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#15328 - 12/03/08 03:01 PM Chickens dieing one at a time
Oakie Offline
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Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
I have some chickens that I raised from chicks they are about 4 months old, and they seem to be dieing about one every three to four days. They are eating chick starter still and they also have access to layer pellets and I give them scratch once a day. I looked for blood in the stool for Coccidia and haven't seen any. They seem to get all scrunched up and after a few days of that I find them dead. I checked for mites and have not seen any. I have about twenty five chickens and they live in a 8X10 coop with an extremely large run. Probably 40X80. The only time I lock them in is at night and I open the door very early in the morning. I failed to mention I also have one male Guinea and 5 Muscovy ducks that run inthe same run as the chickens? They have food and water available all day and some are still skinny and hunched over with their wings drooping a bit. Please help.

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#15329 - 12/03/08 05:14 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Eric19 Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 197
Loc: Michigan
I would try dusting them. Even though you can't see the ticks, mites, etc., it doen't mean they're not there. Also check for wet spots in the coop. If any, clean them.

Good Luck!

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#15330 - 12/03/08 05:55 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Oakie Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
Ok, What should I dust them with? Can I use Sulmet for the Coccidia.

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#15331 - 12/03/08 08:10 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Oakie...I had a similar problem...and honestly? Once I wormed them...it was like magic.

Are they losing weight?

Which feed are you feeding? I wonder if there wasn't worm eggs inside of certain feeds.

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#15332 - 12/04/08 06:07 AM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Oakie Offline
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Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
It's feed from the Sapulpa feed store. I believe it is Purina. What do I use to worm them?

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#15333 - 12/04/08 06:09 AM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Oakie Offline
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Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
Yes, they are losing weight.

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#15334 - 12/04/08 07:14 AM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Sonoran Silkies Offline
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Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 345
Loc: Arizona
If you do all this at once you risk poisoning them. Gather as much poop samples as you can and take to any vet for a fecal float test; also ask that they look for coccidia.

Ivermectin will treat both worms & mites/lice. Sulmet is good for coccidiosis.

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#15335 - 12/04/08 12:53 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Eric19 Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 197
Loc: Michigan
I agree, I wouldn't worm them while their sick, because it can make matters worse.

I use Poultry and Gardening Dust for my chickens. I'm pretty sure you can buy it at any farm supply store.

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#15336 - 12/04/08 02:24 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
I would get a fecal done if you're nervous about poisoning them.

I've just had the worst luck with worms this past year that if they are losing weight, and it's not coccidia...then the next thing for me would be worms.

You can use Wazine from Tractor Supply. It's used for pigs, turkeys and chickens. 1 oz. per 1 gallon of water. (2 tablespoons per 1 gallon of water) for approximately 3 days worked great on mine.

Lost 30 birds this year to worms...would hate for it to happen to you too Oakie.

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#15337 - 12/04/08 03:39 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Oakie Offline
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Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
I wormed them this afternoon with Wazine 17. I'm pretty sure it's not Coccidia because my coop is not wet ever and I have never seen any bloody stool. I will wait a few days and dust down the coop. I went in at night and picked one up and then turned a flash light on near it's vent and I din't see any mites, so I don't think that is it either.

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#15338 - 12/04/08 07:30 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Richard in MA Offline
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Registered: 01/23/07
Posts: 332
Loc: Massachusetts
You do NOT need to see bloody stool for it to be coccidia. All of the symptoms you describe point toward coccidia. I am not sure why you think it needs to be wet to have it either. I would not dust them either. While it is true that you may not be able to see every mite on a bird, if you can't see any then there are not enough on the bird to cause a problem either.

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#15339 - 12/04/08 09:04 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Personally I don't see why ya'll MUST be correct at all times.

Why not give worming a shot? If it works then it works, if it doesn't then it doesn't.

At BEST all that any of us can do is guess at what it is. We've all made our guesses and given advice. It is Oakie's decision as to what he decides to do with HIS flock.

Oakie, you're at least reacting to something being wrong. I hope the worming works for you. I thought it was coccidia at first when mine started happening. Switched feeds, gave amprolium and sulmet and nothing changed. Worming was a last ditch effort for me as I was at a complete loss. It just happened to work. It took about a week for my birds to stop losing weight and at 2 weeks there was noticeable weight gain by all of them. I hope this is the case with yours.

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#15340 - 12/05/08 03:06 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Richard in MA Offline
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Registered: 01/23/07
Posts: 332
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:
Originally posted by jrsygntbrdr1:
Personally I don't see why ya'll MUST be correct at all times.

Why not give worming a shot? If it works then it works, if it doesn't then it doesn't.

It is not about being correct. The problem with your suggestion is that worming puts a tremendous amount of stress on the bird. It causes a great deal of irritation to the gastrointestinal lining, liver and kidneys. A healthy bird can get through this without problems. Take an animal already debilitated by infection and toss a wormer into them and you could potentially kill them with it. People need to realize that there are BAD effects from medication as well as GOOD. This is one of the main reasons why meds should not be used indescriminately. You put A LOT of stress on that bird when treating them and it is not a case of "if it works great- if it doesn't- oh well, no harm done" The fact is, a lot of harm is done. The best course is to determine what is wrong with the animal BEFORE treating it. Instead, most people keep treating with drug after drug until something works to figure out what the problem is.

Richard

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#15341 - 12/05/08 06:11 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Fortunately I know that harm can be done, but you're right, many do not. However, why should worming be less of a cause for the weight loss and deaths than coccidiosis?

I see NO reason to rule out worming as a cause and I see NO reason why Oakie shouldn't at least attempt worming them. If the birds are given an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection that might not even be there, the natural flora in the gut are being diminished and the worms might have an even greater grip than they have now...if they are existent.

There is harm done to the bird, but which is worse? Dying from action and treatment, or allowing the birds to simply die of starvation?

If one thing does not work, then another surely will. A fecal test would be the best solution, but oftentimes it is not practical to have 50 birds tested in order to discover what they are suffering from.

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#15342 - 12/06/08 07:47 AM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Oakie Offline
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Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
It appears that the worming is starting to work. They weren't so hunched over this morning and seemed more lively. I guess only time will tell. If this deosn't work how long should I wait until I give the Sulmet?

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#15343 - 12/06/08 08:36 AM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
WAIT. One poison on top of another, when gut recovery may not have taken place, is not a safe treatment for your birds. I would still have a fecal check made to see if worms, indeed, have been the demise of your birds. If so, a several times a year worming will be on your schedule. While they may be at greater risk for cocci damage, because of intestinal stress. If it ain't broke, don't "fix" it!!
Glad they are looking better. If they had a deathly load of worms, if would seem you might know this, with examination of dead birds. You certainly are not plagued with mites, as a sick bird is often crawling with them. Necropsy is not difficult--but so many are afraid to look inside a chicken (an in this case, smelly intestines--blood and all that!)
Good luck, CJR

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#15344 - 12/06/08 03:14 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Oakie Offline
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Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
Ok, I had another fall over dead today. I did what you suggested CJR and dissected it. No worms that I couls see. Since I treated them for worms how long before I can treat them for Coccidia? The one that died today was so skinny it was terrible. He had a lot of feathers so it was hard to tell when he was walking around. I keep a very clean and dry coop. How could they have gotten Coccidia? I'm bewildered by this.

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#15345 - 12/06/08 04:00 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Went back to your original post. With no usual symptoms of coccidiosis and you have not found worms in examination next GUESS, is that your birds are suffering from a pretty virulant form of Marek's Disease. Hunchy, skinny, quiet, and then sudden death, can fit a form of Marek's. Were they vaccinated as chicks? If they were, the following information does not apply. All birds are not protected by vaccination, but it would not be the disaster that you are experiencing.

Commonest symptoms are limping, but no injury, then one wing doesn't work well, and then neither leg works and finally the bird goes down-and dies. However, all forms do not follow these symptoms. With Marek's, there is no pain, and the birds will eat, if they can get to food, but lose weight and finally die. Some show no symptoms before death.

There is no treatment or cure for Marek's in any form. It is a long lived virus--and evenually, if you have any birds left from this flock, they will be carriers of the virus, even if they show no symptoms. Any new birds you acquire later must be vaccinated at hatch. You cannot expect any immunity with later vaccination, as all the birds have already been exposed.

Marek's is the worst of poultry diseases, and IF this is your problem, I am very sorry and have greatest sympathy.

If not--even a Vet might not be able to diagnose--so few do poultry. But necropsy by a vet who knows Marek's would be able to tell. I had to mail a bird out of State for necropsy=-and Marek's was indeed discovered by small tumors in the nerve tissue throughout the body--nothing else. It was a vaccinated year and a half old bird that had been to many Shows before he was shipped to me, across the country--and apparently repeated stress allowed it to develop and he may not have been immune at all! CJR

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#15346 - 12/06/08 06:17 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
when I opened my birds up I didn't see any worms either. Someone on another site suggested that it was possible the worming had worked once, but eggs were still in the GI tract.

Again...I don't know much about worms in birds after not having any issues with worms for 18 years...I certainly hope it is not Marek's. My birds didn't hunch over until the day they were going to die. Otherwise they'd act perfectly normal.

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#15347 - 12/07/08 01:11 AM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Didn't know my response had posted. Everything just stopped--as has often happened in the past weeks--and I could not open anything on the COOP!!!!!!!!!

I had added that about 4 months of age is the commonest age for the Marek's infection to start the death toll. Almost entire flocks are affected at times, but with other flocks, only occasional birds die. Others are either naturally immune or, somehow, not infected. If one bird does have Marek's, it is considered that all are exposed.

If it is coccidiosis, I cannot imagine that so many birds would be asffected without some bloody poop--even quite a lot, showing up. In any case, it is so disturbing to lose even one bird, and I am very sorry for this flock-losses. CJR

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#15348 - 12/07/08 07:33 AM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Richard in MA Offline
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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 Online   content
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
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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 Online   content
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
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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
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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
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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
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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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#15358 - 12/22/08 04:45 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Kathy W. Offline
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Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 273
Loc: New York
A necropsy can identify Marek's - at least point to Marek's with a high probability. The flotation test can identify worms. I would imagine there is a test to identify coccidia.

Why guess? And certainly, why argue about it?! Since so many birds are dying it seems it would be worth the money. Might not cost more than buying this med then that one then another one.

If you get any of the tests done, please let us know if they identified anything. - Kathy

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#15359 - 12/23/08 06:28 PM Re: Chickens dieing one at a time
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Could you do the necropsy yourself Oakie?

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