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Author Topic: Mystery Chicken Illness - Post Mortem Result in.  (Read 10154 times)

StephB

  • Joined Feb 2010
Mystery Chicken Illness - Post Mortem Result in.
« on: December 28, 2011, 11:04:25 am »
 >:(Hi all,

I have a small group of seven light Sussex hens and two cockerels since spring this year and we are now getting 2-3 eggs per day.

But the problems first started mid December when our young cockerel, omelette,  was found dead in the coop one morning.  Couldn't see anything wrong with him so put it down to "just one of those things".

Then a couple of days before Christmas day, one of the hens didn't come out of the coop in the morning.  She couldn't walk and was very sleepy.  When we checked on her later in the morning she was dead.  Again I hadn't noticed anything wrong with her when we put them to bed in the evening.

No more deaths for a week now, but today i decided to give their wings a clip and put some loose powder on them as we have been tackling lice for a few weeks.    I didn't find any lice this morning but doused them again just in case.  What did worry me though is two hens have got quite pale combs and have runny bums.  Is this a sign that they may be next in line to die  :o ??

They were wormed with Fluben vet twice this year so doubt its worms, have been tackling and winning the lice war, no red mites have been seen.  Have ordered some of that spot on lice treatment, (forgotten the name at the moment), to finish the last sign of lice for definite. 

I don't know what else to do really, but am worried that there is something going through the group and it will slowly kill them all.

Has anyone experienced this, I may be worrying for no reason, but have kept a small group of hens on and off for years and have found that hens don't usually just drop dead.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
Steph  :chook:
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 05:12:57 pm by StephB »
Living on a 6 acre smallholding in Dorset.
Jersey cow, Aberdeen Angus cattle, small flock of Poll Dorset x sheep, Occasional weaner pigs, Geese, ducks and hens.
Polytunnel / Veg plot.
Voss Electric Fence

Rich/Jan

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2011, 04:31:54 pm »
Red mite doesn't live on the birds so unless you check the perches and gaps in the housing you may not even see them.  They come out at night to feed on the birds and if this is the case it may well be why the hens have pale combs.  The house needs to be disinfected (they are blighters to kill with conventional mite sprays).  We use Deosect - a lice treatment for horses, but other preparations are available.  Not sure why your cock bird died unless he was the favoured food for the red-mite.  Nest boxes need to be treated as well but I am sure you are well aware of all of this.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2011, 05:50:19 pm »
Classic symptoms of red mite. They feed on the chickens blood in such large numbers they can't replenish it fast enough and die. Symptoms are pale comb and loss of energy then they just die. Wipe a paper towl in the corner of the coop close to the perches and look for red streaks first thing in the morning. Or you could do what we did. Brought a hen in overnight out of the coop well after dark because she seemed ill. In the morning the kitchen paper underneath her had hundreds of mite beneath and we didn't know we had a problem until then.

StephB

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2011, 11:09:37 am »
Thanks for that, i will investigate.  I noticed one of the hens with the pale comb this morning had very watery diahorrea (sp?).

Hate the fact that I feel like I am waiting for them to die, will check out the coop for Red mites.

Thanks all.
Living on a 6 acre smallholding in Dorset.
Jersey cow, Aberdeen Angus cattle, small flock of Poll Dorset x sheep, Occasional weaner pigs, Geese, ducks and hens.
Polytunnel / Veg plot.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2011, 02:35:50 pm »
Could be loss of appetite as well StephB, so she is just drinking. She won't digest well if she isn't moving much either. Red mite powder is only a discouragement, regardless of what it says on the packet -see the thread running on red mite at the moment -you will need chemicals or a steamer in the coop.

StephB

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2011, 05:07:45 pm »
Hi al

I went down and removed some of the perches to see if i could spot all, but no sign of anything.  If I can brave the weather I am going to test out my new Christmas torch  ::) and go out and see if i can spot them in the dark.

Otherwise I have a tub of smite and Poultry shield so will give the coop a more thorough clean out tomorrow.  Am looking at getting a steam cleaner from Ebay, they seem quite reasonable at about £35.

Thanks for your help all.

x
Living on a 6 acre smallholding in Dorset.
Jersey cow, Aberdeen Angus cattle, small flock of Poll Dorset x sheep, Occasional weaner pigs, Geese, ducks and hens.
Polytunnel / Veg plot.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2012, 10:20:01 pm »
 You would definitely have seen some sign of red mite under the perches if this was the problem. So I would be inclined to suspect that the pale combs and diahorrea are pointing to some sort of infection. When you pick up the affected birds do they feel thin and light? As this would confirm illness.
 It could be E Coli, which responds well to Neomycin (used by pig farmers - if you know any).
 But otherwise it's usually not worth treating them, as they tend to die anyway.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

StephB

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2012, 02:56:11 pm »
Hi all

Just thought I would do an update.

After posting on this forum, we got out our spare chicken coop, steam cleaned and treated with Smite and Poultry Shield, vaselined up the ends of the perches and filled with new bedding with a liberal coating of Diatomous earth.  I also treated the chickens with the louse powder just in case.

Yesterday i noticed ALL the chickens have mucky bums and one of the hens was sat in the hedge and not looking very bright.  Today I have isolated her in the barn under a warm heat lamp with her own mash and verm-x'd water.  She is not eating or drinking, but will have a little water if I put it right under her beak.

She is very lethargic and I noticed yesterday that her neck feathers we quite ruffled up.

I am wondering if it could be coccidosis (sp?).  I have checked the droppings in the coop and there is the odd faint look of red in some of the poos but not as bloody as I have read it should be.

I have contacted a friend whose husband is a vet and might try the get the poops examined or worst case a postmortem of the poorly hen as I doubt she will last the night.

This is the third chicken to now go down with this illness since mid December and as all the others have runny bums, I feel it is only a matter of time before they all succumb.

I feel I really have to get to the bottom of what it is as I don't want to add more to the flock in case it is something in the grass of the orchard etc.   They were wormed twice last year with Fluben-vet, have ordered some Coxoid just in case.

Any ideas???

thanks
Steph
Living on a 6 acre smallholding in Dorset.
Jersey cow, Aberdeen Angus cattle, small flock of Poll Dorset x sheep, Occasional weaner pigs, Geese, ducks and hens.
Polytunnel / Veg plot.

little blue

  • Joined Jun 2009
  • Derbyshire
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2012, 04:21:06 pm »
cocci does not always show as bloody poo, so don't rule it out on that alone!
The birds will be hunched up & look really miserable, dopey eyes & droopy tails
Little Blue

StephB

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2012, 04:33:32 pm »
Sounds just like them  :-[.  The isolated hen has now died and another one in the orchard does'nt look very bright.

Hopefully my vetinary friend migh help in the morning.  :-\  I feel so guilty, I was so busy making sure the turkeys and geese were in tip top condition, i think I took my eye off the ball with the layers.  I just did the basics and assumed they would tick along fine.  I picked one of them up tonight to put away and she is so thin  :(.  Just hope i can save what is left now.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 04:54:38 pm by StephB »
Living on a 6 acre smallholding in Dorset.
Jersey cow, Aberdeen Angus cattle, small flock of Poll Dorset x sheep, Occasional weaner pigs, Geese, ducks and hens.
Polytunnel / Veg plot.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness - Think its Coccidiosis - Feel so guilty
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2012, 06:02:32 pm »
Adult chickens can normally cope with coccidiosis, just egg laying is depressed slightly. We had a 4 week old chick with it. She pood just blood and guts and the vet said it was terminal. I gave her a throat full of Probiotic natural yoghurt in desperation. Within three days she was right as rain. Got it again 2 weeks later but more yoghurt and 4 years later she is still with us. Didn't know at the time I should have given them chick crumb with ACS.

You could always try that Steph, nothing to loose. Will need a 5 or 10 mL syringe as well.

StephB

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness - Think its Coccidiosis - Feel so guilty
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2012, 06:32:38 pm »
Thanks Chris,  Should I give it to all the chickens in a bowl or should i get a syringe and try to feed them a set amount.

I will pick some probiotic yoghurt up tomorrow, anythings worth a try while i wait to hear from the vet.

I need to try and separate the chickens from the ducks and the geese because if i have to give them something in their water like coxoid, I wonder if it is safe for the waterfowl to drink it.??.

The grass is quite squelchy down the orchard and as we have barely had any frosts, I guess bugs have time to multiply.  >:(
Living on a 6 acre smallholding in Dorset.
Jersey cow, Aberdeen Angus cattle, small flock of Poll Dorset x sheep, Occasional weaner pigs, Geese, ducks and hens.
Polytunnel / Veg plot.

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness - Think its Coccidiosis - Feel so guilty
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2012, 07:53:36 pm »
The permanent wet can cause coccidia to multiply like mad and then even adult hens get ill. It does sound like it. If they're dying, get to the vets - you need Baycox, which you put in their drinking water. Don't mess about with things you can get online, they're all rather feeble and you'll just lose more hens. The other option is Intradine, which you inject. Depends how you feel about that, it's about 0.2ml under the skin. I found that easier to get from the vets in sensible (ie small) quantities.

And don't feel guilty - we all get sick animals sometimes  :-* Good luck  :)

Dizzycow

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Fife
  • .
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness - Think its Coccidiosis - Feel so guilty
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2012, 09:40:11 pm »
Interesting, Chris.

A few of my chickens have mucky bums, and a few are a bit featherless, but all in good spirits. Must flubenvet them again this week.

Good luck, Steph.

StephB

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Mystery Chicken Illness - Think its Coccidiosis - Feel so guilty
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2012, 10:47:27 am »
Does Fluben-vet not protect them against Cocci??.  I treated mine twice this year, I really would have thought it would have killed off the occysts?.  Shows how much I know   :'(

I called the vet first thing and am waiting for him to call me with the most local place that does the post Mortems. Another was dead in the coop this morning  :(.  Have only got 5 left out of 9 now.  Just hope I can get medication to the last few before its too late.

Does anyone know how long it takes to get results from the PM?.  I wonder if I ought to take one of my hens in as well to try to get some treatment into them while the PM is being done.  I ordered some Coxoid on Saturday express delivery but don't know when it will arrive.  Hopefully today or tomorrow.

I feel like it is a race against time before they die too.

xxx
Living on a 6 acre smallholding in Dorset.
Jersey cow, Aberdeen Angus cattle, small flock of Poll Dorset x sheep, Occasional weaner pigs, Geese, ducks and hens.
Polytunnel / Veg plot.

 

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