Peachicks lethargic & dying...vet has never seen anything like it...PLS HELP!

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by joules23, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. joules23

    joules23 New Egg

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    I am writing to request the expertise from this forum as we have run out of ideas & exhausted our own & now have also exceeded our vets knowledge. I want to give you our background to avoid the quick simple response answers. We have been raising chickens now for over 8 years as well as turkeys, ducks & guineas for over 6 years. We have several other animals and with no farm vet near us (the closest is 1.5 hours away), we do much of our own "vetting" & have seen / learned a lot...sometimes from reading & research; sometimes the hard way despite all of our reading & research :( Our issue this time is new. Symptoms are peachicks & keets that are lethargic, keets that have trouble standing straight & controlling their movements, keets that are running uncontrollably & throwing their heads back, & some peachicks & keets seem to have normal poop & some are water. Here is the background:

    We received an order of 28 guineas & 6 peachicks a week ago Thursday (they were hatched 9/6) from a reputable breeder. They have been indoors since we got them home in the same set-up we have been using successfully for years for chicks, poults, etc. All bedding (layers of paper towels for these guys) is fresh & the large trough bins they are in were sanitized prior. We separated the group into 2 in order to ensure there was more than enough room in each bin. One bin has 22 keets & the other has 6 keets & 6 peachicks. They each have their own heat lamp & we have a temp probe to monitor appropriate temp. They get fresh food & water as needed (typically at least twice a day) as well as fresh bedding. They have NOT been outside & are not in a drafty area.
    All were doing well the first few days. They were on 24% dumor chick starter (non-medicated) & we kept their water spiked with quik-chick. On 9/12, I picked up a new bag of feed from the co-op. This feed was a 27% medicated feed which I had read about & seemed the common choice for many breeders in the southeast for several types of game birds including peas. There first of it was given that night. On 9/13, we noticed one of the peachicks acting a little lethargic in the morning. We got a fecal sample & checked it out under the micropscope. We saw no coccidia or occysts & no worms or eggs. We did see a really odd looking round something which we had never seen in any of our animals & could not find any match for online. We contacted the closest vet we have that has any farm experience & took it, as well as another fresh sample, to him to look at. We thought for sure we were just missing something. He looked and looked, but also didn't see any parasite load not could he identify the round objects. He did state he was almost positive they were man-made because of their structure & worried they could be from the feed. He advised we get them back on the non-med feed. So, we picked up new feed (un-medicated) & got them swapped out. By the time we got back home (about 2 hours) with the new feed, 5 peachicks were acting lethargic & the one that had been showing symptoms earlier had already passed. We contacted the breeder for advice & they informed us that they keep their peachicks on meds until they are 4-6 months old. They use LS50 in the water. I called & ran all over the area trying to find a vet that either had LS50 or could get it. Finally, we got someone that could order it for us but had to go across the state line for that. The breeder advised in the meantime that we try either a penecillin or LA200 injection. We tried LA on a couple & pen on the others. By that night, they were already perking back up. We kept them on their doses each day. They seemed to recover completely.

    On the morning on 9/16, the peachicks got their doses. Still on the non-medicated feed. The all keet bin was showing no issues at all & still hasn't. I got back from work at 3pm Friday afternoon and all were well...no signs at all in energy level, behavior, nothing. Got a call from the vet up in TN that our LS50 was in, but their office was going to close before we could make the drive, so we said we'd pick it up this wkd. Figured we may not even need it for this issue this time around anyway, but hey, always good to have things on hand for emergencies. At about 5:30, went to change out bedding & noticed a guinea keet not able to walk straight. He kept flopping on his side with ihs head reared back & then would take off running in circles in a mad dash almost uncontrollably. Checked for any signs of problems...nothing visual or palatable. Crop was full, but didn't seem distended. Gave some baking soda / water anyway and some additional electrolyte. Also gave penicillin. An hour later he was dead and ALL of the other birds in that bin were exhibiting similar symptoms to differing levels of severity. Peachicks showed only lethargy as their symptom, but the keets were losing motor control, flopping their heads back, & running uncontrollably for no apparent reason. Eventually, they would stop and sleep for a bit. Breathing was not labored when they were at rest, but was when they were flopping around. Autopsied the dead keet. No crop or trachea blockage, crop content looked & smelled normal, intestinal content smelled normal but was a little watery. No weird white spots anywhere or any off color organs from what we could tell. Admittedly this was our first keet autopsy though so we were comparing to books & online pictures & info. A peachick & a keet passed within the next 3 hours. Another keet overnight. His autopsy was no different than the first. All the ones still breathing look raggedy & on the verge of death this morning. Only 3-4 are drinking. None are eating. I drove to TN & go the LS50 this morning as early as they opened. They are all on it...both bins & i gave their initial doses direct since many of the sick ones are not drinking. Still no signs of ANY issue in the all keet bin though, but i'm worried whatever it is could be airborne. What is happening? Our vet is at a complete loss...our fecals show nothing...and the ONLY feed that seems to have NOT hurt them is the non-medicated, but clearly they need some kind of medication. Maybe that timing with the feed change was just a fluke? They've not been outside, so the only external exposures could be via a fly or 2 that got in the house or were already resident in one or more of the bird's system. Have any of you ever seen these symptoms, speed of death, & spread?

    My best current theory, the peachicks had a resident bacteria that got out of balance & the antibiotics corrected that. Meanwhile, the other problem (still not sure if it is viral, bacterial, etc) was in gestation at the time, so those symptoms did not present until just yesterday. Whatever it is is a super fast killer & does not present with any respiratory signs until after the motor signs are exhibited. Also, whatever it is does not respond to pen or LA200 & is not parasitic. I have seen no positive response to the LS50 yet...it has been about 3 hours. What could the culprit be then??? Do any of you have any experience with airsaculitis? I am grasping for ideas here... The vet is out of ideas & we couldn't reach the breeder today. Their prior input was that these guys gets lots of things & it can be impossible to figure out what which is why they keep theirs on meds for so long. That wasn't reassuring but I appreciated the honesty. Only thing, would have been nice if they had said that when we ordered... Then again, all our research came back to a complete disagreement in the community about medicated vs non-medicated feed anyway & if medicated, which kind(s), so maybe they've quit advising in order to avoid arguments. I'll stop rambling now, pls help if u can.

    v/r,
    -joules23
     
  2. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Overrun With Chickens

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    Can you please post pictures of the peachicks and the poop? This can help us the most to help you. Wonder what the round thing is? Do you have a picture of the round thing?


    You have to be very careful when reading on the medicated feed articles. Depends on is the person an organic farmer or just a regular farmer. Organic farmers like to consider medicated feeds "toxic", "harmful", unnatural. Best to leave them alone and do their own thing. Where the article is written, US or a foreign country. I believe there's an article that was written in Australia that says medicated feeds are bad for waterfowl, but the medicine they were talking about was not Amprolium. Amprolium is a safe medicine, it's a probiotic instead of an antibiotic like most people like to try and believe. Those are some of the issues that get mentioned when you bring up medicated feeds.
     
  3. joules23

    joules23 New Egg

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    Here are some photos. One shows the runny poop I mentioned. The other shows both a partial runny & solid as well as a solid. There has been a mix of all 3. Then, I have a pic of a peachick & a couple keets sleeping as they have been most of the day. We just finished a nebulizer treatment on them.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. joules23

    joules23 New Egg

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    Oh, and the round things we saw under the microscope...right now, we don't have the attachment that allows us to photo from the microscope, so no pix. The round things went away about 48 hours after we took them off the medicated feed, so i have a feeling the vet was right about them being a man made feed additive. Understand the sensitivities people have on the medication. We try to be as natural as possible, but the bottom line is that livestock cannot be kept safely without some amount of confinement which violates their natural habits & introduces unnatural issues which have to be dealt with. Sometimes, medication is the only answer. In this case, the medication in the feed WAS an antibiotic, Bacitracin, which has a good rep as a reliable antibiotic in game brids. Amprolium is a good medicine as coccidiastats go when needed, but as you say it is not an antibiotic. A quick note on Amprolium though, it is not a probiotic, so be careful & don't count on it to help promote gut flora. And another sneaky side effect of amprolium, It will prevent absorption of thiamine (a lesson we learned the hard way with an adolescent goat). I only share that because I so wish someone had shared that with us (or it had been on the package, or it had been mentioned in ANY of the books we read), but no such luck. Appreciate any help. Thanks.
     
  5. Beata

    Beata New Egg

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    I made an account because my peacock is having the exact same problem!
    My peacock is about 4 months old it's been sick before but never like this it's lethargic and violently struggles every now and then it hasn't opened its eyes since this morning, it's stool is just about the same as the ones in the picture just more often liquid it can't even raise its head up... at first site it looks dead. we gave it antibiotics this morning and are to give it some more later at this point I'm very worried that it might brake it neck or wing during its violent thrashes.
     
  6. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Overrun With Chickens

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    Vitamin E deficiency can have an effect on birds balance, ability to run without rolling. As for the diarrhea part not entirely sure if that could be caused by a vitamin deficiency. Did you possibly take any pictures of the necropsy? With peachicks they're very sensitive, usually once they show symptoms it's only a little bit time before death. The only things that I'm thinking of is possibly enteritis, Pullorum Salmonella Typhoid Salmonella. Pullorum can cause similar symptoms that are being explained. You should think about running a serology test to see what's going on. It may shed some light on it. If a serology test doesn't show anything then it could a nutritional effect.
     
  7. farmchick897

    farmchick897 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any thoughts that maybe keets shouldn't be raised with peachicks? Since you aren't having any trouble with the all keets batch..?
    I have just found over the years that certain animals don't do well housed together for health reasons. Good luck.
     
  8. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Overrun With Chickens

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    My guess is the keets that are getting sick because the peachicks get sick, which then can become a pathogen factory getting to those keets. If this is a pathogen. Peachicks don't have a great immune system the first few months. With peafowl health you have stages. First 2 weeks it's temp you watch for. The first 2-4 months you're watching for coccidiosis, then from 4 months to about 1 or 2 years it's parasites spreading blackhead. Once they're about 3 years old it's smooth sailing compared to before.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Looks like there might be blood in the poop.

    -Kathy
     
  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
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    I'd be willing to bet that there is some blood in there.

    -Kathy
     

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