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Coccidiosis? Can lice make them very ill?

Hi, I'm new to this forum and am hoping someone can help. Growing up my hens were always healthy, so a sick chicken is relatively strange for me. I got two new chickens and should have quarantined them, but again growing up that wasn't something we did, so I had no idea. One of the new ones became quite sick, she was gasping for air, seemed to have an infection in one eye, a total mess. I took her to the vet and with oxygen, a steroid shot, and antibiotics she is now doing great. Unfortunately I noticed yesterday that one of my original girls, my Easter Egger, Tiger, started drooping her tail feather and fluffing herself up as I've learned they do when sick. No sneezing, no drainage. I did note that my two new chicks that I brought in also have awful cases of chicken lice. I've tried DE dusting but it hasn't worked, so the vet is coming Thursday to treat them...could that make her this sick? She doesn't really want to eat or drink. I've given her some water via syringe but she is lethargic, and too calm and patient with me to be well. I'm so worried for her...


  • undautriundautri Senior Member
     lice will weaken them but not make them this sick so quickly
     most likely mycoplasma or coryza brought in by the 2 newbies and stress
    can you get your vet to put up a prescription for tylan  antibiotics for her rather than wait for tomorrows visit? or do you have any left over from the newbies antibiotics- get her on them straight away.
     i  got caught out with exactly the same situation after keeping my newbies separate for 10 days . i lost one of my oldies because of it
     in the meantime add sugar or honey to her water . try to tempt her with any food she will take even if it means searching for bugs in the garden
    if she starts showing respiratory symptoms put her somewhere steamy or put a bowl of boiling water near her pen and pop a garlic clove in it
    dont use de while theres a respiratory infection there- dust will make them worse.
     you need to treat all your chooks as its obviously spreading
    good luck
     keep us updated
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Kath is right to be concerned about mycoplasma, since one of the classic symptoms is bubbly/messy eyes.

    Lice will bring them down too, but as Kath says, not quite so quickly as this. 

    You have obviously learnt from this experience that quarantine is a good idea, to protect the existing ones from things like this, and the new ones from bullying.  Hope things work out for you mayabeth.
  • I don't have own experiences, but maybe this Coccidiosis in Chickens - Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment Tips (https://docsbay.net/coccidiosis-in-chickens-prevention-symptoms-and-treatment-tips) willl help:
  • You may not be able to detect the exact problem from the following symptoms because most symptoms lookalike to a fellow disease. However, to properly diagnose a fowl, you would need to specify to us the colour of the fowl stool, in that way i would tell you the exact herbal treatment to administer for a proper recovery.
  • Thank you so much everyone for the info - vet is coming back tomorrow to take a look at them. The little one (Belgian D'Uccles) recovered fully it seemed but in the last day or so has a runny nose AGAIN and while she is eating well and acting normally, I'm terrified whatever this is is going to make her sick again. We did have rains the night before she started with the runny nose and I'm wondering can the weather play into this at all? The good (?) news is that the other three accepted her and they are now a happy crew of gals.

    My bigger girl, Easter Egger, Tiger, is doing a little better but still weak and will try to jump out of the coop to free range and won't even be able to make it out, she hits the side, so now I take her out each morning and put her back in at night. It's not a high jump, and she seems to have poor balance. If I were to bump into her, she would fall over. I've gotten them on water with apple cider vinegar as my bantam silkie is now sneezing too, although she has no discharge. It's also quite hot here in Texas so I've been giving them cool baths and providing them with plenty of frozen treats and fresh water throughout the day.

    So to recap:
    Easter Egger (Tiger): weak, pale comb, not much energy, dropping her tail feather. Eating better. About 4 months old.

    Belgian D'Uccles (Millie): pale comb, good energy (was very sick see OP), runny nose - clear discharge, eating well. About 3 months old.

    Bantam Silkie (Nipsey): sneezing from time to time, no other obvious signs of issues, eating well.

    Easter Egger (Luna): healthy (knock on wood) - also the head of the crew/head chick in charge.

    So here is what I'm trying to figure out:
    1. Weather related? Very hot, there has been some rain, so humid.
    2. Coccidiosis?
    3. Some unknown respiratory disease (nothing was seen on Millie's xrays or in her trachea - vet mentioned wanting to do a swab for a culture from her trachea this time..).
    4. Or?
  • Oh! Also thank you so much on the suggestion for not dusting them while sick, the vet came and actually did a treatment on them that is used in the EU but off-label here, and the lice were dead and gone within 24 hours. So that's good, they're lice and mite free!

    Kath - I asked about using the leftover Tylan for her but the vet said he didn't want me to do it without him figuring out what is wrong with her first. I've managed to keep her 'okay' by giving her fresh mealworms, sugar in the water as you suggested. Because she has no signs of respiratory issues or discharge, and no blood in her stool, I'm stymied on what it could be :(
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    Things seem to be improving for you
    yes weather can affect chickens with them more able to cope with cold than heat but it wouldnt cause the runny noses and sneezing
    coccidiosis is usuually identified by blood in the stools so im still convinced this is some sort of respiratory disease , which one can only be identified by blood tests but this would be pointless as all resp, diseases are treated by the same antibiotics and alll members of a flock need to be treated at the same time
    with Tiger she sounds like she would benefit from a vitamin supplement . sometimes a deficiency presents itself at a few months of age that
    can really weaken them - theres plenty of supplements available online . also , as a cautionary measure dont be too quick to start her on layers pellets as if she starts laying early this could knock her back . also dont use the sugar water too long , just when they are short of energy
    what lice treatment did the vet use? was it ivermectin? i use hypermectin meant for pigeons and available without prescription - it kills internal parasites as well as lice and mites.
    i hope your chooks continue to get better
    brilliant names by the way

  • Kath I so appreciate you responding. It may sound silly but I feel like I've finally found me people here.

    I will be getting antibiotics from the vet today, I hope, to be able to treat them all at the same time. Is it possible that Millie was healthy, and then it was passed back to her as not the entire flock was treated?

    If you have any suggestions for specific vitamin supplements, please let me know and I'll get those now. I also started them on a better feed, H&H. I did note that their chick crumbles that they had been eating had recently gone bad, the humidity here is not what I'm used to so even though it was in the garage, it went bad. Hopefully they haven't been eating bad food too long, the minute I noticed I switched them (yesterday).

    The used Bravecto and it worked wonderfully. The Silkie was seriously infested and the lice were literally just falling out in the hundreds once the treatment was applied. I was so glad to see it work.

    Thank you for the name compliment! My little one who is seven named Tiger (she is orange and black) and Luna was my most favorite chicken growing up as a little girl who was black, so our black Easter Egger got her name. Millie is a Mille de Fleur, and Nipsey is named after a rapper (Nipsey Hustle) that my husband likes, haha.
  • edited July 2019
    Vet came, he did a culture of Millie's trachea to see if there is a bacterial component that they aren't aware of. He also noted that Tiger is weak and very underweight, so he had me start feeding her Critical Care via tube which I insert down her trachea directly into her crop. Hoping that this helps her until we can see what Millie's results are. He also noticed that she may not be seeing well, although she can see somewhat and the pupil reacts a bit, she doesnt react to things coming close to her eye or track lights etc. so that is another component, possible that her sinuses are involved in this. Also suggested B12. Both her and Millie's combs are so pale, but Millie has great energy which is really good. Prayers that my sweet chickies will get some answers and start feeling better..
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    a vitamin deficiency will affect Tigers eyesight ,especially vitamin A, a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anaemia so get a good multiivitmin supplemment for her and possibly some nettex nutridrops to boost her appetite. if theres any stiffness in her neck give sellenium too
    Sometmes a chick will inherit a deficiency from their parents and the effects dont show up until they are a few months old
    the bad food hasnt helped them .good job you noticed . ive had some before now riddled with flour mites
    i dont think Millie caught it again but rather hadnt got rid of it completely - it can take weeks sometimes , again a vitamin supplement will give her a boost too
    get some natural yoghurt in to give them while theyre on abs to prevent thrush . but give it at a separate time to the abs or after theyve completed the course
    Helen (solarbats)on here swears by critical care - she rescues exbatts and also keeps other small birds. i havent had to use it myself , touch wood.
    im sure your babies will get better soon - theyre in very capable hands
    x Kath
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Mayabeth, it was really useful to see your summary

    Sorry to bring this one up - but has the vet ruled out Mareks in the younger birds? Symptoms can be hidden until times of stress such as extreme heat (we even have that here in the UK at the moment!)

    Have a look at this link:

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