Lethargic, sick chicken. Need advice please

DanaLH

In the Brooder
Apr 26, 2018
15
17
44
Hi all! My poor flock of 3 has been having a terrible time lately. My oldest hen (5 years old) got sick (lethargic, loss of appetite) in August after introducing 2 new pullets to her home (I should have quarantined them for longer). I took her to the vet, she was treated with de-wormer and given 10 days of antibiotics orally (Sulfamethoxazole) plus an echinacea supplement. She went through a full molt during the 10 days, but made a full recovery except she has been sneezing ever since. I had added DE to the dust bath and egg box so thinking that could be what is making her sneeze, I cleaned out the coop, added new dust bath material (all-purpose sand mixed with soil, no DE this time), emptied/cleaned the egg box and put fresh shavings in, and replaced the wood shavings I had in the bottom of the coop with all-purpose sand instead, to reduce potential dust. I've had that set up for a couple of weeks and she is still sneezing, but otherwise happy and energetic, eating/drinking, successfully established her dominance/pecking order over the 2 younger hens etc. Now (November) one of the younger hens is sick (she is about 20 weeks old, not laying yet). I just noticed last night - she didn't go up to roost but huddled under the egg box instead. I checked on her first thing this morning and she is super lethargic/weak, not eating/drinking, wings are droopy, eyes are closed most of the time, labored breathing, poop is runny/white from the one bowel movement I've witnessed plus stuck in her feathers :(. I put her in a "hospital crate" with a heat lamp, water with electrolytes, cooked white rice and scrambled egg, but she is not eating or drinking on her own. I gave her a tiny bit of water with some electrolytes by dropper around 7am. Any ideas what this could be or how I should treat her? Based on internet research, I am thinking cocci, or an internal parasite? (I don't see any mites or other external parasites) but hard to be certain. Should I get over-the-counter antibiotics and treat the whole flock? De-wormer/parasite meds? If so, what kind and where can I purchase? Any advice is appreciated! My poor girls have had such a hard time lately, I feel so bad! So far, the third, and smallest hen is still healthy and seems ok.


PS hopefully I posted this correctly as a new thread? not sure if that is the correct approach.
 
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DanaLH

In the Brooder
Apr 26, 2018
15
17
44
I just went to check on her again and try to get her to eat/drink some more and she has died :( I am so sad. Whatever this was killed her very quickly. Now wondering what I should do to keep my other 2 hens safe and prevent this from spreading to them. In doing more research, could this have been botulism?
 
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Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
57,444
48,499
1,202
southern Ohio
Sorry for your loss. Can you contact your state poultry lab today bedore they close, and ask how to get a necropsy? Keep the body cold in a cooler wrapped in plastic bags. Don’t freeze. Here is a list of state vets:
https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
This would let you know what illness is going through your flock. It sounds like a respiratory disease or coccidiosis since you are seeing sneezing and lethargy. You can get Corid and start it in the water at the maximum 2tsp per gallon amount for 5-7 days. Antibiotics may only be available online for pigeons, and you need to know what is going on before treating.
 

DanaLH

In the Brooder
Apr 26, 2018
15
17
44
Thanks, I will send her for a necropsy and get Corid in the meantime. I hope I can keep the rest of the flock healthy. I feel so bad. :(
 

DanaLH

In the Brooder
Apr 26, 2018
15
17
44
Sorry for your loss. Can you contact your state poultry lab today bedore they close, and ask how to get a necropsy? Keep the body cold in a cooler wrapped in plastic bags. Don’t freeze. Here is a list of state vets:
https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
This would let you know what illness is going through your flock. It sounds like a respiratory disease or coccidiosis since you are seeing sneezing and lethargy. You can get Corid and start it in the water at the maximum 2tsp per gallon amount for 5-7 days. Antibiotics may only be available online for pigeons, and you need to know what is going on before treating.
Hi again,

I sent my poor Chickira (RIP) to the state vet for a necropsy, so I hope I will find out soon (and hope there aren't delays due to the holiday). I ordered Corid and also ordered a broad-spectrum antibiotic (Amtyl) plus some probiotics so I will have them on hand and ready to treat. I am wondering if I should treat the birds with both medications at once or one at a time? And if one at a time, which should I use first? Regarding Corid, the droppings look normal and healthy, so I am a little doubtful they have cocci. Are there other symptoms to look for with cocci other than blood in the droppings? Based on some internet research, I am not finding that sneezing is one of the symptoms. And regarding Amtyl (Amoxicilllin and Tylosin), do you know if the eggs are safe to eat or if there is a drawback period when the eggs will need to be discarded? can they be fed back to the hens if so?
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
57,444
48,499
1,202
southern Ohio
It is very hard to know exactly what was wrong with her; that is what the necropsy will determine. Did you contact them to ask if they would get the body in time before the holidays? Coccidiosis may only cause blood in droppings in a couple of the strains of coccidia. There are 9 or more strains that affect chickens. As far as antibiotics, there is usually a 2 week egg withdrawal time after stopping amoxicillin. Tylosin is 1 day. Let us know what the necropsy shows if you would.
 

DanaLH

In the Brooder
Apr 26, 2018
15
17
44
It is very hard to know exactly what was wrong with her; that is what the necropsy will determine. Did you contact them to ask if they would get the body in time before the holidays? Coccidiosis may only cause blood in droppings in a couple of the strains of coccidia. There are 9 or more strains that affect chickens. As far as antibiotics, there is usually a 2 week egg withdrawal time after stopping amoxicillin. Tylosin is 1 day. Let us know what the necropsy shows if you would.
Yes I did, and they called me today to let me know they had received her. They said if it's something obvious then I should start receiving some info next week, but it could take a week or two. Does it usually take that long? I am just worried about waiting so long before starting any sort of treatment since she died so quickly after showing symptoms. Do you think it would it be best to start the antibiotic to just knock anything out? Or start the Corid to rule that out? The other two hens still seem healthy and happy so far (apart from the one that is sneezing, and has been sneezing for a while now). I have them out of their run right now, enjoying some sunshine and snacks (plain yogurt, cilantro, apples (no seeds)). They are eating, drinking, scratching around happily. Sorry so many questions! I don't expect you to have the exact answer, just hoping for some advice. :) Thanks!
 

WallyG74

Songster
Mar 7, 2020
405
1,093
133
Meridian, MS
You just described exactly what happened to one of my hens. She was about 18 months old. A perfectly fine Black Australorp that had just gotten over a bad molt. She was one of the first ones to come back with all her feathers. I was clueless so I started searching for her symptoms. I gave her a warm salt bath, checked her vent and everything seemed ok. I had the kids get the brooder ready for her to spend the night away from the other hens. As my daughter carried her, she started flapping her wings. I took her to put her in the brooder and she died right there. I’m very curious what happened to your girl. The symptoms are all the same. Unfortunately it didn’t seem serious until day 2. Just like you, there may not have been anything I could do anyway. Please post back your results. I’ll definitely watch this thread.
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
57,444
48,499
1,202
southern Ohio
It will not harm them to treat them with Corid (amprollium) in case of coccidiosis, but it could have been just something affecting the one particular pullet. Usually, with coccidiosis, they might appear lethargic, puffed up, not be eating, and have runny droppings. Occasionally, a young pullet cannsuffer from a reproductive infection. Since the one pullet is sneezing, there might be a respiratory infection going around. The tylosin part of amytyl would treat MG. I can’t recommend either drug, but I would continue to watch the others. Use your judgement. You might have gotten some preliminary results by Friday if it weren’t a holiday week.
 

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