Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

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n180n180
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Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by n180n180 » 25 Jan 2014, 19:51

Sorry for long post, but If anyone can be bothered to read it, any advice would be appreciated. (that's why it's quite long as you can't advise me unless you have as much detail as possible. )

I've had 2 chickens pass away recently, and now a third is on the way out. I think all my diagnostics have been wrong so far.

With the first one (white leghorn, about 6 months old), I thought it was egg bound. But it was not. Then I saw lice/mites crawling on it. Treated whole flock with diatom.
Seemed to perk up a little, but soon I found it dead. All other chickens became ill a few days after this one had passed away.

Second one was more sudden ( Legbar cross, about 20 months old). It stopped laying and I thought it was just the time of year (I should have known better, it had just come out of a molt and had only restarted a week earlier), but slowly I noticed it becoming more lethargic over a couple of weeks, losing weight. But it's tail was still held high and it was still wandering here and there (it was always a lazy type) although it did sit hunched at times. 2 days ago it became very lethargic, tail down sitting hunched, not eating much but seemed to still be drinking. Had clearly lost weight, could feel it's breast bone protruding. Died yesterday. Was giving it wholemeal porridge with cinnamon which was about the only thing it wanted to eat. ACV in water. It had runny poo white and green. No blood that I noticed.

My third chicken (legbar cross, 7 months old) became ill a few days after the first on died. It was really ill from the start. very lethargic, pale, lost weight, it's almost skin and bones only now, sitting around in hunched position preferring to sit in the sun whenever it can get a little in this wintery weather. But it's held on for a long time. 3 Weeks in this state? Again, been giving it porridge and other treats, as it does not seem to want to go for pellets. ACV in water, Black strap molasses, cinnamon, garlic and honey. So it's holding on but not getting better.

I had a 6 month old cocekrill that started to show symptoms also, but that got processed before it could lose any weight.

Whatever is going through my flock, it's nothing related to eggs because a rooster got the symptoms, and Iv'e checked for stuck eggs and peritonitis, and 3 chickens getting it at the same time is very unlikely.

It's not sour or impacted crop, checked for those first thing in morning.

They all had a few mice/lites which I have used diatom for, as well as a garlic liquid spray. But I'm sure it's not the mice/lites doing this much damage. I've dusted my one remaining ill chicken twice with diatom, once with garlic spray. sprayed diatom all aorund coop, run etc. I'm pretty certain it's not that.

I'm also pretty certain it's not worms. They have regulalry had ACV and garlic in their drinks for a long enough time and VermX not long ago, and I have seen no sign of worms in poop, although I have looked very closely (I know they can't always been seen in poop, but I'm just pretty certain it can't be worms doing this) .

I'm thinking it may be coccidiosis, but there has been no blood in stools whatsoever, and a chicken at 20 months old getting coccidiosis is starnage is it not?

I've come to realise that usually, once you've made the usual eliminations (worms, stuck eggs, mice/lites, crop stuff) it's almost impossible to tell what a chicken has unless you go for the expensive vet route which I just cannot do.

Did I quarantine? I know I should have, but I just did not currently have any facilities or space to quarantine (I will be getting it setup as a matter of priority). Also, up until this week I really thought it was the lice/mites as there was a fair few of them on the ones that seemed to be getting ill, but I've eliminated that as the main cause and treated entire flock (the healthy ones are still dust bathing in earth with diatom spread into it). Also, now I have started to add Oregano Oil into their water (a powerful natural antibiotic).

Any ideas what it could be? Here's some clues clues:

What disease can a chicken remain lethargic and listless through for 3 weeks without dying?
When the rooster was culled it had a much much larger gall bladder than normal? What disease makes gall bladder balloon up so much?
It cannot be all too contagious, as my other 8 chickens seem fine, and may have even developed resistance to it.
Mortality appears to be 100% after 2-4 weeks (I really don't think my last chicken will hold out much longer).

I know some of you may say cull it, but I want to do everything I can to save it except go down the route of expensive vet fees.
In Pecking Order:

Me, RIR Cockerill, Exchequer Leghorn x RIR Cockerill, Light Sussex, Legbar x unknown barred breed, RIR Hen, Columbine Number 1, Black Star, White Leghorn, Welsummer, Columbine number 2.

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by Henwife » 25 Jan 2014, 21:03

Firstly, treat the whole flock with Flubenvet for worms. Then deal with mite/lice. Possibly the best bet is to dust them all over with a pyrethrum ant powder (no, I'm not mad) immediately, then get one of the anti- ceepies droppers/sprays containing ivomectin. I use Noromectin which is not licenced for poultry, but I believe there are some now available for poultry. Worms, mites and lice pull a bird down faster than you'd expect, and you can't necessarily see any signs of them. If there is no improvement after all this, then it sounds as though you may have avian tuberculosis with a number of resistant birds. There is no cure. It used to be referred to as 'going light' and any bird showing symptoms was/is culled rather than letting them just die.
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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by CP » 26 Jan 2014, 04:55

I'd agree with Henwife! ;)
VermX is not a proper wormer, so hopefully the Flubenvet will sort them out if it is worms causing the problem.
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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by nickyc » 26 Jan 2014, 09:55

Get the latest one to die PMd. Then you will know what is going through the flock and you can treat accordingly. Sure, worm and treat for lice, but you're just flying in the dark if you give them anything else until you know what's what. I've had a few of my girls PMd when they've died suddenly and it's not expensive - £15 or so. It's well worth it for the peace of mind of knowing what you're dealing with.

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by subruss » 26 Jan 2014, 11:10

Yep a good worming may help.I know you have mentioned seeing mites and lice on your birds but you dident mention red mites who dont live on your birds the symptoms you mention can be caused by red mite if there numbers get large enough the can take out a full grown hen in a couple of nights and kill young birds in a night red mite also have a tendency to attack the birds nearest to there hiding place hence the reason you get one or two birds going at a time. One of the syptoms of red mite is lathargy due to loss of blood (a slow death). On the plus side they shouldent be to active at this time of year but worth checking for .

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by n180n180 » 26 Jan 2014, 13:52

Thanks everyone. I've got the flubenvet, so will be using that.

But more importantly I think I have to treat the mites/lice, as I still have a feeling that may be it. Only today, after I had used diatom on her twice as well as a garlic/oil essential based lice/mite repellent twice in the last few days, I still counted about 6 tiny critters (seemed to be different types) crawling over her in under a minute of ruffling her feathers.

I thought Diatom was meant to be great at getting rid of lice and mites? Does it not work as great as it's reputation?

Henwife, can they really be dusted with something like this http://www.pestcontrolsupplies.co.uk/na ... tAodfiEAVw

And did you mean use both the ant powder and ivomectin, or will one of these be enough?

I have spread the diatom, and garlic liquid all over the coop perches, hidden corners etc.

Well, I sure hope it is just the mites or lice. I'd rather have to deal with that than have something like avian tuberculosis going through the flock. From what I've read about it (no cure, humans can get infected...makes the lice seem like a walk in the park).

Anyone know of any good place around Birmingham where I can get it PMd (Post Morterm'd?)
In Pecking Order:

Me, RIR Cockerill, Exchequer Leghorn x RIR Cockerill, Light Sussex, Legbar x unknown barred breed, RIR Hen, Columbine Number 1, Black Star, White Leghorn, Welsummer, Columbine number 2.

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by Henwife » 26 Jan 2014, 17:11

I get the cheapest one I can find locally - in my case, Wilkinson's own brand, but this seems excellent value. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PestShield-An ... 19e2a3e4fd. I usually treat for worms first and uase a 'spot' type treatment for lice etc after the worming is done. However, powder can be used safely at the same time as Flubenvet. I have always used it liberally about the houses/perches/nestboxes and bedding every time I muck out. Avian TB does not transfer to humans - bovine TB does. Look up VLA - or google - which will give your nearest for PMs. They prefer the bird before it dies if possible.
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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by Lindsay » 27 Jan 2014, 10:29

I have found that garlic, Diatom etc - all the organic remedies can help. But exactly that - help. Too often I've read about people who swear by Diatom suddenly finding that actually their much-vaunted earth-friendly methods don't work. On the other hand, I have also found that chemical and biological methods can be useless too. I resolved my creepy-crawly problems by buying plastic coops. I Harkermectin my birds regularly, and use Flubenvet, and give them garlic, herbs and powdered seaweed in their mash. Plus Poultryshield, Saniterpen, louse powder - the list is endless.

Frequent checking of vents is a good idea. Like children, knowing what is going on at the 'other end' is always a good indicator of their health. And rigorous cleanliness. Except ... my semi-feral, free range birds are always healthy, even though they get minimal attention.

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by nickyc » 27 Jan 2014, 14:33

Re the Pm, just take her to your vet! If you take her to a specialist place, you'll pay a fortune. My vet charges about £15 for a PM. Worth every penny.

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by n180n180 » 27 Jan 2014, 16:17

Ordered Harkermectin last night, on a fast track delivery which cost me almost double from amazon, but I have no time to waste waiting for deliveries.
Mixed in flubenvet (correct amount) with her feed.

DE, I was never really a fan of, I always thought it worked well which is why I got it when I knew they had lice. But I now know it is not much use in getting rid of louse on highly infested birds, and the dust from it is bad for the chickens, I won't be getting it again. I'd rather stick with the garlic spray which seems more effective. I also have to try wood ash, that is supposed to be excellent at getting rid of louse and mites. Surely it will be a better preventative than DE, without the side effects.

The natural stuff I use only as preventative's. I have no problems using meds (to some extent) when I know I have a problem. But I would never use it regualrly. Only When I know I have a problem, like now. I'd rather use the natural stuff regularly as preventives.

When My flock got a respiratory problem (most likely mycoplasma), nothing worked (not even Tylosin, probably becasue it was viral rather than bacterial) until I started putting ACV into their water. ACV seriously reduced their symptoms and made them feel better and more active.

Since then, I have been using ACV a couple of days per week and garlic regularly. I have also recently started using oregano oil and ground cinnamon (both have antibiotic properties).

6 months of keeping 12 chickens in the garden and I've had respiratory problems, broken and bleeding toe nails, a fox attack, and now this ](*,)

but it's been a good learning curve I guess. I know how to better handle and treat a flock now.
In Pecking Order:

Me, RIR Cockerill, Exchequer Leghorn x RIR Cockerill, Light Sussex, Legbar x unknown barred breed, RIR Hen, Columbine Number 1, Black Star, White Leghorn, Welsummer, Columbine number 2.

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by drfish » 27 Jan 2014, 16:30

Just to add to this, couple of points.

Food grade DE isn't harmful at all. It's the industrial grade stuff that is linked to carcinogenic properties. And if it's good enough to keep pests at bay in grain stores, it's good enough for me :grin:
Garlic is little to no use at all when ingested. Garlic contains Sulphur, which is what causes the demise of beasties (although that's still largely unproven). It works as a spray to some degree, but not as food. Amazes me how many dog and cat owners insist on forcing garlic down their animals throats to prevent fleas. It doesn't work, and it's toxic to cats and dogs in large quantities, as is any bulb based vegetable (onions for example).
ACV is more of a tonic than a medication. Don't rely on it to prevent illness, because it won't. What it does do is create a healthy internal system, which in turn boosts vitality, immunity and well-being. Much like that Barroca stuff that is for sale for humans.

At the end of the day, any natural remedy will only ever be an aid, it won't prevent or cure anything. That's where hardcore chemicals come in to play.

You could spend all the money in the world on these fancy natural remedies and sprays and such. Invermectin and Ficam will CURE all your pest ailments, and Flubenvet will cure your worms. Save your money and just buy them, knowing they are far better value for money and far more effective if you do have problems. ACV as an all round tonic, and Oregano as a natural anti-biotic (proven) will help promote well-being, but WILL NOT stop your chickens becoming infected with a virus or bacterial infection. If it did, we'd all eat a spoonful or oregano washed down with ACV every morning :grin:

In a nutshell, don't believe the hype. :thumbright:
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1 Wife, 3 children, 1 Staffie Bitch (RIP Marley), 1 Chi-Chi, 1 Tuxedo Cat, 1 part Maine Coon cat, male bearded dragon, Horsefield Tortoise, 2 White Silkies, 1 Frizzle Pekin, 1 CLB, 1 Appenzeller Spitzhauben Cockerel, 1 blue laced Wyandotte, 3 Appenzeller x Wynadotte pullets, 1 Call drake, 3 khaki Campbell ducks, 4 (2 male 2 female?) Aylesbury x Campbells, a breeding colony of Dubia cockroaches.

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by Henwife » 27 Jan 2014, 18:55

Dr F - Like button's gone walkabout; consider it used.
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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by n180n180 » 28 Jan 2014, 11:40

Points taken on board Drf. Thanks.

Harkamectin 0.35% came today. Applied 4 drops. Is that enough?

Also for my other hens, I will be applying harkamectin externally only. So for external use only, Is there a 7 day withdrawal or not? I'm finding conflicting info. Can harm really be done to humans if I eat the eggs considering I only applied it externally 4 or 5 drops on the skin on the back inbetween shoulders.

Well, I've had her in the bathroom in a cosy box with water, food, treats for the last 2 days. She is breathing very heavy (can see the sinuses puffing In and out when she breathes), eyes closed most of the time slumped on the floor, but alive, but hardly eating or drinking. Syringed some water down her. She occasionally tries to get up. IS very weak, all skin and bones (and feathers). She is a real fighter though. Last 2 nights I see her like this and think there is no way she is surviving the night now, be gone by the morn. But She's still there. Thought about putting her out of her misery a few times, but held back cos I wanted to give the harkamectin a chance, but I really don't see it doing much now. Atleast she's nice and warm.
In Pecking Order:

Me, RIR Cockerill, Exchequer Leghorn x RIR Cockerill, Light Sussex, Legbar x unknown barred breed, RIR Hen, Columbine Number 1, Black Star, White Leghorn, Welsummer, Columbine number 2.

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by drfish » 28 Jan 2014, 12:04

If she's that advanced, I think the kindest thing now may be to cull her. If she can't even stand unaided, Harkamectin isn't going to provide a miracle cure I'm afraid. It does sound like she's almost past the point of no return, and I think anything now is just prolonging her suffering. Personally, I would cull, but I don't treat my chickens as 'pets' as such. They are pets, obviously, but I wouldn't go to a vets with them except for anti-biotics. Anything else, I'd likely cull them and replace them. The problem you have here is you don't know how much pain she's in, could be none, could be massive amounts. And because you aren't entirely sure what the issue is, it's guesswork at best to know if she'll pull through at all, especially at this advanced stage.

With regards the withdrawal, you eat the eggs, you take a chance. Although it's not specifically licensed for poultry, the general consensus is a 7 day withdrawal. However, many on here have eaten them and are still alive to tell the tale. I wouldn't worry about it if I was eating them myself, but I wouldn't give the eggs to my kids, for example.
Giving power to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy - P. J. O'Rourke (thanks Jessie)

It's amazing that people can believe everything is predestined but they still look both ways when crossing the road - Stephen Hawking

1 Wife, 3 children, 1 Staffie Bitch (RIP Marley), 1 Chi-Chi, 1 Tuxedo Cat, 1 part Maine Coon cat, male bearded dragon, Horsefield Tortoise, 2 White Silkies, 1 Frizzle Pekin, 1 CLB, 1 Appenzeller Spitzhauben Cockerel, 1 blue laced Wyandotte, 3 Appenzeller x Wynadotte pullets, 1 Call drake, 3 khaki Campbell ducks, 4 (2 male 2 female?) Aylesbury x Campbells, a breeding colony of Dubia cockroaches.

And a lot of Ibuprofen.

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Re: Lethargic for about 3 weeks now

Post by n180n180 » 29 Jan 2014, 11:26

I applied 4 drops harkamectin 0.35% on it yesterday morning. approx. 11 hours later, I checked and it was still crawling with bugs, more than I had noticed before if anything. Some people have reported complete cure after 24 hours. 11 hour's was probably not enough time to get rid of the creeps. However I have seen ivermectin 1% recommended at 1 drop per 500g of bodyweight, so I am guessing, 4 drops of harkamectin 0.35% was not enough. I will be applying 7-10 drops of it on my other LF chickens with the 7 drops going o my black rock and welsummer as they are the smallest and the 10 drops going on my RIR roo and blue orpingtons.

Anyway this ill chicken of mine refused to die. It's eye's last night were closed, it was breathing heavy, not eating or drinking, and lying slumped on the floor like a dead chicken, even though it was alive and breathing. There was pretty much 0 chance of recovery at this stage, and as it was refusing to die, I could not watch it suffer any longer, so culled it last night.

However, after seeing how many lice and mites (there was atleast 4 different species of crawlies on it, they all looked so different and different in size) were on it, I am now convinced that this is nothing more than a lice/mites issue I have, I do not think my flock has any other disease causing me problems. Two of my other hens have stopped laying also now athough they are still very active, which leaves me with just 3 laying hens. So I will applying the harkamectin to the whole flock tonight, egg withdrawal for7 days and hopefully that will sort the problem. Will update once I know anyway.
In Pecking Order:

Me, RIR Cockerill, Exchequer Leghorn x RIR Cockerill, Light Sussex, Legbar x unknown barred breed, RIR Hen, Columbine Number 1, Black Star, White Leghorn, Welsummer, Columbine number 2.

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