Lethargic then dead...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by vtslaim, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. vtslaim

    vtslaim Hatching

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    Jul 21, 2019
    One of my hens (7 mos old, silver laced Wyandotte) was lethargic yesterday; I thought it was the heat. Today she is dead and now one of her mates (same sex & age speckled Sussex) is acting the same way. No change in environment. Plenty of fresh water and no change in commercial feed (Purina layena with added oyster shells which they began getting at around 4 1/2-5 months old: zero problems, though hubby bought pellets instead of crumbles this last time). For treats they get, apples (no seeds), watermelon, alfalfa (1/4 flake, no mold!), fresh grass clippings (no fertilizer or weed control). They are in a naive 12x16’ stall with a 12’ ceiling (16 hens 1 rooster). There are two human-dwelling sized doors (tube metal with stretch steel welded from top to bottom) at opposite ends of the stall for cross ventilation; fan constantly moving air around in stall, but not “blowing”. Their footing is organic stratified (dirt then 2” straw then 2” dust free pine shavings; repeat 3 or 4 times) and like walking on a mattress. I chuck about a cup total of scratch over the bedding almost every day as both a treat and to encourage them to scratch about and keep the bedding aerated and fluffed, which is what they do; I add to it intermittently. There is no dust, excess moisture or any odor at all. But CLEARLY something’s amiss!! Any ideas?!?!
    -Sad and confused in North Central Texas.
     
    Texas Kiki likes this.
  2. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Enlightened

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    Welcome to BYC.

    I'm sorry for your loss.

    How often do you give treats and how much do you give besides the cup of daily scratch?
     
  3. Criticalicious

    Criticalicious Songster

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    Sounds like too much treats plus the summer heat. Lethargy is a symptom of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. It requires prompt attention to get the chicken to a cooler environment and provide electrolytes. Do you have Nutridrench on hand? It can be given at 100% strength directly in the mouth. I almost lost 2 of my 7 month olds last summer because of the heat.

    Keep a thermometer in the stall with them - can they be free ranged during the day or any way to cool it down in there?
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    The symptoms could very well be from heat stress as has been mentioned by @Criticalicious and @Texas Kiki . However, two other possibilities come to mind to account for the symptoms preceding death. One is a bacterial infection from exposure to anaerobic toxins that may reside at the bottom of your deep deep litter.

    The other possibility is coccidiosis. If you have had very warm, moist conditions, this latter is a distinct risk, even if you never allow the chickens out of the stall.

    The likelihood of coccidiosis increases if you have been to other locales wearing the same foot gear you wear in the stall or if you recently borrowed or loaned out dirt moving equipment or imported any top soil.

    I recommend starting your entire flock on Corid immediately and include a sulfa drug, as well to treat any bacterial infection in the intestines.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Welcome to BYC and sorry that you lost a pullet. My guess would be heatstroke, but hard to know for sure. I would get your other pullet into a pan of cool but not freezing water to cool her legs and body. Give her some water with electrolytes, Pedialyte, Gatorade or similar. Offer it with a dropper, a spoon or scoop, or dip her beak. Some breeds and heavier chickens may have a tough time in heat. Lots of shade, shaded water, ventilation in coops with fans, ice or frozen water bottles in the water are aome of the ways to keep them cool. Others use electrolytes every few days in the water on hottest days. A necropsy by your state vet or poultry lab could help with a diagnosis if you keep the body cool and send it in on Monday.
     
  6. vtslaim

    vtslaim Hatching

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    -Scratch (~1 cup volume for 17 hens + 1 rooster to share) given ~ 5 x per week.
    -1 apple (cored and sliced) ~2x per week.
    -alfalfa ~1x every 10 days
    -grass clippings *once*
    - other fruits and veges in small amounts when available
     
  7. vtslaim

    vtslaim Hatching

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    Jul 21, 2019

    How much and what kind of electrolytes? I used to add Quik Chick to their water up til they were 5 mos of age. Should I still?
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  8. vtslaim

    vtslaim Hatching

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    How much of her self do I put in cool water; up to her craw...? And how long do I keep her thus? Should I preemptively ‘dip’ the rest of the girls?
     
  9. vtslaim

    vtslaim Hatching

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    They were vaccinated as chicks against coccidiosis. Should I yet be concerned about that particular pathogen?

    Where do I get Corid and what sulfa drug exactly?
     
  10. vtslaim

    vtslaim Hatching

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    What is the safe temperature range the coop should be at?

    Where do I get Nutridrench?
     

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