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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23827
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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I need your help to identify the problem with my 15 backyard

Customer Question

I need your help to identify the problem with my 15 backyard chooks.
We have 5 only 24 week old red fowls, 5 only 3 year olds, and 5 orpingtons about 30 week old. Everything has been off the lay for about 3 weeks. As far as I can tell only the old hens were laying before then.
One old hen has died, and 1 of the new hens died recently. The Orps are a good weight but the others not too heavy. Combs look ok, and there is no coughing or sneezing. The one that died had a closed infected eye and now one of the Orps has one eye infected and looking sick and the other eye starting to close also. Also today one of the young hens is showing signs of one eye closing too. The stools look ok with no diarrhoea. Quite a few feathers are around the litter.
The litter is about 12 months old but dry sugarcane mulch.
They are fed Top Layer feed constantly and regularly and water is constant and regularly cleaned out. They contaminate it through dusting.
I have notices some rat droppings in the feed !
We have given them Coccidiosis treatment about 2 weeks ago and 2 days since then of Triple C antibiotic 5g/L by Vetfarm Australia 02 69330400 active Chlortetracycline hydrochloride.
Today I will clean out the litter change the water and add some apple cider vinegar to fresh water.
I would be glad of your help.
***** ***** (###) ###-####
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. In essence, we only have two symptoms to go on - infected eyes (conjunctivitis) and sporadic deaths. The most likely causes of conjunctivitis in chickens are chicken coryza (Haemophilus paragallinarum) and avian mycoplasmosis. Deaths aren't common with either but do occur if only because serious secondary bacterial infections are common. Because it's important to know if you're dealing with these infections or, instead, a viral, fungal, or another bacterium, necropsy of a newly dead bird that was refrigerated (not frozen) or of a sacrificed very ill bird is prudent - particularly because you have a sizeable flock and need to know how to treat the others. Your vet can arrange to have a necropsy performed or you can bring the carcass to your county animal disease diagnostic laboratory if you're fortunate enough to have such a laboratory where you live. Your presumptive treatment to date has been reasonable. Please note that even effective treatment for chicken coryza and mycoplasmosis with chlortetracycline doesn't completely eradicate the organisms. Recovered birds remain carriers and can infect new (unvaccinated) arrivals to your flock. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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