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Previously Answered Questions

  • One of my clients has brought in a chicken which has ascites and liver failure, high liver enzymes, low urea, low albumen and low total protein. It does not have any red cell changes. The chicken has both ascites and respiratory symptoms . Whilst I

    In young birds, the most common reason for liver failure is inclusion body hepatitis, protozoal infections, blackhead and spotty liver caused by campylobacter. If not one of those, then it will be an infection either haematogenous spread or retrograde up the bile duct as with all other species. I don’t think this is primary hepatitis. Ascites will cause respiratory issues as it will compress the air sacs in the abdomen. Also, respiratory disease can cause effusions in the body cavity. Birds are not straight-forward as there is only one body cavity, so all symptoms can look the same. Post-mortem can be done by ourselves as long as the birds are fresh and the price of this depends on what laboratory costs we occur. The cost will start at around £45 plus vat.

  • I was hoping you would be able to get some advice regarding some skin disease in two pet chickens. The client has three one year old chickens. One of them developed some white crusts on the comb and ear area and also started to lose feathers on the ventru

    Photo 1 - The feather loss on the ventrum area like this is due to over preening or self pecking. We can tell this by its location but also because there is no damage to the skin. Birds will pluck their own feathers out if they are particularly lacking in fibre in their diet or certain vitamins (B2 is crucial for feather development). It is apparent that these birds are being fed a wide range of things. By the look of the head they are a commercial breed in which case they’re genetically programmed to be commercial in every sense. Think of them as high yielding dairy cows. Unfortunately it is often the case that back yard Organic layers pellets don’t contain enough minerals, fibre or vitamins to sustain a commercial birds vigour, growth and production. - Try cutting out all tip bits (sunflower seeds, meal worms, oats, yeasts and blueberries!) - Do not change pellet feed as this will disrupt the birds too much - Offer a mineral peck block And some Lucerne straw to increase fibre - Consider using a multivit or amino acid concentrate in the water for 5-10 days Photos 2 & 3 - the white flaking on the comb is fairly normal and is often associated with growth and the maturity of the comb. I wouldn’t be too concerned either about the white patches, however it may be prudent to inspect the aural canals for mites. They will often fester in the ear canal behind the covering feathers and cause excessive discharge to accumulate and potential fungal/yeast infections. The mite products the client is using are ok for parasites that are accessibly by dust bathing, the ear is not. Considering the birds are already on non-licensed fungal treatment you could try an Ivermectin spot on 1% while the egg withdrawal period is present. I’d also try a non-organic mite powder, I doubt the meal worms, brewers yeasts and blueberries are organic so it shouldn’t matter. It is worth noting that Avian Pox virus will cause white lesions on the wattle and combs, however they tend to appear as isolated spots with necrotising, ulcerative centres.

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