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Weird sickness!!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by robyn youlten, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

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    We have five hens. Rhodies. They were given to us so we are unsure of their age. One hen,suddenly began to lose weight and condition.She developed a strange swinging action of her neck from side to side.It became apparent,she couldn't see. She was reluctant to walk and began taking herself off and hiding,sitting all day.We isolated her,she had yellow diarrohea.After 3 - 4 days,the faeces were white,then a blackish colour,then began to return to normal.She began to put weight back on.She is now back with the others,grazing again,but at night,we put her in a separate pen because she still can't see. That was from mid December until 1st week of February. Now,a 2nd chicken,who was VERY robust,seems to have come down with the same thing. We are repeating the process. Whatever it is,it must take quite some time to incubate - the other 3 are just fine. The coop is clean,we maintain rodent control. They are fed 3 types of grain and lots of treats.We have not changed their feeding habits. The Vet hasn't got a clue. We are just woried that they will all eventually come down with this and all be blind. What is it and what can we do??
     
  2. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    This is a tough one. I am only aware of four diseases that cause blindness:
    1. Mareks
    2. Fowl Pox
    3. Paratyphoid (Salmonella)
    4. Aspergillosis

    I don't know of any treatment for the first two, but Aspergillosis can be overcome but it's hard to get a bird to overcome that fungal ingestion. It is often inhaled or can be passed through the egg. Molds and fungus contain it. Have either birds gasped for air, been coughing, or lost weight rapidly? Paratyphoid shows some of the same symptoms but am not sure about blindness. The neck swinging you mentioned also reminds me of one symptom of Salmonella.

    If it is fungal/bacterial you may overcome it. The best I could recommend now is to treat the flock with 1 Teaspoon Sulfadimethoxine powder in the water for two days, then two days of Vitamins-Electrolytes Plus, then two more days of Sulfadimethoxine. If there are dirty areas of the yard or where they range that may harbor mold/fungus, remove what you can and spray the area with Virkon S, Biophene, or similar disinfectant. I hope someone with more experience chimes in here. If this bird dies, get a necropsy done within the first 24 hours after death.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  3. De Wet

    De Wet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    it sounds like worms. Deworm you birds cause it can develop blackhead which is dangerous ask the previous owner about the worming program of your birds. You can gave metranidazole to your birds for the yellow diahree.

    good luck
     
  4. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much Michael! I forgot to mention 2 important things woops -sorry!!
    1. Our chickens are VERY free range - they spend all day out. I have seen them drinking from around plant pots....maybe mosquito larvae there??. Also,my partner has a habit of doing a fridge clean out - actually kitchen clean out and the chickens will eat ANYTHING !! Could there be something in the 'snacks' ? Just seems strange as we have had the chickens for over 2 years...they have however,recently been put into a new enclosure - smaller than the previous one,but more than adequate - it was a pen used previously for hatching and hadn't been used for ages. It was all dug up and fox proofed ie:wire underground,then covered with pavers,then soil. I am wondering if by putting lawn clippings in there,it hasn't allowed bacteria to build up? We only feed the chickens outside apart from a small handful of grains at night. I suppose I am thinking a change of environment with perhaps an existing bacteria in the soil -although I don't think they live long without a host do they? or skanky water from the pots???? They suffer rapid weight loss and that strange colour faeces,yellow to white to black -which usually indicates some sort of bleed like liver then normal again. I know it all sounds complicated but we are just wondering why they are going down so slowly and recovering with TLC,isolation and grains,bread and water only ?? I think you may be right with the staph - does this additional info shine a light?? Thanks again Michael!!
     
  5. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much!! I am so happy to at least have SOME idea what might be going on!! I will let you know what happens!! Peace:))Oh.By the way -there have been cats around as well as foxes and possums.WE live in Australia.
     
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes it does. Mine free range too. I keep receptacles from retaining stagnant water and I'm not big on giving "treats" to birds. During the growing season I toss them chard, kale, tomatoes, melon of controlled quantities. They run around the plum trees snacking too. Sometimes I give them some fish but only what they will immediately eat, and when I have many moulting. Food items laying around and left to rot can cause some sick birds. I am obsessive about cleaning out the troughs and never leaving feed in them at the end of the day. I do the same with the waterers. Rodents and other pests love the opportunity to get into feed/water receptacles.

    During the winter, I have water runoff in my field and stagnant water can remain for awhile. I don't range as much during the winter and control the areas where they range. I keep the yard trenched in addition to drainage pipe underground during the rainy season. Muddy yards with lots of fecal matter are a disaster waiting to happen.

    With that old pen you mentioned, it used to be common for poultrymen to spade up the soil and add agricultural lime to the yard. They would then water it for absorption into the soil. The problem with that is you have to keep the birds out of the lime for awhile or they can burn their feet. The other option is using a powerful disinfectant like Tek-Trol or Virkon S to treat the yard. Mow it down real and remove any rotten vegetation before you decide to do either. I have contacted another person who would have some good advice too. Hopefully he will post here soon.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  7. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Also, here are a few antibiotics often used to treat fungal problems. Some of these can be had from pigeon supply companies since many poultry supply ones do not:
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  8. robyn youlten

    robyn youlten Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you again Michael!!

    I am thinking that the water may be the culprit - we have clean fresh water always but they may be
    sneaking some stagnant water from somewhere -it is a BIG property. We will go searching!!
    This is the 1st time they have been ill. They are happy little chubbies -not too big - but this sickness
    really rips into them.
    I think I will get some Nystatin and spend a weekend scrubbing out the water receptables - I usually do that
    with a plastic scrubber which I then wash thoroughly. The yard is very clean. I suppose their sight will stay that way
    or do you think it is only a temporary condition? Also,is it true that if the rims of their eyes go white that is an
    indication of illness??
    Thank you so much Michael -it's good to be able to narrow it down!! These chickens are pets -we love 'em!!
     
  9. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm not sure about the eye you described. When birds are weak or not feeling well, that second horizontal eyelid will close making the eye appear white. So long as you don't see any swelling, bubbly liquid, or crust around the eyes, you probably won't have to treat it. I've cleared up eye infections with neo-poly-bac eye ointment. Ointment seems to get in chicken's eyes better than liquid drops. I think Nystatin would be a good choice if you can get it quick enough. The old method was to run 1/4 teaspoon of copper sulfate in a gallon of water for several days, but that doesn't work too well. The main thing is that you don't want to let much more time pass without treating the sick bird(s).
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  10. RoxyBird

    RoxyBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree that it kinda sounds like a reaction to a toxin - although I haven't heard of the blindness before. Sort of reminds me of the way methanol (by way of poorly brewed/untested moonshine) affects humans...

    Not a diagnostic by any means, but just out of curiosity I did a search for the word "blind" on this page: http://www.tgpa.com/Plants.html

    Came up with this:

    "Rape (Mustard Family; Brassica napus oleifera) - Contains goitrogenic L-5-vinyl-2-thioxazolidone which can produce goiter in animals consuming modest quantities. Toxic effects include pulmonary emphysema, respiratory distress, anemia, constiptation, irritability and blindness."


    (I'm assuming it's referring to the wild rapeseed plant- not the garden variety... but that's the extent of my knowledge here)


    Not sure if this is helpful, but I got curious and thought I should post what I found. Good luck! :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013

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