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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:06 am 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:00 pm
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I'm sorry to not go through the whole details of the birds illness, but I've had them grand total of 4 days, so I dont have much information.

I brought home an Araucana and a Wyandotte that I drove four hours to get (wouldve been a great idea if I didnt think they were sick). I couldnt see anything wrong with them when I bought them, or on the drive home. However, the Wyandotte has HORRIBLE breathing, watery rattley breathing. If you've ever heard an asthmatics breathing, she sounds like that.

I have her and the Araucana seperated from my other birds. The question is, will she ever be 100% better? Or will she be a disease carrier even after she 'recovers'. I have no desire to infect my current chickens for a couple of newbies.

Sorry I dont have more details, its late, and Im tired and cranky and REALLY disheartened since this is the second time I have bought new birds to find out they have something wrong with their breathing (the last sick one I took back).

It is ridiculously offputting, I have bought chickens from 3 places, and 2 of those I ended up with birds that couldnt breathe properly.

(the question is bold so it doesnt get lost amongst my complaining :( )


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:37 am 
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Golden Magpie
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Location: Gulgong, NSW
Hi
There are about 20 different respiratory infections and its almost impossible to distinguish all of them without laboratory testing. However, by far, the most common is a viral infection which is the bird version of human colds and flu.

With this version the birds suffer in much the same way a human does. Given warmth and good food they do get better but it can take time - six weeks or more. This viral form is rampant and seems to be spread by wilds birds as well as contact to contact amongst fowls.

It doesn't need much of a stress moment for the individual bird's immune system to weaken and they have it.

Things like canned cat food, rickets diet, livermol and vitamions all help the bird fight off the infection. Just occasionally bacteria invade the cells damaged by the virus and they need antibiotics but mostly they do recover and dont remain as carriers. Just like humans.

With all new birds from any source - they should be quarrantined for two weeks or until there is no sugns of any disease or infection.

The bottom line - if they are good birds then keep them and nurse them back to health. At some stage everyone is going to experience viral respiratory infection - regardless of their care and conditions - it truely is rampant.

I haven't discussed the other respiratory infections because they are not common in back yard flocks and I would need convincing its any but the run of the mill viral cold and flu thing.

Mike

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Retired Now - Have moved and can be found sitting on a boat with a bit of string in the water with a fish enticing safety pin at the end of it. Officially a Tuross Head resident.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:28 am 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Hi Pixie7493,

4 days is within the time period when I think it's pretty fair to ask for a refund and return the birds, if that's what you want to do.

While Mike is the expert on medical stuff, I just want to say how distressing it is to go for months with sick birds that were sick on arrival. You end up kicking yourself for keeping them. But ultimately there's no easy solution, no way of telling what you've got, and I'm sure Mike is right about the prevalence of viral illnesses that don't linger.

Case one: 6 brahma chicks with 8 weeks of TLC but all growing worse, and infecting others. Culled, with major regrets.

Case two: 2 leghorn pullets that began to gurgle within a day of purchase, and I decided to take it on the chin, give them 4 weeks of TLC (4 weeks is now my limit) and see how they fared. As it happened, they did keep gurgling, and would probably have been culls except that a hawk polished them off before I had to make any decisions. At that point I realised the hawk may have been the stressor that kept them gurgling.

Case three: I have a cockerel that was gurgly on arrival but perfectly fine 2 days later, when stress had worn off. If I'd returned him I wouldn't have known that he has a good immune system and therefore would make a good breeder.

Just trying to highlight that there's no easy way of making a decision. Some will be right, some wrong... But at some point your birds will be exposed to an illness, whether brought in by wild birds, or by domesticated ones.

Case by case...

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:38 am 
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Golden Phoenix
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:39 am
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
100% wot Mike said. I've been fighting ongoing respiratory illness for almost three months now and the reason it keeps getting me down is because our unusually mild, damp weather means they keep re-infecting eachother - the mud makes it very difficult for me to keep strict biosecurity among the pens. Ordinarily, I'd just increase the hot mashes, Livamol, and vitamins, and let them get it through their system - just like a human with a cold. Every year, at the turn of autumn into winter, they get colds.

One thing I've discovered is that when chooks get stressed, they sneeze. Dogs and cats get diarrhoea - chooks sneeze. Every chook I've brought in from outside has got an instant case of the sniffles when they get to my place. I've learnt not to take it personally :roll:

So, your chooks are unlikely to be a "carrier" of anything dire, and therefore should not require culling.

So, treatment:

1. Plan to have them in quarantine for at least two weeks. This is recommended when bringing in new birds to your existing flock anyway. If it means their movement is a bit restricted, harden your heart - they'll survive, and it's the best way to prevent a cold getting to your whole flock.
2. Give them TLC up the wazoo. Bird vitamins in their water, hot mashes every day, Livamol in the food if you can get some (it's an excellent general livestock supplement and really helps birds in stressful times), cracked corn and additional protein in the form of cat food, bandsaw dust, or just plain mince.
3. Make sure their quarters are clean, dry, warm, protected, and free of draughts at night.

They'll gurgle and sneeze for about a week, even with this treatment, and then overnight the sniffles will just seem to clear up. Keep them away from your current flock for at least two weeks after you're convinced they're well, and try to plan a staged introduction, to keep stress limits down.

Good luck! I know full well how tiring it is to keep hearing chooks sneeze and splutter and gurgle ...

And also wot Candler said while I was writing this essay :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:47 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:00 pm
Posts: 24
So today,

I've given them a scrambled egg (good chookey protein I've been told)
I've moved their pen somewhere with a bit more sunshine, and hopefully warmth.
I'm going to worm them, just for the sake of covering all bases.
I rang the man I bought them from, He recommended garlic to boost their immune system (and since I told him they were sick if they die on me I'll have something to fall back on)
They are eating Red Hen pullet pellets, mixed in with Peters RSPCA approved poultry feed (15% protein) and seem to enjoy it.

And their roost is enclosed on three sides, the other side opens straight into the run. Under the roost is a pile of hay. Most nights they sleep under the roost, but last night they slept on it (hurrah)

Any other TLC ideas?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:21 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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Location: Sofala, NSW
A can of cheap cat food (I get the ones from Aldi or the Home Brand from Woollies - 89c a can) mixed in with their mash or fed on its own is often well-received. A good source of protein as well.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:19 am 
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Dapper Duck
Dapper Duck

Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:00 pm
Posts: 24
2. Give them TLC up the wazoo. Bird vitamins in their water, hot mashes every day, Livamol in the food if you can get some (it's an excellent general livestock supplement and really helps birds in stressful times), cracked corn and additional protein in the form of cat food, bandsaw dust, or just plain mince.
3. Make sure their quarters are clean, dry, warm, protected, and free of draughts at night.


TLC, given like mad. Everything I could think of, although it took some time for them to learn the concept of treats.
Yesterday I finally had time to prepare a serving of the Rickets Diet, which was completely ignored. However, they seemed to be getting better. The Wyandotte was breathing fine, and the Araucana ate well and had lots of energy, although her breathing was still atrocious.

Unfortunately, the Araucana died last night. I choose to blame the cold weather from preventing her recovery and her death. In saying that, I also blame myself, because although I did everything right by a healthy bird, I had them in a 3 sided shelter. While it kept out most of the draughts and rain, I never had time to put a fourth side on it.

The only comfort is the the Wyandotte seems 100% healthy, except that she is now lost and lonely. Also, the man I purchased them from agreed to replace the Araucana, since she was sick on arrival.

This is my first death. Cant believe how bad it sucks :(


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