It has been awhile since we have posted about our 21 chickens. We have been fighting a breakout of some sort of disease that has been traveling through the flock. Hopefully we now have it under control.
This is how it started. We began to notice bubbles forming in the corners of one chickens eye. Of course we assumed that it was just pecked in the eye and was irritated. After a few days we noticed another one had bubbles in it’s eye. And then another. That is when we figured it out that it was some kind of contagious disease.
The chickens began to develop swollen eyes.
We had a full fledged outbreak of something. Initially we thought it was Mycoplasma Gallisepticum (MG) which is an upper respiratory infection. The disease can cause the bubbles in the eyes, but also coughing, loud breathing, and swelling. However, ours only had bubbly eyes, no other symptoms. MG is spread by various forms of contact. Unfortunately, it can, but not necessarily will be passed on to baby chicks via the egg. Even though we were unsure about what the cause of the infection was, we began to treat them with antibiotics in their water.
Even with the antibiotics, the disease continued to spread. We then began thinking it was Infectious Coryza however they didn’t exhibit any bad smells from their head (with the exception of their normal chicken poop stank).
Around this same time we began to see some scabs on a few combs, wattles, and eyes. At first we thought it was just more pecking and fighting, until it once again spread. We now believe the scabs are from Avian (fowl) Pox which is a virus that can be picked up from almost anywhere, including wild birds. It is usually not deadly and there is not really anything that can be done about it. So we began to treat all the affected chickens with Neosporin on their scabs and a saline solution in their eyes twice a day.
Initially we didn’t see any improvement. In fact some chickens got much worse. One cochin’s eye swelled up so much that when we tried to part his eyelids we couldn’t see his eyeball. We actually thought it had been pecked or scratched out and that he was going to be a one eyed chicken for life. But, almost three weeks after the first symptoms showed up, they have all improved greatly. The bubbles are all gone, swelling has subsided, and almost all the scabs have healed over. They are much happier.
We have also started cleaning their coop more often and turning the shaving in the coop over every few days to prevent the poop from building up. Improper cleanliness is what probably contributed to the initial outbreak.
Also during this time of treatment we began letting them out of their coop around mid morning and letting them roost up on their own in the evening. To be honest, I think the fresh air and room to roam did more to heal them than any of our treatments.
Now not all of the birds figured out the roosting thing right away. For some reason a few thought it was acceptable to roost on the ramp. Still to this day the Bramas are always the last ones in the coop.
When they are out they like to dust themselves.
And dig some rather impressive size holes for their size.
The boys have been wanting to say hello to the chickens too. The black dog we know would never hurt them. The white one we have “trained” but are still cautious around.
We let them in anyways. Even though he was good, you just know that dog is wondering what that chicken taste like.
Also, the chickens are using their automatic water-er which is working out great. We might have to do something this winter though to keep it from freezing.
One last thing, this is one of our Buckeye roosters. He has a straight comb instead of a pea comb, which is a rather rare recessive trait. That makes him sort of unique.
Hope you enjoyed the post and as always send us a comment or email if you have anything to contribute.