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Lost quite a few chickens

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello all. New member here, long time lurker. I had 30 hens and one rooster. Down to just 25 hens now. Lost the others within the last 2 weeks. The latest one was different symptoms than usual. I took some pics in hopes someone has seen something like this before. I won't bore you with the details of everything, unless anyone is interested lol.

The latest one was a hatchery black star I got from a local chicken guy at about 2-3 weeks old. She is now 20 weeks. 3 days ago she started to act sick. Standing off to the side when j throw scratch out and not really going after it. She also kinda had her head like tucked back. I let her be.

The next day she was just sitting in the coop while the others were out frolicking. I picked her up and gave her a once over. She had evidence of diarrhea on her fluff below her vent, and all her neck feathers on the back of her neck were gone, no evidence of pecking.

Her crop and abdomen felt normal but her right eye was closed. I didn't really worry about that too much because I had seen sick chickens get pecked on because they are acting wierd and j know sometimes their eyes can get scratched. I got her to open it and it looked Normal and there was evidence she could see out of it.

Fast forward to today and she's acting the same. Still see diarrhea, crop was VERY and hard, and she acted mostly ok but tired. Her right eye now looked swollen and had goop in it. But the most worrisome thing was she had a black growth on the back of her neck.

Now..... Other chickens, including this one, that have died all had one symptom (except the 2 that died randomly out of the blue with no apparent symptoms) I can't really seem to find any solid info on.... They all seemed to have a problem with balance if I turned the chicken on one side while holding it. You could see them just do this wierd slow whipping motion with their heads and then if I righted them, and set them down, they were unable to walk for a few minutes. After the few minutes, they were back to how they were before the dizzy spell.

A friend of mine that also raises chickens said it looks to him like its neurological. Sorry for the long post. I'll reply with pics as soon as I can get them uploaded. Thanks!
post #2 of 4
So you've had 6 deaths in 2 wks if I read that right. There's definitely something communicable in your flock. Even if 2 that died showed no symptoms it's very likely they had whatever else killed the others. The missing neck feathers could of been from the rooster and left a mark but you said it's a growth. Is it definitely a growth or is it a lesion? Have you treated them with anything for the symptoms yet?

Balance issues are a sign of several different ailments like vitamin deficiency and worse case Mareks. Hopefully our fellow byc'rs can offer more advice but in the meantime here's a few questions that can help.

Ages of the flock

Type of feed/treats

Were they vaccinated for Mareks?

Is there any blood in the droppings?

When you received the chick, did you keep her quarantined from the flock?
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
The missing neck feathers definitely wasn't what I normally see from a rooster. I have no rooster now, he was one of the ones that died suddenly. I don't think any were vaccinated.

There's pictures in my gallery, I couldn't figure out how to get them in the post (too new I guess lol).

I thought there might be a possibility that it was mareks, but not all the symptoms are there. And the only chickens that seem to be affected was the most recent addition of 20 chicks. They were 20 weeks old Saturday, I raised them from about 3 weeks old.

I did a count writing things down (because chicken math is hard lol) and I have lost 7 out of 20 in the 20 weeks. 5 of them within the last 2 weeks. Ive lost others too but those were issues I was able to identify. The first 2 of this flock that I lost were due to leg issues prior to 10 weeks old.

I feed purina laying pellets starting at 16 weeks, medicated chick crumbles from Tractor Supply prior to that.

No blood in poop, but all the 20-weekends had tanish-orange runny poops that held form but we're definitely runnier than normal. And it was pretty much every poop. I would go to the coop every afternoon and I could watch them, and every time they pooped it was tanish orange runny poop.

All the 20 week old chicks were raised In a separate area until 14 weeks. The older chickens have had no issues cept one with a bound up crop.
post #4 of 4
I hear ya on the chicken math lol.

My first instinct was Mareks. Though not all chickens will show all the classic symptoms because that'd be too easy. Are you able to take a dropping sample to a vet to check for things like coccidia?

I really think @casportpony, @aart or @Eggcessive could help you in figuring this out better than I can.
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