Chicken Losses to Disease - Any Suggestions?

by Meg
(Bullsbrook, WA, Australia)


"Sleeping Sickness"

Hi all


We have had our worst year ever for chicken deaths from disease... Mareks Disease, Infectious Laryngo Tracheitis (ILT), one where they vomited and died quickly, and a fourth one I haven't identified, where they are sleepy and depressed for weeks before dying.

Our birds were mostly young (around 6 months old), unvaccinated, and kept penned - but not crowded. I was giving them a very good diet including heaps of daily greens, plus cider vinegar in their water.

Interestingly, the diseases struck particular pens (breeding lines) much harder than others.

I have cut down the numbers dramatically (lots of chook in the freezer now) and let the small flock that's left free range during the day, now that there's green feed out there for them (the rain just started). I've also started giving them a little granulated garlic in their feed each day.

My questions...

1. Does anyone have some "old wisdom" on keeping chooks healthy?

2. Can anyone tell me what diseases 3 and 4 might have been?

Any suggestions would be very welcome!

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May 05, 2011
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Poorly hens
by: Jilly

I have 2 hens that are behaving a bit odd. They are standing around with their eyes closed for most of the day. They have both lost weight but still nibble on the food I put out for them. They are free range and I feed them layers pellets, mixed corn and kitchen scraps. They live with 3 other hens and 2 ducks. Can anyone tell me what is wrong with them and what I can do for them please?

Jun 10, 2010
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Chicken Losses to Disease - Any Suggestions?
by: Scozza

We lost one of ours with the same symptoms, sleeping, lack of activity and looking ill. Unfortunately we had to have her put down but the vet suspected it was a e-coli problem. It seems that they can pick it up from drinking dirty water.

Cheers,

Scott.

[MEG: Thanks for sharing that Scott, but dirty water certainly wasn't the culprit in our case!]

May 26, 2010
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sick chooks
by: Anonymous

Hi Meg

Last week I saw my one Australorp hen going drowsy and puffing her neck feathers as if she's a bit cold. Fortunately I have a pen completely separate from the main chicken run and I isolated her there. I fed her kale and comfrey leaves, and put some fresh aloe in her water (I just cut the leave in pieces and put it in the water). She is fit as a fiddle at the moment and I will be moving her back to her buddies by Monday if she stays this way.

I hope this helps some.

MEG: Great to hear of your success with your "herbal" approach. Thanks for sharing it. Will certainly try next time!

May 26, 2010
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RE: sick chooks
by: Anonymous

Hi Meg,
I'm so sorry to hear about your chickens. We lost my favourite bird ever, a beautiful Plymouth Rock rooster to Marecks last year. I took him to the vet, (my husband nearly had a fit!) hand fed him, did the physio they recommended and gave him supplements and nothing helped. In the end we had to put him out of his misery. The vet said the ducks brought the disease in and once it was in our soil it would hang about for years. We heard the vaccine was short supply last year too.

I have a question though - which breeds if any seemed resistant to the Marecks? The vet said some birds had natural immunity to it. I'm nervous now about raising chicks here with the vaccine being hard to come by and the risk of a whole batch catching it. Thoughts?

Sorry I can't help you with the other diseases.

Nathalie

MEG: In one batch of chooks I lost 10/11 of them - they all came from the same eggs that I had bought in and hatched. In an adjacent pen of the very same breed (but outbred by me), the losses were more like 20%. I can only guess that the batch with heavy mortality may have been more inbred (and therefor weaker), or from parents who had not been exposed to the diseases (no natural immunity to pass on to their offspring).

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