Horrific second loss, please help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Cheers2Ya, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. Cheers2Ya

    Cheers2Ya Out Of The Brooder

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    I am so disheartened. I researched for nearly two years before getting chickens to make sure I was able to provide all they would need. I finally bought a shed, converted it to a coop, built a large, secure paddocked run, and brought my tiny chicks home. They were from an order from another person that purchased them through a hatchery. Six Light Brahma's and six Buff Orpington's. They were all born May 17 and I brought them home May 23. On July 17, I lost my first chick (she was 8 weeks old). She appeared a bit lethargic, brought her in the house, fed her water and watermelon juice (had to force it), and she was gone in a matter of a couple of hours. I treated the entire flock with Corid in their water until a couple days ago. Today I lost a Light Brahma. Three days ago I noticed she was apart from the rest of the flock. I didn't separate her immediately, she was still moving. The next day she appeared paralyzed. She could move her feet, but could not stand or walk. She was quarantined in a tote in the house and given electrolytes. She was having diarrhea, very liquid and somewhat smelly, but not bloody. That was yesterday. Today she was still hanging in there. I gave her a bath due to the diarrhea clumping to her feathers and trimmed feather from her bottom. I fed her yogurt and more electrolytes. She was making some teeny chirping noises when I'd go in to feed her yesterday and today. She would willingly take the water most of the time, I had to force her to take the yogurt. But she swallowed it. A couple of hours ago, I went to check on her and give her some more water and was shocked to find what I was definitely not prepared for. Her belly area and the whole area surrounding her vent was moving with tons of tiny bugs. Like tiny little worms. Not white maggots. She had no open sores on her earlier, I checked at bath time. Then suddenly, a few hours later, she looks like she is being eaten alive! I have never felt so horrible as an animal keeper! By this time she was soooo lethargic, cold, and barely alive. I knew it was time to end her suffering, poor little girl.

    So, I thought the first girl had coccidiosis, from what I read. I saw no worm-like bugs on her at all. This second girl, I would of swore she had botulism, until I saw the bugs eating her alive. And maybe it was both! Neither seem to be Merek's, which I also read about and scares the crap out of me. However, I don't know what is going on, or if the two deaths are related. I've got six more pullets and a RIR rooster that is a few weeks older than these girls. They all came from the same lady. I'm not sure where the rooster came from originally, but I do know she ordered the chicks from a hatchery, I believe McMurray's.

    I feel like an awful chicken keeper. I tried to do everything right, but seemed to have missed the mark. I will be checking the remainder of my chicks in the daylight tomorrow for these bugs, but they appear healthy and symptom free otherwise. It was smoldering hot for a few days early last week, but has been back down to 75 to 85 during the day. They have always had water and feed, dry conditions, lots of grass to roam, dirt to dust bathe, lots of fresh fruits, etc...

    Edited to add: There have been no respiratory issues or wheezing at all with either pullet and no runny eyes or noses. None of the birds have any signs of mites or lice.

    Please advise. I don't want to go through this again.

    Thank you all.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  2. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could it be something in their environment? Have you checked the coop and run? I'm sorry for your loss.
     
  3. Cheers2Ya

    Cheers2Ya Out Of The Brooder

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    This is why I was thinking botulism. My feed tote had gotten wet inside during a storm and instead of throwing it all out, I thought it would be OK if I didn't feed them moldy clumps of feed. This could be the problem though...this has now been fixed. Both birds were quite light and bony when they were sick. Their crops were not full. Both had diarrhea, not bloody. Neither had splayed legs, just unable to stand or use their legs. I'm so worried about the others. They are all on electrolytes and probiotics now. This has not been what I imagined it would be like when dreaming of having a small flock of chickens. :(
     
  4. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started with 13 Orpington chicks in Feb; I have five of that original 13 remaining. Illness (vitamin A deficiency from old/mouldy feed) predators, every loss made me feel like a complete failure. I understand exactly what you're going through.
    Do your electrolytes have vitamins in them as well? So many illnesses present as weakness and loss of mobility, but I have had good luck with vitamin therapy as sort of a catchall treatment for any sick bird. I use a poultry vitamin (no electrolytes) that I mix to a weak concentration in their drinking water.
    Electrolytes contain a lot of salt and can be over administered. Just like people, an overdose of salt can be very bad for chickens.
     
  5. Cheers2Ya

    Cheers2Ya Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for your replies. It means a lot that you took the time to read about my situation and respond. I'm sorry for your losses, as well. I am currently giving the girls Rooster Booster Vitamins and Electrolytes with Lacto Bacillus and Probiotics. Just started today on the others. Until a couple days ago, they had been given Corid for possible Coccidiosis.

    I am just so disturbed by the amount of those tiny little bugs crawling on her! And in a matter of a couple of a few hours! I can't get that vision out of my head, it was so horrendous! It looked like they were swarming her and eating her flesh. I felt SO bad. And she was in the house for the last 30+ hours, so they weren't environmental. Accept they must have been there in egg form from outside. I don't know....ugh.
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Don't be so hard on yourself. It does sound like Marek's Disease and it is anywhere and everywhere in the Environment so losing a bird to Marek's doesn't make you a bad poultry keeper. . In fact I think that there are 7 separate major kinds or strains of Marek's.
    .
     
  7. Cheers2Ya

    Cheers2Ya Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the reply chickengeorgeto. I was very much hoping it was not Marek's. Does this mean I can expect more loss? They are all a little over 10 weeks, except for the rooster that is a few weeks older. Also, for some reason I didn't add that I added two 1-week old White Leghorn pullets on June 6, so they are about 2 weeks younger than the others. I got those from a local feed store. I don't know if that makes a difference.

    I read so much about Merek's yesterday. It sounds like: A) It is not curable B) Some may survive but are still carriers, and infectious to others C) Once it's here, it's here

    I planned to have these chicks be my layers, then butcher some of the hatches for meat. If this is Merek's, does that affect the meat? I think I remember reading the eggs are still edible, if the infected begin laying.

    Thank you, again, for taking the time....
     

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