HELP with my chickens please!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by JodyEllen, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. JodyEllen

    JodyEllen New Egg

    Nov 22, 2015
    Hi all,

    I have spent some time reading through the posts and I wanted to share my experience with you in hope anyone has thoughts/insights to help me problem solve as I just can't seem to get to the bottom of what is going on for my girls.

    I am new to raising backyard chickens. 7 months ago I got my first 4 Isa Browns. Unsure of the age, but at least 1 yr old. The tip 1/4 of their beaks were trimmed. When I first got them (7mo ago), I gave them Killverm in their water to treat for worms and bought a completely brand new coop. They layed from the day we got them, one egg per day throughout winter - even when it snowed (in the New England region of NSW).

    Four months later I noticed 2/4 had messy bottoms, but behaviourally no change - they were as plucky as usual, and showed a healthy appetite. They are the smallest 2, so maybe a little underweight if anything. At this time I treated all 4 with Killverm in water, as well as 4-5 drops of Ivermectin pour-on on the back of their necks at the advice of a vet. Messy bottoms did not clear up. They were also given antibiotic injections same time in case of other cause.

    2 months ago, the top hen (a different one to the above two) stopped laying, and became unwell - off food, falling asleep standing up during the day, slept in the nesting box not the roost over night, very squishy crop, completely watery clear poop.. so I took her to the vet and gave her 5 days of Baytril antibiotic orally. She perked up considerably and every now and again went into the nesting box of a morning as if she was going to lay but didn't. I suspected a reproductive issue (? egg bound/peritonitis). She may have been the one to lay soft/shell-less eggs occasionally, but it has been hard to pin it on her specifically. One instance, however, I found broken shell hanging form her bottom so I donned a pair of latex gloves and checked for eggshell but couldn't find any, and the vet did the same and had the same conclusion.

    At this time I also cleared and chemically sprayed the coop for lice/mites and I have never been able to see any evidence of lice and mites on the chickens or in the coop. I gave the girls 1 week of apple cider vinegar in their water with fresh garlic gloves, and occasional treats of natural yoghurt with mash or wholemeal oats, otherwise layer pellets/mash.

    Over the next 5 weeks top hen declined again and 2 weeks ago she began walking around with her wings out as if she was hot and had a temperature. She was also more lethargic and back to sleeping standing up, looking rather hunched/fluffed. She worsened over 2 weeks to the point where she was panting for air, sitting in the nesting box,unable to move, eat or drink, mostly with her eyes closed. She survived the night but was really not well. We thought she may be egg bound/impacted so we gave her a warm water bath but it didn't help. The next day we took her to the vet and after lengthy discussion (and no charge for the consultation-legend), we thought it may relate to repro issue, and that another longer course of antibiotics may just be a band-aid solution so we had her put down as we didn't want her to be in any more pain. Still not sure if that was the right decision, but she seemed to get sick, get a little better, get sick again...

    For the past 2 months, the fourth chicken had been pecking her neck feathers out. This continues and for the past 10 days she has also had red skin on the back of her legs and between her toes (stable, not obviously worsening). I have uploaded pictures of both. I have had real difficulty trying to find out what might be the cause of either of these issues from reading various forums. She is definitely over pruning herself, not pecking from others.

    View attachment 1987 View attachment 1988
    For the past 1-2 months egg production has dropped to 1-2 eggs per day.

    10 days ago I gave all 3 remaining girls 4-5 drops ivermectin on the back of their necks. I wondered if they had a very mild case of scaly leg mites, and so the vet suggested 1 drop on each foot also, so I did this 5 days ago. I cleaned their poop under the roost and then went away. I just got back and have found what might be large round worm (picture below). Some was dried up, some was still moist in the droppings of at least one maybe more chickens. I generally take a look at their droppings (at least once a week when I clean their roost droppings), but I have never seen this before.

    View attachment 1990

    Then I also noticed these other parasites that looked like something else. These were still moving around and clearly alive:

    View attachment 1989

    With this long-winded background, I have several questions I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on:
    1) Could the worms be the cause of the messy butts?
    2) Could the worms contribute to reduced egg production?
    3) Is it likely, given I was away for 5 days (during a heatwave) that the small alive larvae looking things in the droppings could have been from flies rather than come from inside the chickens?
    4) How is the best way to treat the worms? Would 1ml ivermectin drops into mouth, or legs be more effective than on back of neck? Should this be repeated in 7, 10, or 14 days? Or not for 3 months? I have read all of these things - I want to blast these worms but not kill the chickens.
    5) For the chicken with red skin in between her toes and backs of legs, what could this be due to? How to treat?
    5.a) Also on that picture, does it look like a mild case of scaly leg mites or do her feet look healthy?
    6) Also for the same chicken who is pecking her own neck feathers - what could be the cause, and how to treat?

    If you have stayed with me - thank you very much! I've been quite perplexed about my girls as I just haven't felt like they are 100% and I welcome your thoughts!
  2. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 13, 2011
    Fox Valley, IL
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC. I can't be much help, but two things:

    Search here for "pasty butt".

    Also, if you can do more descriptive thread titles it will get more people to look and help. A lot of people will skip past if the title is really vague.

    Best of luck,
  3. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 7, 2013

    Welcome To BYC! Those spaghetti looking things in the picture of the first poop picture. That looks like Round worm. Round worm along with other parasites if bad enough can cause poop to be runny and build up on the cloaca feathers. A soft shell or no shell can be a sign that the hen is not getting enough calcium and if the hen had enough or big enough parasites it can drain her of that calcium and cause egg bound along with energy. If the hen had a clear watery substance coming out from the vent I believe it's more of a natural lubrication to help pass the egg. If a hen doesn't have the nutrients to produce an egg she'll stop producing. I believe Ivermectin is a Subcutaneous. For our cattle it's a Sub-Q. Incase you don't know what Sub-Q is it's an injection that goes just under the skin. Very hard on birds since their skin is thin. The skin I don't believe would absorb and parasitic control. Not sure how much to use since I never use Ivermectin on my birds. I use pumpkin seeds to help control the parasites. Garlic and onions can help kill parasites. Usually the bird will eat the amount they need to help solve it. With parasites that big I would also give your birds some sand. Sand can cut the internal parasites up if the sand is passed through the system. Though in the poop you'll see flakes of the parasite or the eggs. Give your birds at the least a weeks worth of parasitic control just as a precaution. I give garlic powder to my birds in a bowl and when they choose to stop eating it I take it away from them. Or I give them some onions and pumpkin seeds.

    There are two things that can cause chickens to be pecking their feathers. External parasites and calcium deficiency. Mites can hide inside the building during the day and get the birds at night. If the parasites are bad enough she'll go after them even plucking her own feathers to kill them. Chickens that dust bathe tend not to get a bad enough parasite infestation if any parasites. As for calcium deficiency they'll eat feathers. Feathers have some calcium in them and they'll eat them if needed. What's the percentage of calcium in their feed?

    The red on the bird's feet and legs I'm not entirely sure. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a small amount of leg mites before they get bad.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Frindizzle

    Frindizzle Guitar Girl <3 Premium Member

    Welcome to BYC! Glad you joined the flock! [​IMG]
  5. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Try posting in the "Emergencies/Diseases/Injuries and Cures" section.
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Looks like leg mites to me, and round worms. Generally round worms are among the easiest to kill. Maybe she has a load of them. I would post in detail in the e/r section for more opinions.

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