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#15348 - 12/07/08 07:33 AM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Richard in MA Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 01/23/07
Posts: 332
Loc: Massachusetts
I still think there is a very good chance it is coccidia. Not all strains present identical symptoms and the deaths are consistent with the disease. Where did they get it from? Your coop and the other birds. Coccidia is everywhere. Mature birds develop a resistence to it and no longer react to it unless severly stressed by some other disease. Young birds do not have the same resistence and can have the problem. Medicated feeds often do not actually have a "medication" but rather a coccidiostat which means they do not kill coccidia but rather reduce it's numbers so that the chicks can develop a natural immunity to it. Speaking of feeds, jrsygntbrdr1, you mentioned that you wonder if some feeds may have worm eggs in it. Do you understand the life cycle of worms? It is quite impossible for any commercial feed to contain worm eggs. The first step to effectively treat a problem is to fully understand how it works.

Richard

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#15349 - 12/07/08 11:04 AM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Oakie Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
I guess there is not much for me to do except try the Sulmet. If Mareks CJR is it your opinion that I should destroy my flock? What about my Muscovy Ducks? They seem to be fine? I also have older hens that seem to be fine. Please give me your honest response to what you would do. Also, I eat the eggs from my hens. Should I stop eating them?

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#15350 - 12/07/08 01:30 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Most medications or treatments indicate on container, not to eat meat (sometimes eggs--Marek's is not carried in the eggs) for the time, or for a period after withdrawal. Meds should indicate this.

IF it is coccidiosis, treated bird may recover and then remain immune to the cocci causing illness and death. It usually is a fast acting infection and most of the birds will be sick at about the same time, not just one--then another--as Marek's will more often display.

I do not believe Marek's affects ducks. Coccidiosis can affect most animals, but is most often seen in young poultry.

Your older hens are probably immune to coccidiosis, and possibly to Marek's, but can display symptoms of Marek's at any age, if exposed to a virulent form and not vaccinated or otherwise immune (raising chickens with domestic turkeys may give chickens immunity to Marek's).

IF your pullets ARE dying of Marek's, they are not in pain, but will not get well--it is entirely up to you whether you might eliminate them all. I would have a hard time doing it UNLESS I KNEW they had Marek's. IF it is Marek's, you must obtain your next new birds that have been vaccinated for Marek's or raise them with some turkeys! Your premised will always be at risk as Marek's is a long lived virus.

I do not KNOW what your birds are dying from--just from experience and the Damerow book on chicken heath, the little you have told us, leads to Mareks being a strong possibility. (it is world wide). I have experienced Coccidiosis--but only two times, and when the first bird showed symptoms (and bloody poop WAS evident) the bird was treated immediately. When one pen, in two days, had 3 out of 4 birds hunchy,blood in poop, all were treated immediately and one died in spite of treatment--the others made perfect recovery.

This is all part of the poultry experience, and we all have had the bad times- and are very satisfied with the good times! Wish you good luck with this one! CJR

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#15351 - 12/07/08 01:51 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
Like people, chickens can display individual variation in their susceptibilty to various ailments, and I believe that sometimes birds do recover from Mareks. I've seen references to that on other websites; I've also read about folks breeding for resistance to Mareks.

I had a pullet (my favourite, of course) who developed classic Marek's symptoms last summer. One leg was outstretched and dragging behind her, totally useless and paralysed, but she was otherwise alert, hungry and thirsty, etc. Usually I'm not so tender-hearted, but I brought her in every night and took her out to a safe place every morning, and several times each day went out and held water and food to her beak (as she could hardly move). Amazingly, she made a complete recovery over a period of approximately three weeks. That was her downfall though - she took to hopping out through the fence and wandering around the garden, and was killed by the resident hawk soon after.

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#15352 - 12/07/08 07:03 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Yes, but few do recover. One of my first victims did (also, was penned right by feed and water, and one day, she was able to hop up on a shelf in her cage--then layed several eggs, HOWEVER, such birds are expected to be forever carriers of the virus, so you are not ahead, if one recovers! And this particular hen lived another 4 months and died "sudden death". She just no longer had visible symptoms! Marek's is not funny nor to be played with, if you want healthy chickens. CJR

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#15353 - 12/07/08 07:24 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
Whether she lives or dies, the virus is going to be resident for the forseeable future, so I think I'd still be grateful for a survivor.

One's choices become very limited, in any case - either vaccinate your own chicks, or buy only vaccinated chicks, or maybe try to get a turkey in there with turkey-herpes (apparently this closely related but non-lethal virus can confer immunity to Marek's in your chooks).

There is also evidence of success in breeding for Mareks rsistance; older posts by Rokimoto in this forum discuss this.

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#15354 - 12/16/08 08:47 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Oakie, how are they doing?

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#15355 - 12/18/08 06:00 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Fowled Out Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 227
Loc: Arkansas
I would suggest giving them some water that has electrolytes and vitamins in it while they are under this stress. I believe any feed store carries small packets of this. I use a little less than an eigth a teaspoon per gallon. Also, 3 to 4 teaspoons of apple cider vinger per gallon will help them absorb vitamins and nutrients more readily. I've noticed some weight gain with my chickens using both.

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#15356 - 12/20/08 04:12 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Oakie Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
I think CJR is correct. Seems to be Mareks. I've tried everything and it seems as though the ones that were sick have all died now. I just bought this place and I was excited to have chickens and now this has really bummed me out. I love chickens but I hate seeing them suffer and die. Thanks for all your help.

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#15357 - 12/20/08 07:08 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Oh I hadn't realized you'd moved Oakie! I thought you were still at your original place. Maybe only getting vaccinated chicks is your best bet now?

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