Sickly Cockerel: Symptoms and Suggestions...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Gresh, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Gresh

    Gresh Songster

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    Jul 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    I have a hatchery stock white Jersey Giant cockerel (almost a year old) that is acting quite sickly. He is very lethargic and doesn't have much of an appetite. His legs look like they are very weak--as a matter of fact, yesterday I found him lying in the yard like his legs couldn't hold him up anymore. What little water he has drank has been water with some sugar (I added the sugar to give him some energy), but today we found some white stringy stuff in his water. I am wondering if it came from his mouth.

    His comb has shrank considerably and he has lost weight. Does anyone know what could be afflicting him? I have isolated him from the rest of the flock in hopes of keeping the other chickens safe. He is on the bottom end of the pecking order so I am wondering if the stress of that has finally caught up with him.

    Please respond soon because I need to know if he can be treated or if he needs put down.

    God bless,
    ~Gresh~
     
  2. CSisley

    CSisley Chirping

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    The symptoms you have described could be any number of things. If he's getting picked on by the rest of the chickens then that will have made him more susceptible to disease. The white stringy stuff in his water, are you sure it wasn't worms or was it more mucus like? Was this sickness sudden or has he been sick for awhile?
     
  3. Gresh

    Gresh Songster

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    North Carolina
    Thanks for the reply! It's also nice to see a fellow North Carolinian here on BYC. [​IMG]

    The stringy stuff in his water looked like mucus to me. Definitely not worms. I thought at first that he had pooped in his water but ruled that out because I've never seen it look like that before.

    It is definitely a sudden sickness. He's never really been "in the prime of his life," being a lower member of the pecking order, but he's never acted this bad before. Prior to about two days ago he was normal, except for the fact that his comb was still shrunken. I first noticed his symptoms when he came out of the coop one morning acting like he was in a sickly stupor.

    Thanks again for replying. I'm anxious to know what could be ailing him....

    ~Gresh~
     
  4. CSisley

    CSisley Chirping

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    Greetings fellow North Carolinian!
    I would keep an eye out for discharge from the mouth, nose or eyes and listen for sounds of wheezing, sneezing or difficulty breathing. Keep a close eye on his poop and note any changes in color, consistency etc. Feel around on his body to see if he's lost weight which may have gone unnoticed. Use a bright light to check for mites or lice crawling around on his skin or hanging on to his feathers. These observations will help you diagnose and decide your course of action. You may want to consider worming him; parasite infestations can make them susceptible to disease or make it harder for them to recover. It was a good idea separating him. I would put him in a small area where he has access to sit under a heat lamp and doesn't have to go far too get to food or water.. I would give him a multi vitamin of some sort. If you don't have access to vitamins specifically for poultry like Avia Charge 2000, then I would give him a few drops a day of Polyvisol without iron. Sugar water isn't a bad idea just to give them a little extra boost but I prefer mixing a little molasses in their water over white sugar. Molasses has nutrients and is good for digestion. I would also try feeding things to him that will encourage him to eat. I had a sick hen once that wouldn't eat anything on her own but if I offered her a raw egg she would go to town on it. I would also decide in your mind how long you want to wait to before you see improvement and decide that if you don't see improvement by such and such a time then you'll put him down. Sometimes they don't take much time at all to get better and other times it may take a long long time or they might not get better at all. I once nursed a hen for five months before she recovered but that's what I was willing to do.
     
  5. Gresh

    Gresh Songster

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    Jul 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    Thanks again for the suggestions!

    He has definitely lost a good deal of weight, last I checked. He is mostly feathers and bone. His face has turned from deep red to an almost light pink, and his wings are hanging like they're broken. He looks so weak. He does seem to be eating but just not very enthusiastically. Kinda picks at it, and then lays down somewhere.

    I am wondering if it could be Marek's. I am starting to get even more concerned because one of our matriarch hens has contracted the same symptoms as the cockerel, except that her comb hasn't shrunk and the pigment in her face hasn't left yet. We haven't introduced a new chicken to our flock in months so if this is Marek's, it must have come from another local flock via wind or something. Most of our chickens are vaccinated against Marek's but I have heard that sometimes the vaccination does not always work.

    I have isolated the hen as well but if she caught it without even being near the cockerel, I'm afraid isolation won't prevent the others from contracting whatever it may be.

    ~Gresh~
     
  6. Gresh

    Gresh Songster

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    Jul 9, 2011
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    Are there any more suggestions out there? It seems like some people with flock problems are totally ignored by educated BYCers who could help but for some reason don't help. I've had about two or three health questions that I've posted on here, and most of them have not even been replied to. This thread is an exception, but still I'm sure there's others out there who are reading this thread but aren't responding. This is really frustrating!!!

    Our chicken coop has been clean for sometime now so I don't understand why these two chickens are acting the way they are. We live near a ritzy lake community so there aren't many other flocks in my area that could contribute this disease (if it is a disease). Our chickens are free-ranged but often get handouts from us (mostly show-bird chow and sweet mix from our local TSC).

    ~Gresh~
     
  7. CSisley

    CSisley Chirping

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    Chickens can get diseases from just about anywhere, they don't have to be exposed to other chickens. Diseases can come the dirt, biting insects, wild birds that live near your chickens, dust particles in the air, insects that your chickens eat, chicken feed and many other places I'm sure no one has thought of. I practice bio-security but I've completely abandoned the idea that I can keep them so isolated that they are never exposed to diseases. Keeping them indoors 24/7 might help but I'd much rather loose the life of one of my flock here and there than to raise them like bubble boy. I basically adhere to the idea that I will give their immune systems a fighting chance by giving them access to good nutrition, clean water and sunshine and I will not allow weaker chickens to reproduce. If you give your flock proper care and practice basic bio-security then I would give up the idea that "you could have done better" because it simply isn't your fault the illnesses exist.

    If one of your birds dies you may want to consider contacting a local livestock extension agent to see if you can send the bird's body off for testing. It will help you decide what to do to help the rest of your flock.
     

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