are her ears today?). breathing labored, appetite very diminished. Garlic treatment plus laxative diet for 1 day.

    Laryngo-tracheitis symptoms: congested and swollen combs of a blood-red hue. Breathing is gasping and there is a rattling in the throat and fluid discharge from the beak. Garlic & honey are treatments

    just some ideas/p
     
  9. adalau

    adalau Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, thanks!

    Pretty sure she's not trying to lay. She looks bad. She is at least standing up this afternoon after the garlic & ACV treatment, but her wings are droopy & hanging. :-( Honey is a great idea. I will make her some honey/rosemary syrup this afternoon.

    I can try to ask the neighbor about his birds. I don't know him well though & I've only heard him speaking Russian. My Russian is limited to haggling in the market & hiring a taxi so I'm not sure I could ascertain whether or not his birds have been sick!

    The owners did email me back & say I was doing everything they would do.

    Thank you again.
     
  10. adalau

    adalau Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh, and I can't bring her inside:-/ They have an indoor cat & I can't stay with her in their house to make sure the cat doesn't eat her. And I can't bring her into my place as I have a baby & a husband with asthma. We really don't need any chicken diseases! But I live close enough that I can check on her every hour or so. After the baby naps I'm going to see if she will come out of the coop and stretch her legs in the yard. I'll post an update in a couple hours.

    Thank you!!!
     

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