Need help/advice/opionions on how to proceed- found dead hen in coop...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Bocktobery 10, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello to you all..

    I'm in need of some guidance, help and advice. A little background first..

    Where I live we have been having a tough winter- constant snow has kept me from being able to let my birds free range. Conditions in the coop are not great but they are not bad either, however, its dirtier in there than what is normal for me due to the fact that its been under freezing constantly (can't wash inside) and also I sprained my knee badly and have not been able to do much of clean up, though I do the minimum. My coop this year is a bit overcrowded, but for the most part, each bird finds their corner and to my surprise all seem like they are getting along ok considering the circumstances of having a full coop. My coop is 12 x 16, also with an upper part which about 6 birds hang out in. I have 26 (well, now 25) birds. One is inside the house due to illness. So that means, currently, I have 24 birds in my coop.

    This morning I found my young Barnevelder hen on the coop floor. She was dead. Upon inspection, i can't find anything that would indicate what she died of. Because of the amount of dust and dirt in her feathers, it either appears she was taking a dust bath when it happened or, most likely, had a seizure. Her vent looks a little odd- maybe a bit bloody or oozing a liquid, but this could just be normal postmortem secretions. It does not look too odd.

    I looked around the coop for other possible signs. I looked at my other birds. My only other barnevelder young hen has what seems to me looks like a swelling above one of her eyes... So this to me points to a possible respiratory ailment through the flock. I did not see any other bird having symptoms of anything respiratory, in fact the bird that has the swelling has no other signs of respiratory problems. I can't see any problems in the flock except they are not as active today- WHICH could be because I did not get to them until much later than I normally do, then again, I'm feeling a nagging suspicion that this could be a sign of something that needs treated.

    My only guesses in what caused my hen to die are these:

    *Unspecified bodily problem, not infectious, but genetic
    *she might have eaten a tack I put on the wall to keep some tape up and maybe it punctured her insides
    *or eaten and chocked on plastic that I have over the windows to keep cold drafts away- one of them had picked a hole in one area, and I have not removed it yet because it is doing well for keeping warm air in and cold air out
    *One of my roos got too frisky in mating and suffocated her
    *The 2 degrees F freeze last night got to her and killed her
    OR
    **A virus or bacterial problem is in the coop and she was just the first to succumb to it

    If I have enough gumption to do it tonight, I may to a necropsy on her body to see if I can find any clues. Not looking forward to that, and not sure if it would be just better to send her body to a lab- they at least know what they are doing.

    But my main reason in posting is this: Should I treat my flock with an antibiotic, if so, how and which one? I have once before only had a bug go through my flock and I used Duramyacin 10 in teh water and I only lost one hen in that outbreak. The Duramyacin 10 pretty much did its job. I was amazed, and I'm wondering if I should go ahead with trying that or is there another medicine that would be better? I also put apple cider vinegar in my flock's water... I would suppose that I take that out when medicating, right?

    I only lost one other hen to circumstances similar. (acute, sudden, I mean) and oddly enough, she too looked as though she was dust bathing when she died, which she might have been since she was in a dust bathing 'hole' in the ground when I found her body. I'm worried I might have something seriously affecting the health of my flock, something that is under the radar... or maybe its just normal... I don't know. I'm not experienced enough.

    What should I do next? I've only got about 30 minutes until they will be at roost for the evening. I'm concerned that if this is bad it will spread fast and maybe tomorrow I will find more. If we did not have freezing temps I would treat with Ozine, or Oxine or whatever it is called, but this would not be good to put moisture in a coop during freezing weather- I already have two roos with frostbite as well. I can't wash the coop either. I have no means of cleaning the coop due to personal injury as well.

    Sorry for the long write up... I hope someone can guide me, or just offer their opinion. Thank you for reading.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hello & sorry for your loss. I will try to address all of your points specifically. * ingestion of a tack/plastic - possible for sure, but you won't know unless you necropsy. * suffocation by roo - extremely unlikely. I'm sure it has happened, but I've never heard of it. * freezing temps - it has been bitterly cold for sure, but as long as your coop is draft-free the ladies should be fine, they are very hardy. * I'm not sure why you are thinking a respiratory virus - are they wheezing/coughing/whistling? any drainage from eyes/beak to make you think that? I think the other Barnvelder having a swelling may be entirely coincidental. However, keep an eye on it - warm compress, antibiotic ointment to area if needs be. Now, back to the deceased - I think everyone has had a chicken or two drop dead for no apparent reason. It's sad but it's life, unless you find something to point towards cause of death, I would say genetic.
    From a personal point of view - if your birds are not exhibiting any symptoms of illness, I would not medicate. You definately need a bigger coop area for your flock tho' - Spring project! [​IMG] Hope this was helpful, keep me posted please.[​IMG]
     
  3. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, sorry for your loss :( Here is a link that explains the 5 different sections and symptoms of chicken respiratory disease.http://www.wvc.org/images/session_notes_2013/2013_EX6.pdf Some are harder than others to detect. There is a chance that your bird got hardware disease if she found the tack.
    Even if it is cold out, your birds will benefit from open coop doors during the day. You can take waterers out at night to reduce moisture.

    Just for support; I have a bad back, very bad. It takes me quite some time to clean the coop. It's very cold here too in MI. I take breaks in between scraping, chipping, chopping poop off roosts and nest box edges, shoveling and re bedding ect. with everything frozen. There is no way around spending a couple hours outside doing this dressed in snow pants, gloves, boots and all. It is certainly easier to be able to kick the chickens out on cleaning day. I try to keep at least an 8x8 area outside the coop shoveled for them. My chickens get aired out and go out, I would say about 346 days a year.
    There are lots of videos on chicken necropsies on line and @casportpony and @Eggcessive are two of several who may be able to give you guidance on that and respiratory issues/treatment. If you feel you can spare the time for a professional necropsy, I recommend it for the reason you mentioned. If the situation is dyer, I would try a home necropsy. (No I wouldn't cuz I don't have the stomach for it) but you might. I hope your knee gets better soon and your birds too! [​IMG]
     
  4. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks to the both of you for your responses, boskelli and justplainbatty. Your words were very helpful in setting myself at ease.

    Yes, believe me... I had plans this fall to build a 16 x 20 enclosed run behind the 16 x 20 coop but plans fell through because of circumstances outside my control unfortunately. I've got the funds, just have to find the help, and as soon as the weather makes it possible it will be done! -God willing of course.

    I do usually let the doors open with exception for the days that it is snowing- As I don't want the snow in the coop. Lately we've been having a lot of snow days. Yesterday dumped a whole lot. I have one other problem which are hawks lurking around. Typically, its this time of year they come around my birds more, probably because of the snow and winter weather my flock becomes a more obvious hit than other wildlife in the area. Luckily my coop is built off the ground, and the chickens stick close to it and can run under it, so they do have some cover. However I've been nervous about hawk/predator attacks just because I know there are starving predators out there at this time of year and other prey is not so obvious as a flock of birds peppering the white ground.

    Oh.. Why was I thinking respiratory. Well, because it was quick, and respitory can be quick to cause death and it is also common. I was also thinking respiratory mainly because of the one symptom of the other Barnevelder hen, like I said. I have a blue Andalusian hen who was shivering the other day, but she's typically shivery when I pick her up and during the cold winter months. She was like that all of last year, which concerned me but she did fine, so I have largely put it off as her just being excited to be held (She is the type of chicken that loves to be held, and will come up to me, peck my leg or pull on my pant leg and look up at me to be picked up) She also shivers when I pick her up when its warmer out too. Its so hard to tell!

    I have brought the other Barnevelder in for the evening for observation. (temps are supposed to get spring time like this weekend, so I figure this should be ok and won't be too much shock when I put her back out) I did notice that her comb has black dots on it... fowl pox?! (Or is it just rooster mating marks or battle wounds from hierarchy squabbles?) But as far as I know wet or dry fowl pox doesn't cause sudden death, and I have not seen any symptoms at all in the bird that died.. in fact, everything looked really good. My hens certainly have been laying a lot lately. I have had dry fowl pox in my flock before, but all of them had recovered from it.

    I'll take some pictures of this Barnevelder (the alive one) and post them here. From my observations already this evening when inside, from what I can tell its most likely that she has a bit of something in her eye that has irritated this... which would not be too far fetched since my girls take dust baths in the coop and when they 'poof' it all out from their feathers, there is a lot of dust in the air. (yeah, I know not a good thing in crowded dirty conditions!) Thanks boskelli for the reminder about the hot compress and the eye ointment... I had totally bypassed that in my mind and was ready to head for the antibiotics due to worry. I will try this first tonight while I have her inside.

    About the sudden death... I find it so strange and confusing, but you are correct in saying that its just part of life, and I know it happens a lot in nature. I'm disappointed that I lost her... but I think her suffering was very short if any, and I hope it doesn't sound too callous to say it does not bother me too much to know that an animal hardly suffered and went quickly. Its more of a disappointing sadness I have now rather than mournful sadness like what someone might feel while watching someone die a long drawn out death. Its so hard to see that and not be able to do anything for them when they suffer, and that can really stress a person out. So in that respects, I'm okay about what happened, but feel utterly bummed about having lost her. I wonder what the heck i did wrong in either case or what I could have done to have prevented it, even though I know what is done is done and that sometimes these things just happen.

    justplanbatty, thank you also for your words of support. I'm sorry to hear about your back. I have a a couple friends who have bad backs and even had surgery for it, without much success.. constant pain is not easy to cope with, though you are right that there are ways that can be found to reduce or prevent it. Its just frustrating!... I'm already disabled due to a medical condition (basically, in a word, dysautonomia) , so having this injury just makes things like triple difficult for me. Cleaning the coop is already a day job for me, which is usually followed by days of illness after because by my condition that sometimes can last a week at worst, but I love taking care of the birds so much I put up with it and do it anyway. I mean, what am I supposed to do, lay down and die? Let it take over me? That's why I keep going. Nothing else to do but give up and its just not an option. Anyway, that is just me speaking passionately and openly about it. You have my sympathy about your back. I like to think that pain in life adds a little seasoning to the soul if conditions are right. Then again, it might sour it too! Thanks for your kind words. I hope your back gets better for you too.

    Luckily, the knee is getting better it seems... today is the first day in a week that the swelling has gone down a bit and I have a bit more flexibility. No pain, so that is good.

    I will go and get those photos of my Barnevelder..
     
  5. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a hell of an ailment, I'm sorry. There's more to my story too. Short version-herniated disks, blood clots in legs and lungs, colon cancer survivor (so far), mitral (heart) valve prolapse and very low blood pressure. So we both have, shall we say, mandatory down time after various taxing activities.
    Chickens are one of the things that keep me going. Glory to God for creating birds and joy to those of us who share our lives with chickens!
     
  6. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    *chuckles* YOU sound like me! No blood clots, yet. No cancer, yet but people with my diagnosis have a 1/3 chance of dying from it at an early age. (Actually had a friend who just died of a rare cancer a few months ago- she basically had the same thing I did, though she is about five years older than me) The other 1/3 is heart disease and I've been showing the signs. I totally have the low blood pressure. Its not any of my business, but were your disks being herniated the start of everything? Seems to me that once a body gets seriously injured, other things start to fail because the body has to share the trauma of that injury and puts things out of whack. That's why I ask, but you don't have to answer if you don't want to. Public boards are public after all. Its just my curiosity about the body. You kind of get thrown into educating yourself about health as much as you possibly can when you are sick!

    I don't like to talk about being normally at all... feeling a bit exposed but also relieved in sharing... maybe its the full moon last night?!. I really don't want people to know or treat me differently or think I'm looking for attention. I am taken care of to the best I think I could ask for, so I don't desire to complain in the least. I'm one of those that don't look sick. Though, one will know I'm sick when I'm having the illness actually effecting me. Compared to all the scary times of feeling death is certainly imminent (which these days can happen easily if I overdo it, which it is easy to overdo it- there aren't real signs of an upcoming problem until its usually too late) the worst part of being ill is not getting the chance to be somebody independent, working... "normal", or have a "normal" life- or even just looking/behaving normal when I go out. ( I absolutely detest being sick in public- the ultimate WORST for me! You find out real quick how cruel some people are.. then again, you find out how kind some people are too. Its the cruel part that terrifies me the most though.)

    I like to think that my chickens help me cope with that- they are like their own little society, and sick lil' ol' me is at the top of the chain there in the coop, rather than part of the lowest in 'the real world'. When I provide for them, I feel like I am sufficient at least in some way, to someone. They give me love and I give love back to them, I believe they know this by their behavior towards me.. and its highly rewarding to have their trust and confidence in me, whereas in the real world, there is not a lot of opportunity for myself to gain that. I think people just usually shove sick people in the 'sick people' category, like we have no contribution to give or couldn't possibly be a help. Which is true for some areas, but I do whatever I can to help. I don't really want to put down people who are healthy though- I can't blame them that they would not find much in common with someone who is ill. I once was rather healthy and could not relate then by no real fault of mine but just inexperience. Now I can.

    Well, that's the last I will hopefully say about that.

    Yes, Glory to God, to the Lord Jesus Christ Who understands suffering and Who provides! ... but also takes away. Not feeling so happy about that last part of that today. But I guess it is good to be reminded this is not our permanent home and there is glory to give to a kind and merciful God and a race to be won.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  7. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, tried to get photos, but the girl just would not stay still. She does have black pock marks on her comb, but checked her mouth and it was clear. I think she will be fine. I will see if I can get them tomorrow.
     
  8. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry for all your troubles - not a 'pretty' disease at all. It's good that you find solace and happiness with your birds. I do understand how cruel people can be - I am a nurse so I have seen and heard many cruel, uncaring comments thrown at people. I think it's sad that people can be so heartless and vicious towards others who are perceived as 'different' or 'weak'. I love my birds and have frequently been heard to say I have more interesting conversations with them than my co-workers/patients etc!! [​IMG] Birds/animals never judge, if you are good to them they are good to you, they always love you, regardless of the day you are having. Good luck with the future,
     
  9. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you boskelli, I wish you the best as well. Thank you also for your service as a nurse. That is not an easy job!

    .....*Chuckles*, ... glad I'm not the only one talking to the chickens. [​IMG] Animal-human bonds amaze and fascinate me.



    Well, no chicken deaths today so far. My other Barnevelder is doing fine. I think the spots on her comb are from mating. They don't look exactly like fowl pox. I kept her overnight and there was no indication of anything serious going on. It was the same in the coop today-all seems well and fine. Luckily we are having a warm day today and the snow is melting so the chickens are out having a good time. I opened up all the doors to try and air out the place. In the meantime, I had some time to investigate online about Barnevelder early sudden deaths, and it appears that it might be a breed thing. So strange! I hope one day we will know the answers as to why that occurs.
     
  10. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You know, maybe the destroyed disks in my lower back may have lead to the blood clots, idk but i have bouts of temporary paralysis in my legs. It happens when I try to carry anything that weighs more than 8 pounds. Weird, I've never connected the two. Good question for Doc. When I went to the hospital for the pain in my lung, so bad I couldn't catch my breath, when they took the X ray, they accidentally saw the colon cancer. I had been working really hard on a 20 acre farm, didn't think much of all the weight loss. Big surprise that it was cancer, not hard work! My Doc tells me that if they hadn't caught it when they did, I wouldn't be here now. It's been 3 years. I have to get checked every year. Getting tested next month, yuck! And of course the blood clot risks and meds and monthly tests and restrictions are frustrating but oh well. Every one has something right? We suffer in this system of things as promised, but look forward to the promise of the Kingdom of God! So, like you, this is the last I'll say about it. [​IMG] I'm glad your other bird is ok and that all your birds could be out to enjoy the day! [​IMG]
     

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