Observations around heat stress and mortality?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by DPWPDX, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. DPWPDX

    DPWPDX Chirping

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    Hi, all,

    I have a mixed age backyard layer flock and I’m based in Oregon. We just had two out-of-season heat waves — 3+ days in a row of over 100F followed by some very temperate to cool days and nights (70/50F) — about a month apart and I noticed drops in egg production the first round (went back up after 4 weeks) and now after the second round I had one hen pass and another is pretty sick.

    Flock is vaccinated for Mareks after it got on the property from an unscrupulous Craigslist seller the first season I had birds and I’m pretty sure that a pair of birds that got dumped at a local park brought something else - MG - and some other hens I bought earlier this spring to fill increasing egg orders from another guy probably brought something else (diarrhea, light green poop). The thing is the flock is otherwise pretty healthy. I would say chronically slightly under-laying, but healthy and active and productive. Sometimes get leg mites and I treat with elector psp, dust with poultry dust if they get lice or feather mites, etc. They get fresh vegetables, are fed an organic local pellet, oyster shells, black soldier fly larvae, greens from the garden, etc. VermX herbal pellets for gut health.

    Treating with Corid seemed to control the diarrhea until this last heat wave. Now one hen died last night (I processed her but the liver had small white spots on it so now everything is in the freezer til I figure out disposal and I disinfected all the surfaces with alcohol) — had extra water in her belly, and probably sour crop (it smelled bad when she was throwing up water as she died). Otherwise still a beautiful healthy bird.

    Another has been sick (lethargic) with a swollen eye for about 4-5 d and today it’s closed. She had 3 d of Tylan 50 injectable, wasn’t getting better, so I stopped yesterday, but she got worse today . Now I put Tylan 100 powder in the water for everyone with the hope of preventing another full flock outbreak.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar with a flock that probably has had multiple infections but recovered, only to see the next stressor knock em over the edge? Any tips or thoughts? I’ve had ACV in the water and that helped too, early on.

    I’m so sad and I’ve spent so much money on chickens, gear, coop, run, meds, maintenance, treats ... I just want them to be healthy.

    Honestly one of them lays an egg once every 2-3 months, I’ve nursed them back from lots of stuff, some are hatched on site and others were bought as chicks or adopted as hens ... but it’s so nice to have a flock.

    Depending on how this develops I’ll probably have to make a decision to let these guys age out and then sterilize the property. Does Virkon work on soil? That might be a solution to get rid of microbes at this point.

    One last detail, it does seem to be the 8month to one year olds who are the most rough looking (feathers in rough shape).
     
    igorsMistress likes this.
  2. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Crossing the Road Barefoot

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    Hi there, I'm so sorry you're going through this!

    Virkon S used on your coop is supposed to specifically kill Mareks. Dander from any sick chickens will continue to infect the rest of your flock until they pass.

    Have you sanitized your coop?

    I'm sorry I don't have any experience nursing my flock back to health, I eliminate sick birds rather than nurse. If Marek's is present then your flock has reduced immunity. Any recent stress other than weather? Any predator attacks, rats in the coop, etc that could have set them off?
     
  3. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Crossing the Road Barefoot

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    The ground exposed to the elements can help but there's really no way to cost effectively rid your property of Marek's other than time.
     
  4. DPWPDX

    DPWPDX Chirping

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    Ok thanks! Other than the weather there shouldn’t be other stressors — I’ll just keep monitoring and see how it develops.
     
    igorsMistress likes this.
  5. quackersandfern

    quackersandfern Chirping

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  6. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    Sorry for your loss.
    Sounds like you are dealing with quite a bit.
    Any underlying illness or condition can crop up at times of stress - heat is stressful.
    Interesting that Corid helped control diarrhea, it would be a very good idea to take some stool samples to your vet for testing of worms too.

    The one that died, spots on the liver was likely Marek's or Avian Lymphoid Leucosis, which is similar, but that would be speculation on my part. If you lose another one, send the body to your state lab for an official diagnosis would be good, this way you know what you are dealing with.
    Respiratory diseases will also crop at at times of stress - you mention you gave 3 days of Tylan50 but stopped since she got better. I would recommend next time you give the full 5 days instead of cutting antibiotic treatment short to help prevent drug resistance. Tylan50 dosage is 0.25ml per pound of weight given orally 3 times a day for 5 days.

    Do what you can to keep everyone hydrated, provide shade and go from there.
    Keep us posted.

    Preventing heat stress is always helpful, but changes in weather, stress/molt/flock disruptions can all cause problems in diseased birds like the OP has. Even with perfect weather, they are still going to have problems.
     
    DPWPDX likes this.
  7. DPWPDX

    DPWPDX Chirping

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    Thanks so much!

    I’m actually relieved if it’s Marek’s cropping up (again) - I know how to deal with that, and the probable reason is that the seller was lying and the birds he sold me (including the one that passed and the one that is currently sick) were not vaccinated.

    The rest of my birds are vaccinated (the ones I hatched or anyone that I raised on site) so the rest of my flock would not be at risk and that’s a relief. I was so worried that I was dealing with something new on top of the Mareks that I already knew was on site.

    * restarting Tylan (It’s only been 24 h)
    * I already do all of the things to help relieve heat stress but there’s just not a lot you can do at 100+F (& I cant have 100$ water bills!)
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    Well, the swollen eye is probably something else, it could be from anything - respiratory disease, infection from ammonia/dirt/debris or a number of other things.

    Vaccinated birds can become sick from the Mareks' virus, the vaccine only helps to stop the formation of tumors, it does not prevent infection.
     
  9. DPWPDX

    DPWPDX Chirping

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    Thanks everyone’s she’s still hanging on notbgetting worse but not getting better. She’s got an isolation cage in view of her flock. I’m not optimistic - she was always a little funny - but I still want to give her chances.
     

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