Lost my first hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by 1hotchick, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. 1hotchick

    1hotchick Hatching

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    I had 4 Wyndottes and 6 Black Star hens. Yesterday, I noticed one of my Wyndotte's downy feathers were raggedy looking and her balance was a little off. Today, we found her dead. She had no marks or outward symptoms. The folks at the feed store thought it could have been the heat. We went on and cleaned the coop for good measure. I'm going to get some DE too. Then, I notice today that one of my black star's head looks mangy. Guess I'll get some stuff for that too. Any suggestions? Could my girl have died of mites since the black star is looking mangy?
     
  2. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Songster

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    I would say mites or lice. Check them in the morning especially at the base of the feathers. It sounds like they could be very infested and if they are you want to dip them in a dog flea and tick dip to get rid of the blood suckers QUICK! If they do have mites let us know and we can walk you through cleaning the coop and using pesticides to kill the bugs.
     
  3. 1hotchick

    1hotchick Hatching

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    Thank you for replying. I checked for mites and can't find any. We did clean the coop yesterday, but didn't put any pesticides down. I bought some permethrin dust and liquid today. I'm thinking I'll pull back the wood chips to one side of the coop and put down some of the powder, and then so the same for the other side.
    My girls are pecking at each other and I haven't noticed any unusual scratching. However, today I noticed the wattles and combs on one or two girls are looking pale. Is that anemia? So what about this dusting and spraying with the permethrin. I feel uneasy with putting pesticides on my girls, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    Let's back up and see if we can sort out what is going on here. It will help if you will answer some questions.

    What are you feeding them, exactly, including any treats?
    Do they have access to a run or the yard? Are they on dirt or grass?
    How big is the cop, and the run as well, if you have one?
    Are you offering granite grit or oyster shell?
    What kind of wood shavings are in the coop?
    Where do you live; how hot is it there? Are they in the shade? How good is the ventilation/air flow where they stay?
    Did you check after dark for mites/lice?
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    Also, how old are they? If they are laying age, has there been a change in laying?
    Have you ever wormed them? With what, if so?
     
  6. 1hotchick

    1hotchick Hatching

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    I give them cracked corn as treats, veggie scrapes and weeds. I give them oyster shell daily and give them the layer ration in the pellet form in a bucket auto refill feeder. I also have an auto waterer that is hose fed. I empty and clean it out daily. The coop size is 8x5 and the run is 8x17 feet on dirt for 9 girls that are 10 months old.The coop has plain wood shavings and we do the DLM. For ventilation we keep a 2 1/2X2 1/2 window open, the eves are open all the time, the roof is vented and there are vents above the doors as well. I think it's well ventilated. We're just north of you in SC, so it is hot and getting hotter. Most of the run is in shade. We do keep a compact florescent bulb burning for 12 hours a day in the coop. (I read it was good for egg production.) Their egg production varies. Some days we get 9, some day we get 6. I'm going to check for mites tonight. The daytime mites check turned up clean. I do throw sand in the run once in awhile too. Thanks
     
  7. 1hotchick

    1hotchick Hatching

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    And no, they've never been wormed. We have had a lot of rain lately too which stinks up the place! That's when I throw in the sand.
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    OK. Obviously, mites/lice are a possibility; I suspect you'll find at least a few when you look after dark; some kinds only get on them at night and live in the coop during the day. Permethrin is relatively safe as insecticides go. The pale comb could be anemia, yes, or it could be reduced blood flow, as from a heart defect, and probably other things I'm not thinking of right now.

    I think heat is a possibility, unless you find a really heavy infestation of mites/lice. Worms, possibly; maybe when things straighten out, you could consider a routine worming program.

    Another possibility is botulism, from something spoiled or moldy, an easy thing to happen in rainy weather.

    Of course there may be more than one thing going on, just to make it all more confusing.

    Whatever is going on, a bit of a nutritional boost for a while can't hurt: a bit of plain live culture yogurt, some infant liquid vitamins, and some cooked egg yolk. Also, if they pant at all from this heat, some electrolytes in the water. You can get them from the feed or pet store, or cheat and use a little Gatorade or pedialyte.

    Let us know.

    I'll give you some links to threads with lots more information on these problems:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=123057

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=221676

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=2525157#p2525157
     
  9. 1hotchick

    1hotchick Hatching

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    Lordy, I grew up on a farm and I guess it was survival of the fittest. I never imagined having to worm chickens and check their crops! But, I love my girls. They are all panting today with temps in the 90's. Sunday and Monday are calling for temps in the mid 90's.
    After I check for mites tonight...(what a hot date with my hubby!)... I'll think about worming. So...what is a good worming program for me to follow. I read your links. Should I do the twice a year thing? Sorry, I have to read up on worms/sypmtoms. I'm linked up on the mite/lice thing. I know that worming will stress my girls so should I wait until the heat wave is over? I'm going to buy some gatorade tomorrow and some plain yogurt. I don't think they need my Activia. I'm the one who needs that for other reasons! I lost a wyndotte which started this whole forum thing. Can Wyndottes really handle the heat of the South. My three remaining Wyndottes are panting more than the Black Stars and they are "hanging" their downing butt feathers down. I did check one of the chick's vent and she looks clean. Another question: when you're checking a chicken for mites, do you turn her on her back? The wyndottes feathers are thicker and heavier than the black stars. You cannot blow to open them up. I think it is definitely a two person job.
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    I do Gatorade, too, because I only do it now and then.

    Worming with chemical wormers is a point of contention on this board. Chickens are going to have a few worms (you and I probably do, too) and they are going to have some mites and lice. It's a matter of degree of infestation, plus overall health of the bird and their resistance. For me, I'm going to go with a twice a year program, I believe. I just did ivermectin and will probably use a different one in the spring, to avoid resistance. I agree, wait til it cools off, unless you think one is in trouble with them; gives you some time to research it here and think about it.

    The Activia would be fine, it's what I use because it's in the house (yes, we buy the plain,) but whatever you want. They only need about a tsp. each; they don't digest the milk well, so you're only after the organisms in the yogurt.

    I have a couple of Wyandottes. All mine seem about equally stressed by the heat, and all pant. The coop is very open air (hardware cloth for parts of the walls on all 4 sides) and I keep a fan on; they stay in the coop in the heat of the day, for the shade, and I hose the outside of the coop down (metal) once or twice on sunny days.

    There are always wild birds around here, and I know the older flock had them once, so I don't even check for mites and lice, I just treat them with pyrethrin/permethrin dust every couple of months, and spray nests and roosts and such with Adams flea and tick spray. I also sprinkle DE around everywhere anyway, about once a week, and that does seem to help control the numbers. I have to do the checking alone (well, I could recruit my son, but haven't) so I just used a flashlight and looked at the vent area, the one time I did it. I think I did turn her over to do it. I didn't check all of them closely; I found some critters and eggs on a cooperative hen or two, only had a few then, and just started treating. Once in a while I will feel like invisible fleas are jumping on me, and that's when I remember it's time for pyrethrins again....

    I don't really know what's up with the Wyandottes hanging their butt feathers down. You might be approaching an egg issue, they might have all gotten into something moldy, they might be loaded with worms.... I do not know.

    I'm going to PM you, too.
     

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