mystery illness: poor balance, weight loss, death.

Trampledbygeese

Songster
9 Years
Sep 26, 2010
104
4
101
Please help. I feel so desperate.
I don't know what my chickens have, but I'm loosing about 1 chicken every other day now.

They start by getting a bit mopy and don't eat so much. The first sign seems to be that their crop isn't full in the evenings. This lasts for anywhere between a day to a few weeks before the next symptom which is balance loss. They fall forward onto their back and/or use their wings to keep their balance when standing. This lasts a day or two tops, before they start doing a funny neck twisty-jerky-thing. Yellow poop (like scrambled egg yolk) and death follow within 6 to 12 hours.

It effects both hens and cocks. There is a possibility that there is a breathing problem as well as some of the hens have a very slight wheeze prior to getting ill. There is no poop change until right at the end of life. Sudden changes in temp, especially hot days, seems to make them much worse. Both flocks (it's spread to the other flock now) have had their shots at the hatchery. One flock is a little over a year old, the other 2+ years.

I've tried antibiotics with no effect. Chicken-vit (or whatever it's called) has helped slow the progression of the illness, but they relapse after a few days.

Please help! Any suggestions as to what they might have? I can't find anything like this in the books.
Can I do anything to save the rest of the flocks?

Edit: I wanted to mention that right from early on, they show the whites of their eyes and seem to have perception issues. They peck at something, but miss it entirely, often pecking above the ground and wondering why they didn't get it.

Edit: Here's a more concise symptom list.

Stage one, -tiredness, hunched down, disinclination to stand up, refusing food, dull feathers. Slight wheezing sound, and about half the time, some sneezing. Beak smacking.
stage two - After a day or two, poor vision, poor balance, often using wings to stand upright. continued weight loss. More beak smacking
stage three -Anywhere from an hour to two weeks later, they start jerking their heads and twisting their necks and they have yellow poop (scrambled egg yolk like). Death follows very quickly after this begins (12 hours at the latest).
 
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Elite Silkies

Crowing
10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
5,410
45
251
Oklahoma
My Coop
I would have a necropsy done on the next one that passes or take one of the sick ones in alive (they will have to kill it), but I think it would be best to find out exactly what your dealing with.

I would say it's not wry neck, wry neck is not accompanied with all of the symptoms your birds are displaying.
 

jadeybaby70

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 10, 2009
87
4
41
Alameda
I agree with the last post!!! Send the next chicken/chickens that pass to your state vet. Some states will do the necropsy free of charge and all you need to pay is shipping but it is worth it. They will give you a very detailed report. You will probly not be able to stop whatever it is now unless someone on here has an idea of what it is and how to treat it but knowing what it is and how to prevent it will help in the future. Sometimes we learn the hard way.... I certainly have
 

Trampledbygeese

Songster
9 Years
Sep 26, 2010
104
4
101
Thank you everyone.

Does anyone know of somewhere in BC, Canada where I can get a necropsy done?

Any good links on wry neck? What causes it? How to treat it, if this does turn out to be the case?

I've given them extra chicken vits since they started getting sick. I don't know the exact content, but it's got a lot of Vit. B in it.
 

Trampledbygeese

Songster
9 Years
Sep 26, 2010
104
4
101
A brief bit of reading and further inspection of the chickens, I'm not convinced wry neck is what we're looking at.

The neck twising is at the end of life, just the last few hours prior to death. They are sick for weeks prior.

We can add mild sneezing to the list. This occurs in about 1/2 of the cases.

I've got to go do some farming, but I'll be back online this afternoon. Any suggestions? Thoughts?
My favourite rooster is starting to show the first symptoms! Please help!
 

Trampledbygeese

Songster
9 Years
Sep 26, 2010
104
4
101
Anyone around today? Another hen has shown signs of illness, only she's progressing much faster than the others, gone from stage one to stage two in just a few hours.

To recap the Symptoms:
Stage one, -tiredness, hunched down, disinclination to stand up, refusing food, dull feathers. Slight wheezing sound, and about half the time, some sneezing.
stage two - After a day or two, poor vision, poor balance, often using wings to stand upright. continued weight loss,
stage three -Anywhere from an hour to two weeks later, they start jerking their heads and twisting their necks and they have yellow poop (scrambled egg yolk like). Death follows very quickly after this begins (12 hours at the latest).

Please, please help. Anything you can suggest would be appreciated.

Suggestions, thoughts?
Anyone know of somewhere in BC I can have a chicken autopsy/necropsy done?
 

CapricornFarm

Chick Magnet!
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 1, 2010
65,558
222,808
1,757
Southern Virginia
Your chickens may have more than one issue. Tiredness is often a sign of cocci. Treatment is corid. Sneezing is usually some sort of respiratory disease. Do a search on chronic respiratory disease and see if that fits. Did you get new chickens recently?I give any sick chickens vitamins and electrolytes , sugar in the water.
 
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Trampledbygeese

Songster
9 Years
Sep 26, 2010
104
4
101
Most of them had their shots at the hatchery, is it still possible to get cocci later in life? I'll have a look at the books and see if this fits.

Haven't got any new chickens since the spring. We always isolate them for at least a month before slowly introducing them to the other chickens.
 

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