Birds randomly dieing
We have a brooder that's about 4ft by 8ft for our chicks. Well here in the past 2 weeks we keep finding dead birds. The chicks are about 3 months old now and we let them into the run during the day and lock them up at night with a heat lamp since it's getting colder now. We cleaned out all the straw and shavings and replaced with dry bedding. Only other change has been we got some baby ducks that range from 1-2 months old. I can't figure out what is killing these birds!!!! Some of the dead chicks have had quite a few of their feathers picked out so I don't know if that's just the other chicks or if it's possible the ducks are doing the killing. Has anyone had issues with ducks and chickens?
The brooder is in the back of our coop. It's closed off to the big birds though so they can't get in and kill the chicks. As far as the ducks go they kinda range in age from weeks old to prolly about 3 months. None of them look nearly as big as the chicks though. Also there's only a handful 5-6 ducks to what was about 40-45 chicks. I thought at first that they were getting cold and smashing eachother, that's why I added the heat lamp. This morning I went out and found another dead but it was close to the door so I'm wondering if it's catching a cold breeze possible from around the door.
Could you post pictures of your setup? Could possibly be due to overcrowding. Chicks at 3 months should be feathered out and not require any heat.
That's a lot of birds... I really don't think they would need a heat lamp at that age.. and so many birds will make a lot of heat anyway.... are you sure they are not actually overheating?
Have they got enough water, food, and can they all get to it... sometimes more dominant birds will stop the weaker ones getting to a single feeder.
I personally don't mix ducks with chickens.. because the ducks are much more messy and will make the chicken coop stinky and wet in no time at all. Also adult drakes can beat up and kill chickens and roosters... through mating and general aggression... although this is not a problem with ducklings and chicks.
Is there enough ventilation in there too?