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Need help, this newbie just bought 13 hens and 6 are sick

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by littlewood, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. littlewood

    littlewood Hatching

    Feb 9, 2017
    I am relatively new to chickens, what I've had before were given to me by my sister so I trusted their health and never had a problem with them. This time I moved to NC and bought 13 pullets from a man, and 2 days later 2 had mucous in their eyes, runny noses, and one you could hear rattling when she breathes. 2 days after that 2 more are sick. 2 days after that 2 more are sick, again. 6 are now sick and are in a horse stall in the barn away from the others outside in their coop and yard. Should I just call it a wash and cull them all, or try to save the still healthy ones? Can you EVER eat their eggs if you give antibiotics? Now that I have sick birds, will the ground around them be infectious, if yes, for how long and can I treat it with something? How likely is it they all will get sick? And is oxytetracycline the drug to use for it, and what's the most recent info on when you can eat or give away their eggs, and where to get the drug? What if dogs or horses come into contact with the chickens or their poop? I'm so discouraged!

  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    It sounds an awful lot like they are carrying mycoplasma (or coryza if they are having an awful roadkill type smell coming from their discharge) and that's not something that you can ever actually cure. You can treat the symptoms but it will come back. They will also infect any other birds they come into contact with and if it's mycoplasma it can pass through the egg to the chick.

    The ones not showing symptoms probably have it too, if they all came from the same place, and are just currently asymptomatic carriers.

    Now, you can treat it but with the new drug laws that's been made much more difficult, and as I said that will only treat the symptoms and they'll still have it and have flare ups whenever they are weakened or stressed. Much of what we used to have access to to treat this stuff is now only available by prescription.

    Now, it could be other things too, could be a virus of some sort like infectious bronchitis, but all those are very nasty as well. If you want to find out for sure what it is before you take other measures, you could have a vet test one, which will run over $100, or you could cull one and send it off for a necropsy.

    Personally I would cull and start over. Cull them all, wait a few months (mycoplasma can live that long in the environment, especially in chicken poop), and then begin again with chickens from a different source. But if you are more comfortable treating, running a closed flock and never giving away or selling birds, and dealing with withdrawal times after using antibiotics (and likely having to get a prescription from a vet each time you need to use them, unless you go with Denagard, which is still available OTC) then that is an option too. But I wouldn't try treating until you know exactly what you have, which will require a test or a necropsy.

    I'm sorry you're having this experience :hugs
    3 people like this.
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi and welcome to BYC - I agree with Pyxis. Frustrating times, I know.

    1 person likes this.
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I agree completely with Pyxis. Not sugar coated but, the actual truth .
    1 person likes this.
  5. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Hello from Kansas, littlewood, and [​IMG]! Great to have you aboard but sorry the news doesn't look good for your flock. Hope you one day have a healthy flock. Until then, best wishes and don't give up! [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  6. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013

    Pyxis has given you some valuable information, sorry the news isn't better.

    Wish you much luck and best wishes
    1 person likes this.
  7. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    G’Day from down under littlewood [​IMG] Welcome!

    I am so very sorry that the circumstances in which you join us are heartbreaking. I wish you all the best [​IMG]

  8. littlewood

    littlewood Hatching

    Feb 9, 2017
    I'm not sure how to reply, hope I got this right. Thanks so very much for your replies!

    So I'll probably cull the flock . Best way to do that? And mostly, is there a way to disinfect the coop & pen where I kept the healthiest looking birds , and horse stall where I put the sick ones, so I don't have to wait months? I'm hoping to find some layers from a trusted source and want to use the nice pen and coop I just made for them. I feel stupid for buying sick birds and trusting the man I bought them from... Can dogs and horses get sick from the old chicken poop? Can I use the poop in the garden?
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  9. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Enabler Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    You really need to bag and burn the droppings, shavings and perhaps the carcasses.

    You can send one in for a necropsy to get a more definate cause of illness. I have not had to do this but your county should have an ag department that can direct you.

    Your horses and dogs should be ok as it is a bird disease.

    As to getting the chicken house clean enough for new birds..... I would use dawn and water to scrub everything down then keep it open to FULLY dry.

    I also do not buy started birds as the prospect of illness is frightening. I recommend getting chicks as they have not been exposed to much so are very unlikely to bring diseases.
  10. tranquillen

    tranquillen In the Brooder

    Jan 18, 2017
    Poplar bluff mo
    I use oregeno with my birds for a natural antbiotic. Works great

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