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Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by birdlover, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. birdlover

    birdlover Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    If you recall, a few weeks ago, a group of bantams at the Fall Festival where I was working began coming down with illness. Some developed eye infections, some had runny noses or coughs and some died without any symptoms at all. Not all the chickens got sick. Well, after the 4th chicken died, I asked the adoptive "mom" to have a necropsy done so we could know what we were dealing with. The results are in and it seems the rooster that died had a new bacteria called "ornithobacterium rhinotracheale".


    (Hope the link works, if not, google it). The state vet said this bacteria is sensitive to sulmet and tetracycline. So it is not infectious coryza or any of the other illnesses we are familiar with. It is something new and can be masked if the chicken develops further complications. Not only that, the article says a bird can just suddenly die without any symptoms. That happened to the 2 that died at the festival. 4 others have succombed at two peoples' farms but all of them had symptoms. According to the people who have these birds, the rest appear to be fine or recovering. (I dearly hope that is the case).

    Don't know how this whole thing started. At the beginning, everybody seemed healthy and happy. I got the birds from 2 places...somebody's farm where they were kept in immaculate conditions and an auction, which is where it probably came from. Unfortunately, the owner of the festival doesn't have the time to isolate as everything gets up and running in a week or so and then all the animals have to be ready for the public's adoration. I still believe the barn where they were kept was at least part to blame. It was sooo dank and dark and the NW wind just whipped through there and the poor chickens didn't really have a shelter from the wind. After problems started cropping up, I put two heat lamps close to the ground and a huge wall of cardboard to block the wind and give them a warm place to go to and, believe me, they used it!!!

    Next year (and I intend to go back next year because nobody else is an advocate for the poor birds), I will insist not a single animal be placed in that barn and that we do NOT get poultry from an auction. In fact, I am going to strongly insist that we only get ONE order of assorted bantam chicks (that worked out great) and have ONE flock of layers with a rooster. (That also worked out great but they were outside where they could scratch in the dirt, sunbathe, etc.) With ducks, turkeys, guineas and all the other farm animals with four legs there is absolutely no need to trek in all those other chickens. The problem with the owners is they are concerned with having more and more "stuff" to impress people and don't think about the lives of the animals. Sorry this is so long but I needed to vent and have closure on all of this! Thank you for reading if you got this far.

  2. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    Thanks for the update! It's good to have that info, because without knowing about other diseases that have similar symptoms, we wouldn't know what else to suspect should ours fall ill.

    I agree with your ideas about next year, and you should stick to your guns about advocating for the animals. It's one thing to show off 'stuff' but another to risk lives, even if they are *just* chickens...

    Way to go!
  3. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    In reading that, my take home message would be- if the bug is suspected, get it cultured so the right antibiotic can be picked, if one chooses to use antibiotics. The part about the bug *easily* acquiring resistance, and having different strains/sensitivities is scary.
  4. birdlover

    birdlover Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Hi Diana,

    That's my next stop...the "other" site! [​IMG] Thanks for the links. I'll look at them now.

    Well, none of them would open for me here. I'll go to the yuku BYC. Thanks!

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  5. spook

    spook Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    North Central Florida
    Very interesting! After reading that it makes me think I need to give one of mine some Sulmet. Its a rainy yucky day here and I noticed my roo was coughing. I had been waiting and even tho it is not this issue, it spelled out to treat soon, not wait to treat.
    I realize I should have a culture, money is an issue.
    It is a very interesting result you received, also to remind folks that when showing birds, they can bring illness home with them, and it may seem to be "your fault" or "where it began" but it can be as innocent as showing your prize biddy. Thanks again for sharing the results.
  6. Wanda

    Wanda Songster 10 Years

    Jan 7, 2008
    Ellen - thanks for posting the results. I lucked out with Bridget by giving her the tetramycine and I was concerned I should had been giving her something else. So glad this didn't discourage you and you are going back next year to look out for the new crop of chicks.

  7. Wanda

    Wanda Songster 10 Years

    Jan 7, 2008
    that was suppose to be tetracycline not tetramycine
  8. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    I want to compliment the OP and doing your work and getting a necropsy. So many people treat their flocks based on guesses, inuendo, etc. Your birds are lucky to have you.
  9. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing Premium Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Great info. to have! Thanks Ellen! [​IMG]

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