Rooster lethargic and comb turning black

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gustishmaggi, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. gustishmaggi

    gustishmaggi In the Brooder

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    This morning I let our rooster out as usual and noticed no problems. This evening when I got home from work and went to see them he was in the house and wouldn't come out.

    Eventually my husband managed to get him out but he was very lethargic and his comb and wattles have turned very black looking. Not spots like the avian flu pictures I have seen, just literally changed colour.

    Can anybody shed any light on this? Am I going to loose him?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. sychoi

    sychoi Hatching

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    Yeah! I am having similar problems with my chickens. I have no idea what is going on. Several of my hens and one of my roosters have been swelling/bloating quite a bit, and their combs have turned very black/dark purple. I've lost two chickens this way already. Please help!
     
  3. ruby

    ruby Songster

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    This sounds terrible, here is a bump![​IMG]
     
  4. Gonzo

    Gonzo Songster

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    not sure! here's another bump! [​IMG]
     
  5. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    Just to make sure I'm understanding this correctly:

    Their combs are turning darker/black from the inside - almost as if that were their natural color, right? Not like mildew on the outside.

    You'll need to answer the questions in the second sticky post that appears in this forum. That way we know more about what they're eating, their ages, their environment, what you want from us, etc. It helps us to help you more accurately and effectively.

    I'll probably add a list of questions for you that I need to help me get a clear picture (since I can't be there) after you guys let us know a little more about flock history, pretty please. Thanks!

    I'll be here waiting for both of your rplies, and I'm sure others will chime in as well.

    Thank you again.

    p.s. In the mean, the standard stuff applies for any stressed flock:
    Pick them all up, examine them for parasites - they can be pretty hard to see so look carefully, especially around the vents. Feel their weight, look at their droppings. Look for anything unusual going on around the vent. Listen to their breathing, feel their crops, smell their throats for sourness. Check the insides of their beaks for any patches of white or grey colored stuff.

    Make sure that they are eating and drinking. Feed them only their pellets (no treats or grains unless they fit into a treatment protocol to be mentioned later) because stressed birds' digestive systems slow down and don't dissolve whole things well. You want things that will dissolve on their own in water. If you go to the store, pick up some organic apple cider vinegar and plain yogurt because you'll want those around to help get the birds energetic around. Other stuff you'll probably have around the house (some eggs, karo or pedialyte or gatorade or electrolytes or honey).
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  6. momoftwinsinwi

    momoftwinsinwi Songster

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    I found this on another poultry site: best of luck to you


    Hens or cockerels with combs and wattles turning black or very dark often have either a heart or liver problems,

    If the liver is damaged in some way the body begins to shut down and the extremeties are usually the first to go as they are the furtherest blood supply. The damaged live will only look after the surround tissue the rest is left to go.
     
    reddirtjs likes this.
  7. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    Ok, before you can even answer the other questions, I have some.

    Would you describe the droppings of these birds as greenish and runny? Or is it more sulfurous and yellow in color?

    I would assume all birds are rumple-feathered, correct?

    Some diseases that have blackening of the comb as a major symptom are Erysipela, blackhead disease, and cholera (pasteurella). Darkening of the comb, as mentioned before, can also be caused by cyanosis (lack of oxygen) which could be caused by a number of things.

    Honestly if I lost a bird to this, I'd have another bird tested immediately by your local vet.

    Erysipelas can be treated with penicilins and also responds to tetracyclines.
    Pasteurella (cholera) also responds to tetracyclines as well as sulphonamides (sulmet), and erythromycin and penicillin.
    Blackhead is caused by a protazoa, probably the last of my choices of those diseases, and the medication for it is only available via vet.

    There may be other illnesses, and again it could be secondary to cyanosis caused by something else like poisoning, respiratory disfunction due to a respiratory illness, etc. I'm not a vet, and non of us can truly diagnose these birds without a bacterial culture. Period. But we'll do our best.

    Based on what I'm reading, were they my birds, I'd treat them immediately with terramycin. I'd give them full supportive nutrition. BUT BUT BUT you can't use any dairy products with cyclines. That means no yogurt. But since you're giving an antibiotic, and these disease already cause diarrhea, then you simply must give a probiotic. I recommend during and after treatment for your best chances. The easiest obtainable option is either a probiotic from the feedstore when you go there to get the terramycin. Probios is perfect - paste or powder will work, fastrak is good, just make sure the label says CFU somewhere on it for colony forming units and not just by-products or fermentation products.

    Or you can get a thing of acidophilus tablets or capsules from the grocery/pharmacy/health food store. They're in the vitamin section. Give daily during medication at the opposite time of the day from when you put fresh medicated water out. Then give daily for a week thereafter and every other day for the following week.

    On the antibiotics, the reason I choose the one I did (even though I normally don't like it) is because it specifically will treat the two major diseases that are listed for blackened combs. Sulmet only treats one. You'll need to always keep terramycin out of the light, and again - do NOT mix anything in the water other than the meds, and do NOT use any milk or dairy products like yogurt. They make the meds not work.

    I'd get right on this. Feed them all boiled and mashed eggs yolks to get them eating. Give them crumbles. Talk to us later about how to give the probiotics. Test if you can, if you've lost birds. If you lose a bird and you want to test, cool the bird in running water. (Don't wash off any signs from the outside like congestive drainage etc.) Just cool the bird, pat dry with paper towels, wrap in a layer or two of paper towels, secure within a plastic bag, and refrigerate. Do NOT freeze. THat distorts tissues and organs. Bring to your vet for at least a necropsy within 24 hours.

    Keep the birds completely separate from all of your other flock. handle them last, changing clothes and shoes in between. wash your clothes, save one pair of shoes for only the sick bird room. Wear gloves.

    Decontaminate all the feeders and waterers. healthy birds' first, then sick.
     
    Laodicia likes this.
  8. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    Incidentally, could the color be likened to blue rather than black? Are there lots of urates (whites) in the droppings?
     
  9. sychoi

    sychoi Hatching

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    Thank you so much for everyone's supportive comments and advice. I am very touched that within 24 hours, I have received so much help and love. Thank you--especially for threehorses' detailed aid. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude.

    My sick chickens couldn't make it pass the night. Among them, I've lost a rooster that has been with me for seven years and nine days.

    My other chickens seem to be doing fine, but I will monitor them carefully and will follow the recommended procedures once they start showing signs of abnormal behavior.

    Again, thank you so much! Gustishmaggi, I hope your rooster will get well soon!
     
  10. sychoi

    sychoi Hatching

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    Quote:Yes, I guess you can say they were close to blue rather than completely black. There was indeed much urates, and much more watery than usual. A lot of it stuck to the feathers near the rump, and the accumulation seemed to almost seal it, so we cleared the waste as much as possible.

    It was really scary, because they would swell (around the belly area; the space between their legs, near the rump) and become twice as heavy as they were before.
     

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