Returning my Flock to Health

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BantyChooks, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Smile Premium Member

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    Hello all. Recently, my flock has had a flare-up of some issues that I have had in the past with them, and I thought I'd start a thread of my efforts to restore them to health in the hope some others may benefit from my mistakes. Please no lectures, I know what I did wrong and will never do it again!


    First, some back story. (Note: This was before I found BYC)

    In the winter of 2014, I was going for a walk when I saw two roosters, huddled miserably in the snow. I knew they wouldn't make it more than a few days without shelter. So, like the novice chicken keeper I was, I scooped them up, took them home, and put them in a cage to settle in. (Mistake #1 right there. Always always always quarantine new birds. Even from reliable sources, and a roadside is not one of them!)

    Mistake #2: I didn't even look them over for obvious things that were wrong. They were sneezing and had nasal discharge, as well as pale faces. I thought they just "had a cold" and would soon be better. I told you I was clueless......

    Eventually, their symptoms cleared up, their faces returned to normal, and all was well for a few months....... Until I got chicks. When I started integrating them, they got runny noses and coughed. After a few weeks, they cleared up as well. (Now, I have found it was probably M. Gallisepticum. I don't have chicken vets around here, so I just matched the symptoms as best as I could. I got Denagard and treated the remaining symptomatic birds, which cleared up.)

    A week or so later, I saw a worm in one of their poops, probably a roundworm. I got rooster booster multi wormer. That cleared it up. (EDIT: I have since found that it's an antibiotic. Very effective product, but won't use again.)

    Then I found lice on my birds. I got Permectrin powder and treated. That cleared up very fast, and stayed low for a bit, before wintertime brought it back.

    ...


    All fine and dandy, right? Nope! The big problem is, my coop is very, very hard to clean. I have joked in the past that the only way to clean it well is with a flamethrower. I also have wooden nesting boxes, which I suspect is why I can't get rid of the lice. They are built into the coop so I can't remove them without taking out the floor. There are nooks and crannies everywhere, and the coop leaks so bad at one time there was a puddle big enough for the ducks to drink from in the floor, which was covered in pine shavings. A tarp over the roof helped very much with that.

    So now, we are back to the present. The lice have returned, but not as badly as before. The chickens have a worm overload again, (thanks to the extremely wet weather recently) and the juvies have MG symptoms. I am aiming to get my flock back to health.

    I know MG cannot be eradicated, but through careful management and breeding I am trying to keep birds not as badly affected and keep a lid on it.
    For the lice, I am going to turn the power washer up to "paint stripper" (Okay... Maybe not quite that far [​IMG]) and blast away as much old poop and ick as I can from the coop, and dust the roosts and the birds with Permectrin. I do not know if I can get rid of it without replacing my coop, but I can try.

    For worms, I am considering a deworming schedule. I was hoping I would not, but if it gets them back to health I will do it. Any suggestions on wormer? I have heard Ivermectin takes care of both lice and worms, and would be interested in hearing experiences with it.


    Finally, a note: Despite their problems, my flock looks healthy. They have shiny feathers, they are active, and eat and drink well. Their eyes are bright and their combs are red. I've even had people comment on how happy and healthy my birds looked.

    It is when you dig a little deeper- The 4 mm long hair like worms in their poop. The slight cough and clear discharge from nasal passages in the juvies. The 3 mm straw-colored lice on the neck feathers. This is why I didn't notice their problems for so long- They are invisible unless you carefully observe the chickens.

    All this to say- Quarantine your birds! I know there are a million other stories, but I'll add mine to the pile if it saves someone else from the same mistake.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
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  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    No lectures here. Many of us have learned lessons the hard way with raising our chickens. Unfortunately, experience is the best teacher, but boy can she be harsh! Good luck with your flock. Please keep posting and sharing your journey.
     
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  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Everyone makes mistakes. I like using a pyrethrin based poultry powder for external parasites. I will also dust under the nest box bedding if I'm having troubles with them. Usually chickens keep them under control with dust bathing. I have found that chronically ill birds have troubles and seem to have more parasites.

    I can't help with worming as I've never done it and never will. I think a healthy birds has a reasonable worm load and routine worming can build up resistant worms, so I don't do it, but understand why others do.

    I am not familiar with MG but it doesn't sound good. Wish I had some good words of wisdom for you. I've learned some of my lessons the hard way too, and no longer bring in adult birds. Wishing you luck that things become easier for you.
     
  4. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Smile Premium Member

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    Thanks you two. Oldhenlikesdogs, I was not liking the thought of routine worming for that very reason- I'm still not sure on that yet......
     
  5. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Smile Premium Member

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    Further research on Ivermectin shows that it works on mites. Some say it works for worms, some say it works on most worms but not round & tape, and some say it is rubbish. It seems to be generally agreed, however, that it does not work on lice. This makes sense, seeing as poultry lice don't suck blood, and that is how the poison is transferred.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I do use ivermec to worm my goats as needed and it works on external parasites for them, I had thought I once read folks using it on this site for their chickens, though I didn't know it doesn't work on lice.

    Are you seeing the clumps of eggs at the base of the feathers? I dealt with them once on a broody silkie, they were stubborn and the clumps had to be manually removed. I've seen more mites than lice over the years.
     
  7. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Smile Premium Member

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    No, it has not gotten that bad yet. I caught it early this time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  8. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Smile Premium Member

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    Okay. I have decided to use rooster booster again for worming my chickens. I am wondering bout probiotics for when they are finished.... Any reason not to use yogurt?
     
  9. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Smile Premium Member

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    It looks like I forgot to update- Whoopsie!

    I went thru and finished the wormer, and again, it knocked back the worm population. Next time I worm I'll try and use a different wormer so as not to encourage resistance.

    Lice have cleared back up a bit on their own, and my juvies have grown out of their coughing and sneezing w/o meds. [​IMG]

    Plans are in place for a new coop in spring- Hoping that an easy to clean coop makes a difference in my chooks' health. [​IMG]
     
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Your birds have one huge advantage......YOU.
     

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