So... I should cull all my new birds?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ND, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. ND

    ND Songster

    Jul 20, 2010
    I'm new to chickens... I purchased all birds in my flock from one person, who free ranged all his birds (that were old enough to do so), and have 3 year old brahmas, and 10 pullets (I'm hoping mostly pullets!) of slightly varying ages. (3-5 months or so, I think) I believe most of this persons birds (the younger ones) are hatchery stock he buys as day olds and then raises awhile and resells. I don't know what hatchery.

    They were all free ranging together, and once old enough to free range, housed in the same big barns at night.

    I had them for two weeks or so when two suddenly woke up with a matted eye (one eye each) and acted a bit lethargic, another was acting slightly lethargic, no matting, but sneezing. The feed store gave me some antibiotics for the water, and I started treating with that. We had to go unexpectedly out of town on a family emergency the next day, and my sister come over daily to check/feed/water/medicate. They were all looking great when we got back home. The meds said to do a 7-14 day treatment. I stopped at day 10, I think, 5 days after the last one was showing any symptoms at all.

    TWO days after stopping treatment, the two with matted eyes had the same eye looking watery again, both were randomly sneezing (sounded kinda like a wet sneeze) and at least 4 of the young ones had a clear, watery fluid around their noses. [​IMG] The older birds aren't sick acting/looking... and only 4 of the younger birds have had any apparent symptoms.

    I started the antibiotics again yesterday when I noticed the returned symptoms. No watery noses today already, and no watery looking eyes, but still sneezing from a few.

    I just read a thread that said that birds with respiratory symptoms should be culled... even the entire flock... as they will now be carriers of something that will infect all new birds... or other birds if I ever sell these birds, their eggs, or any chicks.

    There isn't an avian vet around... I tried calling around to everyone I knew to call.
    Feed store people act like it's no big deal, treat them (longer) and there's nothing to worry about.
    Or maybe use a different antibiotic.

    I'm pretty discouraged and depressed thinking that they should be (or might should be) culled... the kids will be devastated. I'm none too happy either... and don't know what to do, really. Pretty sure I'm not cut out for buying and killing a bunch of birds until we find some that stay healthy. These looked and acted perfectly 100% healthy, I really tried to check as many of that person's birds as I could to make sure! Apparently, I'm not capable of knowing what to look for... because two weeks into new bird ownership, we had sick birds. [​IMG]

    Just SO frustrated!

  2. exoticduckluvr

    exoticduckluvr Songster

    Jan 23, 2010
    unless your plan is to sell any of the birds, hatching eggs, or chicks that could spread it to someone elses flock I would keep them
  3. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    I agree with the previous poster, what happens next all depends on what your longterm chicken plans are? Is this just a backyard flock for eggs for family and friends? Or were you planning on starting to sell chicks, hatching eggs, etc?
  4. leahthor

    leahthor Chirping

    Jun 24, 2010
    Northwestern Alberta
    It wouldn't necessarily have done much good if you looked over his whole flock for sick birds. Its true that there are illnesses out there that cause the birds to become carriers for life and it isn't until the birds are stressed that the illness expresses itself. A move to a new home would be considered stressful.

    I agree with the other poster, unless you plan on selling birds (adults or chicks) then you don't necessarily have to cull all the birds. If they are just for eggs and your enjoyment then keep them. Just make sure that they aren't exposed to someone elses flock. if you go over to someone else that has chickens don't wear the same clothes that you wore when dealing with your chickens. Same goes with shoes. Don't let someone near your flock that has a flock of their own without the same precautions done. When you are treating your flock always start with the healthy looking ones first then work to the sicker ones.

    If you bring in new birds remember to quarantine for at least 4 weeks but if your birds have something that makes them carriers then it is possible that the new birds will become exposed to that.

  5. eggseroneous

    eggseroneous Songster

    Apr 1, 2010
    South-Western PA
    I don't know what it could be--possibly a respiratory bug. Here's another thread similar to yours. Maybe it would help? Is it anything similar? I know birds under stress (being sold and moved would count) can develop illness. Have you contacted the man who sold them to you to see if his birds are ok? Good luck with your birds. It must be heartbreaking.
  6. ND

    ND Songster

    Jul 20, 2010
    Thanks for the replies, guys.
    The birds were/are mostly for our enjoyment and eggs to eat... though I did buy the trio of Brahmas (two hens, one rooster) because I thought if I ever did want to hatch any or sell any, I'd hatch the brahmas only... they were almost impossible to find around this area, so I thought they might make a good choice for some very small scale hatching/selling. I guess that idea is thwarted with this sickness, though. [​IMG]

    Eggseroneous- No, they don't look like that at all. The two that had eye symptoms woke up with just their one eye matted shut...NO swelling, and no nasal discharge from any of them at that time. Yesterday, when I heard a wet sounding sneeze, I checked the two with eye symptoms before, and just one of them had the same eye that was watery. It wasn't watering/dripping...but looking like it was "holding a tear", if you know what I mean... obviously too wet looking. Then, upon checking everyone else, a few more sneezed... and I found a few with beaks that were wet around their nostrils. Clear, water like wetness. NO swelling anywhere.

    No one is watery today (eyes or nostrils), but I heard a few sneezes from the ones that had previously had the eye issues.
    The rest of the flock has shown no symptoms at all, just four-- the two with the eyes and sneezing (and wet nostrils yesterday) and two that have sneezed a bit and also had wet nostrils yesterday. Six more young ones, plus the (3) year-old brahmas haven't shown any symptoms.... well, not YET.

    Are they ALWAYS carriers to whatever they have... or are there some things that they recover from and do NOT remain carriers?
    Though, I'm not sure how you'd ever know if they were carriers of something or not...

    So, if I don't cull and I keep these birds, no chick sales, no hatcher sales and I should cull (not sell) any birds that I need to get rid of for any reason in the future. OK, that sucks...but OK.

    What about EATING egg sales? Is there any reason I cannot sell excess eggs for eating? Or do I need to strictly stay with giving away to only friends or family?

    And... if I should cull and start over after sanitizing... how do I know if any birds I bought weren't already carriers of something... like, for instance, the adult birds I bought? If I'd only bought them, I'd have no idea they were carriers. I'm assuming they are, anyway, since they all came from the same large flock... and since they're not sick, if i didn't have the younger birds that are showing symptoms, I'd never have known these birds were infected or carriers or exposed. Is there even a way to know? Even if buying chicks or hatching eggs... if my hatching eggs or chicks would be infected or carriers, how in the world would I know if any other flocks I established weren't already, too? [​IMG]
  7. jodief100

    jodief100 Songster

    Apr 21, 2010
    N Kentucky/Cincinnati
    The eggs will be fine. It would depend on what it was if they are carriers for life. I would take a wait and see approach. If they heal up fine and you do not see this again for many months, I wouldn't worry about it.

  8. ND

    ND Songster

    Jul 20, 2010
    Oh, and I did contact the person I bought all the birds from to see if he could tell me what to do, I had NO idea what I was supposed to do when I found them with matted eyes that morning... he says none of his are showing symptoms, and said that he figured it was from the stress of moving and the heat.
    Or 'something from the dirt'.
    In any case, he said birds at his place were not showing any symptoms of illness at all. I can only go by what he said, assuming he was being honest. (seemed to be a genuine person...but then again, one never knows I guess)

    I don't think he knowingly sold me sick birds.

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