Today we had a 2 1/2 year old buff campaign die. It looked as if she was shoved against the nest box and a hen sat on her. Three eggs were next to her and one was under her (not her egg). That's the short story. Over the past 3 1/2 years, we have had around 10 hens die, 1 egg bound, a 2 week old chick, 3 buckeyes which are frail and maybe 2 for no reason. 2 others were inbred not by me. Is this normal? We know how to take care of chickens, the area is clean, etc., and if one dies, there is never any death in others. Does anyone have any answers? I hope this is not too confusing. Thanks.
How many chicken deaths a year is normal?
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Sorry about your losses. There really is no answer as to a number of losses that would be "normal" - there are too many variables that can go into things and the actual causes of death are quite varied as well - from environment to management to genetics. Understanding the cause of death is important in identifying those causes that are preventable (in regards to surviving stock) and in ways you can change your management practices to reduce risk factors. This can mean performing a necropsy yourself or, if you have a string of deaths close together or with alarming symptoms sending the bird off. I would put at least seven of the deaths into the category of worth more thought.
we never had several birds die at once - only one once in a while. Which ones would you question? Chick dead occurs alot. The only thing I wondered about is why I had four ohio buckeyes die. One 2 weeks old, one less than six months and two after six months. They are hardy for Connecticut. We keep our coop and run clean, as much as you can for chickens, we check for mites and other things. I'm trying to figure out what we are doing wrong. This year was the first hen I believe. I wouldn't have the stomach to cut open a chicken and plus I wouldn't know what to look for. The number of buckeyes bothers me tho.
Here's my experience: I started with 10 hens and a rooster in March. They are broody things and hatched 16 chicks over the summer.
Predator loss: 2 hens and 2 chicks = 4
Sickness: 1 hen from my original flock and 3 month old rooster = 2
My hen that died was unknown causes. The rooster that died in the same manner a week later, I sent for a necropsy. It had long grass impacting it's intenstine. Perhaps that is how the first hen died? I had just expanded their coop a couple of weeks before.
So, 6 birds since March. No serious diseases going through the flock, but I sure beefed up security around the perimeter after all the predator losses. They were getting out regularly, so it was unsurprising so many died to predators.