Chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl and many other birds are susceptible.
The toxin is produced in decaying animal bodies and plant waste, and toxin-containing material (pond-mud, carcases, maggots) is consumed by the birds. Toxin may also be produced by the bacteria in the caecum.
Bacteria in these pouches help to digest particularly woody, fibrous or tough bits of food that the chicken ingests.
The food ferments here for a while so the chicken can extract as much of the nutrients as possible.
Also known as Food Poisoning
- Nervous signs, weakness, progressive flaccid paralysis of legs, wings then neck, then sudden death.
- Affected birds tend to settle with eyes closed when not disturbed.
- The clinical signs appear within a few hours to several days.
- Flaccid paresis of legs, wings, necks and eyelids is observed. The paresis is rapidly progressing to paralysis and the birds fall into a deep coma with neck and head typically extended forward.
Quick Home Test
Grab 4 or 5 feathers and give them a gentle pull. If it is Botulism, the feathers will come straight out. Botulism causes muscle paralysis and this will affect feather hold.
From consuming rotten or spoiled food, ingesting contaminated food with the Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
It is not actually the bacteria that causes an infection; instead, it is the toxin produced by the bacteria, which causes poisoning.
Wet, rotting organic matter is frequently the cause. Stagnant ponds and waterways can also be suspected.
- Remove the suspected toxic food source/s immediately.
- Isolate affected bird/s in quarantine shed and treat.
- Give a water soluble vitamins (A, D & E) with selenium and a probiotic.
- Try a Molasses Flush (laxative effect to help flush out toxins)
- Seek veterinary advice for antibiotic treatment or antitoxin injection, and/or rule out Mareks Disease or another diagnosis.
No. It is not passed from bird to bird. But if the poultry have access to the same food source, there may be more infected birds.
It also cannot pass onto humans by handling the infected bird/s.
Recovery will depend on how much the bird has consumed and how quickly treatment was begun.
Other illnesses it could be mistaken for:
- Marek's Disease
- Vitamin deficiency
Buying & Selling during Illness
Do not buy or sell any of your poultry during a period of poultry illness.
Gain a firm diagnosis from your vet and then allow 6-8 weeks after the last day of quarantined illness to give your yard the 'all clear' to resume buying and selling.
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