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Looking for opinions on cause of death of 10 month old hen.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by darkbrahmamama, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. darkbrahmamama

    darkbrahmamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, it's been a while since I've been on the forum. There's been some issues along the way (one hen was lame when she started laying, another had broken some newly growing feathers on her leg and was lame, etc) but nothing serious, until now. I guess I'll start from the beginning with the hen that passed.

    She's the hen that I had questioned that had wry neck when she was a chick, at about a month old or so. She had looked like she had a shorter neck in comparison to the other hens. Not twisted, not bent, just ..... short or tucked in. She never really acted like the other hens, but she ate and drank perfectly fine. I gave them all a vitamin and electrolyte in their water to be on the safe side, and she seemed to be perfectly healthy other than always looking like she was keeping her neck tucked in. Since she seemed well, I never thought about it again. Then a few months ago I had noticed that she wasn't acting normal. All the of other hens & the roosters were outside free ranging, and for the second day she just stayed inside on a roosting bar more than usual. Having just taken care of Olive that had an impacted crop after eating hay with the horses (gave her olive oil, thus the name!), my first thought was to check her crop. Her crop was large, felt like a balloon, and she had a bad odor coming from her mouth. Yep .... sour crop. I had gotten her to throw up, separated her from the others, and gave her Nancy's Organic Plain Yogurt a couple of times a day until she felt better .... and I had named her Nancy. It only took her a couple of days to start acting better, and so I put her with the others. Since then she became more of a loner than what she already had been. She almost always stayed to herself, rarely went out to free range, wasn't was alert and perky as the others, but her eyes were clear and she ate and drank perfectly fine. This morning, when I went in their stall to check on them, Nancy was standing at the door, odd since she was usually on one of the roosting bars. When I went to shoo her out of the way she was very wobbly, like she was drunk. Her legs were straight as they should be and worked fine, but her balance was pretty much non-existent. When she'd try to walk she'd fall to one side or the other, using her wings to straighten herself out, or (less commonly) she'd fall forward. Her eyes were clear and of proper color. I separated her, raised her food and water. She had a desire to eat and drink, which I thought was a good thing. By the time I got out of work and went to check on her, she had passed. I feel bad as I didn't really have the chance to help her, and I'm completely clueless as to what was wrong with her or how I even could have helped her. I'm not really shocked, as she's never really been fully normal, but it would be nice to get some opinions and possible answers.
     
  2. darkbrahmamama

    darkbrahmamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should add that around mid-November they all started molting and egg production went from 6 to 7 a day down to possibly 1 a day. All of them except for Itty Bitty and one other hen stopped laying since then. Today, Ariel (my accidental brahma/araucana cross breed), finally laid and egg - so hopefully that means others will start laying again as well. I'm not sure if that has something to do with it, but thought I should bring it up.
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  4. darkbrahmamama

    darkbrahmamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Being someone that always thinks the worst, that was my first thought. But I ruled that out as her eyes were clear and of normal color (not grey), she didn't have any leg, wing, or neck paralysis (they all worked fine), she didn't have any problems breathing, and she didn't have any raised skin blemishes. A lot of the symptoms I've read about, I didn't see with her. She just acted like she was very intoxicated......
     
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Still could be Marek's, you should have a necropsy done.

    If you live in the US:
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahln/downloads/all_nahln_lab_list.pdf


    How to send a bird for necropsy:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/799747/how-to-send-a-bird-for-a-necropsy-pictures


    -Kathy
     
  6. aznewmom

    aznewmom Out Of The Brooder

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    This DOES sound very much like what I just went through. Sad if it was Mareck's.
    How long does this disease take to incubate? I have not had any new gals in my flock in about 6 months now.
    They have all been fine up until yesterday.
    So sorry to hear about Nancy. {{{{hugs}}}}
    Always tough to lose them!!
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Here is a very good thread that contains a lot of very good information about Mareks from some of the people dealing with this disease, and they can answer many of your questions. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/741957/not-an-emergency-mareks-in-the-flock There are 4 different kinds of Mareks--the eye problems are not present in all cases of Mareks, and some times that is the only symptom. Read the links again, and do your own research, too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  8. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Marek's would not be my first suspicion. More common diseases like Coccidiosis require preventative medication. The first 9 months of development are when birds are most susceptible. Coccidiosis protozoa damage the intestinal tract, enteritis sets in, crops don't empty, bird stops eating/drinking, and bird dies of dehydration. Intestinal worms can cause similar symptoms.
     
  9. darkbrahmamama

    darkbrahmamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been doing so much research that I think my brain is going to explode! I highly doubt that it was Marek's. The only symptom even close to Marek's that she'd shown was not being able to walk without falling over. She was able to stand still, on both legs, perfectly fine. But if she went to walk it was like watching someone that just drank one too many shots at the bar. Before Saturday she was able to peck the ground, eat, & drink perfectly fine, even though since she was a chick she always would perch with her head tucked in more than anyone else - she looked like she didn't have a neck, though she did. Since she had sour crop she never was nearly excited as the others about waking up in the morning, going outside, & eating treats. When I first got the original 15 they were only a day old & I started them on medicated chick starter. When they were exactly 2 months old I bought 2 roosters that were about the same age, & 1 hen that was about a month younger from a breeder. Since then, they were all kept together, I didn't get anyone new, & we don't visit any other flocks. They're kept in a 10 x 10 horse stall at night (now there's 15 hens & the 2 roosters), and free range during the day (with more than enough land, as long as they share nicely with the horses!). I think that she had sour crop when she was about 4 months old, my memory isn't the greatest, but it was shortly after Olive had an impacted crop.

    I've read some people having similar issues due to lack of protein &/or lack of vitamin B. Could this have been the problem? Everyone when thru a heavy molt & are just now starting to lay again. I feel horrible thinking that if I had paid a little more attention I could have given her some dried cat food &/or added vitamins to their water. I've used Poultry Protector on them twice, and have used an equine fly spray (Ultra Shield EX) in their stall twice. I also have put down DE, which they have enjoyed as a dust bath. Around November I have them Rooster Booster triple de-wormer.
     
  10. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you sure the sour crop was completely dealt with? Sour crop can be either fungal or bacterial. Her acting distant and not interacting does indicate she was still not feeling well. Was she checked for all the usual issues,such as egg binding,vent gleet,mites/lice/worms(left out impact/sour crop as you already dealt with that)?

    Was she thin when she passed,can you give any details on the condition of her poop? How old was she? Any and all issues can cause balance problems,injury,vitamin deficiency,parasites,impact/sour crop,disease,respiratory issues,etc,
     

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