Quail and Mycoplasma

Lilyofsalen

Songster
Jul 2, 2020
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I need some information and opinions on mycoplasma. My silkies have it. They got it as a secondary infection with fowl pox. It's been pretty rough and I've treated them with the help of a vet who prescribed Tylan. After talking to the state vet (the state agriculture animal health division), it turns out MG and Coryza are the two most common upper respiratory infections in my area. They said it was ubiquitous in this area and is considered nonreportable except in very specific circumstances. The local chicken breeders have it (since my silkies have it) and the local feed store sells chickens and quail that have it (or maybe Coryza). I can't even count how many times I've seen the quail they sell fluffed up, lethargic, breathing oddly, half-dead, and with swollen sinuses.
Anyways, I breed and sell Coturnix quail and I'm just starting to make a name for myself. I don't know what to do about MG being on my property. If my quail somehow get it, I don't know whether culling and starting over or breeding for resistance (given the widespread nature of the disease in my locality) would be the best way to go. I also don't quite know what to do about the silkies having it, although what I can actually do is quite limited since I share joint ownership with my parents. I should also add that I am the sole caretaker for both the silkies and quail. I do all the maintenance chores for both but I only have the final say with my quail.
 

AgnesGray

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Mar 8, 2019
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Can I ask where you are that MG and Coryza are so profuse? How is it that the local feed store is selling sick chicks? It would seem they are setting new owners up for a struggle.

I don't have the answers to your question. We took a flock of turkeys that we realized were sick (the vet said possibly mycoplasmosis or coryza) and ended up quarantining them from the others until they went to be processed, but they were meat birds. Maybe someone else will have a suggestion for you or experience with quail and MG.
 

Lilyofsalen

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Jul 2, 2020
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I live in SoCal. And yes, it's a shame that the feed store sets people up for failure. Those who buy their quail have it the worst. It's not just the feed store though--it's the local breeders too.

I'm not wanting to create a situation where my quail have it and I'm really not sure whether I should be pushing for the silkies to be rehomed or culled or whether I am overreacting. I'm not even sure whether I have the heart to cull them or if my parents would accept it. The silkies have been a point of contention for a while. They have been sick with other things before and I have been charged with trying to care for all the sickly ones in lue of an actual vet until I just recently found one who helped me out with the MG. If it were up to me, I would've culled the worst case but instead, I force-fed a very sick chicken for over a week and now that she is mostly better, I'm really not sure I can cull her. It seems like my parents are finally starting to realize the severity of the situation though.

Another thought I have is if we start over with new chickens, will we just be bringing MG and coryza in all over again? Is there a possibility that my quail already have MG and have just learned to deal with it or that some of the bloodlines in this area are resistant? I know for certain that some of the oldest quail in my flock originate from the local feed store. My quail have never been as sick as the silkies.
 
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007Sean

Face it, Embrace it, Ace it, Replace it
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The hard, cold truth is, if you want to be rid of the disease, you will need to cull all the birds you have on the property. Disinfect the pens, waterers, feeders and coops/runs. Any clothes, shoes, and equipment you have used in your day to day care of the birds will need to be disinfected, too!

You may have to travel a great distance to find breeders that don't have infected birds, or have them shipped, which is expensive, eventhough a breeder may have NPIP certification, doesn't mean their flock is MG 'free' nor may be free from pullorium and AI, that only means that the birds were free of disease at the time of testing. Also, mycoplasma can be transmitted vertically via the egg, so starting over by getting hatching eggs can also be a issue.
As you probably know, from doing research on mycoplasma gallisepticum, there is no cure, only alleviation of the symptoms via antibiotics.
Strict biosecurity and sanitation protocols should be the major consideration when establishing your new flock.
Eventhough, some birds may show a resistance to it, or recover from it, they are still carriers if they have been exposed to MG.
 

Lilyofsalen

Songster
Jul 2, 2020
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My quail have never shown any symptoms of MG, why would I cull them? My biosecurity is pretty decent. The quail and silkies are housed in their own pens a minimum of 50ft away from each other. I use a different pair of shoes when caring for the quail. I wash hands between them and change clothes when I clean the chicken coop. Quail and silkie chicks are brooded separately. The chicken and quail "hospitals" are in different places. Soiled litter goes into separated compost piles . . . etc.
Why is it that breeding for resistance is not considered with MG? My understanding is that some breed for resistance for Marek's.
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
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May 15, 2019
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Even if you breed for resistance, the disease will still exist in your flock. If you sell any birds or eggs, you will be sending the disease along with them.
 

Lilyofsalen

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Jul 2, 2020
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I am aware of that, but if I sell locally then it is likely their birds have it anyway and it might be OK?
This is the worst-case scenario. The quail don't have it but the silkies do. I'm trying to determine what to do with the silkies. The quail are healthy and have never given me any concerns with diseases. No symptoms of MG or Coryza or any of the other big scary respiratory infections have been seen by me. I've never had a customer tell me that they've had a quail get sick or get their others sick. I want to keep it that way.
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
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May 15, 2019
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I wouldn't sell them at all even if it's "likely" that their birds have it.

It sounds like you're practising good bio-security for your quail, so you might be okay, but if you want them to remain that way, you should probably follow @007Sean 's advice about culling the silkies and completely sterilizing their area and all of the things you used with them.
 

Lilyofsalen

Songster
Jul 2, 2020
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How would I go about finding MG-free chickens? Are the major hatcheries MG free? Is there a certification for hatcheries?
 

Lilyofsalen

Songster
Jul 2, 2020
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Also, assuming I start over and get MG-free birds, MG isn't going to be living in the soil or carried on the wind, etc? It's not going to be a situation where some chicken flock down yonder spreads MG through the wind and then I'm stuck in the same situation? MG can be spread by wild birds too right?
 

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