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Author Topic: Botulism?  (Read 3107 times)
pheasantguy
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« on: October 22, 2010, 05:00:13 AM »

I've been raising pheasants for approximately seven years.  I purchase them when they are 7 to 8 weeks of age and use them for hunting purposes.  My flight pen is 600 square feet and I normally have 24 birds at the beginning.  I've bee purchasing birds from the same breeder for the last three years and one other breeder prior to that.  I have always received excellent, healthy birds that are raised were medicated prior to my receiving them.  My pen and equipment are all well maintained.  I have lost some birds over the years, normally one or two a year.  The cause of death is readily apparent.  This year I have yet to lose a bird.  My birds are now 14 weeks of age.  I use gamebird feed that in small pelletized form.  I start m.mixing in a small amount of cracked corn at about 12 weeks of age.  At sixteen weeks I mix in kernel corn with the feed.  I do not have the capability of automatic waterer's or feeders, so I must enter the pens twice a week to change and the waterer's and add feed.  On Wednesday I went in to change the water and do a walk around the outside of the pen to assure that there has been no damage to the pen itself.  I noticed what appeared to be a dead bird.  I reentered the pen and found that the bird wasn't actually dead but was somewhat listless and could not stand.  The bird had no evidence of injury and appeared otherwise healthy.  Since it had been three days since I was last there I decided to simply move the bird to one of the waterer's which is next to the feeder.  I laid the bird back down on the ground and figured that it would be dead by the next day.  My curiosity got the best of me and I returned after work.  The bird had moved about three feet closer to where I had found him.  I decided to remove his blinders but had to return home as I had nothing on hand to do so.  I returned about ten to fifteen minutes later and the bird had moved another 5 feet from where he was previously.  I removed the blinders and left him.  After work today I fully expected to find a dead bird.  I found him close to where he was the day before in the same position.  When I got to him he was still alive.  I picked him up to examine him and he seemed to have a little more energy than the previous day.  He actually could move his legs.   He can move his mouth and head but seems very weak.  I am at a loss as to what has happened.  I checked my gamebird books and the most likely culprit appears to be botulism.  He shows the symptoms with the inability to use legs and wings in a normal manner.  The rest of the birds are fine.  I could find nothing in the pen that looked out of the ordinary.  I still have a decent cover of sorghum in the pen.  Do you experts think it is actually botulism?  And if so, why aren't any of the other birds affected?  Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Pheasant Hollow Farm
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2010, 07:11:26 AM »

The bird may have flown into a support beamin the flight pen and obtained a concussion.

I would rule out the chances of Botulism. If the bird dies and if you can afford a necropsy do it to find out what had happened.

Steve
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2010, 12:42:45 PM »

Steve's probably on the right track.  If it had been botulism it would have effected your whole flock since it comes from spoiled food most of the time.  One other possibility is the bird picked up something foreign in the pen and ate it.  I've had this happen a couple times over the years.  The only way to tell for sure is to do an autopsy if it dies.

good luck
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pheasantguy
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2010, 07:10:59 AM »

Thanks guys.  I found it hard to believe it could be botulism as no other birds were affected.  Steve, my first thought was that he had flown into a beam but when he hadn't recovered I thought I may have been wrong.  I checked on him after work yesterday and he is still not walking but he seems to be more alert.  I will continue to monitor him and hopefully he will recover.  Again, thanks.
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Pheasant Hollow Farm
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2010, 05:02:46 AM »

Thanks guys.  I found it hard to believe it could be botulism as no other birds were affected.  Steve, my first thought was that he had flown into a beam but when he hadn't recovered I thought I may have been wrong.  I checked on him after work yesterday and he is still not walking but he seems to be more alert.  I will continue to monitor him and hopefully he will recover.  Again, thanks.

After rereading your post, this reminded me of what happened two weeks ago while I was in my flight pen. I had a RNC flush, and crash head-on into an upper cross support beam he went down like a ton of bricks walk 15 feet and died.

He had a peeper on as well.

I have also have had birds hanging by there peepers. Since the hanging, I have change over to the soft flex hood. I use a 2" netting.

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I removed the blinders and left him.
That is one of the major problems on having either full hoods/blinders or peepers. They can't see where they are going.

Also depending on the netting size, it is possible that the bird may have been hanging on the net from its peepers and after a while he finally got loose.

Some of these birds that hang from there peepers may recover in full, but most of them more then likely have been deprived of O2 for to long and wind up being mentally handicapped. The same goes for the bird that has a head-on collision and suffers a concussion. some come out of it others don't and walk around dazed and confused.


Good Luck!

Steve
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pheasantguy
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2010, 12:19:34 AM »

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I have also have had birds hanging by there peepers. Since the hanging, I have change over to the soft flex hood. I use a 2" netting.


Thanks for the info on the hoods.  I am also using 2" netting.  I have had a few birds over the years hang themselves on the netting and die.  Normally the bird is only caught in the netting for several seconds. 

It is too late this year as the birds I obtain already have the peepers attached.  But if I am raising birds next year I will most likely try the hoods or perhaps use not use peepers at all. 

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Some of these birds that hang from there peepers may recover in full, but most of them more then likely have been deprived of O2 for to long and wind up being mentally handicapped. The same goes for the bird that has a head-on collision and suffers a concussion. some come out of it others don't and walk around dazed and confused.


I spoke with my neighbor today, who happens to also be my veterinarian and he agreed that it was most likely a concussion.  He told me to make sure he was getting water and food and if he wasn't much better by the end of this week it would be best to put him out of his misery.  At the current time he can flap his wings and kick his legs but is still unable to walk.  I helped him drink some water and he actually bit me, so maybe there is still a chance. 
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dmcp1952
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 09:38:21 AM »

A slang term for botulism is limberneck. If your bird has botulism when you pick him up his head will hang down and he will not be able to raise it.
Dave
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