Listless Chicken Died in Two Days - What Happened?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChickenChuckles, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. ChickenChuckles

    ChickenChuckles Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2015
    Hi Everyone,

    One of my favourite chickens died overnight, and I'm wondering if you can help me identify the cause to protect my other chickens.

    Two days ago I noticed that she wasn't outside as often as the other chickens. Then yesterday she was acting listless and allowed us to pick her up without any struggle (she normally doesn't like that but is generally cooperative. This time she acted completely neutral). There wasn't anything unusual except dullness and possibly wetter than normal droppings. Otherwise we didn't think she looked that bad, feathers were good, size was good, just acting listless.

    Could this be the result of wet bedding? Here's why I'm concerned about that, so any tips you have on that front would also be appreciated.

    The wet coop: This is our first winter on this land, and we're using a coop that was designed by the previous owners to house meat birds in summer only, so it's directly on the ground. (No chickens in there for 15 years until we bought some this summer.) We've now learned that as the snow is melting this time of year, some of it trickles into the coop, making it rather damp on the floor. We had been using the deep bedding method in the coop and have had to empty it out and replace the hay weekly for the last four weeks or so, as the water trickling into the coop, albeit slowly, is too wet to leave.

    The icy run: Their outdoor run is like an ice rink, so we feed their scratch and scraps on the clean ice beyond where they pooped the day before. That said, the ice closest to the coop entrance is a layer of chicken poop, and I can't figure out anything to do to fix that. I think adding hay will just make it worse.

    If she did die because of wet bedding, what disease/illness would that be?

    Other ideas?

    We have kept her for a necropsy tonight, is there anything specific we should look for based on her symptoms?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Magnolia, Texas
    Have they been laying regularly?

    I would suspect something like Coccidiosis first. That can kill a chicken in a few days without any symptoms. The treatment for Cocci is Corid 9.6% liquid or 20% powder. You can find it at Tractor Supply in the cattle/goat section. You can use it on poultry safely.

    I would start them on Corid ASAP. Wet, warm bedding is a breeding ground for all kinds of nasties. The recipe is 1-1.5 Tablespoons per gallon of water. Even if they aren't showing symptoms, Corid is a gentle medication and won't hurt them one bit to run as a precaution. There is no need to discard eggs, either. They should *only* drink Corid water for 5-7 days.

    Unsure if Cocci leaves anything readily visible in a necropsy. :/

    MrsB
     
  3. ChickenChuckles

    ChickenChuckles Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2015
    Thank you, that's what I was worried about. I'm not certified organic, but I'm selling organically fed chicken eggs, so I doubt I can use a drug on my laying flock. Do you know?

    Based on the environmental problems I'm having (an icy run, and a coop that has melting snow wetting the flooring), what can I do to make my environment safer for my remaining chickens?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  4. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Magnolia, Texas
    I understand the worry about a chemical pharmaceutical medication in your birds. I, too, am *extremely* concerned with my chickens' well being and health. I detest the thought of even taking Advil for my OWN issues, much less medicating an animal that produces something I will eat.

    THAT BEING SAID.

    In the case of worms and Cocci there is nothing you can do.

    You will find a litany of claims that pumpkin seed extract and garlic are "natural wormers." I'll give you a head's up - they aren't. There are NO natural "cures" for worms. Period. Cocci is the same way.

    Both worms and Cocci exist in a state of symbiosis with poultry. When things happen that get them out of balance, a worm or Cocci take over will occur and you birds WILL start dying.

    It really hurts my heart to see people insisting that worms and Cocci can be treated with herbs and natural remedies. On the other hand, it hurts worse to watch the birds suffer because people 1) trust the information being given that garlic and herbs work, 2) think their case is magically different, or 3) are just too stubborn to do what's right by their birds.

    I say all of this to you with love in my heart. I do. I would hate for you to lose more birds chasing a remedy that is simply ineffective.

    Edit to add: As for your organic label, I have no idea how it will effect that. :/ Since you aren't going through a govt agency to get it, I imagine you wouldn't necessarily have to say anything if you didn't want to. But, since you are selling these to customers, it might be a good idea to discard those eggs for a week or so, if it makes you uncomfortable selling "medicated" eggs (it would make me uncomfy).

    MrsB
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  5. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Corid is not an antibiotic if that helps any.
     
  6. ChickenChuckles

    ChickenChuckles Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2015
    Hi Everyone,

    I am intending to go for organic status, so I do need to exert caution. I've looking into it since I last wrote, and Corid is not a permitted substance for organic flocks in my area.

    It looks like environment management is the best I can do - which is dealing with the obvious poop concentration on the ice of my run and dampness problems in my coop due to melting snow and ice near the entrance door. If anyone has overcome these issues in spring, please do share your tips!!

    My heartfelt thanks for your help everyone!
     
  7. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Magnolia, Texas
    You could change your bedding from deep litter to sand... Sand drains well, retains earth-warmth better, dries quickly, and, since there is little moisture, nasties have a hard time growing in it.

    Do keep in mind that Cocci and worms exist CURRENTLY in your flock (and mine, too, and my neighbor's, and your neighbor's, and everyone who ever had chickens ever). Without treating them with the proper medication, you risk losing your entire flock, as Cocci can spread to others. I hate to sound alarmist, but I feel there is a sacrifice being made for a "label" that may cost you quite a bit more than you realize. :/

    I am super-bummed that the organic label will prevent your chickens from receiving Corid, especially since you lost one.

    I also hope it was your only loss. [​IMG]

    MrsB
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  8. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    If you can't treat the chickens, then you have to remove any chickens that appear to be sick from the rest of the flock immediately. In order to keep the disease from spreading, the chickens MUST be on dry bedding. You cannot allow them to wade around in sloppy manure. You need to clean thoroughly and disinfect ALL feeders and waterers.
     
  9. ChickenChuckles

    ChickenChuckles Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 12, 2015
    Thanks everyone, no one else has turned up sick so far, so here's to hoping it was something not contagious.
     

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