THIS DAMP weather is KILLING my BIRDS suggestions?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bantyshanty, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    I had a sizzle pullet of 11 weeks happily taking treats from my hand in the morning Saturday, who died with her head in the food dish in the early afternoon.
    I had a 14 week old silkie do the same thing this afternoons, after being rascally & affectionate & hungry this morning.
    I lost three other young silkies this way this past spring.
    I've lost 3 other silkies to a slow, wasting, partially-paralyzing form of fungal or mold poisoning ( the vet said she thought it was mold), which gradually wasted their digestive systems & muscles.

    What's going on here???? ... THIS DAMP IS KILLING MY BIRDS!!!!!!! 2 year, a hundred chickens, no predators at all, just this @!#$!! Mold!!!

    Half had a pathogen that took them out quickly. Half had a pathogen that took them out more slowly. All had vaulted skulls with protruding brain (I guess), so were more prone to seizures, and were highly bred to get them as pretty as they were, so they were genetically predisposed to be weaker.

    All but one.... the one last week was a Buff Orp x EE pullet of 14 weeks.

    Every one of them was not yet sexually mature or laying.

    Here are the environmental factors: I have a couple dozen bantams and several chicks running together in a 250 s.f. run with sand 4" deep, gravel a foot deep, and a French drain. This is unroofed, due to locational factors & size (it's a modified large dog run & is fully hardware clothed & supported, but the roof angles are two shallow to withstand snow lad if closed in) . It is on a rocky hillside, under several deciduous trees, so it is mostly shaded, and we are in a rainy environment. I leave the hanging feeders inside the coop on rainy days, and in a covered area if rain is expected. They do spill a little food on the ground, and the do tpeck at the ground, of course, which I continually rake up & over each morning after a rain to try to help dry it out.

    I have a friend who has had this same problem with her silkies, but not with her other birds.

    What I want to know is........ WHAT CAN I DO???? Right now, I am considering not EVER feeding the birds in the run again, because the sand just may be wet days after a huge rain storm. My coop is pretty clean. There's no way I can rake squished poo out of wet sand nor pick crumbles out of wet sand. Sometimes fog rolls in for half the day and the coop with its food is fairly damp inside as well.

    I'm in Western PA. Has anyone else in a damp environment beat the mold in the soil & spilled food, somehow?

  2. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    I take feed out to mine morning and evening. I don't have any that stays out. Would that help?
  3. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    I'm not sure about that... I bring one hanging feeder out to hang in the run every morning and keep one in the coop. The run feeder goes back into the coop every night. It's galvanized & had a 36" squirrel baffle hanging over it to keep out rain. The food smells & feels good & dry. Every other day I let them eat the feeder grains down to little, throw the rest out to the chipmunks (it's $$ organic), and refill with new, sealed in something called "The Seed Vault", airtight seed containers. When the food drops on the ground, or they scratch in the ground, they're getting some fungus/mold in their mouths or at least on their feet, is what worries me, along with any small dropped grains they're looking for.

    What can I do differently? I can't free range them through the forest, which is our back yard. I'd lose half of them to predators the first day. I can't scoop the 3 tons (dry tons) of sand out once every two weeks & refill it. I already did this in the spring. I change the coop litter frequently & sterilize the water bottles 1-2x week, with no water dishes, as well.
    I'm beginning to think silkies would be best in the Southwest, and are not suited to PA, although I know some PA silkie breeders who would argue this, I think.
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Maybe this is a dumb idea - but, could you fashion a wire floored run off the ground? I don't mean a huge one, maybe just as a test and put your most susceptible birds in there. I would also only have feed inside a coop so it wouldn't get damp. I'm thinking if they had no contact with the damp they wouldn't be getting mold either.

  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Right now I am dealing with a 26 week old Australorp pullet that has a sour crop. Last monday she turned up sick and within one day looked like she was near death. I tried all the home treatments and finally gave up and took her to the vet.

    After a crop flushing and an over night stay at the clinic for my pullet, she was allowed to go home the next day. She is now on Nystatin for a fungal/yeast infection. This was 4 days ago and she is still sick. Right now she is isolated in my greenhouse, in a rabbit hutch with a heat lamp on her as she gets very cold at night.

    Anyhow, the vet told me this about rainy weather and pullets. This time of year, after all the wet humid weather, fungus's and molds grow and bloom like crazy. And as we all now, chickens eat dirt, and there is no way to stop them. Sour crop and other intestinal disturbances can come from these fungus's and molds. They can also get it from the drinking water if wild birds are allowed to drink from the waterers. But soil is the number one place these things come from.

    I was told to use a bleach or bleach/vinegar solution and drench the entire place down. These products will kill fungus and molds. The vet also told me that apple cider vinegar in the chickens water once a week, and this is something to remember for next summer and the rainy season, will stop the growth of fungus's and mold toxins from growing in the the chickens body as these molds can not live in such a high acid environment.

    Normally it is pullets that get these troubles as older birds do gain some immunity to some of these toxins.

    Also, moldy bird seed is VERY toxic to any birds and I would try to keep all food raked up or only feed in the coop where it is dry. Wet seeds grow fungus very quickly and ferment. However I do not think that this wet seed is where your birds are getting sick. The entire area is probably moldy from all the dampness. I don't know if there is much you can do. But I do understand your situation and feel for you. My girl may not make it and every day is another day that she is alive. I never know when I go out in the morning to greet her if she will even be alive.

    I wish you all the luck with your birds, and hang in there, fall is coming. [​IMG]
  6. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    Quote:No, that's not a dumb idea at all, in fact, I think I'll try it! I could keep my silkies in a run elevated off the ground a few inches ... mind, they won't like this... until the ground freezes.... mind, they won't complain much, they're silkies [​IMG]... And everyone can pile together in the coop at night. I can build a nice silkie pen within the run for my few youngsters. I now have 5 silkies, and 4 chicks.

    Once they're mature, they seem not to be susceptible. I guess they're immunity is at it's best once they start laying & they're still young. It's my theory, anyway. Time will tell.
  7. Lilredhippie

    Lilredhippie In the Brooder

    Nov 26, 2008
    Central Missouri
    Last year I had to toss a couple of hundred pounds of layer feed because of mold. If you are purchasing feed by the bag, buy only as much as you are going to feed in a week or so. Store that in your house to keep it out of the high humidity. Only put as much feed out as they will eat in an hour or two. Feed the same in the early evening. Do not feed more than they can eat in the evening. Clean your feeders and waterers with bleach water every week. Rinse very well and allow to dry before you refill with the vinegar water mix.
    Even buying poultry feed and sweet feed for my flocks of birds and sheep, I still have to be very careful and check the trash cans for any sign of mold when I empty them weekly.
    If at all possible, move your pen to a location that does get some sun daily. We have had very wet springs and summers for 3 years. This summer the rain stopped in July and we still have molds. Just do what you can to keep the mold at bay.
    Good luck.

  8. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    Quote:Thank you! I had never thought about putting ACV in their water, for some reason. I have flushed a sick bird's crop with it, but not used it continually. I may also purchase enough to flush down the whole run ($$$!) as well. Good luck to you & your Australorp. I hope she pulls through for you! You may want to try her on probiotics (powdered in her water would be fine) as soon as the Nystatin regimen is done. The essential fattey acids found in insects can boost her immunity a bit, as well. You could buy some meal worms & even crickets for her.
    I'm recently from Boulder, CO, and all this damp is a tough thing to figure out for me. At least chickens are legal here (for now).
  9. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania

    Thanks, I'll do that as well. The heat plus humidity probably doesn't help the food any.

  10. DaughterOfEve

    DaughterOfEve Songster

    Sep 3, 2009
    Montague, MI
    There is an anti fungal sanitizer called oxine that is misted in the coop. The birds breath it in to treat fungal problems. However a mister in an already wet environment may not be best.

    Long term, can you take out any trees to help dry things up? What about fans? I use a clip fan to help keep the coop dry during really wet and muggy conditions. Vet Rx in the water and on the beak and wattles helps relieve respiratory symptoms very well. I have a roo that is suffering from allergy type respiratory problems right now. Good luck.

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