1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Mystery Disease affecting my flock

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by HerFlock, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. HerFlock

    HerFlock New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Nov 8, 2013
    Florida
    Hello! I am new to BYC but check these forums constantly for clues to this mystery disease spreading through my flock. Unfortunately, I still have no idea what it is!

    I used to have 5 hens, and all was well. We got 10 babies, they grew up, and all was fine. We got 4 new baby bantam cochins, and shortly after, 15 broilers, and all was fine. Then I foolishly introduced two new grown flocks to my flock and all hello broke loose!

    It started with me finding one of my newer girls dead in the run with my small bantam cochins. Hoping she had just accidentally eaten a tomato plant leaf, I didnt think too much about it. I got rid of the tomato plant and everything seemed fine. Then a few days later, another dead bird, and a week after that, another one! I had noticed that one of the meat birds was honking/sneezing. I know chickens dont honk, but thats kind of what it sounded like. She was also gasping for air, and I thought it was because she was a pleasantly was over plump girl, or could possibly have gape worm. She went to the palace in the sky the next day as I didnt want to see her suffer anymore.

    Since then, every day one or two chickens is affected by the sneeze/honk/squeak attack, then the next day, they're fine but a new one has it. We have also noticed quite a bit of diarrhea that ranged from light brown to clear/white, but also a ton of normal stools too. We have 41 chickens in total so I keep waiting for it to run its course through the flock hoping its just a cold. I have given them Wazine for worms, and treated with Sulmet for cocci and (in case) coryza. None of this has seemed to help.

    Then the oddest thing started happening...I found a "floppy broiler" and immediately suspected Marek's. I separated that broiler for a few days and then it was fine! A week later, we found another chicken dead. Then, a few weeks later, the same broiler went floppy again. Separated her and she was fine a few days later. Then one of my layers couldnt stand up, and was leaning to the side. Acted perfectly normal with regards to eating and drinking, seemed very alert, and a few days in isolation helped her recover perfectly. Now this has happened to several other birds and I have one in my bathroom right now who is showing the worst signs I have seen so far. She's my favorite so I am REALLY desperate to figure out what this could be. Her signs were:

    Listless, Fluffed out, droopy, and had a speck of blood in her very whitish diarrhea. There was barely any fecal matter, only urate. I started giving her Sulmet in case it was coccidiosis and she perked up and all was fine. The blood disappeared but the diarrhea remained. Only a little bit of fecal matter was coming out, and it was mostly urate. She was eating and drinking and acting completely normal until a few hours ago when she went down hill fast. Thinking she was just stopped up or maybe egg bound, I put her in a warm bath and squirted a little bit of KY in her vent. None of this seemed to help.

    If there is anyone who has experienced something similar to this and found the answer/cure, PLEASE let me know. I am desperate to save my little girl.
     
  2. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    4,921
    152
    301
    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Someone else on here experienced the respiratory and Marek's like symptoms combined, and was never able to find anyone who knew what it was, but it was fatal.

    You should never, ever, introduce new chickens to your existing flock, without a period of quarantine for the new ones, unless you know where they are coming from...and I mean someone you know well, like a friend, and you know for SURE their flock is healthy, and even then I'd be cautious. New chickens coming into the flock should ALWAYS be quarantined for three to four weeks, and then slowly introduced to the flock by way of putting them in a pen and letting them get to know each other through the wire.

    I don't know what to say to help you. Nothing ever runs its course in a flock of chickens. If you see one that is ill or acting odd, you should isolate/quarantine immediately, because when they start showing symptoms, they are already quite ill. They don't get colds, but they can get CRD, which is like a cold, but it is a virus that doesn't go away, but they can develop an immunity to it. There are several respiratory and neuro conditions that affect poultry.

    Please isolate all the sick ones...at this point you can put all the sick ones together in one pen..and then disinfect the heck out of the living quarters of the healthy ones. Use Oxine, ideally, or at the very least, bleach. Then, if I were you I'd take one of your dead birds and get a necropsy asap. DONT wait.

    If you can, I would take one to a vet. Then you will know how to treat them all. I don't know what it is that you are experiencing, but you are already in serious trouble, because there are so many sick ones. Try Tylan, if you can get it quickly. For starters. Treat the whole flock with it...even the healthy ones. Good luck!
     
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    4,921
    152
    301
    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Also, you can try to contact Peter Brown, the chicken doctor, at firststatevetsupply.com. He's a poultry expert and though not a vet, is very competent and imo he could best advise you. Try to contact him asap, because he is sometimes hard to reach on weekends. He also has a supply of meds and other stuff that might help you.
     
  4. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,904
    64
    173
    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    Hi & [​IMG], My guess would be Mereks. It can present in several different forms and can effect young or older birds in times of stress. It is very common and very contagious. I would add Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to their drinking water to try to keep their immunity up. You can take a sick bird to have a necropsy done to confirm what you are dealing with. Mereks exposure can also make them more susceptible to other things
     
  5. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life Out of the Woods Premium Member

    84,499
    3,781
    646
    Jun 15, 2012
    Washington
    Welcome to BYC!
     
  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    36,684
    4,692
    566
    Feb 18, 2011
    Ohio
    Hello :frow and Welcome to BYC! Sorry about your flock, X3 you should have a necropsy done to try and figure out what you are dealing with.
     
  7. HerFlock

    HerFlock New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Nov 8, 2013
    Florida
    Oh believe me, integrating flocks will never happen again. My little girl is doing worse, barely opening her eyes and wont drink from the dropper. I am incredibly heartbroken right now to think that I will have to cull the whole flock. Never in my wildest dreams did I think My whole flock would contract Mareks.

    My problem with separating the healthy/ sick ones is that they all seem to be sick at some point and with 41 birds, where do I put them all?

    Will disinfecting the coops get rid of the viruses? I am quite familiar with the biological aspect of viruses, meaning, you cant kill them. Will my property permanently have whatever it is thats killing my chickens?

    Thanks again for your replies, they are very much appreciated!
     
  8. HerFlock

    HerFlock New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Nov 8, 2013
    Florida
    Oh and where can I get a necropsy done?
     
  9. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,904
    64
    173
    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    I'm so sorry but, once it is on your property- it is there forever. Clean and disinfect everything you can but know it is in the ground too. The good news is - there is a vaccine for Mereks but, it is only effective if given to day old chicks. Older birds already exposed to it will not benefit from getting the vaccine. However birds that stay healthy after exposure to Mereks will have developed some immunity to the disease and do not need to be culled. Their eggs are safe to eat. If you buy day old chicks to replace yours they MUST be vaccinated and not be put in your coop, on the ground until they are 2 weeks old. If chicks are exposed to the field type Mereks before their vaccine is in full effect - they will die. When chicks are older they can be integrated in to your flock.
    You can do a necropsy yourself if, you have the stomach for it? Or call a vet to have them do it.
     
  10. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    4,921
    152
    301
    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    You can beat it, you will just have to work hard at it, that's all. [​IMG] If they're all sick, that's ok, just keep em together. Best bet is to order some oxine, we order ours from 1st State, but you can get it other places too. You can mix it with water and put in a spray bottle, about 1/4 cup per gallon. Then spray everything under the sun, including misting your birds. Put a few drops in their drinking water too and be sure to scrub waterers and feeders. It may take awhile to get rid of whatever it is, but just keep disinfecting. If your coop has a dirt floor, you can dig it up, put down some lime, and then cover it up again, but that has to be done carefully, I have never done it. You have to bury the lime deep enough so they don't dig it up again. If you can get the flock to recover, they will develop an immunity to it, if I were you I just wouldn't get any new birds for a while. Or if you do put them somewhere else.

    If you determine they have Marek's, please see the thread on here about Hypericum. It is miracle stuff, though it would be a job to treat the whole flock, I'm sure you probably could. Personally I don't think that's what it is, but it certainly could be.

    I don't know where you are, but the fastest way to find out where to get a necropsy done is to contact your veterinarian, if you have one. They can give you a referral if you need one and tell you, (hopefully) the cheapest (and fastest) place to go. You can also contact your State university, one that has an Animal Science or Ag major. OR, contact your State ag department directly. SOME States will even do necropsies for free, although not here in Ohio. And some college profs in those Ag or Animal Science departments will give you advice for free. We have received help from Ohio State University before, although, their general advice for anything was to just cull. [​IMG]

    Be sure to try to contact Peter Brown, if you have not done this already. Well worth it advice. Talk to your feed store about an antibiotic to use in the meantime. Make sure the flock eats, and drinks, well. You can also tube feed the very sick ones, if you want to, sometimes this works. They MUST eat and drink to survive.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by