My chickens are better! Could still use some opinions/advice!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mama24, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I posted a few days ago. I've had my 4 8month old Delawares for exactly a week today. 1 came down with a cold the next day, and has kept getting worse. 2 others also seemed be coming down with it. Mostly wheezing, some coughing and sneezing. So yesterday, the first one seemed to be a little better, but I started them on antibiotics (Tylan 50, but I did it orally.) anyway. I was glad b/c last night, the first hen who had gotten sick was wheezing so badly I was afraid she was going to be dead this morning. I just caught them all and dosed them again and they are all 100% better. No coughing or wheezing whatsoever. So should I assume this was bacterial and it's gone once we finish the round of abx, or do you think I should still pursue having them tested for the various viruses that cause crd? The guy we got them from will be at the market again today, so sould we drive down there to talk to him? Thanks for any thoughts!
     
  2. RedRoosterFarm

    RedRoosterFarm **LOVE MY SERAMAS**

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    If it was me I would do a few more days of the tlyan and then decide. Good luck!
     
  3. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glad they're feeling better!

    To be honest, it sounds like MG (one of the CRD diseases). MG *IS* bacterial, but it's a special little booger with no cell walls... this is what makes it turn into a carrier status. They'll be carriers most likely. They may NEVER show symptoms again later...but they may under times of stress. They can shed cells at various times (maybe not ALL the time after active infection is gone) and that will infect any 'clean birds'. It can be transmitted to hatching eggs-- not always, but possible.

    The incubation after exposure is usually 6-21 days... not all birds may show signs, but not showing signs of it doesn't mean they didn't also get it and are now carriers. Not ALL birds will even contract it or be carriers-- without testing, you'd not know for certain. Typical symptoms are like you experienced... sneezing, rattling, coughing, runny nostrils, watery/bubbly eyes...some depression or listlessness. Mortality in older birds is usually low as long as they don't succumb to secondary infections.

    There's no harm in eating the eggs (or meat) after the withdrawal period of the meds. Probably 2 weeks after last dose to be 'safest'.


    It's estimated that 90+% of small flocks/backyard flocks are positive for some form of mycoplasma infection and are carriers.
    Very few hatcheries screen their hatching egg suppliers for it, many of their suppliers likely have MG positive flocks.
    Wild birds can carry it/transmit it.

    I know too much about it now...because I'm quite certain it's what the flock I bought a few months ago has... [​IMG] I truly feel your pain!

    I chose to treat them... NOT cull and start over... mostly after reading threads upon threads upon threads about it...particularly a few of some members here that faced it, went through testing, culling and starting over. I don't plan on selling hatching eggs, birds, chicks, etc... I have no friends with chickens that could carry it home...and based on the statistics of the infection rate of backyard flocks... honestly, I didn't think my odds were great of maintaining a 'clean' flock if I did depopulate and start over.
    No birds will leave my property, no hatching eggs-- I won't risk infecting another flock that might be clean... but otherwise, I'm going to 'live with it' unless my birds end up having continuous problems/relapses of symptoms.


    As far as the meds... treat them for about 3 days past any symptoms. Usually about 5 days, give or take.

    As for confronting the breeder-- I guess that's your choice. SO many variables in how the birds could've been infected... or their (unknown) carrier status at the time of purchase. Maybe you could get him to take the birds back, if that was your desire--- and he'd cull them. Then you could sanitize and wait a short while and try to find clean birds (most likely hatching eggs from clean stock) Then do very strict bio-security to keep your birds clean...


    It's a personal decision, for sure! Really depends on what your goals for your birds are.
    Know that any other birds you get, if not infected, will likely get it, too.
    And STILL be careful if you choose to get other birds---there are plenty of OTHER things live birds can bring in that are just as bad, or worse than this!
    Know that once your birds 'get healthy' and look/act fine...they can still infect others, and shouldn't leave your property if you want to be responsible and not potentially infect other clean birds/flocks. Practice good bio-security-- don't handle your birds then go somewhere where you may track the illness/shed cells on your shoes or clothing, etc.
    If you cull and get 'clean birds', bio-security is important...don't even go to the feed store, then return and carry in a bag of feed to their coop with the same clothes or shoes. You can track it home and infect a flock that way! (and not just with MG/CRD)
     
  4. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ND, thank you so much for all of that info! I looked up MG, and it very well could be what my birds have. [​IMG] It's so hard to say for sure, but given how quickly the abx made them feel better, I feel it was definitely a bacterial infection causing their symptoms. I will take your word for it that MG is the most likely cause.

    We are currently renting the house we live in. So I think our best bet would be to get these chickens back to healthy, keep them for eggs, and then when we move, we can cull the birds (we bought a dual purpose breed for a reason [​IMG] ) instead of moving them with us. Then we can start over at our new place. [​IMG] I am interested in getting a few of several types of birds so I can see for myself what the different breeds are like (even some non-chicken breeds) so I for sure would rather start over w/ healthy stock than keep these birds and risk infecting any new ones.

    Actually, I was just thinking, my son's Kindergarten class at his private school is planning on getting chickens very soon. Maybe I will cull them sooner rather than later so they don't spread it there. I am sure we have already tracked it there, considering my son wears the same shoes in our back yard and there. Do you have any idea how long the bacteria will live in their grass? Until it rains? Several weeks? I want to make sure and tell them to hold off on getting their chicks until it's safe. Their coop is set up, and I saw a bag of chick starter, so I'm thinking they were planning on doing it very soon. [​IMG] There is also another family there who have been a great help to me who have chickens. I feel so bad that I have probably exposed them, too, through our shoes. I have had these chickens for 7 days today, I had no idea I could be passing on their sickness just by wearing the same shoes in my yard to other places. [​IMG]
     
  5. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, btw, I have been in contact with someone at the NC Dept of Agriculture. MG is a reportable disease in NC and they will destroy any birds found having it. So I may not have a choice in keeping our chickens. A veterinary pathologist answered my email yesterday (I emailed Wed or Thurs to ask about testing for suspected poultry diseases) and I called and left him a message. His secretary said he was extremely busy in necropsy that day, so I guess that's why he didn't call me back (OK, I know I'm really odd, but I would LOVE that job! rofl. I have a degree in chemistry. Wish I'd gotten better grades so I could go to vet school.) Anyway, hopefully he'll get back to me and advise me what to do.
     
  6. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I understand, MG is pretty fragile outside of the host. I think the best it can survive is 3 days in the right condition. Some of these illnesses can last for MONTHS and MONTHS in the ground, etc. MG is too fragile. Sun, heat... disinfectants...all easily kill it-- outside of the host.

    Good bio-security practices include having "chicken shoes", and shoes that go to town, etc...and don't intermingle. (or get sprayed with a bleach solution, etc) Careful hand washing, showering, changing of clothes.... not getting live birds, not intermingling ages, having an all in- all out policy for re-population (with at least a short time elapse to allow things to die...unless it's one that can live very long in the surroundings) DEFINITELY read up on bio-security, and even educate all your chicken friends and your son's school!
    Avoid poultry swaps, fairs, bird shows unless you have meticulous bio-security in place. Don't take a healthy bird to one of these and allow it to return to your property.

    If I were in a position where I'd likely expose other birds...friend's flocks, etc... I'd probably cull, too. Perhaps I'd test-- cull those positive, wait some time...and test again on the ones that were negative.... if there were any that were negative. (one thread I read was someone who culled/tested all this birds and as it turned out, only 30% tested positive-- those could've been culled, the remaining tested later, etc) But, of course, there's the cost of all that involved... must more expensive than the birds are "worth", dollar wise.

    As it is with me... I don't know anyone else with chickens (that visit or we visit) and it's easy to avoid moving it off our place--- no birds out, and we have shoes that are worn here, shoes that are worn to town...and I make sure I don't tend to or visit the chickens after showering to go to town so I don't potentially track anything anywhere.

    BUT, like I said, I'm basically in the beginning of this... just a few months in. If I find that my flock is continually relapsing and showing symptoms, I may ultimately cull. Or at the very least, cull those that can't 'fight it off' themselves until I'm basically depopulated over time. Right now, after the initial infection/treatment...they all SEEM healthy as can be... but logistically, I can't keep treating and treating if it various stresses cause them to have symptoms again and again. So, we'll see...

    I had my flock less than 2 weeks before the first symptoms showed up... I don't know if they were carriers already (younger pullets) or exposed at some point prior to me getting them. By all outward appearances, the guy I bought my flock from had healthy birds...all of them...and everything looked great! Maybe the stress of the move made it flare up... maybe they were newly infected. Some in the flock never showed any symptoms, and haven't still. Maybe THEY were the carriers. No idea. I probably should have immediately culled anyone that showed symptoms, but I honestly didn't know about all this either. Had NO idea. I'd read quite a bit, too. Stupid me, I thought getting live birds, slightly older birds... would've been easier for this newbie. (I'm sure I'd kill hatching eggs! lol) As it turns out, live birds...no matter how healthy looking...can be a huge mistake! Even with quarantine. (they could just be carriers and not show illness, but infect a healthy flock after quarantine) Ugh... not sure I'd do it all again had I known!
     

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