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I have several health/disease problems going on at once... long post!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sixsisters, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. sixsisters

    sixsisters In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2009
    I'm in need of some help. I have 6 hens, (1 red sex link, 1 black sex link, 2 CA whites 1 Ameraucana and one that I thought was an Ameraucana but it lays brown eggs, so I have no idea what she is). The first 4 mentioned have been laying for about a year now. The 2 Ameraucanas/cross, for about 5mos. I am in southern AZ. It is super hot right now. They have plenty of fresh water and are fed organic layer pellets. I switched from the crumbles about 6 months ago hoping to save on some cash. I believe they HATE the pellets. They seem to kick out all the pellets and just go for the mashed up stuff at the bottom. I am going back to crumbles. They get organic scratch and all of the veggie/fruit/rice/bread scraps are also organic.
    Here are the problems: I believe I am fighting mites and am pretty certain I am fighting scaly leg mites. All chickens squirt liquid out of their butts (though I have seen some nicely formed droppings around the coop as well). I just noticed this, but I think it's been going on for at least a month. I have noticed all of them puking up liquid. Though I haven't smelled their breath, I have checked their crops and they all seem full at night. Haven't checked in the am to see if they are empty. Finally, one of my CA Whites has laid 5 eggs in the last month. All of them small and without yolks.
    Starting with the mites. I have cleaned the coop/run/ etc and dusted heavily with DE. I have also dusted (DE) the birds themselves twice. I have never seen a mite on them or in the nest boxes/coop even when taking a flashlight out at night. Here's why I think they have mites. The sex links look awful! They look like they have lost weight (in the last few months). Bare patches on front of breast (red/inflamed), loss of feathers around neck (all that's left on the back of the red's neck look like pins with no actual feathers) and feathers looking crummy in general. It's like all of their feathers have broken off halfway down the feather. The sex links look the worst. Lots of feather loss. I've seen photos of molting birds and mine just don't look like that.
    For scaly leg mites I have cleaned feet and legs and have dipped feet up to shanks twice in cooking oil. I see the lifted scales on the legs, so I think I'm pretty well on top of that. I just don't know about the mites. Was thinking about getting the Adam's spray but really hate to use any kind of poison.
    Re: liquid poo and vomiting- droppings are not really slimy, just super watery. When the bird vomit (or regurgitate?) they then eat it. I understand the vomiting is bad, regurgitating is ok. I just don't know which they are doing.
    Finally- we had a massive drop in egg production. From 4-5 a day down to 1 or 2. Now, for the past 2 days were back up to 5 eggs a day but one of the CA Whites has only laid 5 eggs this month all wee bitty and yolkless. Point of interest? One of the eggs (don't know if it was white or brown or green, this info is coming from a friend whom I give eggs to) when cracked in a pan had a very firm yolk. She said is was almost like it had been boiled for a short time. The white was normal. I've studied this site for weeks now, trying to get a handle on my situation. I've given a lot of info in the hopes of answering questions ahead of time.

    Watery poop:

    Red patch:

    Scaly leg mites:

  2. Smoky73

    Smoky73 Lyon Master 11 Years

    Feb 8, 2007
    Quote:oh boy, where to start.....

    for starters, your birds have watery stool because they are drinking so much water from the heat your having...it is normal. I would order them some vitamins & Electrolytes to add to their water. I order Avian Super Pack from Jeffers online. It is for times of stress in extreme weather and so forth.

    your bald bird or birds with broken feathers, do you have a rooster? It appears the birds are suffering from damaging their feathers, not a molt, as they would just drop out and grow back. The one brown bird looks similar to what I see with excessive breeding by the male. If you have no male then I would assume you have a hen taking on the place of a dominant male...no she is not changing sex, just when no male is present, sometimes head female will develop peculiar habits that males use (crowing or trying to mate females) (cows do this a lot too) But it appears that someone is damaging feathers ont he birds, whether y00u have birds pulling feathers out on each other or the birds are rolling ont he ground alot and dust bathing to keep cool and breaking off the feathers. This is my guess as if you have dusted asn have seen no bugs, probably not. Any exposed skin will turn red, my RIR red rooster has not had neck feathers in several months and look like your one pic, of the neck of the hen and that skin is red. Incidently the hens are causing the loss of feathering to the area on both sides of his neck.

    Birds will eat feather sif they are lacking something in their diet as well (do not recall what that is- I want to say protein)

    Birds will always want crumbles over pellets. If you want them to eat pellets and waste less food, give them pellets and feed them nothing else for a week, they will eventually eat the pellets.

    Your lack of laying is also due to heat i am sure...birds who are under stress of any kind will stop laying. Whether you rbirds are molting, or too hot or too cold on new environment, stress will prevent laying. They are using all their energy to keep cool.

    Personally I make sure that my birds are fed food with animal protein and lots of it as when I fed commercial feed with soy base dproducts or non-animal protein, I get crappy looking skinny scrawny birds who molt terrible. When I do not feed feed with animal protein, I am sure to add a animal protein to their diet, fish meal, fish, koi food etc....

    Scaley leg mites can be bad, your legs do not look too bad, good to treat right away. I have one bird who might lose a whole foot as I had not noticed it got so bad. How far apart have you dunked feet? I use a pint of Mineral Oil to a few drops of Tea Tree Oil and dunk good. Once a week but I rarely have do do more than once and some of mine like I said were far worse.

    I use Adams flea nad tick spray only if I SEE mites. Other wise, I treat each birds with Frontline for dogs, one squirt to back of neck (on skin) every 2 months and have kept bugs away for the last few years. I would not eat eggs for about 2 weeks afterwards.
  3. sixsisters

    sixsisters In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2009
    Wow! Thanks for the reply! I do not have a rooster. The brown one (Red Sex Link) used to be the dominant female, maybe not so much anymore? It is interesting to me that the two sex links (black and red (brown)) look the worst, though it is hard to tell on the CA Whites as their feathers are white and breakage doesn't show up as much. It's odd, because we have this heat every year. They all did fine last year. I will add your suggestions to their water and I have switched to crumbles. I put the remainder of their pellet food in the processor and zipped it up into crumbles/coarse powder. They are eating it like crazy, so I believe that one problem is solved. I've dipped their legs twice (back to back) in the last 5 days and was planning on doing it again in the next 2 days. The scales are peeling off their feet; I can pick some off with out any pulling force. I've provided them with a litter box full of h2o so they can walk in it and maybe cool off a bit. We did get 6 eggs yesterday, the first day we've gotten more than two in over a month.
    Do you have any suggestions about why my almost 2 year old CA White is laying very small eggs with no yolk? I got another one the other day. It's all she is laying right now, about once a week.
    This has been an extremely helpful site. I'm super glad I found it. [​IMG]
  4. colby318

    colby318 got 'dottes?

    Jul 14, 2008
    Stamping Ground, KY
    I think the previous answer to your post was on spot. My hens' eggs will shrink when we get an exteme heat wave (mid 90s). Their bodies are trying to conserve water. In the heat, they tend to eat less, so I switch the layers back to flock raiser (Purina) which has a bit more protein than the layer feed. Calcium free choice. Also, the canned cat food after the cats are done with it. They crave, crave, crave the meat. I've also given them frozen blocks of generic spinach. They eat it as it thaws, good for beta carotene and brain feeze.
    If a bird has a crop full of water, it sometimes "barfs" back up when they lean over. Looks a bit like clear snot. It's disconcerting to see but the birds don't even seem to notice. My dominant hens break the feathers of the omegas. By the end of the summer, everybody's looking rather ratty. I hope this was helpful, you're not the only one with these issues!
    Happy farming!
  5. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Songster

    Apr 23, 2010
    I'd like to second Smoky's comment about animal protein - if your current organic feed is soy-based, you might look for one that contains fish meal or start supplementing with animal protein. I've heard that this resolves a lot of feather-picking problems, and certainly noticed that my birds quickly became a lot more robust and happy when I switched from vegetarian feed.
  6. turtlebird

    turtlebird Songster

    Dec 11, 2009
    i am so sorry for your troubles, sometimes raising chickens is sort of stressful....
    I am so glad you posted because the responses were SO helpful.
    Thank you all you BYC'ers! You are worth your weight in gold! [​IMG]
  7. sixsisters

    sixsisters In the Brooder

    Aug 9, 2009
    Thanks everyone! I do feed their eggshells (crushed up) back too them, but I suppose that's calcium, not protein, right? They also get about a cup of plain Mountain High yogurt dumped in a dish 3 times a week. All 6 sisters devour it! They love that yogurt!!! I will check their food and look for a protein content. If I feed them fish (for protein boost), should I cook it first? Does it matter? I am now resting easier at night thanks to all you BYC-ers!

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