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Rooster is still hanging in there - pretty sure it's fowl pox

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SLilyBelle1, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. SLilyBelle1

    SLilyBelle1 In the Brooder

    Oct 20, 2012
    For the last several days, we've nursed a 5 month old rooster who is covered with awful scabs. His poor comb looks terrible. He's like one big ugly scab! :( There is a big scab over his right eye, which is swollen so much that he only opens it occasionally. His left eye isn't as swollen, but he spent the better part of one day refusing to open it, too. He can open it now, though, but he is so pitiful. He's quite lethargic, and when I dip his head into his water, he drinks, but he doesn't seem too interested in eating. We've cracked an egg and dipped his beak in it, and at times he really seems to be interested, but mostly he just tolerates our efforts.

    I've put some oil on his scabby little head, but other than that, I haven't done anything but pray hard! (We have a 6 year old who'd be devastated if "Chocolate" didn't make it, so she's praying hard, too!) I've been advised by other chicken owners to use some Duramycin. I can't find anyone around here who has Duramycin in stock! Apparently everyone buys it!

    He doesn't have the wet form - or at least I'm pretty sure he doesn't. He doesn't cough, shake his head, or breathe noisily. He simply sits there. I have kept him away from the other chickens, and I haven't let the others out in the last couple of days because I don't want them to come around his little cage. However, the moment we let him out of his cage, he immediately opens that one eye that he can open easily and heads straight for the pen where his friends are. (It's like he's on a mission to find his friends!) Yesterday afternoon, I left him out to get some warm sunlight after a particularly windy day here in Georgia, and when I went to check on him as it got dark, I found him on the other side of the pen, huddled behind the pen - beneath the area of the pen where the coop is located. He wanted to be near his buddies.

    I've noticed one of the other chickens (possibly a rooster - not quite sure since it's still young) has some of the pox on his/her comb. :( Good grief.... Never thought it'd be this worrisome to have my chickens! I don't remember any of this ever happening back when I was a kid on the farm with our yard chickens!

    Should I worry so much about him? Or should I just have faith that he's going to pull through and just be really ugly and pitiful for a while? I don't want him to lose weight, but I know he's not eating his crumbles. Any suggestions on food I could fix for him that he WOULD eat?


  2. Hennyhandler

    Hennyhandler SilkieJax

    Jun 10, 2009
    You could give him some pedialyte and scrambled egg. That will help him keep his weight and strength up a little. I don't know what you can do for the pox as I have never handled it before but I thought I would offer what I could. Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  3. ChickenGirl22

    ChickenGirl22 In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2012
    That sounds awful! I suggest yogourt with some pellets and maybe a little warm milk mixed in to encourage it to eat something. When my hen and my roo were sick it was the only thing they'd stomach. I hope Chocolate makes it. I've got my fingers crossed for you [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  4. Becci

    Becci Chirping

    Apr 11, 2012
    The dry version is usually harmless. It's external. It looks like raised wart-like lesions on the featherless parts of the bird. You can dab iodine and neosporin on the lesions to dry them out faster and help prevent secondary infections. We did this every night with our birds, and trust me, it really speeds up the process. Just be careful not to get the iodine in their nostrils or eyes. It'll run it's course, which is usually 2-4 weeks, give or take, and your bird should be back to normal + immune to the particular strain.

    Birds with the dry version may feel a bit "under the weather", but over all should eat and drink normally...

    The wet version is more dangerous, it's internal, and affects the mouth, larynx, pharynx and trachea. Open your bird's mouth and look for yellow blister looking lesions. It could cause a blockage in the esophagus and trachea. The bird will stop eating and drinking and won't be able to breath. If your birds have the wet version, you can swab their mouth and throat with original listerine a couple times a day. Remove as much of the lesions as you can when swabbing. It will be painful for the bird, but by doing this you're increasing the chances of survival.

    Fowl pox is a slow spreading virus, so you may be dealing with this for quite some time... It's possible to vaccinate healthy birds to stop the virus from spreading further. We ordered the vaccine from Jeffers. Birds of all ages can be vaccinated with the wing web applicator.

    I'm not an expert on these things, but I can happily say that all my birds who were affected with both wet and dry version have recovered and are for the most part back to being normal chickens. I wish you the best of luck with your poor guy!
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  5. SLilyBelle1

    SLilyBelle1 In the Brooder

    Oct 20, 2012
    My chicken isn't really eating -- so I will definitely recheck the inside of his mouth. He doesn't have any problem drinking or breathing, so I sure hope I don't find anything there!!! :(

    Thanks for your replies!!
  6. SLilyBelle1

    SLilyBelle1 In the Brooder

    Oct 20, 2012
    At this point, I'm really feeling a bit helpless.

    Got home this afternoon to find Chocolate (the rooster's name) about the same. He has definitely lost weight. His crop is so flat, and I know by the food I left him that he hasn't eaten anything.

    I warmed up some yogurt and watered it down a little to make it more "drinkable." He took a couple of sips after I pushed his beak into it, but after that, he just tolerated my pushing his beak into it again & again - didn't drink any more.

    The moment we step away, he makes a wobbly but slow & determined b-line for the pen where the others are. He's so weak. He stays close to the pen until we move him back to his little cage. I can't feel good about putting him back with the others, since he might be pecked, and he's got to be contagious as bad as he looks. One of the other chickens - another rooster - has some spots/scabs forming on his comb.

    I picked up some tetracycline medicine at the feed store today to give to all of the chickens, but haven't mixed it yet. I don't think it will help anyone really, since it's an antibiotic and fowl pox is a virus. Does anyone here -- an expert preferably - think it would even be a good idea? Also - doesn't giving them an antibiotic mean we need to toss the eggs for at least two weeks? Help?

    I haven't looked into Chocolate's mouth yet to see if there are lesions. I don't have much help with holding him while I check inside his mouth. I will try to put some yogurt or scrambled egg into his mouth if I can get his mouth open.

    Any advice? I really wish I knew more to do, and had more time at home to do it. If he can hang on one more day, I'm off for a four day weekend. I fear he's getting too weak to bounce back, though! :(
  7. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    I lost my bird with wet fowl pox, but had I known then how to tube feed her, I would have done that and possibly saved her. It's easy to tube feed a chicken - you use aquarium tubing and fill the crop with wet food - mushy chicken food, liquified boiled eggs, etc. It's easy to find the right spot on a chicken to put the tube as well - no chance really of suffocating, unlike humans.

    You can also try contacting the chicken doctor at firststatevetsupply.com!

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