What's wrong with my chickens?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by klabeth, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. klabeth

    klabeth New Egg

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    Jan 9, 2015
    I'm a new member (this is my first post), but I've used backyard chickens as a resource for as long as I've had chickens. : ) I have something going on with a few of my hens and I can't seem to figure it out, even after reading many threads about disease and symptoms. I'm hoping that if I post some details here someone will be able to help.

    I'm in Southern California, and I have nine laying hens that free range about an acre and a half. Almost two weeks ago now one of my barred rocks started acting "off." I noticed her standing by herself, usually on one leg, very ruffled up with her head tucked up (like she's cold). We were having cold weather, so I thought that might be what was going initially. Then she'd perk up, peck around and eat and drink, and then she'd be back to acting lethargic and standing/laying with her head pulled back and eyes closed. She's had watery poo (not bloody, not wormy, just watery). I've put out yogurt and garlic for them every few days since and added some ACV to their water. She eats it and drinks it and there's really been no change in her behavior since except that it hasn't improved and she's lost a lot of weight. Her comb and waddle are also very pale.

    Then the day before yesterday, my blue maran started acting lethargic too, showing similar symptoms. She does not have the watery poo, and her poo actually looks quite normal. She also appears healthy with clean feathers and her weight is good. She just started laying eggs again about a week ago, and she laid yesterday, so there doesn't seem to be disruption in laying. Just like the BR, she will perk up for a moment and peck around. She is eating and drinking water, but then she lays back down and gets all puffed up. I don't notice any coughing/gurgling/other symptoms that would suggest it's respiratory in either hen.

    I noticed them itching a little and thought they might have lice. I saw a few on the maran, which I know can be normal, but we treated them all and their coop/roost for that just in case (two days ago). I expected them to look infested if lice was the source of the problem, and that's simply not the case.

    I decided to worm them in case this is an internal parasite. I gave a pea size of Safeguard paste to each of them yesterday. I've seen some people suggest repeating the Safeguard again at ten days, and others say to worm three days in a row. Given that they're not improving yet, should I dose these two hens today and tomorrow? or wait and only do it at 10 days? Could this be coccidiosis?

    Sorry to write such a long post, I just wanted to provide as much information as possible. I'm desperately trying to get these birds well again (and we don't have a "chicken vet" in the area).

    TIA!
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  2. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you investigated to see if either are egg bound or have any masses in their abdomen?

    How is her crop?

    If no improvement, I would use the more intense Safeguard dosage for them.

    (Sorry for the clipped reply... About to head home.)

    I hope someone can offer a little better advice for you!

    MrsB
     
  3. klabeth

    klabeth New Egg

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    Jan 9, 2015
    I looked at their crop tonight and checked to see if egg bound. I don't feel anything to suggest egg bound on either of them.

    The crop of the blue maran felt somewhat empty/small, but hard. The BR crop was a bit larger but also hard. It did sit to one side a bit, and kind of protruded from her feathers. At first I was alarmed and thought it might be pendulous, but the crop on all my other girls felt large and pretty bulbous too. I'm afraid it might be protruding simply because she's so thin. : / I snapped a picture (below). I will have to check it in the morning and see if it goes down over night when she hasn't been eating.

    I did dose these two again today with the safeguard. Maybe that will lead to some improvement tomorrow. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Is there any harm in dosing them with Corid if I suspect Coccidiosis?
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  4. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Corid is easy on their systems and can be used on the entire flock (and should be) in cases of coccidiosis.

    Definitely check their crops in the morning to see if they are empty.

    Are they drinking normally?

    MrsB
     
  5. klabeth

    klabeth New Egg

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    Jan 9, 2015
    The BR's crop was empty this morning (thank goodness! I was convinced this was a crop problem), but my Maran's crop was even empty last night, suggesting she is not eating.

    I'm keeping them all in the run (to limit other sources of water) and treating with liquid Corid starting yesterday. I have seen the BR drink, but not the Maran yet. They both eat a little,or at least peck around as if they're attempting to, but it's hard to know if this is just their attempt to hide symptoms ya know? I will just keep a close eye on them and hope for some improvement. I'm not sure what else to do at this point. : /

    With liquid Corid in their water, do you know if I should dump it and replace it everyday or only once they've drank it down or it needs freshening?

    Thanks so much!
     
  6. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was told by a breeder that she gives them LESS water than she normally would, in order to make sure they are drinking. She would check on them periodically and refill as needed... That way, there's no waste.

    I usually mix up the dosage in an empty gallon of milk and keep it in a dark, cool place. Since most dosage instructions have you measure into a gallon, I find it's a really easy to have on hand. Once they have all had their "dose," you can refill it with the Corid gallon.

    How you handle it is entirely up to your good discretion. :) We try and follow "waste not, want not" around here.

    I'm looking forward to hearing about your improvement!

    MrsB
     
  7. klabeth

    klabeth New Egg

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    Jan 9, 2015
    Thanks, I adopted a similar method, using a gallon jug. I will keep a close eye on them today to ensure they're all drinking from it. Fingers crossed we start to see some improvement! I'm not sure what else to do at this point!

    Thanks for your help. :)
     
  8. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have they been laying eggs or have they stopped??

    MrsB
     

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