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Three sudden deaths - any ideas? Lupine poisoning?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi folks,

 

I've lost three birds from presumably the same thing in the past year, but they have been VERY spread out in time (2 last summer, one today). The birds didn't come from the same place and were all 1-3 years old and previously healthy. They have all exhibited the same symptoms and trajectory, starting with depression and lower body paralysis (flopping over, can't walk, but head upright), and ending with convulsions and death a few hours later. They wouldn't take water or food, did not appear egg or crop-bound, and were acting normal the day before. I must emphasize, in the time between these deaths all other chickens in the flock have been fine. I.e., I don't think it's disease but some kind of toxicity/poisoning.

 

I live on large acreage and they have a coop where they are locked up safe at night but free range during the day. It's the mountains and there is lupine in the yard, which I know to be toxic. All deaths have occurred during seasons when lupine is present, but I have never seen a chicken eating the plant. Otherwise the only thing I can think of is something in our grey water - our sink drains into the yard (I know, gross, but it's temporary) and they love to pick at that area (but again, they don't all get sick and die!). The only dangerous things I can think of coming out of the sink are a small amount of coffee grinds and soap suds (we use eco-friendly, biodegradable dish detergent). 

 

Has anyone out there seen lupine or any other kind of poisoning? Is this how it presents? I hate losing birds and not knowing what is causing it or when it will happen again makes it even worse. :( Thanks in advance for any insight.

post #2 of 4

It might be coccidiosis. My chickens would act pretty much the exact same way when they had coccidiosis except sometimes they'd hang in there a couple days before they died. I took in one that looked healthy to the vet, who told me what it was and instructed me to give them Corid in their water for a few days. I haven't had any die since. If that is the problem, you should also give them apple cider vinegar in their water once a week and clean up their coop so they are less exposed to coccidiosis. You might want to find a vet to look at one of your chickens to see if that's what it is or look at a dropping under a microscope. Hope this helps :)

Burd-Lover through and through

 

I am a Christian. Jesus is awesome!

1 John 5:12 - He who has the Son has life.

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Burd-Lover through and through

 

I am a Christian. Jesus is awesome!

1 John 5:12 - He who has the Son has life.

Reply
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks, DuckGirl77. We did a necropsy on the one that died last week and it didn't look at all like coccidiosis from the descriptions I've read online. It's a small flock and we live in an arid climate and there aren't any of the conditions that would lead to the parasite thriving. The necropsy revealed a packed crop and gut, which was likely what killed her. I found her ill in the morning, and at that point it had been 12 hours or more since she went to roost, so they shouldn't have been full. There was probably an impaction or blockage leading to sour crop/toxicity. We don't provide grit, but they free range and should have access to plenty. I think I'll start providing some in the coop anyway, and probably some probiotics and hope for the best. It's so frustrating when they die for no "good" reason. 

post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by 20Kmiles View Post
 

Thanks, DuckGirl77. We did a necropsy on the one that died last week and it didn't look at all like coccidiosis from the descriptions I've read online. It's a small flock and we live in an arid climate and there aren't any of the conditions that would lead to the parasite thriving. The necropsy revealed a packed crop and gut, which was likely what killed her. I found her ill in the morning, and at that point it had been 12 hours or more since she went to roost, so they shouldn't have been full. There was probably an impaction or blockage leading to sour crop/toxicity. We don't provide grit, but they free range and should have access to plenty. I think I'll start providing some in the coop anyway, and probably some probiotics and hope for the best. It's so frustrating when they die for no "good" reason. 

Glad you finally know the cause. I feel your pain. I lost six in less than a year, among them some good layers, and there was no reason they should have died. I learned to research and take them to the vet right away when I see a problem.

Burd-Lover through and through

 

I am a Christian. Jesus is awesome!

1 John 5:12 - He who has the Son has life.

Reply

Burd-Lover through and through

 

I am a Christian. Jesus is awesome!

1 John 5:12 - He who has the Son has life.

Reply
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