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It's a mystery...

post #1 of 5
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A little background - I got 12 old laying hens (supposedly 2 years old) in July with the intent of letting them lay through the summer and butchering them when they quit laying in the fall. As of today, 6 of them have died over the past few months. They just seem to drop dead. I also had a flock of 1 rooster (a year old) and 4 hens that were eventually allowed to free range with these girls after a couple of months. They were kept in separate coops during that time (No, I did not completely and "properly" quarantine, and that is not my question) Today I found my rooster dead in the coop he roosted in with my original 4 hens. I found him after work when I went out to collect eggs. Looks like he just fell right off the roost during the night. Also, when I was picking eggs, I found one of my recently purchased hens just sitting on the roost. She didn't appear to be struggling to breathe, but she didn't try to get away when I checked her over either. I just left her there. Went back a couple of hours later and she was dead. No marks on her, no external parasites, good weight on her and my rooster so I'm not suspecting worms. When I picked her up off the floor to examine her more closely, fluid drained out of her mouth and nose. Probably a tablespoon or more. Could this be part of whatever the disease process was, or does fluid collect in their beak (and throat, I would suspect) when they die? She was pretty fresh when I found her. Still warm and floppy. I also had a hen disappear a week or so ago, found her in the front yard (probably dragged up by the dog) with part of her innards eaten. I thought something had killed her, but maybe she just dropped dead and then was eaten on? I'm not going to panic. I'll just have to see what happens with the rest of the flock, I guess. The ones that died earlier were far enough apart (weeks) that I didn't worry too much about it. I just figured they were older than I was told. (I only paid $2 each, so I'm not out much. With the price of eggs and that they free range most of the time, I figure I've already gotten my money out of them) Has anyone out there had this type of experience? They appear healthy one day and drop dead the next. 

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #2 of 5
Most of my chickens die like that, one day I notice they look off and the next day they are dead. You just need to watch out for too many dieing in too close of time, that could be something bad, and watch for blue combs as that's one of the symptoms of this year's bird flu.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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post #3 of 5


Its only ever happened to one of my chickens, but yep, that seems to be the way they go - fine one day, dead as a door nail the next! Fluid discharge exactly the same with my hen.The number of chickens you have lost i would consider a little alarming, but as you say, at $2 per chicken - vets' bills are not something to be considered! I guess its just fewer chicken stews for you :)

 

CT

Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldhenlikesdogs View Post

Most of my chickens die like that, one day I notice they look off and the next day they are dead. You just need to watch out for too many dieing in too close of time, that could be something bad, and watch for blue combs as that's one of the symptoms of this year's bird flu.

Comb and wattles on the hen were red. That's what seemed so strange. Other than her being on the roost that early in the day, and not trying to get away from me, she looked fine. No marks on her, no external parasites, no messy bum. I'm probably thinking wrong on this, but I thought if it were a disease, there'd have been more losses at once, rather than one every few weeks since they have all been ranging together since August. Two in one day is rather concerning, for sure. I meant before yesterday's losses. Thanks for the heads up on the blue combs. I kind of had avian flu in the back of my mind when I found the two yesterday. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKen View Post
 


Its only ever happened to one of my chickens, but yep, that seems to be the way they go - fine one day, dead as a door nail the next! Fluid discharge exactly the same with my hen.The number of chickens you have lost i would consider a little alarming, but as you say, at $2 per chicken - vets' bills are not something to be considered! I guess its just fewer chicken stews for you :)

 

CT

Vet's bills aren't an issue for my chickens. They are not pets, and they're easy enough to come by around here. I can't see paying $100 or more to fix a chicken when I can replace it many times over for that. Cold hearted? It probably sounds that way, but it's a matter of economics for me. My chickens live a good life, and then have one bad day. You're right - just fewer chicken stews here. And I was so looking forward to more canned chicken - I'm almost out! 

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbi-j View Post
 

Comb and wattles on the hen were red. That's what seemed so strange. Other than her being on the roost that early in the day, and not trying to get away from me, she looked fine. No marks on her, no external parasites, no messy bum. I'm probably thinking wrong on this, but I thought if it were a disease, there'd have been more losses at once, rather than one every few weeks since they have all been ranging together since August. Two in one day is rather concerning, for sure. I meant before yesterday's losses. Thanks for the heads up on the blue combs. I kind of had avian flu in the back of my mind when I found the two yesterday. 

 

 

Vet's bills aren't an issue for my chickens. They are not pets, and they're easy enough to come by around here. I can't see paying $100 or more to fix a chicken when I can replace it many times over for that. Cold hearted? It probably sounds that way, but it's a matter of economics for me. My chickens live a good life, and then have one bad day. You're right - just fewer chicken stews here. And I was so looking forward to more canned chicken - I'm almost out! 

not cold hearted at all - I share the same view. I prefer to use the word "pragmatic" rather than cold hearted.:D

Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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