Lice + Coryza + Suspiciously Taciturn = ???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by GottaHatchAPlan, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. GottaHatchAPlan

    GottaHatchAPlan Chirping

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    We just got our first hen from what turns out was a very dodgy flock owner. We've had Peggy, a 6-month old Australorp/Barnevelder mix, for about a week and a half. She's our only current chook, seeing as we've discovered that she's got both lice and coryza and decided to postpone creating a flock until she's healthy. So far we've had a vet check her out and, after discovering the lice/early stages of coryza, we've been subjecting her to the lice powder weekly and Lincospectin Solu Powder daily in her water. She's still itching (understandable, she's due another lice repellent dusting in the morning), occasionally plucking feathers (...lice? Or lack of company? Or something else??) and while she's still coughing and throaty-voiced, she hasn't got any more bubbly eyes and is definitely improving.

    She normally likes to chat with whoever goes up to her and will eat out of our hands, though she doesn't like to be touched yet.
    Which is where we start to worry. I noticed she made next to no noise last night and hasn't tonight either (her coop is not far from my bedroom window and I normally hear her cluck a few times during the night. Not sure if that's normal for a chicken). Yesterday morning we noticed she didn't call us out at all (we try to let her out at 7-7:30am to roam the yard, and she usually starts calling us around that time). She did cluck a bit when I went out to see her, but for the rest of the day was oddly quiet. She didn't even cluck when a neighbour came over to say hi. Weirder still, when we let her out again in the afternoon she was fairly quick to return to the coop. Mum found her standing on the roof of the coop and was able to pick her up and pet her. No fuss, no noise, no struggle.

    Peggy's a pretty mellow girl in general, but this level of complacency is new and sudden. She still eats and drinks okay and seemed fine when we checked on her tonight. But seeing as she's already got health problems we're a little paranoid.

    Other Background Info: ​
    • We've got her settled in a coop (not overly big but designed to house 2 chickens. We intend to get 3, and will upgrade then) but the run's still a work in progress.
    • So far we've been letting her run around the backyard, under supervision, for a few hours at a time, at least once a day. She's gotten into the routine and while always happy/impatient to be let out (which is why her sudden fondness for the coop worries us), is also good at returning back to the coop on her own.
    • We feed her grit, pellets and veggie/fruit scraps and let her peck around the grassy yard. Since it's been rainy the last few days she's been finding a lot of worms, but we try to make sure she's inside the dry coop as soon as it rains/if the grass is too soggy.
    • Her coop has alfalfa in the corner and more in a laying box, though she doesn't go into the latter and hasn't laid any eggs yet. She's only 6-months old and still new to our home so we haven't questioned that, but should we?
    • She also has irregular droppings; sometimes firm and other times really runny/watery. Yesterday morning there was basically a small puddle.

    Does anyone have any idea what's wrong with her, or if we're overreacting? As I said, she already has lice and coryza, so it might come down to that, but I'm still unsure.
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    She will not get better if she has coryza. That is a contagious chronic disease that she will give to any other chicken that you get. She may improve, but she will be a carrier for life. I would cull her if you plan to get other chickens. Wait a couple of weeks to get new chickens, and they should be fine.
    Lice are treated best with permethrin 10% spray or the garden dust. Treat the chicken where the lice are located, and repeat it in 10 days. Bedding must be emptied, the coop treated, and clean bedding replaced.
     
    dawg53 likes this.
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    It would be best to cull her. Coryza will spread to other chickens very easily.
     
  4. GottaHatchAPlan

    GottaHatchAPlan Chirping

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    I don't intend to breed them or mix them with other chickens, though. We were thinking of a closed flock of maybe 3 birds total. We live in a suburban area with high fences, so there's little chance of them running amok and spreading the disease to other people's fowl. Under those conditions, where they will be contained and cared for, is it really necessary to kill her?
    Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the advice and understand the logic of culling her before she spreads. But we've already gotten attached and would spare her if we could. The vet said the eggs (which was the whole point of getting a chicken) would be fine to eat once she's improved. And from what I've read chicken carriers of coryza can live fairly normal lives most of the time, with symptoms only sometimes recurring in times of high stress (eg. extreme cold, which is unlikely here in east-side Australia, moulting and infection) and even then, recurrences are very mild compared to the first bout.
    Providing we take good care of them, treat the symptoms and avoid other fowl, what's the harm of keeping her and one or two friends?
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    That is really up to you. Time will tell. If she truly has coryza, she may be quite sick and could suffer. I have never dealt with coryza before. It sometimes looks similar to MG which is more common. You may want to get testing, just to confirm it. Many backyard flocks are positive for MG. Let us know how it goes.
     
    GottaHatchAPlan likes this.
  6. GottaHatchAPlan

    GottaHatchAPlan Chirping

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    I see. Yeah, I wouldn't want her or any other bird we get to suffer. Peggy seems fairly happy and healthy other than the occasional cough for now, but if she was in pain I'd definitely consider putting her down. I'll have to look into MG more, to make sure. Thank for the help!
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    MG is much more common in backyard flocks. Coryza is more rare, extremely contagious, has a rotten odor, and chickens usually have thick yellow secretions and puss in eyes and sinuses. MG symptoms are less severe usually. Tiamulin (Denagard) and tylosin (Tylan) are 2 common antibiotics used to treat MG. Your vet may be able to help get one.
     
    GottaHatchAPlan likes this.
  8. GottaHatchAPlan

    GottaHatchAPlan Chirping

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    Interesting. We've checked her eyes, mouth and sinuses every day and never found any puss, and while she did smell pretty bad the first day or two, the smell quickly faded once we moved her to the coop and gave new bedding. The vet prescribed Lincospectin and that's been making progress so far (though she still has a cough, the other symptoms are either gone or close to it).
    Is MG chronic like coryza, or can it be cured?
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    No cure for either. She may be fine from now on, or she may have a relapse on occasion during a stress time. Cold winter weather or molting are times of great stress.

    Lincomycin and spectinomycin is a combination of drugs used against MG, and some other infections. You may want to locate some Denagard online for future relapses, or find some Tylan 50 locally in case you need it. There are many posts on how to give Denagard if you need info later.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
    GottaHatchAPlan likes this.
  10. GottaHatchAPlan

    GottaHatchAPlan Chirping

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    Thank you! :)
     

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