Hi all - I am pretty new to chickens and I need some encouragement. I feel like I have been faced with one challenge after another recently and I am getting discouraged. About 6 months ago I got my first flock of 6 hens. My sister gave them to me after she had to move. They were about one to one and a half years old at the time. Life was great. My husband build be a great coop/chicken run and the chickens were happy and laying eggs. I think three of them are moulting now because they quit laying about 2 months ago. Two of the moulting chickens lost some feathers, etc. The third moulting chicken is just mellow but no lost feathers. I checked for mites and didn't see any. They are happy otherwise. I was given a Black Australorp and a Buff Orpington by a friend who couldn't keep them. I got them a month ago and they were 4 months at the time.
When I introduced the two new chickens to my flock I took my time, did it at night as I read on BYC. Well, my buff cut her head open and had a gaping hole in the back of her neck/head. After a lot of TLC, meds and super gluing her head back together, she made a recovery and is doing great. The Black Australorp turned out to be a rooster so I am not sure if I will be able to keep him. Ever since the Buff got hurt, she is very flighty and doesn't mesh with my flock well. She is an outsider so I am not sure If I could keep her or find a home where she is happier.
It all went downhill when I wanted to add to my flock.
I got 5 chicks at 1 day old and they are now almost 8 weeks. They have been great, healthy and just started sleeping outside in a temp pen I built right next to my big coop. They were happy and healthy.
One of the chicks was a rooster chick so I went back to the breeder I got him from and traded him and ended up coming home with 6 more chicks about 5-6 weeks old to add to my small chick flock. Who could pass up silkies and a frizzle??? I kept them separate but had to combine with my other chicks to clean the pen, etc. Well, two of my older chicks started acting funny - puffed feathers, not wanting to walk around, not peeping, thin poop with a mucusy look and possible blood in it, etc. I did some research on here and talked to my sister (had chickens for 20 years) and now I am treating them for cocci. I got Sulmet yesterday and I am giving it to all 10 of my chicks. I am not treating my 8 hens because they have never been in the same coop, just next to them. The hens all seem fine. Should I be treating the older hens too?
I guess I just needed to vent, share my story and hopefully get some encouragement from all you pros out there. It gets better, right? I am just so worried about my chicks and don't want them to die from something that is preventable. Should I just give all the chicks back to the local breeder and start over with a new breeder? This morning is the first 24 hours of Sulmet and the three sick ones seem about the same - maybe 5% better. Is it a matter of time before the other chicks start acting sick even though they are on Sulmet?
Thanks for reading my story and allowing me to vent!! Any encouragement and help would be greatly appreciated.