Fly strike- our first case

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chrismahon
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Fly strike- our first case

Post by chrismahon » Sun May 13, 2018 8:10 am

We've been keeping chickens for 11 years now and today saw our first ever case of fly strike. We are very careful to wash bottoms as necessary but this happened just two days after inspection. Ruby, a Buff Orpington (had to be- they are really high maintenance), was brought in last night as she was cold. She has a digestive problem which keeps flaring up. This morning the papers in the cage had blood spots on them and it wasn't a foot injury. Check of her bottom revealed two bloody areas seething with maggots and I know from experience with a hedgehog they had all to be removed immediately.

First stage was washing her bottom so we could see properly. Made up a warm and strong salt solution and flushed out the wounds using a 10mL syringe. Maggots are very persistent and as soon as they were flushed out they attempted to crawl back in, so a pair of tweezers used to pick them out of the area and kill them. Just checked her again and no sign of more so I hope we got them all. She'll be kept in for a while until we decide how to dress the wounds.

Perhaps we should be checking bottoms daily?
MrsBiscuit
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Re: Fly strike- our first case

Post by MrsBiscuit » Sun May 13, 2018 9:03 am

I have never had to contend with this, so I don't have any advice to offer, but good luck to you. Apart from the direct treatment, I guess you need to make sure she is kept warm enough, with all the water penetrating to her skin. I can easily imagine the full bottom fluff must make it so much harder to see/deal with than in a sleeker bird. I cannot abide maggots, they make me feel very squeamish, I would have to be twice as stern with myself as usual. I hope Ruby is as comfortable as she can be and you manage to get rid of the problem.

BTW I was mildly and rather inappropriately amused by the hedgehog reference. I assume it was an issue with a hedgehog, not one for you, caused by a hedgehog?
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chrismahon
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Re: Fly strike- our first case

Post by chrismahon » Sun May 13, 2018 9:35 am

We've spent the whole morning so far checking and washing bottoms! The problem with Ruby is her runny poo is sticking to the skin below her vent and that's what must have attracted the fly. She's had this problem a few weeks- small green poos with yellow urates. We tried her with different pellets and the problem resolved overnight and then came back a few days later. Full crop of undigestible vegetation we think, which is why she isn't eating and is getting weaker. She appears to be on the road to self destruction?

The hedgehog was one we found at the bottom of the cellar steps MrsBiscuit. A youngster dehydrated and covered completely in fly eggs- took two hours to remove them all (as instructed by the rescue centre) and then 'Henry' overwintered in a spare bedroom and subsequently lived in our Orchard where he got very fat eating snails. He was later joined by 'Harry' and the two became very tame and often sat on our laps and went to sleep. No hedgehogs here we think but the whipsnakes should be doing a good job. Mrs Whippy (because at 1.5 metres long she is definitely female) might have a problem though as she has sustained an injury- can't treat her obviously.
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Re: Fly strike- our first case

Post by Marigold » Sun May 13, 2018 10:07 am

Sorry to hear this horrific story, Chris. I do hope Ruby is making good progress.
I'm going to move this to Pests and Predators, to join all the threads about worms and other nasties etc.
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chrismahon
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Re: Fly strike- our first case

Post by chrismahon » Sun May 13, 2018 10:22 am

The wound seems to be closing already Marigold. We've treated the area with Neem solution, which is what they use in India for maggot infected wounds the internet says.

Sorry I posted in the wrong place- the new format takes some getting used to.
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Re: Fly strike- our first case

Post by Marigold » Sun May 13, 2018 11:08 am

No problem, Chris - redefining what counts as pests or predators seemed to make sense when I was 'pruning' Chickens Health, so that people could more easily find threads about common problems such as mites, worms, rodents etc, as well as bigger predators such as foxes or dogs.
The Neem solution sounds good. I've just googled it and it's also a natural garden pesticide. It would be good to have it in our poultry first aid kits.
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Re: Fly strike- our first case

Post by MrsBiscuit » Sun May 13, 2018 11:15 am

Hi Chris, congratulations on the neem treatment, fingers crossed she continues to progress.

It sounds as though Ruby is a bit under the weather and the fly strike is caused/made worse by, the underlying issue. If she has undigested vegetation then my guesses would be either impacted crop or sour crop, or a blockage somewhere which could be anything including a tumour which you can't do much about.

So, I think I'd treat the flystrike as you are doing as a priority, and I'd be checking her crop ready for action. If you decide she does have sour/impacted crop then personally I would be inclined to treat it asap. I know its a lot for a chook to take at once, and not ideal, but if she does have a crop issue she isn't going to get much better on her own. I had crop issues in my orps a few times, but not other breeds, possibly because they are greedy, or have bigger beaks, or just because they eat more to support their size. I also found them to be quite robust, although highly irritated and very flappy (get a towel round the wings), at my manual handling to try to move the blockage. Its easier with 2 people, and if the bird is confined in solitary, I spent a lot of time in undignified pursuit and rugby tackle! However, the upending of the bird worked pretty well for sour crop (I know there are dangers and risks associated with this) and massage for impaction. Make sure she has plenty of water to hand. My real feeling is that sometimes birds that get this sort of issue are just a bit weaker than others, Either its age, or there is something going go that we can't see, or hopefully just they have eaten longer grass or something, but basically they just don't thrive as well, relatively speaking, as other birds.
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chrismahon
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Re: Fly strike- our first case

Post by chrismahon » Sun May 13, 2018 11:38 am

Unfortunately the lump is pretty solid MrsBiscuit so no chance of intervention. She's also very difficult to give water to but she's had Cod liver Oil and regular massaging. She might be blocked with last years cherry stones?

Yes, Orpingtons are difficult to pick up- seems their centre of gravity is too far back allowing the relatively small wings to open. She came from a particularly bad French breeder and both her and her sister had bad respiratory issues caused by dust inhalation- their nostrils were full of brown dust. It was over a month before we decided they were OK to integrate and weren't carrying something contagious so they were never particularly healthy. They both had major egg laying problems in the second year so obviously they were the result of a pullet breeding regime- something we have also seen with Marans we bought that developed major problems in their second year.
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rick
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Re: Fly strike- our first case

Post by rick » Sun May 13, 2018 5:43 pm

Fine dust is awful stuff! I'm convinced its one of the main causes of most things unexplained because once its in their respiratory system its an easy jump, for an infection, to almost any other organ.
Hope Ruby is OK. I bought a Red Top fly trap this year to try to keep the numbers down and it seems to be working although I have noticed that it doest attract all species (probably a good thing), just the bluebottles. Which is good, but I wonder which of them have the carnivorous maggots. Smells terrible!
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Re: Fly strike- our first case

Post by Eris » Sun May 13, 2018 6:35 pm

Flystrike is horrible, I lost a sultan to it many years back. Thankfully I don't keep very feathery breeds anymore and haven't seen it since. My neighbour treats his sheep with a pour-on solution and within minutes the maggots come crawling out. I have to say it is really very gross. :-)03 You used to be able to get some stuff called negasunt powder to treat flystrike on hedgehogs that worked a treat but I haven't seen that for years. I am sure it got banned by the EU. Neem is good stuff as an insecticidal, I've mixed it in the past into a white oil solution for a quick emergency knockdown of redmite. Very sticky but seemed to do the trick.

Eris
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