Sudden Chicken Mortality


Sudden Chicken Mortality: Yesterday I noticed one of my chickens in a corner laying on the floor of the coop.

Today she was no longer alive.
Her comb was slightly scaley. I removed her. What should I do now?

From the little bit that you said here the most logical explanation would be Campylobacteriosis.

This is a bacteria that is spread through different means including flies, rodents, cockroaches, equipment, shoes, and the droppings of infected birds.

The symptoms that follow this disease in mature birds include sudden death and a shrunken scaly comb, which it appears were both present in your bird.

You need to do some preventive management to keep this from spreading amongst your flock. I would recommend a thorough cleaning of the coop and to prevent your birds from picking in droppings.

If there are rodent problems they need to be taken care of.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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Chicken mouth swollen

by Jamie
(New Zealand)

Chicken mouth swollen: This is a young, though laying age, bantam. I have just noticed she has firm bits around the side of her mouth that makes her look like a duck beak rather than a hen.

Hard to describe. It sticks out. Does not look inflamed or angry and is firm. (She was inflamed and angry when I picked her up! )

She lives with a former caged hen, ( Gloria) another bantam that came here at the same time as her and two younger bantams that were raised by Gloria from eggs that came from same place as the bantam in question.

Only other symptom is slightly less red comb. Eating well - though has gone off the lay.
Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated thank you

There is a disease called Wet Pox that creates a scaly yellow growth around the beak and in the mouth of a chicken or this could be a deformity.

Sometimes genetic abnormalities can cause strangely shaped and uneven wearing beaks. A deformity might not show up right away, but as the chicken grows and the beak continues to grow, it becomes more obvious.

There is a possibility that deformities could be a sign of vitamin or mineral deficiencies, liver dysfunction, or even injury.

Without seeing it, I couldn’t tell you for sure. If this is a disease it could be directly contagious to other chickens, so isolating her until you get it diagnosed for sure would be the safest thing to do.

I would highly recommend getting her checked by a vet that knows poultry and their diseases.

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Breed of chicken = SPECKLED HEN

2. How old is the chicken = 2YRS


4. Is it a hen or rooster = HEN

5. How long has the bird had these symptoms = 1WEEK

6. What type of feed are you using = LAYERS PELLETS

7. Types of medications = LIFEGUARD

8. How many chickens are in the flock = 11

9. Have new chickens been introduced recently = LAST INTRO. WAS IN OCTOBER 2010

10. Free range or kept in pen = FREE RANGE

11. Include pictures if possible = N/A

12. Any other pertinent information that could help us help you diagnose your chicken's health issues. = THERE HAS BEEN A DROP IN EGG PRODUCTION GENERALLY IN THE GROUP OVER THE LAST HALF/TO ONE WEEK.
This sounds like it might be an avian pox. It's highly contagious and can be transmitted by mosquito bites, generally on unfeathered areas. If this is pox, this is not good news. You might consider screening your coop to cut down on mosquito access at night, but I think this hen may not be able to be saved (if pox). You might want to contact a local avian/poultry vet and see if they can help you with an accurate diagnosis and possible treatment. This can be spread from infected wild bird populations, but can be spread to wild bird populations, also.

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Chicken want walk

by Grace

Chicken want walk: Our chicken, named Quail, was born two days ago at 5 o clock.

After a day we noticed that its feet were all turned inward on his right foot and so we made a splint for him.

He chirps a lot and is all cute and fluffy now, but he barely walks... he just stands and sometimes hobbles around.

Is something wrong? Does he have spraddle legs? and if so, how is that treated. His left foot sits up perfectly, but his right foot is sort of off to the side, not straight up! Please answer soon!

Yes, this would be considered spraddle leg. For such a little chick to have such a big problem at the beginning of his life, is probably evidence of some kind of deficiency that will make him unable to grow into a strong healthy chicken.

This may be due to a genetic problem, which could not have been prevented, or possibly nutritional deficiency in the hen at the time his egg was produced.

Sometimes you will have a weak chick hatch that just can’t make it in life. It may not be possible to correct this condition and he would live a life with problems getting around.

A chicken being able to walk well is so important for their life long health. The weaknesses you see in him may be a sign of other internal weakness you cannot see, that will just make for an unhappy and unhealthy life.

I wish I could be more hopeful. But experience tells me that the best efforts cannot help him become “normal” and live a healthy life.

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Infectious Bronchitis

(Red Bluff, CA)

Can chickens be vaccinated for Infectious Bronchitis if they are older than 18 weeks of age?

Everything I read says vaccinate prior to 18 weeks of age. Our chickens are from five months on up to a year old and came down with Infectious Bronchitis after getting a few new hens.

The vet put them all on antibiotics and it cleared up after a bit. My son got a new rooster recently and he came down with it (he is about 7 months old)and now it is going around again (not all of the chickens have it but some do).

Once they are all healthy again can I vaccinate them all and be done with this or do I need to get rid of my flock and start over?

It would be really sad to have to get rid of our flock! It is also sad to watch them struggle through this illness.

I will precede this by stating that I am not a vet or an expert in this field. That being said, I will give you my opinion based on research and experience.

I don't see why you have to get rid of the entire flock. From what I understand, when birds come down with the viral disease and recover they are immune, although they can still be carriers.

So, this is basically why all new birds introduced to your flock are coming down with it.

If I were you, I would only introduce new birds that were young and had been vaccinated for the virus.

In order to vaccinate correctly though, you must match the local strain of the virus and vaccinate accordingly.

You should also try and up cleanliness and management. This is hard with this virus because it spreads so easily, but disinfecting the coop often will help keep it from spreading.

Just understand that your birds are now carriers and all birds that you introduce will more than likely get the virus if not vaccinated.

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Yellow Liquid in body cavity

by Carolyn
(Jackson, CA)

Yellow Liquid in body cavity: I raised 50 broilers, Cornish crosses. Upon butchering, one had an incredible amount of yellowish, watery liquid spill out as soon as I opened the body cavity.

I didn't notice that other body parts were any different looking, maybe the liver less dark than the others I butchered that day.

What was this? The fluid would have to be analyzed in a lab to know for sure.
What caused it?

An unusual amount of fluids collecting like that most likely means that the birds circulatory system is not functioning properly.

There are a number of diseases that can cause this. We know that the Cornish Cross is not a “normal” breed. They have been genetically redesigned to grow breast and leg/thigh muscles fast.

We also know that if not butchered promptly they develop all manner of problems. What I’ve heard of most often is heart problems, which is THE major organ for the circulatory system.

You mentioned the liver looked less dark. That would be enough for me to suspect disease of some sort.

It’s possible the liver gave out or that heart and liver were failing. I can only guess that the cause is the breed.

Is the meat safe to eat? Cornish Crosses suffer from all sorts of “old age” degenerative disease at a young age, if allowed to live long enough.

I don’t think this bird would be any more dangerous to eat than an old rooster we might make into a stew. BUT, if I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t risk it.

There are cancers that cause fluid build up, there are liver and kidney diseases that cause it. I would suggest it’s best to err on the side of caution.

It would cost more to get a scientific investigation done than you have into the bird. If you eat it you might always wonder….

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Two week old broilers

by Christopher
(Mzuzu, malawi)

I have two week old broilers and five days ago and found one chick dead. Another one followed two days later.

Then today I noticed another that has difficulty walking. Would you happen to know this disease?

I wish I could tell you if this is a disease and which one it might be. The most important thing with young chicks is adequate heat in the brooder for their age, starting at 95 degrees F, good food and clean water and regularly cleaned floor litter.

I would check for signs of rusty reddish diarrhea in the brooder, this could be a sign of coccidiosis, an intestinal bacteria, that can grow out of control in some chicks.

If you see signs of this you will want to medicate the sick ones, and possibly the rest, if you believe they are in danger.

If these chicks haven’t been around other birds, it would be unusual for them to have contracted a disease.

The bacteria mentioned is generally present, in fact believed beneficial, to a certain degree. Under stressful conditions the bacteria can over populate, cause sores in GI tract which accounts for the dark stool.

Always make sure to sterilize your brooder between batches of chicks, just in case. If you suspect an intestinal problem I would suggest feeding a pro biotic to help balance their digestive system.

Any weak chicks may be revived with a little sugar water, Gatorade, or electrolyte product. Sometimes just dipping the tip of their beak in water is enough to perk them up.

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