Please help - anyone have any guesses on this mystery illness?

Jan 7, 2019
28
144
76
Boulder, CO
Hi! Thanks so much in advance for advice here. I’m devastated that I keep losing birds and panicked that I will have to cull the whole flock including four new babies.

18 months ago, got 4 pullets. Immediately, one was very sick. Symptoms: lethargic, no “chicken behavior” like scratching, puffed up like it was always cold, standing in corners, limited appetite, crusty closed eyes, weight loss, eventual death. I took it to a vet (before death) and he prescribed a sulfa antibiotic, which seemed to do nothing.

1 month ago, a second hen (now 18 months old) came down with the exact same symptoms. I caught it early and vet did bloodwork. Positive for Mycoplasma; negative for avian flu and negative for avian paramyxovirus. Treated the Mycoplasma with Tylan Powder in the water for the whole flock for 4 days. Second hen did not recover, was put on a sulfa antibiotic in addition, did not respond, and died after ~2 weeks.

A week ago, I got 2 more pullets from the same farm as the original 4. (Don’t judge me for this; I had placed the order long before I knew I had an issue.)

Two days ago, a third hen from the original group started displaying the same symptoms as the 2 who died. Took third hen to vet. Bloodwork isn’t back yet, but X-ray showed enlarged liver and she’s “pushing” like she has to lay an egg (she isn’t egg bound; X-ray showed no egg trapped).

Then today, one of the new pullets started pooping bloody, mucous-y stool, and acting lethargic, puffing up like it is cold, and showing limited interest in food - some of the same early symptoms. They’ve been together for about one week.

Does anyone have any ideas what might be going on? I also have four new week-old babies from a different source and am keeping them completely separate and trying to practice excellent bio security to keep them safe - but I have to figure out what is going on with this flock and what to do before I integrate the new ones. Also, I love these girls and it breaks my heart to see them hurting and dying.

Please help thanks so much for any ideas!!
 
Last edited:
Jan 7, 2019
28
144
76
Boulder, CO
Here is a pic of the poo of the little pullet.
61675BCB-AF8D-4EF1-B25D-7C2CADC0ED5B.jpeg
 

Aunt Angus

Free Ranging
Jul 16, 2018
4,728
11,955
712
Nevada County, CA
Not an expert, but puffed up with bloody stool sounds like coccidiosis.

You could treat the whole flock with Corid. Won't hurt to treat them if it isn't coccidiosis, but worth a shot
 
Jan 7, 2019
28
144
76
Boulder, CO
Not an expert, but puffed up with bloody stool sounds like coccidiosis.

You could treat the whole flock with Corid. Won't hurt to treat them if it isn't coccidiosis, but worth a shot
Thanks so much for this. I actually started them on Corid last night because I was reading everything I could find and coccidiosis sounded like a possibility.
As of this morning, both girls are worse.
The adult has labored breathing and eyes closed. The pullet is drinking a lot but won’t eat.
 

Punkybrewster

Crowing
Feb 23, 2018
1,637
3,720
366
Upstate sc
It is a chronic disease. They will always be carriers and it will flair back up on occasion for the rest of their lives. Some just never recover and die. There is no cure. Only treating symptoms.

Because of this, they will be suseptable to other illnesses.

If you bring any other birds into the flock they will also become carriers.

MG also passes through the eggs.
You can eat them safely but any that hatch out are carriers.

What im trying to say is, this is why you have all these illnesses and deaths. You have an MG infected flock.

Many people choose to medicate the symptoms as they arise and accept the fact that some will die.

The most important point is no more birds in and no giving away birds or eggs to hatch.
Keep them on your property so they dont infect any others.

Many choose to cull their whole flock, sanitize, let the coops and runs rest for a while and start over.
 
Jan 7, 2019
28
144
76
Boulder, CO
It is a chronic disease. They will always be carriers and it will flair back up on occasion for the rest of their lives. Some just never recover and die. There is no cure. Only treating symptoms.

Because of this, they will be suseptable to other illnesses.

If you bring any other birds into the flock they will also become carriers.

MG also passes through the eggs.
You can eat them safely but any that hatch out are carriers.

What im trying to say is, this is why you have all these illnesses and deaths. You have an MG infected flock.

Many people choose to medicate the symptoms as they arise and accept the fact that some will die.

The most important point is no more birds in and no giving away birds or eggs to hatch.
Keep them on your property so they dont infect any others.

Many choose to cull their whole flock, sanitize, let the coops and runs rest for a while and start over.
Gotcha. Thank you so much for the explanation. The vet I took them to told me that Tylan would completely treat the problem. Clearly that was misinformation.

I just knew there was something underlying in this flock to have this many birds sick and dying. Now I understand. Thank you so so much.

They are our pets, so culling them is going to be a hard decision. But we definitely won’t get any more birds - we would not have gotten these new ones if this had started before. I want to do the right thing here...not entirely sure what that is.
 

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