Lost 3 hens in 4 days

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NuggetsNuggets, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. NuggetsNuggets

    NuggetsNuggets Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Well...

    Two of the hens we found dead in the coop and neither had shown any signs of illness.

    The third bird, a Light Brahma, started looking poorly about 2 weeks ago. She was hiding out on the roost, puffed up and lethargic while the rest of the birds were out free ranging. She was isolated from the flock as soon as we saw there was a problem. She was very pale, puffed up and this was a bird that would flee if a human got close to her, but when I picked her up, she didn't move a muscle. It was then I noticed she was nearly all feathers and had no substance to her at all - and this was a good sized, 11 month old bird! She should have weighed at least a couple of pounds. This hen had a "twin" sister we found dead in the barn this past october, but it appeared she had been attacked by something. I checked her all over and found no obvious signs of injury or illness, aside from the weight loss and being pale and unmoving. I kept her isolated from the flock, but it got very cold the last couple of days and I ended up bringing her inside so I could monitor her food intake as well as allow her to get warmer. She had been eating a little when she was outside, but had stopped eating (except what I was giving her) 2 days ago. I was giving her water with a little honey stirred in and a "high performance" vitamin pack mixed with water. For the most part, she was keeping her eyes closed, her "ears" appeared swollen and she remained pale. I had her in a laundry basket packed with old towels over and around her, but she never seemed to feel really warm. I had put several layers of paper towels underneath her, and while she was inside, she seemed to leak and orange-ish poop, but only had only pooped one time and it was mostly runny, and a dark brown in color. She had not laid any eggs in the past two weeks, but in checking her vent, I noticed she was not egg bound, or even had anything unusual going on there.

    So, here it is. Not even 6am and wondering what the heck is going on here.

    our birds were hand wormed with liquid SafeGuard (the kind for goats) a week ago and let me tell you that is no small task to catch and worm 50+ birds. after finding the two other dead hens I had already started the rest of the flock on Sulmed. They've all been deloused and we regularly put diatomaceous earth in the pens to help keep bugs under control.

    We feed a mixture/combination of scratch mixed with layer pellets and crumbles. Some birds won't eat pellets, some won't eat crumbles, but they all eat the scratch and one or the other. All the birds have access to several sources of fresh water every day and all free range for most of the day.

    I've found a lab in Oklahoma City that I am going to call today to find out how much it would be to complete a necropsy, and I hate to say I'm almost afraid to do that for fear of what they might tell me and that I may have to destroy my entire flock due to some illness or another. I keep a running list of the birds we have and going back through the list, Im more than a little shocked to see I've lost seven birds since July!

    A little help or advice here would be very appreciated... I'd be glad to answer any other questions that could shed some light, and I did try to already cover everything I can... I, sure I've forgotten something, because I'm upset and its very early in the morning...

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Getting a Test is Your call. Good Luck!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  3. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    It is good that you have already wormed with Safeguard. How much did you give each bird? How much do your birds weigh? Did you notice if any of the other birds are underweight? If you want to do an at home necropsy, you can take pictures, post them here and maybe someone can see something that will give us a clue.
     
  4. NuggetsNuggets

    NuggetsNuggets Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the advice. I have a separate area for sick birds away from the others - actually 2 areas... Worst part about these birds, at least two of them, there was no signs or symptoms.

    Enola, I wormed all of my large birds at about 5/8cc per bird, almost 3/4... And my banties all got 1/4cc. When they were wormed, we did not notice any that were under weight or other issues.

    My DH does not want me to send the bird fir necropsy, so I may have him help me and do what you've suggested.

    Thank you both... I appreciate any ideas, suggestions or other info you can offer. :)
     
  5. NuggetsNuggets

    NuggetsNuggets Out Of The Brooder

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    Came home after having been gone 3 hours yesterday and found another dead bird. Now my DH is starting to get on board with having a necropsy done.
     
  6. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I sure hope you can figure this out soon.

    Is it blood in cecal droppings that you're seeing, or, could it be shed intestinal lining that looks like red worms in droppings?

    Could this be a toxic worm overload? (Worms dying in the intestines and creating havoc?)
    Last year, we purchased some birds at a show from a professional breeder, and one rooster expelled roundworms on the trip home. So, we used Safeguard to worm, and all of the other birds did well, except the rooster, who quickly became lethargic. He stopped eating, had green/ white/ then, yellow/ clear droppings. He lost one pound in a few days, so we knew he was going downhill quickly, so we brought him inside to monitor...tube fed him a vitamin/ protein liquid based diet 3 X daily, and offered moist food and water besides.

    In his droppings, you could see the casings of dead worms being passed, so, we rewormed with Valbazen 10 days later- which kills a larger range of worms, over time rather than all at once like Safeguard. It took about 10 days in total to completely clear out the issue. He began gaining weight (then, weighed 1 lb more than he started) and the droppings completely normalized in color and firmness. We quit tube feeding, and gave him a moistened feed diet, scrambled eggs with yogurt, etc. He was very healthy after that.

    You may want to open up the dead bird and do a necropsy. Also, split the intestines and see if you see blockages or worms. Check the cecal tract too.

    Good luck!
     
  7. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I would treat right away for coccidiosis and enteritis. Those are the two most common killers of chickens. Coccidiosis may not show blood in stool. I use sulfaDIMethoxine 1 tsp in a gallon of water and put Tylan or a "cillin" antibiotic as well at 1 tsp per gallon for 5-7 days. That will cover all the most frequent ailments. The meds can be gotten on line or maybe at Tractor supply.

    In the interim, pellets or layer feed should not contain scratch. Scratch is like a candy bar. If you want resistant chickens, you have to start with a healthy appetite of at least 16% protein, and minimal treats. My chickens get a quart of scratch for over 30 birds to share. If they are picky eaters, make a wet mash from the feed, that's what I find they all eat when they're picky. If they are free range all day every day, you will need to compensate with a higher protein to make up for it. I use something like all flock which has about 20-23% protein.

    If you haven't wormed , I would treat for worms with safeguard (for goats) at 0.5 ml a day for 5 days or valbazen for a day and then again 10 days later. Check your property for toxic stuff they can get.

    A picture of poo would be good.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    That's what I would do.

    -Kathy
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    My Coop

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