Two mystery deaths on our much loved Frizzle Chickens :( please help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mike31707, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. Mike31707

    Mike31707 New Egg

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    Nov 25, 2013
    We have been keeping chickens for nearly a year now mainly as garden pets and I have to say before we got them I had no idea how much you can become attached to them. We are all gutted that two of our lovely frizzle birds have mysteriously died overnight without any symptoms surfacing until morning when they were too weak to raise their head, open there eyes or stand..basically in the last few hours of their lives.

    The first was a frizzle chicken that we have recently bought, at about 3 months old she was fine and showed no signs of illness but then one morning came to the coup and she looked dead, eyes closed lying on her side and too weak to pick up her head. I picked her up and what made it worse was she was still very slightly alive so I rushed her to the vet who said there was nothing he could do and before he could put her to sleep she died. This was about 3 months ago.

    I took that to be just a poorly bird who had maybe been born poorly but last night the exact thing happened to our other frizzle who was almost a year old and genuinely the most lovely bird, we're all absolutely gutted. Again the same thing, no signs of illness, eating and drinking fine then the next morning lying on her side too weak to open her eyes.

    The vet said there were no physical signs of illness and he had no idea, same response from the guy at the local chicken shop and the person who sold me the birds. They all basically laughed at me when I suggested coccidiosis as they were too old, but the symptoms (apart from bloody stools) seem to fit.

    We have one more frizzle, 3 pekings and 2 hybrids and I'm really concerned there is an illness that could spread to the other birds. Seeing as most people I speak to seem to see chickens as 'livestock' and not a member of the family like they are to us I'm getting nowhere with advice from the people I can speak to locally

    The most useful information I have had is from using these blogs so anyone who has any ideas on what could have caused the deaths of our lovely frizzles and also what we could do as preventative treatment to the other birds, please let me know.

    What I am currently thinking is to move the pekings onto 'growing pellets' instead of 'laying pellets' for the winter as they contain anti coccidiosis medication and treat all birds with antobiotics. Any other ideas would be massively appreciated.
     
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wecome to BYC!! I'm so sorry about the deaths of your babies.

    Are there any bubbles in the eyes? Facial swelling? Goop at the nose or eyes? Diarrhea on the butt feathers? I know you said no signs of illness, but I just want to make sure all the bases are covered. If there really is absolutely no symptoms, I would say it could be Mareks. It could also be worms. Are their faces paler than usual?

    I would not use feed to get the meds as the dosage is very low. For an actual outbreak of coccidiosis, I would use Corid (you can buy at livestock supply or TSC). Of course, first I would take a stool sample to your vet and have them test it for cocci, worms, etc. It usually costs around $10, more or less.

    Right now, you could give the others electrolytes and a little extra something warm to help them feel better. In the winter, warm oatmeal with a little raw apple cider vinegar is very good for them.
     
  3. Mike31707

    Mike31707 New Egg

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    Nov 25, 2013
    Hi, thanks for your reply. Don't think its Marek's as the symptoms until the few hours before they died don't really match, I'd be surprised if illness from worms could cause such a sudden death but we haven't treated them yet so will do that just in case.

    Really good idea on the stool sample, we haven't got a stool from the birds that died but I will take a sample from the current flock and see if our vet is able to run any tests for illness on it. Got to say I'm struggling to find a vet that sees any pet other than a cat or a dog as worthwhile but marching in with 6 samples of chicken poo may leave them with little choice but to pay attention so will give it a try.

    Thanks for the advice. With regards the coccidiosis, do you think I could be way off the mark or do you think it could be that? anything in the symptoms I've mentioned make you think it could be? do you know where I can buy corid from?
     
  4. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    The reason I asked about diarrhea is that this is something that you see in adult birds who have cocci. Coccidiosis doesn't always cause such sudden deaths; usually it is accompanied by pale face, diarrhea, lethargy, and sometimes death, especially since in older birds it is intestinal and not cecal cocci. You can buy Corid at a farm supply or Tractor Supply Co, as well as online. But I would not dose unless I knew that's what it was.

    Some kinds of Mareks can cause sudden death with little to no symptoms. There does not have to be paralysis for it to be Mareks, although paralysis is common. Here is a BYC article on Mareks. A common symptom is also gradual weight loss, which can be difficult to gauge just by looking at a chicken.

    Rarely, death can be caused by aflatoxin in the feed; but handling and storage practices have to be pretty faulty for this to happen. And the more common forms of feed poisoning that are not aflatoxin are slower-acting.

    Really, it would be helpful to know what they've been eating, what your setup is, when and how you acquired your birds, etc.
     
  5. Mike31707

    Mike31707 New Egg

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    Nov 25, 2013
    Thanks, potentially Mareks then by the look of it, the store where I purchased the birds from have told me they are vaccinated and do this because they keep hundreds of different birds and Mareks could potentially wipe out their flock. That said, as per the article you sent me they don't rear the birds themselves so they are in the hands of the people where they source their birds from. Really hope its not because by the sound of it there's not much we can do about it if it is.

    Our set up is as follows:

    - Two separate coops (one for the hybrids and a peking that was bullying the others & one for the pekings and frizzles).
    - Both are kept on grass and we move the coops & give a full clean out at least once a week
    - We leave them in their runs whilst we are at work but they are a good size, when we get home they free range around the garden.
    - We feed them layers pellets and corn and once a day chuck in a few meal worms for them to eat.
     

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