So very frustrated

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BigDaddy'sGurl, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    Over 2 weeks ago I noticed that "Big Bird" my 5 week old leghorn chick was sneezing and had a runny nose. I segregated him to "sick cage" and tried giving vitamins and electolytes because I didn't want to rush to antibiotics. Within a week I had another 4 sick out of 26. Runny noses, sneezing, weak, eyes swollen, basic coryza symptoms so I called the local feed store and they suggested sulmet. I've now been treating the sick chicks for a full 3 days with absolutely NO improvement. Now the meds have made them have diarhea on top of it all. Big Bird seems the liveliest and is still active and eating and growing. They all will eat and drink but will not get over this sickness! Now a couple are breathing with open mouths too. The feed stores in this area are closed on Saturdays and the only other antibiotics they could even offer are on backorder till next Thursday at the earliest. I have gotten very attached to these chicks and don't want to cull them-and am now terrified that even if I do break down and put them out of this sickness that the other 21 will soon be sick anyway. What to do? I never knew raising chicks could be this difficult and am really getting bummed by having chickens at all when they are evidently so hard to raise for me. I love chickens but am getting really depressed and feeling completely helpless. Don't honestly know what more I can possibly do.
  2. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    No answers, just sending hugs! I'm sure your'e doing everything you can. Hopefully someone else will have some suggestions for you.
  3. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    Thank you annaraven...My adult chickens are all doing well it just seems like raising chicks is beyond me. Started trying to raise chicks this spring and of the ones I bought most died before getting any decent size to them. So I figured that I would hatch eggs from my own hens and would thereby eliminate the potential for sickness and stress that buying chicks could bring. These chicks are all from my own flock and have been absolutely babied since day one. Now for them to be getting sick I am just very crushed. Thinking it would have been better not to bother than to have chicks with miserable lives. Really feeling like I must have done something makes me feel like poop to see them swaying, eyes closed, noses bubbling, sneezing and not growing. I broke down and bathed them this morning because they were so nasty and smelly. I change their cage daily but the combo of mucus/poop and a heat light was making my living room smell like a barnyard. I washed them with baby soap in very warm water and used a hair dryer on low to dry them. Put them next to the light with a heating pad underfoot, sugar/meds in water and yogurt with their starter feed. All are doing well some 3 hours later...well, if well means they are still terribly sick but not dead. [​IMG]
  4. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Sounds familiar. I've got something similar going on down here too. Could it be you've had tons of rain, like we've gotten? I think this may play a big part in them getting upper respiratory infections. I lost one chick to it already. [​IMG] She was about 2 1/2 to 3 months old. The other 2 I've been treating have seem to be getting better. [​IMG] All I can say is, I'm so tired of losing my girls!! [​IMG]
  5. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    Now that you mention it, right about when this started we were getting a good amount of rain. Plus, outdoor temps have fallen at night and I kept the brooder on the covered porch. Heat light on all night but I forgot to cover it a night a few weeks back and think the problem started there. What have you been treating with because none of the feed stores around here seem to know anything about treating illnesses in chickens and just look at me like "huuuuhhh?" when I explain the issue.
  6. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    Honestly, it sounds like CRD... probably an MG infection.
    Your older birds are probably doing well because they have had it, are carriers, and are shedding enough of the virus that the younger ones are now getting. It's most deadly to chicks usually-- might explain why the chicks you got before died easily.

    Birds can "get over it", however, they remain carriers and can shed the "virus" at different times. (I say "virus", but it's actually a bacteria that acts like a virus) They can get symptoms again when stressed/cold/etc. They CAN live with it just fine, some/many may never show symptoms again but be able to infect new birds. It can be passed on to hatching eggs from a carrier hen. Not always, but it can... usually during a time when there is more shedding of the 'virus' going on, or during an acute illness of it.

    Many people will cull/depopulate because of this carrier status. They can no longer sell chicks, hatching eggs, birds without infecting other flocks.
    Many people will treat any secondary infections from an outbreak, keep a closed flock (no in, no out), and 'live with it'.
    Some people will keep a closed flock but choose not to treat any 'flare ups' and let only those that can kick the illness themselves each time survive.

    It only lives about 3 days, tops, outside of it's host.

    The incubation is about 6-21 days... it's slow moving, and not all will come down with symptoms, but can still be infected or carriers. Not all may be infected/carriers at all.

    Typical symptoms are: Watery or bubbly eyes, sneezing, coughing, raspy breathing, sometimes heard mostly during roosting at night. Nostril discharge, usually clear or thinner. Some listlessness/depression.

    It's estimated that a large number of backyard flocks are infected with this at some point-- many completely unaware. Most hatcheries don't test for it, and may get their eggs from MG positive flocks. Wild birds can carry it/transfer it.

    It's frustrating and overwhelming, for sure!

    Your options are complete depopulation, sanitizing, waiting some time, and get birds only from clean stock, preferably hatching eggs...or day old chicks.

    Treat your flock/live with it...and do not let any bird leave your property to possibly spread the illness. Or hatching eggs. Any new birds brought in will likely be infected and become carriers if they get over the initial infection.

    Sulmet doens't do much for it, I don't think...

    Tylan 50 (marketed for cows/pigs) or baytril (only by Rx from vet) are the best if you chose to treat it and close your flock.
    Tylan comes in injectable (but can be given by oral dose) or in a formula to mix in the water---but that seems slightly less effective.
    It can be injected, of course, and this is likely the best way to get the med to work the fastest...but some people don't like to inject them or aren't comfortable doing it.

    Per my vet, you can mix several meds (water soluble) also... aeromycin+tylan soluble AND even give a Tylan injection... I'd probably start much less severe unless you have a very, very sick bird you must save.

    Look in the Livestock section for Tylan 50... in the cow/pig area. Places like Atwood, TSC, and some feed stores may carry it. It can be bought online, too.

    I'd say decide if it's cull them all...or take the 'live with it and manage it' approach. Kinda depends, possibly, on what your goals were for your flock. If you wanted to buy/sell/hatch or sell hatching eggs to others--- this should NOT be done if you decide to treat and live with it.
    MUCH, MUCH care must be taken if you choose to cull and start again--- it's so common and "out there", it's too easy to infect another flock...
  7. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    Well thanks for the info...don't know what I'm going to do yet. Bleak outlook though if you're right. How would I ever feel safe again if I wipe out my birds and clean and wait and buy more? If you're right and it CAN pass through hatching eggs, then I'm just as at risk as before. And, if you're right, any adults I buy could simply be carriers and not sick so I could start the whole process again. The area I live has not proven to be the absolute best so far as high quality goes and I honestly can't afford to pay tons of money to have adult birds shipped cross country especially when my only goal is to hatch eggs from my hens and provide eggs for my voraciously appetited husband...thanks again for the info...must say though-the bleakness of the possible illness makes me second-guess chicken raising at all. : (
  8. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    It is frustrating and bleak sounding. There are people that manage, to their knowledge (and some test) to keep a clean flock. They never, ever bring in a live bird and they practice meticulous bio-security, right down to not even carrying feed straight to the coop from the feed store without changing clothing/showering, etc. Among those that think their birds are clean, but do not test, I'd bet a certain percentage of those are positive-- and they have no idea.

    From most of my reading, the hatching eggs are most likely to carry the illness IF there is a current outbreak (or within several weeks/months previous to the egg being laid), and the rates may only be as high as 10% of 'infected' hatching eggs. I've not read anyone (YET) that has had their flock infected from hatching eggs that they know of.

    Likewise, day old chicks would be the next best thing... with the slight risk of it being carried by the chick, or the chick getting ill soon after hatching.

    There's absolutely NOTHING that stops you from being able to eat the eggs (or meat) after any withdrawal time from medications. (like once the acute stage is over and they're 'carriers') It's not zoonotic, meaning that it can't infect another species.

    AND, I suppose, if you really, really practiced excellent bio-security, you COULD hatch your own chicks from eggs long after the acute phase is over. There is a medication that can be given (put in the water) for the first several weeks of MG exposed chicks to help manage infection... there is also vaccinations. TECHNICALLY, if you kept them separated from your adults and practice excellent bio-security (to prevent you from carrying the infection to the chicks), then vaccinated them and kept them separate from exposure until the vaccine 'took hold', you might very well prevent them from being infected and carry on the process. AND, technically, if hatcheries are getting eggs from positive flocks (not all are, but surely a great many are- very few test for it) you're eggs, from your positive flock, aren't at any more (or less) risk of being infected. The problem with your chick death before was PROBABLY exposure AFTER hatch-- from the adults themselves, or because you inadvertently transferred the illness to them in the brooder.

    The vaccine is kinda expensive, around $100, but-- it doses 1000, so it'd last a backyard hobbyist a long, long time.

    I do feel your 'pain' and frustration... I'm about 99% sure that the flock, my first flock, I bought just over two months ago is MG infected/positive. Without testing, I won't know 100%, but I'm sure enough that it is... or IS at least a carrier status of SOMETHING, if not MG...that I won't let a bird leave my property alive, won't sell chicks or hatching eggs. (MG just 'fits', the incubation period...the general symptoms...what treats it well. The biggest kicker for me to 'diagnose' them apart from all the other possible illnesses was the incubation time and how fast/slow it spread. Many of the illnesses spread quickly-- hit all or nearly all the flock (high morbidity). This moves slower...much slower... not all will be infected (or show that they are), etc. Mortality is pretty low (I haven't lost any...but I have treated secondary symptoms thus far, too) Only about 1/3 of my flock of 13 have shown any symptoms at all.

    I haven't yet made any decision on whether I'll try to hatch/vaccinate my own--- my goals for my flock were mostly entertainment/pets and eggs...with maybe some very small scale hatching for fun. I'm not sure if the hatching for fun would actually be 'fun' now. I could cull and try to start again...but I'm not optimistic about KEEPING a flock clean-- even with a no live birds in policy. I'm kind of in the same boat as you are... and our local chicken populations of breeders/pets/barnyards are probably closer to 100% infected with this or something else. Chicken keeping isn't exactly an art in 'these parts'...

    I'm with ya... if I'd had ANY idea when I started this 'fun' little trip... I probably wouldn't have started it at all. [​IMG]
  9. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    BigDaddy'sGurl :

    Now that you mention it, right about when this started we were getting a good amount of rain. Plus, outdoor temps have fallen at night and I kept the brooder on the covered porch. Heat light on all night but I forgot to cover it a night a few weeks back and think the problem started there. What have you been treating with because none of the feed stores around here seem to know anything about treating illnesses in chickens and just look at me like "huuuuhhh?" when I explain the issue.

    I got it at our feed store, its called Agrimycyn powder. It seems to be helping them. You mix it in water for them.​
  10. Laurieks

    Laurieks Where did the time go???

    Aug 14, 2009
    Sonoma County, CA
    Sounds too similar to my situation. I had 3 sudden deaths a week after our fair (the birds who went to the fair are fine), and during a heat wave with very cold nights. I sent the third one, a young cockerel, to the vet school for necropsy, and he had Mycoplasma Gallisepticum, but not enough to kill him. We still don't know what did him in. Some others have sniffles & coughs, most are fine.

    Has anyone here used Oxine?
    is pricey, especially after shipping best price found so far, and I'd like to try it without the fogger, but there is a smaller fogger here
    would love to hear from folks who have used it; with or without fogger? With or without citric acid 'activator'? Thanks!

    I bought Denagard It is Extralabel, meaning should only be used as labeled or under the advice of a Veterinarian. My source says 15cc/gal if sick, and 8cc/gal maintenance for 7 days each month. It's a little bitter (my source said add sugar if they won't drink it), but they're drinking it and getting better [​IMG]

    I read that it can pass into hatching eggs from hen or roo, my Vet says no. I tend to believe you, ND. I'll ask the pathologist at the vet school for his opinion. He said actually the best way to test a bird is serum taken from a live bird, so I must learn how to draw from that teeny looking wing vein.

    Can you link a source for the vaccine? And does it do any good (or harm) if they're already exposed?

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