Why are my Buff Orphingtons dropping dead?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by spatulagirl, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. spatulagirl

    spatulagirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had these Buffs since they were about a week old, born at Easter. They were hatched from a friend's eggs at her house. They have been healthy and thriving... until recently.

    I have a mixed flock that free ranges. I lost a girl Buff and thought it was worms. So I dewormed them with Wazine and then did Safeguard 10 days later. Within those 10 days I lost another girl with a bad crossbeak. She was tiny but surviving so I let her be. Today I lost a rooster (3 days after the Safequard).

    The only sign I can see is one wing hanging lower than the other while walking and I only noticed this with the rooster. The girls are just smallish. The next day they are lying on the run floor, trampled by the other chickens. I have one rooster and two girls of the Buff's left, out of 7. The girls look big and healthy. The other rooster looks like his wing might be hanging lower.

    No other signs. I thought for sure worms. I am at a loss. Any ideas?

    TIA.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Unless you have a fecal sample tested you don't know for sure worms.

    Sometimes roosters strut with a wing down dancing for the girls.

    If the wormer dosages are too high it can kill a bird, especially a weak one.
    Did you follow the wormer instructions carefully?
     
  3. War Chicken

    War Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seems kind of unusual to lose birds that quickly to worms. Many parasites try not to kill their hosts because it may mean their deaths as well.

    I would suspect some kind of infectious disease first.
     
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  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    I agree with War Chicken. Since you've already wormed them, I doubt it's internal parasites. I recommend contacting your local extension office or your state department of agriculture and find out how to go about getting a necrospy performed on a dead bird. Then at least you'll know what you're dealing with.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Anytime one loses more than one bird in rapid succession from apparently the same malady it's time for a necropsy.

    There's not just a handful of things that chickens can die from but hundreds. Without obvious symptoms, lab work is in order.
     
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    I agree with the others, get a necropsy done. Maryland does inexpensive "out of State" necropsies.

    -Kathy
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    For the necropsy, it's important to prepare the specimen well.
    As soon as you find one dead, immediately wet its feathers with cold water and some liquid detergent. Put it in a plastic bag and into the refrigerator until you're ready to take it. Put a leg band on the bird to identify it and write up a history.
    Provide info to the lab on housing type, feed, number of birds in the flock, ages, sources, symptoms and how long they've had them, how long it took them to die, number sick, number dead, attempted medications, any recent changes.

    It is better not to attempt medications if you don't know what's wrong as it can adversely affect the lab tests.

    If it's real far, you can ship it but call the lab first for instructions.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    This is what I do:

    How to Send a Bird for a Necropsy

    They need the whole bird, refrigerated, not frozen. If you live in CA, there are four labs that do necropsies on poultry (chickens, turkeys, waterfowl) for free. I know that they do out of state necropsies, but I think they charge for those. You could call them and ask what they charge for out of state "backyard poultry". The lab I use is the one in Tulare, CA. If you are in CA, call them and ask for their FedEx account number, it will save a bunch on shipping charges.

    CAHFS
    18830 Road 112
    Tulare, CA 93274-9042
    (559) 688-7543
    (559) 686-4231 (FAX)
    [email protected]



    The other labs are listed here:
    http://www.cahfs.ucdavis.edu/services/lab_locations.cfm


    If it's Friday, unless you want to overnight for Saturday delivery, I would suggest shipping on Monday for Tuesday delivery. What you need to do, if you haven't already done so, is put your bird in your refrigerator, NOT the freezer! Then you need to find a box, line it with styrofoam (I use the 4'x8'x1" stuff from Home Depot. You can also get smaller pieces at an art store like Michael's, but is way more expensive. Click here to see foam options. You'll also need at least one ice pack. Here are some pictures that I took of the last bird that I sent:

    Box lined with foam on four sides and bottom. Seams of foam taped sealed.
    [​IMG]


    Box, sides, bottom and and top.
    [​IMG]


    Frozen ice pack in ziplock baggie.
    [​IMG]


    Brown paper on top of ice pack.
    [​IMG]


    Hen in ziplock baggie on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]


    Brown paper on top of hen.
    [​IMG]


    Ice pack on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]


    Lid on top of brown paper.
    [​IMG]

    Inside the box you should also include a submission form in a ziplock baggie. Do not tell anyone at FedEx that you're shipping a dead animal... that seems to really worry them. Just make sure that nothing will leak.

    Hope this helps!

    -Kathy
     
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  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Great info and pictures.
     
  10. War Chicken

    War Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you ask your local pet fish stores, they often have insulated foam shippers and cardboard boxes to fit them in. Fish are sent in those by overnight mail so they often have quite a few they'll sell cheap or just give to you.
     

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