weird rooster's behavior

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by honeycreek, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. honeycreek

    honeycreek Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2012
    Tonganoxie, KS
    Hi, I'm Naola and have a small backyard flock of 20 chickens, assorted breeds, all hens except 2 roos. I have 4 geese and 9 guineas as well. For about 5 years back in the late '90s, early 2000s, I had a vast assortment of birds that numbered well over 200, exotic and show as well as basic layers, peafowl, wood ducks, emus, and just about anything that was available I had. So I am very familiar with poultry. Even performed a couple of my own surgeries on a chicken for bumble foot. My neighbors and their friends all called me the "chicken lady" or "bird lady."

    Anyway, a couple weeks ago I had a bantam rooster (Carlos) that was acting funny. He was hanging his head low and couldn't bring it up and had all his neck hackle flared out. I separated him and fed and watered him separately. He had some blood specks on his comb and I thought the hens may have been picking on him because I saw one grab his comb when he tried to eat with them. They are all standard size, so slightly larger. The next day my hubby let the birds out but didn't separate him. By late afternoon when my daughter went out to feed and get eggs, she found him "dead" on the ground. I swore he was dead, but I only looked at him for a couple seconds and instructed her to take him to dad to dispose of. No one said anything further to me, so I assumed my husband buried him.

    Next day after school my kids came home and went out to check for eggs, and my son came running in the house to say Carlos was alive. I was shocked, so I had my daughter run out and bring him in so I could examine him. My husband determined he was still alive and decided to put him in the chicken house until he passed and bury him later. Then he forgot about him. His eyes were pasted shut, he appeared to have dried blood about his face, so I could only assume the chickens and/or geese had been picking at him. I bathed him and got his eyes open. Examined him and found only 3 poultry lice on him and no eggs. From his behaviour and by the looks of his comb and face, I expected a major infestation. I gave him a broad spectrum parasitic, put him in a box with food and water. He wouldn't eat or drink on his own for a couple days, so was force feeding him some vitamin water the first couple days till he started eating.

    He no longer hung his head, but he couldn't stand. If he tried to stand he fell straight forward or backward. So he sat. I had him in the house for 10 days in a box and each day he got a little stronger. It wasn't until the 9th and 10th day when he was able to stand without falling, although he was wobbly, and he started flying out of his box. I started putting him outside on warmer days about the 5th or 6th day and then the 10th day put him back outside to free range with the other birds. Immediately he started "hen surfing" as my kids call it. And he acted like nothing was ever wrong. I saw no evidence of worms in his droppings and found no more lice or eggs on him in the 10 days in the house. He didn't wheeze or rattle when he breathed. I have never seen anything like it.

    I'm wondering if anyone has any idea what may have been wrong with him?

    Thanks,
    Naola
     
  2. hdowden

    hdowden Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 14, 2011
    louisiana
    he was weak from the mites/lice(they nearlly killed him). i have read that if you see at least 5 then each bird should have on them roughly 300-500 mites total weather you see egg sacks or not. you really NEED to treat your whole flock for mites, their bedding and the ground on which they range on as well.
     
  3. honeycreek

    honeycreek Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2012
    Tonganoxie, KS
    I have extensive experience with poultry lice. Had a major infestation brought to my flock of over 200 birds by an outside bird someone gave us. Fought poultry lice for years. It takes a LOT of lice and a period of time to suck the life out of a bird, and you would see the lice and the eggs when a bird gets that bad. I have never seen a bird hang their head and make their hackle feathers stick straight out from lice. And he's the only one that has been affected. The best way to treat lice is to bath each bird in Dawn dishsoap. I don't want to do that this time of year because of the outside temps. We don't really have the facilities to keep them in the house and we don't have a barn. So we will be doing that as soon as the weather warms up, and then have to repeat the process every week for a period of at least 3 weeks. And we have sprayed the roosts with permethrin for the time being, which actually may be enough to stop the lice without further treatment. We cannot treat the ground because they free range all over our property and I also raise honey bees. Any treatment would affect the bees.
     

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