sick flock-main symptom, they sit sideways like one wing paralyzed

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by JLV, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. JLV

    JLV New Egg

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    Jul 31, 2011
    Please forgive me if I do not post this exactly as the guidelines say. will do my best. I have read here and everywhere on the web and there are so many chicken ailments and diseases that its too overwhelming to pin point our problem. I will do my best to describe.
    We have had a very healthy flock of mixed breeds of chickens. They lived all winter in our barn, on grains and corn. When spring came, we started letting them out so they are truly free range chickens now. They have been doing fine all summer until the last two weeks, they started getting sick one by one. We have lost 5 or 6 now.
    The only thing 'new' is they are roaming around outside farther each day so they could be getting into eating bad stuff? (my daughter saw one carrying a dead baby sparrow in her mouth yesterday)
    Their set up is -they live in the barn with straw on the floor, a big nesting box with straw and some beams up high to sit on. In the day we just open the door and they roam in and out (and hang out with our goats) I can't tell a difference in their poop...sometimes its runny, but its always been that way from day one with no problems.
    We also do not get as many eggs...
    ok, so here's the symptoms.
    I noticed the first sick one, he was our largest, healthiest rooster, he seemed disoriented. And one day he just sat inside in the same spot all day, without moving. I checked on him often, making sure he had food and water and he pecked at it. Each time I went to him, he seemed to be laying or leaning a little further over, lopsided...as if one wing was not working. (wing was not broken though-no physical injury at all)
    He hung on for a few days and each time his head got lower, like he couldnt hold it up. In the end, his legs were sticking out as if paralyzed.
    Next day, another one started in on the same symptoms. Every few days, a new one gets sick (one at a time)
    We have been isolating the sick ones each time we find one.
    So finally, last night, I was thinking I hope this is over. I went to put them in for the night and then i discovered one of our little hens was acting the same way. I isolated her for the night and this morning, oddly enough, she seemed perky and fine and was standing up eating and drinking. So my hope is she will recover quickly.
    I apologize if this is long, confusing or contains uneccessary info. Can anyone give me an idea of what it could be?
    I don't notice anything coming out of their beaks or and weird sounds.
    Also, I am 5 months pregnant. Is it safe for me to continue going out to feed them etc? (I am trying not to touch them and even refraining from eating the eggs to be on the safe side) But can the rest of my family still eat the eggs as long as we cook them well? The chickens who are not sick seem perfectly healthy and fine. Its odd how they get sick one at a time.

    Thank you for any tips or advice anyone can give us.
    One more thing, their water is clean because they have an automatic waterer my husband made with constant clean water. The corn we give them is clean and dry. But since they roam all day, I suppose they can eat and drink anything, but I can't think of anything other than dead animals in our fields (or flies that come from dead animals?)
     
  2. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    I would immediately search for any source of botulism on their range, and probably get rid of their feed, clean their feeders and waterers in the dishwasher, and get fresh feed from a different source. Clearly dead animals can give them botulism, so they need to be kept from that or have the bodies cleaned up. Corn isn't sufficient, have they got layer feed? I'm soooo sorry about the losses. I would keep clean of them, if I were you, and make certain you wash your hands frequently.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  3. JLV

    JLV New Egg

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    Thanks, there are no dead animals that I specifically know of, but we live in the country and they have a large field to roam in so I am sure there could be hundreds of dead mice or birds you never know. Botulism did sound like the closest thing it could be...
    also if flies come from dead animals, there is not much we can do about that since they can come from anywhere....Maybe we should let them have so much roaming room?

    My husband just gives them cracked corn in the morning and evenings hoping thy will just eat bugs and worms during the day...so this is not good? (we used to give them other grains int he winter)
     
  4. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Aug 17, 2008
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    Quote:I would stop the cracked corn and give them a balanced feed in place of it. They may have a nutrient imbalance.

    Do they have access to compost? Ranging shouldn't be an issue, so long as they are getting good nutrition and don't feel desperate to get nutrition from something they would normally not consider eating. Compost sometimes has things they oughtn't eat.

    If you have a lot of trouble with flies, you can hang a bunch of those air freshener trees around to ward them off- vanilla scent! It really works, and helps with mosquitos, to boot!

    Is there any chance they are getting into something that may be poisoning them?
     
  5. JLV

    JLV New Egg

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    Thanks again....there is no compost near them where they can get to. Part of the barn has a rotting ceiling....I wonder if that has anything to do with it although they don't get food or water from that area but they roost up high close to it...
    The more i read about botulism, the more thats what it sounds like. I just hope its not contageous to me or my unborn baby!

    Thanks for your help.
     

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