1. 1BirdinCT

    1BirdinCT New Egg

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    Aug 22, 2013
    Hello All! I am in desperate need of advice. I started with 4 hens in May. They did great for a couple months until 1 fell ill. I brought her to a vet where she was treated for 36 hours and did not improve. I then had her humanely euthanized and a necropsy performed. As I awaited this result, a fisher cat ate 2 hens. I was down to 1 hen when I received the autopsy result- she died from listeria. I immediately got my only remaining (and asymptomatic hen) on prophylactic oral antibiotics, Tribrissen. She is done with meds and is thriving, but is all alone. I am ready to get her some buddies but I know nothing about listeria! Because she has remained asymptomatic, can I assume she is not carrying the bacteria? Do I need to bleach the environment? If so, how do I properly do it? Will her eggs be safe for me to eat? I appreciate any advice, I feel lost and do not want this Wyandotte to be alone, but I also do not want to knowingly place other hens at risk. Thank you for any input!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Good job on getting the necropsy and you would have never known what happened without it. There is no treatment for chickens.
    Chickens are normally resistant and mortality is usually low.
    It is a bacteria that is found in soil and bowels of many animals.
    Good sanitation is the best defense so a good cleaning may help.
    It is one of the diseases that can also affect people handling infected birds. It's rare but can be life threatening for seniors and the unborn. If you get a rash, fever, muscle aches or eye inflammation get a blood test and thell them what to look for.
     
  3. ChickenMommaG

    ChickenMommaG New Egg

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    Aug 9, 2013
    I too have recently lost a bird to listeria and the resulting encephalitis (confirmed through necropsy). I suspect she came home with it from the farm we bought her from. Poultry vet recommendation is to dispatch the entire flock and start over because of the potential risk to humans. The other birds in the flock are thriving, however, and showing no signs of illness. They are bright-eyed, red-combed, and looking ready to start laying any day now. There is no sign of weakness in them, they are as vigorous as ever. No signs of illness in the family.

    We have not yet decided what to do - we do not have family members in the listeriosis risk groups (over 65 and newborn and younger). From what I understand, listeria is in the soil and water naturally, and may have built up inside and overcome this one bird's weak immune system. I am heartbroken at the thought of dispatching such healthy, vigorous, young birds, who have become dear pets with distinct personalities. However, if a real risk is present to my family I want to do what is necessary to protect them.

    1) Does anyone have any input/experience to weigh in with so we can make the best informed decision?
    2) Does anyone know if dangerous levels of listeria can be carried for life in asymptomatic chickens, that is, could we safely introduce new birds after area clean-up (same question as 1BirdinCT)? Would we have to be concerned about hatching chicks from them if we keep them? Eating eggs from asymptomatic birds?

    @1BirdinCT: The vet recommended we treat the ground where the listeria was with a garden product made for adding acidity to soil. Do NOT use lime, that will have the opposite affect, apparently lime provides a good environment for listeria to thrive.

    Looking forward to your thoughts.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I don't have experience with it but I was led to believe that chickens are normally resistant to the bacteria so I would hold off on disposing of the flock. Think about it, if it is in your soil, the new chickens will be exposed so IMO why not just keep the ones you have.
     
  5. ChickenMommaG

    ChickenMommaG New Egg

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    Aug 9, 2013
    Thanks ChickenCanoe. Your post makes sense. I guess the concern is if we keep them and it turns out the bird that died from it was the canary in the coal mine, so to speak, and the rest soon follow, all the while amplifying listeria in our environment. I wonder if there is some way to tell if there is a large listeria presence in a live bird without sacrificing it, some blood or stool test a vet can do maybe. Without a direct test for this, the question becomes how much time does it take to demonstrate that the healthy looking and acting birds do not have a listeria problem, so we can be confident it was an isolated case?
     
  6. jeginathol

    jeginathol New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Massachusetts
    I just found out that the nectarines I bought at Sams Club were recalled for possible Listeria contamination. I fed them to the girls, and one of them dropped dead last week of unknown causes. I didn't eat any...TG. All of the rest of my flock are fine, and the fruit has been disposed of. The other girls are probably resistant according to my Vet, but I'm going to wash or boil the eggs I have. Future eggs I'm not sure about...I'll just make sure they are cooked well for awhile. It's scary...like Salmonella. Sam's club owes me a chicken too.
     
  7. ChickenMommaG

    ChickenMommaG New Egg

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    Aug 9, 2013
    Thanks for sharing that experience jeginathol. I still have ALL the other birds, who are still healthy and now laying up a storm. We have been eating the eggs, washed and cooked (we don't really eat raw or underdone eggs anyway, so haven't tried it).
     
  8. jeginathol

    jeginathol New Egg

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    Jan 28, 2012
    Massachusetts
    I was thinking over easy or sunny side up. Baking goods like cookie dough raw...my fav. Lol
     

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