Random chicken deaths - could it be something contagious?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Freia, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Freia

    Freia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a hen who has been listless and feeling very blah for a couple of weeks. Her tail is droopy, and her neck is contracted, so her head is near her shoulders. I call the the "ball of misery" position. She's been slowly wasting away for the two weeks, and she'll get the guillotine today.

    Her crop is not impacted. She is not eggbound (this started while she was molting, so she wasn't even laying). She does not have worms (I worm them every 6 months). She's been eating, has just light watery, white/green droppings. She's very emaciated. No respiratory problems.

    I had another hen do this same thing this Winter. Everything is very similar, except I'm pretty sure she had egg-laying issues - either getting bound up or internal layer. Whenever she did lay, it would be shell-less or just deformed in some way.

    My concern is that they if they both had the same thing wrong with them, that it could be some kind of contagious disease.

    Does this sound like anything anyone recognizes? Or is this just how old chicken bodies sometimes just fail and die?
     
  2. Freia

    Freia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was just out with her. Maybe, just maybe, it could be a crop problem.

    When I let her out of the coop this morning, her crop was not empty. There's no food inside the coop at night. It's not hard and huge, like I'd expect from a compacted crop. It's a little smaller than a golf-ball. When I palpate it, it's squishy, not hard. It's not mushy either. It's kind of like firm jello. It really kind of feels like memory-foam. I can deform it when I massage it.

    Could it be impacted or sour crop? I've been giving her about 2ml olive oil a day, then massaging her crop, just in case, figuring that at least it won't do harm. I gave her some yoghurt just now, which she loved.
     
  3. J-Sanders

    J-Sanders Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Newcastle virus:


    Quote: American Poultry Association
    They don't always present all of these symptoms.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  4. Freia

    Freia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oooo, nasty. That's definitely a good one to know about. Luckily, that's not what's going on here - the only symptom we have is the diarrhea.
    I think the two illness might be unrelated (I hope). Apple's slow death this Winter made her lose her appetite. Her crop was completely empty. I couldn't get her to eat anything at all. Holly is hungry. Her crop is always full. No clue what happened to Apple, but I'm starting to suspect possible sour crop with Holly. There's no weird small though. But since she's dying, I have nothing to lose. I've been trying to get her to regurgitate all day with no luck. Will keep trying. I have her isolated and she' eating lots of yoghurt.
     
  5. J-Sanders

    J-Sanders Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When did you last worm them? It could be just a parasite causing the loose stools. As for stool issues there is a large number of threads on the site related to such issues. But your birds will pick up worms and such on a regular basis and as such you should worm them on a annual basis. Laying hen/Worming Medicine is a great thread.

    Jim
     
  6. Freia

    Freia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wormed them in February with Eprinex. They've been out free-ranging since then, so I just wormed again 1 week ago. They need a second dosage this next weekend.

    She had been sick for a week already when I wormed last week. I'm hoping that might be the cause and worming her might help.

    So far:

    Sick for 2 weeks
    Wormed her last weekend
    Isolated her yueaterday and started giving her yoghurt and water.
    Today gave her yoghurt/water, then later Clotrimizole and kefir for dinner.

    She seems in good spirits, but she's just soooo skinny. Poor little girl.
     
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/resource000811_rep844.pdf
    Not all worms are killed off with ivermectin (yes I know you are using eprinomectin).

    Frankly I'd take a poo sample to the vet for a fecal float (some vets will do this for a small fee) to see which worm it is, if any. False negatives are possible. You might be dealing with coccidiosis instead. They can also check the poo for cocci.

    Adult hens can get coccidiosis, if immunocompromised, as one reason.

    Necropsy on a bird is the tell-all if you have another loss, of course. I am sorry for your losses.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  8. Freia

    Freia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the ideas, Jim and Sweet Chicken. I'm going through all possibilities systematically to give a shot at anything it could possibly be, while trying to "do no harm".

    Tomorrow I'm going to let her out of her box to see how she acts, while trying to track down a local vet who will do anything at all for a chicken. So far, the response from my usual farm vet is "Weak chickens should be culled to make the flock stronger". I tend to rather follow the philosophy of "where there's life, there's hope", especially since they're as much pets as farm animals.

    Sweet, sweet Holly-bird. Always such a spunky, funny little layer. I do hope she can pull through.
     

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