sick chick... need help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by wornoutmomto3, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. wornoutmomto3

    wornoutmomto3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I try to make every precaution for the health and well being of my flock, but I think a virus has hit hard. I had 6 adult birds and 8 chicks. Everyone was fat and happy. Then I had the opportunity to get some silkies and orpingtons. So, I got 4 silkie bantams and 1 buff orpington. It had been wet and rainy for a few days leading up to bringing them home. So, them being a bit muddy and dirty was expected. Upon arriving home they were treated to an impromtu spa day. Baths for everyone (It was necessary!); wash, dry, and heat lamp. A few days later the orpington started gasping for breath, and was dead within the week. Her weight was a bit low, but not excessively low. She had seemed fine other wise. Since she was isolated and I washed (and sanitized) my hands obsessively I wasn't to concerned about the other birds. That is, until two of the chicks started acting funny. I noticed the odd breathing and crusty faces. One of the chicks has an eye that is swollen and pussy. I try not to use antibiotics whenever possible. However, I had a duckling whose eye became pussy sometime ago and an antibiotic ointment was the only thing that worked. So, I have used the ointment for the one chick the past two days, with little improvement. I keep vitamins and electrolites in the drinking water daily for all the chicks up to one month old. I added apple cider vinegar (acv / with the mother) to the sick chicks' water to try and boost their immune system, but I am not sure it is helping.

    My concern is that if these chicks improve will they be safe to put back in the flock. I don't know what illness they have and there are no vets anywhere around here that will even look at my chickens. DH suggests I cull the entire flock and start over. He suspects that the entire flock has been exposed to this illness. Since we raise these birds for both meat and eggs he doesn't want to risk the health of our kids by eating a diseased chicken. I understand where he is coming from, but I have been working hard to get this small flock established as a self-sustainable food source for our family. Also, I am starting to get a bit attached to these birds. What should I do? Should I start over as DH suggests? Or, is there something I can do to get my birds well again without risking anymore illnesses? Also, what could be causing these symptoms, virus or bacteria or something else?


    Side note: I don't know if these are contributing factors or not. The adult birds free range in a fenced in area of the property and only coop at night. The chicks are in an attached brooder in the main coop, and don't yet free range. They have been there since just before the outbreak. Planning to add to main flock middle of next month. Sick chicks were isolated in the house away from the symptomless birds outside as soon as symptoms appeared.
     
  2. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    It sounds like a respiratory virus maybe like infectious bronchitis or something... It's a big decision to make, I understand the attachment and the time invested you could definitely treat the affected birds with antibiotics somebody else on here will know a lot more than me... but I do see your husbands point, not knowing what the illness was/is is pretty scary...
    If it were me (I'm a big softy) I would try to treat them with an antibiotic, any birds I did have to kill I would not eat. All that said something very intelligent was mentioned on another thread recently... when we choose to treat our animals with antibiotics rather than culling them we make a pretty big impact on the entire planet... Treating everything that happens to our flocks with antibiotics can result in the development of superbugs that can affect the entire livestock industry on up the food chain to human health... Something to consider when you make your decisions. Good luck, if you lose any other birds maybe you could send one out for necropsy and then you will know what your problem is...
     
  3. wornoutmomto3

    wornoutmomto3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Culling was taken out of my hands (at least partly). It was a rough week. The isolated chicks plus four others and a BR all expired sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning. The two remaining chicks and three of the silkies were preyed upon (during daylight hours) by a, as yet unknown, predator. We are working to figure who snatched the birds and how they did it, since they were in an enclosed run. The adults and remaining juveniles are still alive and seemingly healthy. That is except one.

    It has been quite cool here the last few days and this hen has been spending an enormous amount of time in the coop. I thought she was either cold or trying to lay an egg. (I have a several of her eggs in an incubator at the moment.) Then I noticed her comb had flopped over, her usually bright red face had become pale, and her energy and weight are low. I don't know if it is the weather or she is sick also, but I have isolated her as a precaution. Aside from the noted symptoms there are no other signs of illness. Any ideas would be helpful.

    Between incubator mishaps and sick birds this has been a rough winter.
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I really think that the new birds you added probably brought in a bad strain of MG or even coryza. If I were you, I would sacrifice the remaining hen, and send her refrigerated body to the state vet for a necropsy. That way, you should be able to find out what disease you are dealing with. The eggs in your incubator may be affected if it is MG, since that can transfer through the egg, so that is why it is important to know which disease. After removing the hen, clean and disinfect your facilities and equipment. MG and coryza will only remain alive for a couple of days, but if there are other viruses present, they can last longer. If one chicken or other fowl remains, your other birds will be carriers for life. Sorry about having to deal with this, and sorry for your loss. Here are links for your state vet, testing centers, and one for common diseases:
    http://www.usaha.org/Portals/6/StateAnimalHealthOfficials.pdf
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahln/downloads/all_nahln_lab_list.pdf
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
     
  5. wornoutmomto3

    wornoutmomto3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 6, 2014
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    My Coop
    That is very upsetting news. I had a feeling it was something serious, but I was still hoping for the best. I won't be getting birds or eggs from that breeder again. And, I will have to notify them of a possible issue with their flock. Are the eggs that I have in the fridge still safe to eat? Are the incubator eggs definitely contaminated? I scheduled a Valentine Day hatch and now that is ruined. What about my ducks? They use the same outside pen. Are the at risk also? Do I have to cull them too? My kids will be devastated. They haven't shown any signs of illness, only the chickens. My next-door-neighbor has a small flock, should I warn her also? I was taking care of her birds over the weekend while she was in the hospital. Also, her coop isn't that far from the property line we share. How soon after will it be safe to reintroduce more chickens? TS is having chick days at the end of February/beginning of March here and I was deciding between them and ordering some from McMurray. I have been debating about starting over, but this is not how I wanted to go about it. This is very upsetting.
     

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