2 dead today, this makes 4... freezing to death?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickensducks&agoose, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. chickensducks&agoose

    chickensducks&agoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    this morning, i found one of my young pullets (from last july) dead in the run. i must have missed her when i closed up, but i can't imagine why she would have chosen to stay out in the run instead of coming inside. it was -10 degrees last night, so either she died before night, or she froze to death in the night. our Japanese bantam wasn't looking so great either this morning... his comb was kind of purplish, and he wasn't moving. so i put him directly under the light and gave him some warm water and food. he ate the food, some of it, but was dead by 1pm. i can't imagine it's any kind of disease, since we lost one 2 weeks ago, and another one just before that, i think it's the cold weather thinning our flock. we've lost both bantam roos, and 2 of our chicks from Meyers. we had 6 from Meyers, 2 died within a week, and now 2 more have died, much later. i don't think I'm ordering from them again.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    -10 is pretty cold. They could be freezing or dying from the stress of the cold.

    Do you vaccinate for Marek's? How old were these various chickens when they died?
  3. chickensducks&agoose

    chickensducks&agoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    the first one we lost was our Dutch Bantam Roo, born in May. His wife, Mrs. Dutch Bantam is still doing fine. Mr. DB was kind of funny looking, and had bug eyes, and maybe a bit o' brain damage. Then that same day or maybe the next, our tiny little barred rock died (born July from a meyer's order)... this was back maybe 3 weeks ago. She was seriously runty, bottom of the pecking order, and seemed to be made of all feathers, so i wasn't really surprised that she had been excluded from the roost, and got really cold. i tried to warm her up, but she died. then, this morning, our welsummer from the Meyer order was dead, and our strange foundling japanese bantam roo was looking terrible... i don't know how old he was, we found him wandering in our yard in October, and yesterday, he was feeling fine... he was the new bottom of the pecking order. everyone else (other than my 30 week old cornish jumbo X, who is looking less than healthy right now) is doing fine! I hope it is just the cold, and the fact that our heat lamp (on a timer), didn't come on last night, the bulb was shot, and DH, who was supposed to shut the coop up, didn't realize.
  4. The Fairy Godmartyr

    The Fairy Godmartyr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2010
    No help on what's killing the chickens (although at that temperature, I would suspect the cold, too--especially for the one left out). I just thought I would say, for what it's worth, I got 14 chicks from Meyer in July. One died within the first week (and it was from their "bargain bin" of extra chicks that is sitting in their lobby, so it could have been mishandled by someone looking at chicks for all I know). The other thirteen are all still perfectly healthy. Things happen, but that doesn't mean it's the hatchery's fault. Especially when you have chickens not from that hatchery dying, too.

    Good luck. I hope you don't have any more losses. [​IMG]
  5. chickensducks&agoose

    chickensducks&agoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    thanks, i think it's probably the cold, but i do think that at least some of my meyer chicks must have some sort of weakness, or something, because of the 6 we had, we've lost 4! 2 as little chicks, and then 2 more to the cold... so recently, 2 meyer pullets and 2 bantam roos... it could also be that those breeds are just less hardy with this kind of cold... the red meyer chick and the dark one (don't know what they are) seem fine...
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    A necropsy would be a good idea. So would selecting cold hardy breeds. Meyers has been around a long time, with as good a reputation as any hatchery. I'd look elsewhere for the cause. Might even be they'd send you some replacements or at least give you some ideas about causes if you called them.
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    It is so hard to tell. I'm sorry for your loss.

    I have a coop full of Meyer's Hatchery, Polk, OH production Reds. It was -10 last night, but we've had a slew of subzero nights the past month.
    No issues. Healthy and crazy as ever. No heat.

    I would feel bad for one left outside in the wind, but temps don't kill chickens that have acclimated to it gradually. Cold hardy breeds were bred for this in North America and have been raised in the cold for 250 years.

    I would be more suspicious of some kind of disorder or disease malady. Hope you get to the bottom of this.
  8. LindenLiving

    LindenLiving Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 10, 2011
    Upstate New York
    I don't think it is the cold, but they may be cold. Reading my chicken book and other posts I have learned to give them additional food to eat before they roost for the night. Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens suggests feeding a little scratch at nightfall to increase body warmth during nighttime perching. Also, keep their water warm. I bring out warm water in the morning and check it during the day to ensure it doesn't freeze. At around 5pm I bring additional warm water out so they don't drink cold water before they roost. Make sure you stir up their bedding. I find that a deep layer of straw allows the best insulation for my coop. Another thing, in the very cold, let them eat as much as they want to help maintain their body heat. I accidentally left out two chickens over night (10 degrees) but as they had access to food in the pen they survived my stupidity. Hope this helps.
  9. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    I would expect if all other birds seem fine it may be nature's way of culling the weak. This doesn't change just because we keep chickens in coops. The weakest still may not survive. Failure to thrive or "runty" chickens would definitely be more susceptible to the weather....and keep in mind, a weak chicken may be able to squeeze by in perfect conditions but once conditions are no longer "ideal", then nature is basically culling out the weak.

    Sad but not much you can do about it, short of taking these "weaker" chickens and coddling them all winter. I have a 6 month old who has been in a brooder all along as she has failed to thrive. Had she been out in that weather there is no way she would have lasted this long.
  10. chickensducks&agoose

    chickensducks&agoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    nella, i think you're right. it seems like whichever chicken is the dumbest/smallest/thinnest/least popular ends up dying... our tiny dutch roo was certainly an odd one... and this latest bantam roo, he came to us in bad condition, but had made much improvement over the past few months, and was my favorite, so i felt this loss keenly. I give them warm water every morning, afternoon and evening, and have a lamp in there on a timer. Last night I went out with my best friend, and DH was in charge. i don't think he gave them warm water, and I know he didn't rearrange them on the roost like I do... and he must not have counted.. if I'd been home, i'd have known that our welsummer was missing. but now another meyer chick is the smallest/weakest, i think she's a RIR, but she's kind of runty too... maybe I need to bring her inside.

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