What to do about Newcastle disease

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by janinepeters, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    906
    57
    153
    Jun 9, 2009
    My flock (13 hens, now) free ranges for about half the day on a one third acre fenced in yard. I've had 3 deaths in the past 2-3 months:

    The first was a sudden death in a previously healthy 3 year old hen who had laid an egg the day before. The next morning, she was dead under the roost with no external injury.

    The 2nd was a 3 yr old hen who was never very robust to begin with, but developed what looked like respiratory distress, beak almost always open and panting, even when weather not hot.

    The third was a rooster -- we just put him out of his misery last week, because he developed a staggering gait with neck starting to twist off to one side. He had been sleepier and less active for several weeks prior to the gait disorder.

    After doing some reading, I learned that Newcastle disease could account for all these deaths. And, since that can be acquired from wild birds, and mine free range, it seems like a strong possibility. Another hen is now starting to pant with beak open most of the time, even when it is not hot here.

    Questions:
    Do you think this is Newcastle?
    Is it likely to kill the whole flock, if it is Newcastle?
    Should I put down the whole flock and disinfect the place?
    Is it possible to prevent it in a free range situation?
    ...Or is it likely to run its course, affecting a few birds, with the rest of them able to fight it off?
     
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,238
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I recommend that you contact your county extension office and find out how to go about having a necrosy performed on your next dead chicken, what are the requirements to preserve the carcass etc... You can also call your state agriculture department to find out this information, they might do it without cost. Good luck.
     
  3. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    906
    57
    153
    Jun 9, 2009
    Thanks for your very reasonable advice. I am surprised that there haven't been more responses, since I thought Newcastle's was a common disease, and lots of people would have experience with it. Maybe it's not all that common, and that would be a good thing!
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,238
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Quote:Apparently not many know much about Newcastle disease, nor have dealt with it, I'm one of them. I believe there have been severe outbreaks in the U.S. some years ago that wiped out many many chickens. Most diseases I've seen here are mostly other CRD's; sniffles, wheezing, eye discharges etc...like MG, coryza and so on. Some treat, some cull.
    If you suspect the disease, it would be in your best interest to have a necropsy done.
     
  5. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    906
    57
    153
    Jun 9, 2009
    This is interesting. From my reading I got the sense that there are two forms: plain old Newcastle, which is said to be common in free ranging flocks in the US, and exotic Newcastle, which is rare in the US. The former has a relatively low mortality rate, while the latter has a much higher mortality rate and can quickly decimate a flock. Sounds to me like the severe outbreaks you mention were exotic Newcastle. I am surprised that there are not many people on this forum who have experience with the more common form of the disease.

    Looking over some of the other posts about mysterious symptoms in their chickens, I wonder if some them are caused by Newcastle. It can present in many different ways, from sudden death to upper respiratory symptoms, to neurologic symptoms.
     
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,238
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Yes, you're absolutely right. But without people having necropsies done, no one will never know. Cost could be a factor among many other things.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by