BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures › General Bad Health in my Flock-How can I tell if it's serious?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

General Bad Health in my Flock-How can I tell if it's serious?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Ok, this is a long story. We moved into a house with an unfenced back yard; I thought I could make it work with the chickens I brought with me, but I’m starting to change my mind. But I don’t want to sell or give away my hens if they have a serious health issue. So, how do I tell?

 

Here’s what’s going on:  Started out here with 6 hens, variety of breeds, 3 years old at that time. We got four new chicks (we did check that they were vaccinated for Marek’s), and got them successfully integrated into the flock in about May of that year. In August, the health issues began.

 

  1. A silkie (3 yrs) got a growth on her stomach and died quickly after we noticed a problem (1 day).

  2. An Ameraucana (3 yrs) developed a pendulous crop. 2 vet visits and some work with a crop bra later, she died during the night. The vet had found coccidia in her feces and treated her for it, but thought the crop issue was probably genetic.

  3. The next spring, (this year) we had a sudden death when the hens were out in the yard. It was a Plymouth Rock (4 yrs), and it had been a cool and rainy day. She wouldn’t come out from under the deck to go back in the coop.

  4. About half the hens had diarrhea that went on for several months with no other symptoms except really stinky poop. (No blood in the feces that I could see, just really messy feathers around the vent.) They all got over it except one, who still has it.

  5. We had another sudden death later this summer. It was an Ameraucana (1 yr) who was runty and much smaller than the other hens. We were having trouble with pecking from two of the other hens, but had been keeping them separated.

  6. Two months ago, another hen (1 yr) had a prolapsed vent. After a vet visit, we decided to have her put down.

  7. About two weeks ago now the hen with diarrhea stopped walking around with the other hens and wouldn’t leave the coop. I swear she stopped eating too, but after a few days she picked back up and is back running happily around with the other hens now. She seemed to have trouble getting up on the days before she started staying in the coop, and now she seems to limp every now and then.  I have tried a dewormer and tetracycline for the diarrhea, as well as probiotics (the sav-a-chick kind).

 

The hens spend most of their time in their coop and pen, with a couple of hours loose in the yard probably every other day. Although I clean things out every week, I think cleanliness in the run is probably contributing to health problems, which is why I’m thinking of getting rid of them till I can afford to fence my yard so I can let them run all day (not just when I can keep an eye on them). They are eating Layena pellets, with some table scraps.

 

So…my question is, is this normal? Or is there something going on here? And how do I find out? I’m open to a vet visit, although they don’t seem willing to talk about the health of the whole flock when I’ve been in before, and I’m not sure what I’d even be asking them about at this point.

post #2 of 6

Howdy Puellaimproba

 

I am not an expert when it comes to what ails chickens but on reading your post, a few things come to mind and some questions.

 

How long did you have your chickens at your previous property and what was their health like?  From your post, I am thinking about 3 years and no issues of note?

 

Do you know if there were chickens or any other animals kept at the property you moved to?

 

I know that lice and/or mites can cause some of the symptoms you describe.

 

I am just thinking that if your chickens were fine at the old property and only now have issues since the move, there may be something going on at the new property causing these health issues and/or something left behind from the previous residents.

Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

Reply

Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

Reply
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 


It was 2 healthy years at the last place, and then one healthy year here with no real problems. The two changes around the time when we started having problems were the new chicks, and we also cleared some ground for a garden that happened to be under our bird feeders, so they started scrounging dropped seeds from the feeders. I thought there might be a chance they caught something from the wild birds.

 

I'm pretty sure there weren't any chickens or other animals on this property before. It's pretty residential, and we had to clear out a weedy/forested area to put our coop in.

 

I haven't noticed mites or lice, but I'll check more closely for them and see if they could be contributing.

post #4 of 6

Hey Puellaimproba

 

If they all had the same symptoms, I would suggest that the new chicks may be carriers of something but, as the symptoms are all different, doubtful.

 

If it was a weedy/forested area, is the ground damp at all?  Could it possibly be due to a drainage issue?

 

Also, if forested and only “a couple of hours loose in the yard every other day” do they have access to sunlight or are they shaded for the majority of the time?

 

Wild birds can bring in lice and mites and if they have been scrounging in dropped seeds, they could also be scrounging in wild bird poop with the risk of worms and/or disease.

 

Is there a chance that some of the seeds they are scrounging from the bird feeders have got damp and/or aged, slightly mouldy etc?

Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

Reply

Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

Reply
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 


The coop area started off a little damp, but I think we've got it dried out now. They're getting some sunlight, but probably not a ton. Which is one of the reasons I'm thinking I need to take a break from chickens for a while. 

 

I guess damp seeds could be a possibility sometimes, but we're in Utah so things are generally pretty dry. And we're trying to keep them out of the seeds now. We fenced it to keep deer out, so it keeps the chickens out too.

post #6 of 6

Hey Puellaimproba

 

As I mentioned at the start, not really an expert and just trying help a little, if any ;)

 

It could be the environment or maybe just a run of bad luck and/or coincidence.

 

My only other thought was possible cramping?  Does your coop and run size plus chicken ratio give them lots of room?  If it is a bit small it would not have been an issue while they had lots of free range time but now that free range time is limited, it may be a factor.

 

If it was me and it was possible, I would try moving the coop to an area where they have a good mix of sun and shade along with good drainage and heaps of room if not free ranging.  As you have done, I would also have blocked them off from the wild bird feeder area.

 

If you are not able to get the Vet to talk about the health of the whole flock, like you I would be reluctant to give them away also, as until you know for sure what the issue is, you may be passing it onto someone else.

 

Apologies that I could not come up with a definitive answer or diagnosis :(

Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

Reply

Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures › General Bad Health in my Flock-How can I tell if it's serious?