Sick Speckled Sussex Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lovepepper, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. Stress

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  2. Altitude Sickness

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  3. Marek's Disease

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  4. Side effects of the lice

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  5. Internal problems

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  6. Vitamin Deficiency - Please leave me a comment and elaborate on which one(s) :)

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  7. Something Else - Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think :)

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  8. A Speckled Sussex will always look like that.

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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. lovepepper

    lovepepper Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2014
    Hi!

    I just bought two ~5 month old hens from a woman on Craigslist. I live in Bend, OR (roughly 4000 ft elevation) and she lives in Yamhill, OR (roughly 180 ft elevation). I bought a Barnevelder and a Speckled Sussex. My brother in law was the one who actually picked up the hens and brought them over, so I don't really know much about the set up. It doesn't sound like they were overcrowded or that any of the flock looked sick, but who knows? He's not particularly observant in general, let alone when it comes to chickens.

    I put them both in quarantine and the Barnevelder looks great, she's energetic, curious, eating, drinking and preening just fine. However I immediately noticed that the Sussex was not ok. She just looked sick, ruffled up a bit, drooping wings, and her eyes are somewhat closed, and kind of dull or sleepy looking. She just stands there looking unhappy. I checked the carrier and found a dropping with some pink discharge and I immediately put them on a course of Corrid. I think the pink may actually have been intestinal lining, since it wasn't blood, but better safe then sorry, I figure.

    I also noticed that she has trouble swallowing the layer pellets we have, it just looks like they're too big. She's taken to digging through the feed to find little bits of corn and things and eating those. She kind of staggers, and her head kind of sags sometimes. Her legs just don't seem to work quite right, but the first two nights she went up and perched in the coop just fine. The third night I saw her just standing in the bottom of the run looking sorry for herself and when I put her on the perch in the coop she fell off. Second time she stabilized and was able to perch though.

    I've been giving them chick boost in their water, and the first day I ground up some food and mixed it with a raw egg. Yesterday I bought some Chicken Crack and she seemed to enjoy it, as well as oyster shell, though I don't know if she ate that. Today I half microwaved some eggs and mixed them with the Chicken Crack and oyster shell to make a porridge. She's been eating these specialty foods ok. When she drinks the takes ~5 dips in a row and then pulls back to swallow, but some drips out. The Barnevelder takes one dip, pulls back and doesn't leak.

    We found the biggest lice I have ever seen crawling around on her, but I didn't see any eggs on her feathers. They are really long and fat, and they've got tummies full of her obviously delicious blood. The Barnevelder did/does not have lice as far as we can see. We dusted her really well with Diatomaceous earth, along with her buddy, and the rest of our flock (turns out we have a lice problem of our own passed around by one of the roosters who does not bathe, at all! [​IMG]) The lice on the rest of our flock are different. They are much smaller, flatter, and there are eggs on some of the chicken's feathers. They are "traditional" chicken lice, and I am fairly ashamed to have discovered them on my chickens. Though it's pretty much only on our bantams for some reason. Maybe the bantams are not so great at the regular dust bathing the other chickens love so much.

    So, today she has been preening ok, kind of looks like she's eating the lice when she finds them? However, she still looks pretty sick. I have been scaring myself with the prospect that it's marek's in which case it's now too late for all of my birds [​IMG]. She has no respiratory symptoms as far as I can tell. She makes no sounds at all, completely silent (she might let out a squawk when I grab her, but it isn't much if at all). No sneezing or coughing, breathing looks fine. There is no bullying from the Barnevelder, they get along really well.

    Could it be altitude sickness and/or stress? Is it just a really bad lice infestation (and stress too)? Vitamin deficiency? Some other type of disease? Is it Marek's? Is she just messed up internally and happened to survive 5 months? I have dogs and do not want to use pesticides of any kind (using Corrid already bothers me even though it's just a vitamin B fake-out), plus I sell the eggs to coworkers (though these two haven't started laying yet).

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!
     
  2. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN
    Have you searched around online about these symptoms? I honestly do not know. I don't know how chickens respond to altitude change. However, I would still isolate her. It may be "too late", but it is still worth a try. I do not know your method of isolation, but when I need to isolate a bird it means they get to stay in the house in a dog cage with a roost in it. They also end up getting extra attention and treats since they are in the house and I will often let them lay on a blanket nest in my lap while I watch tv at night :p
    Who knows if being pampered makes a difference, but if she is overly stressed it probably couldn't hurt. It's odd that the chicken that came from the same place as her is totally fine. Usually serious illness can be transferred even if chickens are kept in separate pens, especially something like Marecks.
     
  3. lovepepper

    lovepepper Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2014
    Well, unfortunately I found skin tumors on her neck this evening while I was hand feeding her. The only disease that I've found that mentions skin tumors is Marek's. There are other tumor causing diseases, but none of them mention skin tumors (as far as I can tell). The two new hens are quarantined in a coop across the yard from our main flock, but I have been walking between the coops to check on them and the main flock was free ranging nearby. I've really messed it up.

    We're going to keep the main flock on lockdown amd see what happens. It is possible that our chicks were vaccinated, and they might be old enough now to be relatively safe. Supposedly Mareks is worse in younger birds, and most of our flock is between 5.5 and 6.5 months (hopefully old enough?). We have some 4 year old birds and some 1.5 year old birds too.

    I can't cull our main flock... They have names and little personalities...
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  4. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN

    I totally understand how you feel about your main flock! This is a bad situation and first of all, you need to totally isolate the two possibly infected. If this is Mareks, it can even be transferred to your main flock on the wind, and definitely through your shoes and clothing if you are walking back and forth.
    Only you truly know the symptoms and extremity of the situation. If you feel that these new birds have Mareks, you may want to consider finding a vet or somewhere that you can have them tested. If it is confirmed to be Mareks, you would definitely need to cull them and clean everything! You would have to hope that your flock had not been infected yet. Some birds can carry it while showing no symptoms and you would need to keep that in mind when deciding to hatch new babies or buy new birds. The virus can stay in the environment, including the soil, from 5 months to over a year. It is not infectious to humans and will not impact the safety of eating the eggs or meat. If the symptoms are extremely worrisome, definitely seek out a vet that can test for Mareks. At least then you will know for sure what you are dealing with. Until then isolate the crap out of those birds! Don't wear anything out to your main flock (clothes, shoes, etc) that had been anywhere near in contact with the sick ones.
    Just keep researching different solutions and don't beat yourself up. Trust me, everyone has to be a newbie at some point to all the issues that can come up with chickens. You are definitely not alone and if you do mess up, you certainly won't be the first! Everything is a learning experience.
     
  5. lovepepper

    lovepepper Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2014
    Well, she died today, fairly peacefully. I performed a necropsy on her and found nothing. No tumors, no obvious signs of worms, no crop problems, lung and heart looked fine, though the heart was much smaller than it should have been (probably from the wasting). She had nothing in her mouth, liver looked fine. She was never actually paralyzed, just weak. Her droppings looked normal, and there was even some food going through her digestive tract. Eyes were normal. The only tumor like objects I could find were a few large bumps on her neck skin. [​IMG]

    We're going to keep the Barnevelder in quarantine and see how she does. She is about 1.5 times the size of the other chicken, and they were supposedly the same age. She's really healthy, a small lice problem which we're going to try neem oil on next. I guess we'll wait a while and see.
     

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