BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures › chickens dying with no obvious symptoms
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

chickens dying with no obvious symptoms

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have had a terrible week.  Today a 9wk old campine died with no outward marks or symptoms.  Two days ago a blue cochin bantam died at 6wks no symptoms.   A month ago a welsh harliquin duck died at 10 mo.  The only symptoms she displayed was a cut near her eye that was healed after a trip to the vet.  if this is a fixable problem i would like to stop it before other problens occur

 

Facts on our flock and their area

 

10 ducks counting the two drakes 1yr old lived out side for most of the time from metzers

 

2 adult yr old chickens been w us for 10mo from scrable

 

8 chicks 12wk old been outside for 7wks from feed store

 

12 chick 9 wks old beenoutside for 5wks from meyers

 

15 cochin/rosecomb bantams 5wks beem out for 1wk from cackle

 

they live in a shrock storage style building have roosts and screed doors rather than windows they only sleep there

 

plenty of water/ducks access to 2 acre pond

 

lots of shade they free range most of the day

 

it has beem hot lately 80s-near 100 could account for cochin death

 

 

thank you for reading and any advice towards keeping chickens cool would be great canot use mister it is too humid in illinois

 

 

if you have an idea as to why they died i really need the help

post #2 of 8

Hi there!

 

I am sorry to hear about your deaths. I know it is difficult to lose poultry, especially when you don't know the cause of death. I hope you don't lose any more.

 

As to the cause of death, there could be a lot of different reasons. But before I give some suggestions, let me ask a few questions.

 

1) Have you noticed a lot of dark, molasses-like poop (diarrhea) in your coop or around your farm? While it isn't uncommon for free range chickens to occasionally have some indigestion from something they ate on the range, an excessive amount of diarrhea is a good clue that something is wrong.

2) Have you noticed any excessive bullying? Sometimes this stresses birds out so much that they don't eat and drink enough and eventually die (though I'll admit this probably doesn't happen that often).

3) Does their coop have a strong ammonia smell? Excessive ammonia (naturally present in chicken droppings) damages a chicken's lungs overtime, and can lead to respiratory infections.

 

Forgive me if my questions sound elementary. You may already know all of the above but I just wanted to be sure.

 

Regarding the cause of death, I'll list some possibilities, and based on what you know of your flock and your area, you may be able to make a good guess.

 

1) Poisonous plants. While most chickens and poultry instinctively avoid poisonous plants, it is possible for them to be poisoned on occasion.

2) Poisonous spiders/snakes. This is probably not likely (especially with snakes, whose venom would cause the fang-wounds to become unmistakably swollen), but I have heard of small chickens dropping dead without warning (especially at night while roosting), presumably because of spider bites.

3) Botulism. Pond water is usually safe for ducks to drink and play in, but sometimes botulism bacteria can infect particularly stagnant parts of the pond. Botulism can also be present in carcasses of wild animals. If chickens or ducks have access to botulism-infected water it can kill them quickly, though for ducks I've heard the symptoms are usually recognizable and don't often result in sudden deaths.

 

I would suggest keeping as close an eye as you can on your flock's general health. There may be symptoms present that you didn't notice before.

 

I hope this has been helpful. Let us know if you discover anything!

 

~Gresh~

Member of the United States Orloff Club. Visit our website at www.usorloffs.weebly.com. Support the Russian Orloff chicken breed!

 

~Jesus Christ is my Savior~

 

TRUTH: IT'S THE NEW "HATE-SPEECH"
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

~ George Orwell ~

 

"When society regards patriots as terrorists, tyranny has already begun."

Reply

Member of the United States Orloff Club. Visit our website at www.usorloffs.weebly.com. Support the Russian Orloff chicken breed!

 

~Jesus Christ is my Savior~

 

TRUTH: IT'S THE NEW "HATE-SPEECH"
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

~ George Orwell ~

 

"When society regards patriots as terrorists, tyranny has already begun."

Reply
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

thank you for responding.

 

there is very little diarrhea around the coop

 

all of the chickens that have died had full crops and we keep a dog, and cats to control snakes( there were no marks on them).  we have deep liter so amonia could be a problem, but it is well managed by the chickens and myself.  Boutlism- I had two pet chickens that died of this when i just started with chickens (i didn't know what it was then). they found something bad freeranging and it was rather depressing to see happen. Now i clean their entire range regularly.  the cochin didn't have access to pond water. they all avoid they pond, and i spend 2-3 hrs with then chickens every day and i just can't see anything off with them.  I aplolgize for punctuation and spelling.  And I am sorry of I sound a little rude; I don't mean to.  I'm just a little sad and clueless. 

post #4 of 8

Don't worry, you don't sound rude at all. :)

 

Thanks for the extra information on your flock. The full crops may be an indicator of impacted crop (though, of course, they could have died shortly after eating). Do the chickens have access to a lot of long grass or other fibrous material? While grain and standard poultry feed can sometimes impact a crop, I've heard the most warnings about excessive roughage being a crop-impactor.

 

Sounds like your coop is not the problem. Deep litter that is constantly worked around by chickens and their owners is often one of the better litter systems to use. The fact that your birds free-range also helps reduce the possibility of lung infections.

 

Sometimes chickens can contract acute diseases and can die almost without symptoms. It doesn't happen too often but is still a possibility. I've heard experienced chicken keepers talk about this. If you have a vet who treats poultry I would talk with him about it and see if he can think of something. My poultry vet has encouraged me to occasionally bring in fecal samples for her lab to examine...this is often a preventative way to spot diseases or parasitical infections before they get out of hand.

 

If you still have the body of your Campine, I would see if you can take it to your vet or a state lab for an autopsy. I have heard that sometimes state labs will do this for free in order to make sure that dangerous poultry diseases are not spreading in the state. This may give you a better idea of what is killing your birds.

 

Keep me posted!

 

~Gresh~

Member of the United States Orloff Club. Visit our website at www.usorloffs.weebly.com. Support the Russian Orloff chicken breed!

 

~Jesus Christ is my Savior~

 

TRUTH: IT'S THE NEW "HATE-SPEECH"
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

~ George Orwell ~

 

"When society regards patriots as terrorists, tyranny has already begun."

Reply

Member of the United States Orloff Club. Visit our website at www.usorloffs.weebly.com. Support the Russian Orloff chicken breed!

 

~Jesus Christ is my Savior~

 

TRUTH: IT'S THE NEW "HATE-SPEECH"
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

~ George Orwell ~

 

"When society regards patriots as terrorists, tyranny has already begun."

Reply
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

the chickens have acccess to a  totally uncut natural hillside but there is plenty of grit pebbles and sand in the area. the cochin probably spent most of its day near the shed/run.  th campine did, in fact die after its dinner (found under ramp down from the shed).  we have an expensive vet that worked with the duck, but they are mainly for cats/dogs. the only farm vet may know a bit, but they are mainly for horses.  i can check state labs, but will probably have to wiat until monday, we might have the body(i sent it off w one of my family members who normally takes care of that).  i kinda doubt that the labs can test the bird bc we have no state budget and havent for a year even schools might have to cut down to 2-4 day weeks. I will still check though. Thanks for the help!

post #6 of 8

Again, thanks for the additional info.

 

The uncut hillside may be a problem, but it sounds like that wasn't the case with your birds this time. It could just be one of those random things that happen with free-range birds. Young chickens especially can be subject to sudden deaths for various reasons. If you lose any more birds let me know...otherwise, my best guess would be a rare string of usually isolated incidents.

 

One other question. Do you use any weed killer or pesticide around your place, or do you use insect spray on, say, wasps nests outside? I once heard of a man who lost one of his prize show roosters because it ate a cockroach the man had killed with a cockroach-killing spray.

 

~Gresh~

Member of the United States Orloff Club. Visit our website at www.usorloffs.weebly.com. Support the Russian Orloff chicken breed!

 

~Jesus Christ is my Savior~

 

TRUTH: IT'S THE NEW "HATE-SPEECH"
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

~ George Orwell ~

 

"When society regards patriots as terrorists, tyranny has already begun."

Reply

Member of the United States Orloff Club. Visit our website at www.usorloffs.weebly.com. Support the Russian Orloff chicken breed!

 

~Jesus Christ is my Savior~

 

TRUTH: IT'S THE NEW "HATE-SPEECH"
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

~ George Orwell ~

 

"When society regards patriots as terrorists, tyranny has already begun."

Reply
post #7 of 8
post #8 of 8

Update?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures › chickens dying with no obvious symptoms