sick chickens, do I put the flock down?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by scruga, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. scruga

    scruga Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2011
    I had 14 laying hens and 2 roosters but as of today one of my roosters died very suddenly and my Rhoade Island Red Hen is now sick. My rooster was a small yellow bantam about 7 months old and my Rhoade Island Red is just at 6 months old and barely laying. She has green diarrhoea, sneezing but does not have any discharge from her nose, mouth, or eyes, appeared to be paralyzed but then I brought her into the garage, put her under a heat lamp, and she is now moving around and eating and drinking, however she has a very bad smell about her. I'm worried about the rest of my flock and wondering what to do. My chickens are housed in a 12x24 ft pen with a house inside the pen 4x 12 x6ft tall with straw for bedding. I use a heat lamp in the chicken house at night for warmth since I live in Montana and the temp gets below freezing every night here. I have never before had sick chickens. Should I put them all down, and are the eggs from the flock safe to eat? I don't know what kind of Over The Counter medicines would be helpful but I do know that some should not be used for laying hens if the eggs are intended for human consumption. Could this be Cholera or Newcastle? I tried to find a vet in my area but all of the places I called just laughed at me. Apparently vets around here only deal with cats, dogs, and horses. I'm worried this could be serious.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  2. Chicken_Pauper

    Chicken_Pauper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2011
    Southern California
    How old are the chickens? All the same age? How long have you had them?

    Search here on BYC for "sour crop"... read up on that... see if it sounds like what is going on with yours.

    Do they free range? Is their food clean, dry, fresh.. fresh water daily?

    Massage the crop... (the food pocket) of the hen that "smells" bad... massage her crop several times a day... give her yogurt or buttermilk mixed with some laying mash. Or, mixed with some scrambled eggs (after they are scrambled/cooked).

    Add one tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to each gallon of fresh water for the entire flock.

    Asking how old they are... and what their situation is for clean coop, run, what is used for bedding in the nests, on the floor of the coop, in the run, etc.? (I had missed the part of your post where you tell of their coop and pen.. sounds good). All this helps to get helpful responses here.

    Have you ever wormed them? With what, and when?

    And, here is a link to "normal" chicken poop.. many are normal... chickens do not "pee" and "poop", the pee / poop all together... go to this link for much more info, and very informative pictures:

    Check the chicken poop for worms, knowing they could still have worms you don't see... and, check under their wings, and "vents" (their mating, poop, egg holes) for mites around those as well.

    Until you medicate... unless you medicate, the eggs are safe to eat. Rinse them under cool water, dry them with a paper towel.. gather every day.. refridgerate after washing. And, cook done, dry, scramble.
    If you worm or give medication you might well have to withhold eggs.. not eat the eggs or chickens while medicating or worming, you can get more info here on the site.

    Many feed stores are helpful... and you can get what you need to treat the chickens at the local feed store. Watch for symptoms and act quickly... but, don't put them all down... most things are treatable.

    Use the SEARCH here to find info on any and all related subjects... worms or parasites or a sour crop, moldy food, a dirty coop... the wrong bedding, lots of things can make a chicken sick or even die. Good luck.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  3. scruga

    scruga Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2011
    The flock is any where from 6 months old to 8 1/2 months old. 11 came from the feed store when they were just a week or so old and they are a mixed breed of pulletts and bantams. My rooster that died came from this stock. The remaining 5 are Rhoade Island Reds that we hatched ourselves from an incubator, we received the eggs from a co-worker of mine that raises them and sells the eggs. I have not seen any worms from the poop and I have looked many times however no, they have never been wormed. I do give them fresh water daily and feed them Laying crumbles.
  4. scruga

    scruga Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2011
    At this time I do not free range my chickens due to the fact that I live in an area that has a lot of free ranging dogs. The poop is all liquid and no substance, very dark green. I will definately try your suggestions tomorrow in the morning and pray for the best. I certainly hope I don't find another sick or dead tomorrow, my husband and I have raised some of them from eggs.
  5. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    Hi Scruga,

    I would separate out the sick ones and watch the remaining birds. The separated one/s could then be given TLC and extra vitamins if necessary while you watch for more precise symptoms.

    There are so many diseases chickens can get, it's a little difficult to say what it is or whether you should cull right now.

    It's a shame vets around your area aren't very helpful.

    I would be a little careful about washing my hands etc until I had a better idea of what I'm dealing with... Unfortunately though by the time a sick bird is taken out of a flock it's quite common that the disease has already infected the others. But not always.

    Sorry I can't help more at this stage, but like I say, it might be a good idea to watch each unwell bird closely and individually for now, and not make any decision on culling until there's more information to go by.

    good luck
  6. scruga

    scruga Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2011
    Thanks Erica,
    I do have my Rhoade Island Red hen in the garage to keep her seperated and today her poop is looking more normal, has formation to it. This morning when I went out to feed and water, all of my chickens were running around and acting normal however quite a few of them are now sneezing. There is no discharge at this time from thier mouths or noses and I did not notice any diarrhea coming from any of them. The last thing I want to do is put a bunch of chickens down. My husband and I have raised chickens in the past without any problems. I don't know if the straw we bought from the feed store could possibly be the culprit or if it was something they ate or something in their water but am trying the previous listed suggestions today and praying for a good outcome. Thanks for the concern.
  7. MudgesMom

    MudgesMom Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 3, 2011
    Sorry about your birds.

    I thought this might be helpful. This will give you every chicken illness- resp. and non- resp. and there is also a table at the end which is an easy way of comparing symptoms. (3 tables)
  8. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    Northern CA
    Respiratory symptoms with a foul smell usually means Infectious Coryza. If it is, many will die, some will not but all exposed birds will be carriers for life and infect any new birds you bring in. You might want to research it and see if the symptoms fit.

    Very sorry,

  9. pokemonshop

    pokemonshop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 11, 2011
    Maybe medicated water separate it. sick chicken + more chickens around = more sick chickens. sick chickens + no take care = dead chickens. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] PS: how do you create a topic ?
  10. scruga

    scruga Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2011
    My RRI died today and yesterday morning when I went out to water and feed, I found another one of my RRI's dead on the floor of the Chicken House. I cleaned out the house and the pen and put new bedding down however I'm wondering what this could be. So far I have had 3 die, 2 of them sudden without symptoms except for some sneezing which went away so now I'm wondering if it's Mereks? As I mentioned before the vets around here don't handle chickens and I'm not sure how to go about getting a necropsy done.

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