Little Orley won't stop crying!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Teepov, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Teepov

    Teepov Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Just a note: I already know that there is something going through my flock. Actually, we are combating a few ailments at the moment, so they're having a rough go of it. They had scaly leg, which is finally getting under control. They have favus, which I've been treating for over a month, but whenever it seems to subside, it comes back after a week or so. The older hens (I have two age groups, 7mo olds and 5 mo olds) have permanent air sac damage from aspergilliosis contracted as chicks, and since they free range, I'm pretty sure they all have MG. Now they seem to have another, different respiratory thing on top (both the young and older). I know, you're thinking how are they even still alive... Well, considering, they all look really good, have good energy and the hens that are old enough to lay have been laying beautifully. So I don't want to get into the symptoms having to do with the respiratory illness unless anyone asks, because, like I said, they all have it (which makes me think bronchitis), but exhibit slightly different symptoms so it would take a while to delineate.

    I am singling out Orley, though, because she is displaying different behaviors.

    1) Ameraucana, 7 mo, healthy weight, a tad under
    2) Orley has always made a whining, crying sound whenever she gets stressed or scared or wants to be held, but she is doing it constantly now and keeps trying to get me to hold her and sticking her head under my arm. She's being very insistent to the point of jumping on me if I won't pick her up or running into the house. Before today, starting two days ago, she had been sitting in the nest box for a VERY long time (more than 2 hours) after she had already laid, but exhibiting no signs of broodiness. If anything, it seemed as though she was enjoying being nestled in the warm box and resting (which is out of the norm for her, she is very active).
    3) The whining/crying and other behaviors have been going on for three days, getting progressively more intense. The symptoms of illness have been presenting for about a week. Since I can hear her rales regularly, it seems like she's also having more trouble breathing than most of the other hens.
    4) A couple other hens have sat for a long time after laying in the boxes, but not nearly as long as her.
    5) No trauma
    6) I know that she is sick. Something is going around in my flock, like I said. But they have been sick before and she hasn't exhibited this behavior.
    7) She is eating/drinking normally
    8) She has been having both good looking, solid droppings, and diarrhea regularly. The loose droppings seem to be increase in the evening, and they are typically green with a lot of urates (so that it wets the litter).
    9) I was afraid this all started because the birds got a chill in the night (the temperature plummeted unexpectedly one night about a week ago), so I've closed up some of the coop vents and insulated, as well as put in a heater (which they seem to appreciate because they congregate over it). I'm fairly sure that what they have is viral, but I put them on antibiotics yesterday anyway (water soluble tylan) to combat the MG and allow their immune systems to fight the virus. I have been diffusing essential oils in the coop for about an hour at night to promote respiratory health and help keep their air passages open/clear (eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, rosemary). I open the coop up during the day and fog with oxine to try to minimize the virus.
    They have had vitamins and minerals in their water for 3 or 4 days now and I just started putting thyme and oregano essential oil in the water as well. I have added cayenne to their food and will be adding garlic powder tomorrow when I get some. I have also supplemented their systems with probiotics so as not to be too beaten down by the tylan.
    10 ) I won't be seeing a vet. Though I now think this behavior has to do with her feeling poorly, at first I thought she was trying to be broody but didn't know how. I'd like an opinion as to whether I can do anything for her, and the rest of the flock, to help them through this.
    11) ...
    12) The chickens range all day. Their coop is 4'X8' and perches are ~2 1/2 off the ground. As it is colder, I have covered the side vents but there is an open vent right under the roof on one side running the length of the coop and another one on the other side, running the length of the floor. The roof is insulated and we have a space heater in there. I have just switched them from sand flooring to deep litter for the winter.


    I know it's a lot, but thanks for the help...
     
  2. Teepov

    Teepov Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Update: I just collected an egg from her. She hasn't been making her usual 'eggsong' cry after laying today or yesterday.
    The egg was rough and had calcium deposits on it...
     
  3. Teepov

    Teepov Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Anyone? I'm still thinking it's the bronchitis hitting her hard but I'd really appreciate some input [​IMG]
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I wish I had an answer for you but there is just really no way to tell why she is making those sounds.

    As far as treating her and the rest of the flock... I would definitely treat them all with a round of antibiotic's but I would administer directly to each bird rather then put it in the water. With meds in the water you never know exactly how much each bird is getting or if it's enough. Sometimes they don't drink much when they don't feel well or when the weather is cooler. I'd either do an injectable or oral. In the past I've used liquid Baytril prescribed by my vet with excellent results.

    They usually do need an antibiotic to get through outbreaks of a respiratory disease since it so easily morphs into pneumonia. Fogging with the Oxine is an excellent idea, I use that too in my flock that has a respiratory issue.

    Keeping them warm, especially at night, is important as well until they get over it.

    If by chance you should loose one to this illness you might want to consider a necropsy, either by a vet or a state lab, to get some answers as to what exactly you are dealing with.

    Best of luck, we've dealt with respiratory disease here too and it's no fun.
     
  5. TinaK

    TinaK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2010
    Australia
    let's get the ball rolling... I might not give you an answer but hopefully someone else will chime in once I have! Here are some questions & suggestions!

    • When did you change the floor from sand to deep litter in the coop? Is it possible that you have introduced a new bug?
    • What are you using for the deep litter? Is it clean (no doubt it is based on the level of care that you are giving!)
    • Are you sure that they are drinking the water now that you have put the essential oils in it? I personally wouldn't go for the essential oils, rather give them some natural herbs to pick on. Oregano is known to have antiviral and antibiotic properties. Here is a great resource about using herbs for chickens! http://fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/nesting-box-herbs-chicken-aromatherapy.html
    • I wouldnt be diffusing essential oils in the coop... mainly because heavy aromatics have been known to kill chickens. If you do wish to use them, make sure the chickens can remove themselves from the area if they want to.
    • What are they fed?
    • Do they free range in a garden with grass? or is it a mainly dirt area?
    • What makes you think it is bronchitis? Are they making crackly sounds when they breathe? Coughing?
    • Antibiotics should be a last resort. It will not help boost their immunity, it will fight bacterial infection. Not only will antibiotics kill off bad bacteria, they can also kill off good bacteria that will help the chickens fight any viral infection that they may have.
    • Keep up with the probiotics. They can work wonders [​IMG]
    • Chickens can cope amazingly well with cold temps. It is hot temps that tend to knock them over quickest.
    • Is Orley laying regularly? The egg with a rough shell and calcium deposits is normal.... have you been noticing any broken eggs in the laying boxes?


    There is every chance that they will be able to fight through it all! Chickens are tough creatures! I know I havent answered your questions... probably given you more!
     
  6. Teepov

    Teepov Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Cafarmgirl, thanks so much for the reply!
    If nothing else, it's reassuring to know that I'm doing some things correctly.

    As for the Baytril, I had read that it was illegal for use in poultry in the USA? Am I mistaken, or do I have to find a vet who will prescribe it to my invisible goat?
    I had wanted to get Baytril over the Tylan, but I couldn't find it anywhere, nor figure out a way to purchase it....
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  7. Teepov

    Teepov Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Tina! You've given me a lot to think about, which isn't a bad thing in my opinion [​IMG]

    They went onto deep litter two days ago. Respiratory symptoms had been showing up before that, so I don't think any new bugs were introduced.
    I am using pine shavings and it should be completely clean as I bought it right before I changed their set up.

    I've seen them drinking the water, though you're right about me not knowing how much they've been drinking... not too terribly much based on the levels when I change the water... so injecting may be the route I'm going tomorrow.

    As for diffusing the oils at night, I'm very careful to keep away high concentrations of 'hot oils' and use safe dilutions. I have noticed some improvements when using the oils, though I may be wrong to attribute them to the diffusing... it's hard to tell for sure when you're doing several things to try and improve their health at once. I do think they're used to it as they've been diffused with them several times before, so it shouldn't be a shock to their respiration. However I'm going to go down to 30 min instead of a full hour.... I take your point about them needing to 'get away' from it if they want since the way I'd had it set up, there wasn't really any way to get away from the diffuser.

    The flock is fed organic "coyote creek" layer feed. They also get kitchen scraps as they have access to my compost piles. And, obviously, they eat weeds (horseherb mostly), other green, and bugs all day.
    The majority of the area they range in is shaded, so although there's a lot of ground cover, there's also a lot of exposed dirt (here, it's mostly clay with a thin layer of peat on top). There are also some areas that have been mulched with wood chips, which they love to dig in for insects. I would say it's about half and half, dirt to ground cover.

    As for my conclusion on infectious bronchitis, I will give you the factors/symptoms that made up my mind because to describe everything would take me well past the point you'll want to to read (I spend WAAYY too much time watching and spending time with my chickens!!!! [​IMG]):

    One of the younger poults developed a wheeze and laboured breathing in less than 24 hrs. That was 4 or 5 days ago. Within another 12 hours, there was increased nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, and conjunctivitis amongst the flock (the eyes, sneezing, and drippy nose can also be attributed to the MG, which they have chronically. It's severity just depends on how healthy they are, so usually they are asymptomatic or have very mild sneezing and occasional runny nares.) The younger birds do not have as drastic of rales as the older ones since they have no prior aspergilliosis damage, but they do have little wheezes, especially at night, and have been cheeping and chirping considerably of late. This in particular stuck out in my mind because they had just past the age where they stopped making baby noises and were in the full swing of exploring their 'adult' voices, but suddenly they regressed. They also began huddling and fluffing up when going to roost around this time. Now, most of them sit over the heater, or as close to it as they can. In the past, they liked to spread out.
    The original little hen who first showed signs of illness quickly developed noticeable facial swelling around her eyes.(I'll try to get a picture tomorrow)
    A few of them gasp for air. It isn't constant, but they do it regularly, if that makes sense. Orley is one of these, which isn't surprising since she croaked all summer long when the temperatures topped 101 (poor little girl...)
    Egg quality has decreased in the past 3 days: they started well-formed, smooth, thick-shelled, and rich shell color, and have become slightly wrinkled/ridged or a bit oddly shaped, roughened, thinner shelled, and lighter in color with spotty pigmentation. I only got two eggs today as well, which is very unusual (I have never gotten less than 3 since my older hens all began to lay).

    There are other symptoms, but the sudden onset of the ailments with the drastic drop in temperature that the coop was not yet prepared for (and definitely put a great deal of stress on the flock), in addition to the change in egg quality is what makes me think it's bronchitis. I realize that both Newcastle's and Avian Influenza have similar, as well as share symptoms with IB. I have considered that I am finding reasons to believe that it's bronchitis instead of something that could be much more serious... If you think that's the case, please tell me...
    But another thing that convinced me it's IB is that none of them have died since this thing's onset, and seeing as they were relatively healthy before this (barring the favus, scaly leg, and dormant MG), I would expect them to be able to pull through, but not necessarily survive influenza or New castle's.... that may not make sense, but it's the best I can explain.

    As for Orley, she's either got this illness worst of all, or something else is going on with her. I can't pinpoint it. She has been eating less (from what I saw today), but it's not to the point of being alarming. All she seems really interested in either being in the nest box or being held, and she has preferred being held (she insists on sticking her head under my arm, which tickles me every time and I keep worrying I'm going to drop her from laughing!)

    I know that's a lot, but thank you for taking the time!

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  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Baytril is by prescription only and my avian vet prescribes it for chickens all the time. I've never heard of it being illegal for use in poultry unless maybe that applies to commercial operations, I don't know. It's not something I've looked into since I get it from my vet.

    I had seen some on line once available without a prescription but I don't recall where. It was a 10% solution that is added to their water. I'm thinking it was on a pet bird site.
     
  9. Teepov

    Teepov Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2012
    Austin, TX
    thanks for the info! I'll have to look into it now
     
  10. Teepov

    Teepov Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Anyone have any thoughts? I'm kind of still where I was in the first place...
     

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