Seeking advice after two hens (one older and one young) die in less than a week

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cofarmgirl, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. cofarmgirl

    cofarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Below are outlines of relevant events and info regarding my situation, which has taken two hens in the same week. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

    General Pattern of Outer Signs
    -More aloof from flock
    -Less active/mobile
    -Eyes often closing as if unable to stay awake
    -Tail a little more drooped and stance more hunched
    -Gradually eating less
    When taken inside, they lie down and sometimes pick through the food and drink water; then, a day later, they breathe rapidly and pass away right after.

    Hen #1: Betty
    -Alpha, was 3 years old in March when we got her, apparently born with occasional sneezing and wheezing
    -Started to look older, dirtier, and more ruffled when the season turned (September-October), but did not act any different in attitude or behavior
    -Started losing feathers on the top middle of her back and a bit all around in early-to-mid-November (two other hens had started molting, so I didn't necessarily think it was a red flag just yet)
    -Around the same time as the feather loss, she sometimes seemed a little less eager to run to the feeder or receive food
    ***Another factor here was a sharp plunge in temperatures
    -Reportedly seemed to have a "turnaround" when I was away in California from November 14-18
    -Condition seemed the same from my return up to Thanksgiving
    -By very end of November (27-30), she was not very active or hungry
    -On November 30 we found her in a nesting box instead of perching on the usual high roost
    -The next day, December 1, we isolated her/took her in; once or twice she excreted a mostly clear, whitish liquid
    -The next day, December 2, there was noticeably no waste in her box and both food and water were untouched
    -The night of December 2, she passed - heard a couple slow kicks or knocking sounds right before

    Hen #2: Speckles
    -7-month-old that we purchased as a chick along with three others; since July they've free-ranged with the older flock
    -On the same day we buried Betty (December 3), I noticed she was standing off alone with her tail drooped and eyes closed
    -Watched her periodically through the day; she was slower in movements and didn't come running for a mealworm snack like the others
    -Ate before roosting and still roosted up high as usual
    -Monitored her behavior again the next day, December 4 and saw same signs: tired, in a puffed-up, hunched stance, eyes closing, and no reaction when picking her up
    -When December 5 was the same, I convinced my husband to take her inside on the evening of December 6
    -From December 6-7, she ate, drank, and excreted normal-looking solid waste, which seemed like a great sign
    -Husband thought she would be okay to release back today, December 8...
    -Less than an hour later, she was visibly breathing much heavier (no wheezing or sounds - just her tail bobbing up and down noticeably) and none of the food or water for the day had been touched
    -In a matter of minutes the labored breathing was coupled with opening and closing of the beak (as if gasping, but no noises were made), and she seemed barely conscious
    -In the same matter of minutes, she let out a strange high-pitched noise and craned her neck upward, then collapsed into the same lying-down pose
    -Seconds later she made the same kind of noise, jerked her head all around, and then beyond her control her wings flapped, her body violently threw itself all around, and there were high-pitched noises (I knew she was gone, but I am confused about the sudden nervous system attack/failure)

    We're thinking this has to be a disease sweeping through; I've read up on coccidiosis and wonder if that is the culprit. It is possible that the older one had been fighting it off, but when molting and cold weather came into the picture, she succumbed. Then this younger one contracted it and couldn't fight it off due to having no exposure as a chick. However, one difference between these two hens is that the young one was producing normal-looking waste.

    Other Relevant Information--honesty is the best policy!
    -Since our possession of them at the end of March, the chickens have NOT been de-wormed after we read and heard so many mixed reviews.
    -Young ones ate medicated crumble for the first 16 or so weeks.
    -Unfortunately, they live in an old pre-built structure (we're renting a house on a farm) that has mice, so we wash the waterers and feeders (taking them out at night altogether) and replace food and bedding to avoid contamination of mouse droppings.
    -D.E. has been applied inside and at dust bath sites to help protect against external bugs.
    -Waste is periodically removed before build-up occurs; I've never seen any discolored or noticeably abnormal droppings.
    -NO HEN has been laying eggs since November; at least two are visibly molting but all older ones are acting completely normal.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  2. cofarmgirl

    cofarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    My husband is picking up Corid 9.6% Amprolium Solution as I speak. We will be isolating the two other young hens in separate housing because they are more susceptible for their age (haven't built immunity to it and only had medicated crumble without any exposure) and because one is acting a little less like herself since yesterday.

    I'll post updates as they come. I know one downside to a long, detailed posting on any forum is that it will take time to garner responses if anyone has the time to even read it. Thanks again in advance.
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss. Your first hen, since she was older, may have had some issue such as liver disease or egg yolk peritonitis with some of her symptoms. I would go ahead and medicate with the Corid for 5-7 days just in case of coccidiosis. Dosage is 2 tsp of the liquid per gallon of water . Worms could be more of a problem than you think. You could get a collective stool specimen (fresh/early morning) checked by your vet for the different species of chicken worms. Roundworms and tape worm are the only ones easily seen in stools, and those won't always be apparent. Worms can easily kill a chicken. Valbazen sheep and cattle wormer is effective against all chicken worms. Dosage is 1/2 ml given orally to each bird, then repeat in 10 days. Egg withdrawal is 14 days after last dose. Mites and lice are other things to look for on your chickens. There can be so many illnesses that chickens can get, and observing them as you have done may be the only way you can pick up on the symptoms. If you have refrigerated the body, you could still get a necropsy done by your state vet on Speckles.
     
  4. chalidobrenz

    chalidobrenz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definitly deworm. Gapeworm infestation blocks the airway and can cause some similar symptoms. Ivermectin is what we used this fall, worked wonderfully! In your situation, I would go straight to the injectable dewormer. Fast absolution and onset, and you know for sure they get the correct dose to be effective. I'm sorry for you birds. :(
     
  5. cofarmgirl

    cofarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice.
    More updates to come...
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  6. cofarmgirl

    cofarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    We'll be medicating the water with Corid as a precaution on December 10, which is when the product is expected to get here - unfortunately no stores around us carry it. :(
    We are considering a vet consultation but have never invested in one because of money. We plan to call up a local one tomorrow and at least inquire about their knowledge and services. From there we will consider bringing in stool specimen, etc. Thank you for the detailed possibilities and respective plans of action!
     
  7. cofarmgirl

    cofarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    I posted as a general reply as well, but thank you for bringing the injectable dewormer to our attention. We were not aware of such a type, as most people direct us to oral treatment.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Cofarmgirl, you will find better results with Valbazen, an oral wormer. Many vets and others will tell you that Ivermectin has lost it's effectiveness as a chicken wormer because of it's past overuse in treating mites in poultry. Many older worming links still unfortunately still list ivermectin, but I wouldn't waste money on it. SafeGuard or Panacur is cheaper than Valbazen, but may require more doses to get the serious worms. Here is a good price with $5 shipping if you can't find it locally: http://www.kvsupply.com/valbazen-su...3&cadevice=c&gclid=CIGIx9WgucICFfPm7AodOhEAOg

    and here is a link for smaller quantities: http://www.wholesalekennel.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=22_24&products_id=29
     
  9. cofarmgirl

    cofarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Wonderful! Thanks! I had only been able to find Valbazen in large quantities and for $50+, which, on top of the other medications and supplements we'll be getting (depending on/in light of what the current issue is), exceeds our desired budget.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  10. cofarmgirl

    cofarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    -
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014

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