5 hens dead in 4 weeks! WHY????

Vickity907

In the Brooder
Jul 5, 2018
15
24
29
I've only had chicken for a year now. But I've had 5 hens in 4 weeks die. This morning I went out and The QUEEN MUM was acting drunk and fell over in the snow. She's always done well in cold weather and we've had a cold snap here in Alaska but now we're in the 40's during the day.

I have several mature chickens that are not laying. AT ALL! So I don't know if they're just getting old or what the problem is. BUT the others that died earlier were hens I hatched this spring.

I'm just confused!!! I've fed them normally. They have fresh water all the time and occasionally I give them ACV in the water. WHY ARE THEY DYING? AND why have the others just stopped laying.

PLEASE HELP!!!
 

ChickenCanoe

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Coccidia is an eimeria protozoa.
Mature hens that have been on a property for some time won't be dying in short order from coccidiosis. They have developed resistance by now.

This can be tough in a sparsely populated state the size of Alaska but the only way to know is with a necropsy and lab work. There are just too many things it could be without testing but with 5 dead in short order, it is time for tests.
Call this lab. They may send you a FedEx label for shipping a fresh carcass or they will direct you to someone that can do the tests.
https://dec.alaska.gov/eh/lab.aspx

Your older birds aren't laying now because we are only a month from winter solstice. Diminished day length has sent them hormonal signals to cease production. Some time after winter solstice, they'll all resume.
 

Wyorp Rock

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I've only had chicken for a year now. But I've had 5 hens in 4 weeks die. This morning I went out and The QUEEN MUM was acting drunk and fell over in the snow. She's always done well in cold weather and we've had a cold snap here in Alaska but now we're in the 40's during the day.

I have several mature chickens that are not laying. AT ALL! So I don't know if they're just getting old or what the problem is. BUT the others that died earlier were hens I hatched this spring.

I'm just confused!!! I've fed them normally. They have fresh water all the time and occasionally I give them ACV in the water. WHY ARE THEY DYING? AND why have the others just stopped laying.

PLEASE HELP!!!
I'm sorry for your loss.
Without a necropsy/testing it would be hard to know what is happening. Can you refrigerate the last one that died and send it to you state lab here https://dec.alaska.gov/eh/lab/lab-submission-manual-forms.aspx

Acting drunk - have you checked your feed for spoilage/mold, do the chickens have access to a compost pile or anything rotten. Tell us what you normally feed them.

Photos of their poop?
When you mention that you have several mature chickens - how old is that? Are any of your older girls molting right now?
 

coach723

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Feb 12, 2015
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So sorry for your losses. :hugs
I think since you have lost so many in a short time you would be best served having a necropsy done to tell you why. There is a diagnostic lab in Anchorage: http://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
This way you will know if it's viral, bacterial, a toxin, etc. and what to do moving forward. If your older birds are or have molted this year that may be why they are not laying. Laying tapers off with age gradually, and they take more time off during the winter when daylight hours are shorter, birds in molt will cease laying during molt and may not start laying until spring depending on breed and age. If the lack of laying is related to why you lost the others, the necropsy should answer that.
 

Eggcessive

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Edited to say that both Wyorp Rock, Coach and I were posting simultaneously, and they are very good. Cold weather can be stressful as they age. That is the time of year that I lose more chickens. It would bbe hard to know the exact cause of death without getting a necropsy by the nearest poultry lab, but sometimes you can look at asymptoms and then do a home necropsy, examining the internal organs. The intestines, liver color, the pressence of egg matter, infection, and fat can tell some.

The other poster suggested coccidiosis, an intestinal infection they can get from the soil and their poop. It causes runny poop, sometimes with blood, a poor appetite, standing around hunched or puffed up, and lethargic behavior or sleepiness. Most chickens develop immunity to cococidiosis as they grow up.

The treatment is amprollium, Corid in the US, Amprol, or other names, such as Coxoid in Europe. You might find it at a feed store, especially where cattle products are found. A vet can prescribe sulfa antibiotics or Corid.

What is the age of your chickens that have died? What symptoms have you seen? Crop problems and reproductive problems are common in chickens. Feel of their breast to check for weight loss, and feel the lower bellies for any swelling or fullness. Check that crops are emptying normally overnight. Sorry for your loss.
 

Vickity907

In the Brooder
Jul 5, 2018
15
24
29
I'm sorry for your loss.
Without a necropsy/testing it would be hard to know what is happening. Can you refrigerate the last one that died and send it to you state lab here https://dec.alaska.gov/eh/lab/lab-submission-manual-forms.aspx

Acting drunk - have you checked your feed for spoilage/mold, do the chickens have access to a compost pile or anything rotten. Tell us what you normally feed them.

Photos of their poop?
When you mention that you have several mature chickens - how old is that? Are any of your older girls molting right now?
I use Scratch and Peck feed. It's fresh out of the bag. No one is molting.
I will call the lab. Today.
 

MANNA-PRO

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