A Sick Flock, or Coincidence....advice on what's wrong?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by VictoriasImage77, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. VictoriasImage77

    VictoriasImage77 Hatching

    Mar 4, 2007
    Hello. I am wondering whats going on with my flock and hope someone can give me their thoughts.

    Here's the story.....

    -April 2005~We started out with 15 healthy chicks (9 hens, 6 roosters).
    -Spring 2006~ we hatched 3 hens, and one rooster. At the same time, we bought 3 hen chicks from the local feed store (*from a reputable hatchery).
    -Winter 2006~We adopted 2 unwanted roosters from a friend, who got them from a feed store as chicks, also from a good hatchery.

    That brings us to 24 chickens (7 roosters, 17 hens).
    We started all ours on medicated feed (except the 2 one yr old roos, we didnt raise them). Never had any problems, or mortalities. No sickness with the exception of a single case of bumblefoot, and a hen that I thought was eggbound, but it ended up being kinda a chronic state of unthriftiness..

    A little while after the two new roosters came in (we kept them separate of course), the hen that was looking unthrifty for quite some time (apparently it wasnt egg binding), was found dead. She would have been two in spring 2007. I wanna say about a week after that, my sister witnessed our largest Rhode Island Red rooster apparently having a "heart attack" and dying. He was also the same age as the cinnamon queen. Maybe a week later my family noticed an almost 2 yr old white silkie bantam hen looking unthrifty with a bit of diarrhea. She was dead by the next day. And just a few days ago, another WSB hen, also almost 2, was found dead. So all were our first batch of older chickens.

    Now, it is an unusually cold winter, and I know the ones that died were into their second year, but it still makes me wonder. They all have access to water and good feed, so it is not hydration or anything like that. There is a heat lamp on especially cold days in the coop for some relief. They have never been in contact with outside poultry since they were chicks, with the exception of these two new roosters, who are apparently healthy and have been quarentined for a few weeks. But the fact that we have never had a mortality until soon after these two came into the barn....and then suddenly we lose 4 in a matter of a month and a half makes me wonder if there could be something the roosters brought in. I know the family that had them before has never had chickens before this, and they started with four ( 2 killed by a coon, these were left) so I dont know how likely that would be.

    Now I have a 2 yr old Americauna hen looking sickly. She is all fluffed up, her eyes look watery, and although her mouth is not open, she seems to be breathing heavily. The symptoms look kinda like egg binding, and I think there may be a little diarrhea. But I have been wrong about egg binding before. Kinda like the first that died, but not exactly.

    So are we just losing them to age and cold weather? Is there something going around? If so what? Everyone else seems suprised that we never lost a bird before this.....but it judt doesnt seem normal to me.

  2. TheBigWRanch

    TheBigWRanch Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    Wenatchee, Washington
    It's not age. A chicken has the potential to live to be 30, but very few do because of improper care and predators. I'm sorry I can't help more, I'm not sure what they have.
  3. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    Remove anyone that looks sick from the rest of the flock. From there, I have no idea what it is, so I can't tell you if you should give antibiotics or what.
    PAGING WES!!!!
  4. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    You might check them for worms by taking a fecal to a vet. A bird vet would be preferable but any vet should be able to do a simple worm check. Chickens do get worms and that could be your problem.

  5. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    I am very cautious about inheriting chickens, I personally like to raise them from chicks so I know how they were raised. One thing you need to be careful of is mold on feed it can be deadly to chickens. Also I would start taking preventative measures to guard against worms and parasites like adding maybe some DE to their feed and raw apple cider vinegar to their water.
  6. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    you need to get any deaths necropsied to be sure of what they died from...you do not mention worming your flock... there are several possibilites but lacking more detailed info (which would only be a guess at best ) you should really have necropsies done to sort this out...
    You can find info on how to do this in your area here:
  7. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    If you can find a state lab, have a necropsy done there. Sometimes the state will do the necropsy for free if you tell them you have birds dropping dead.
  8. prariechiken

    prariechiken Songster

    Feb 9, 2007
    The thing about going to the state, if it turns out to be a reportable disease, it is possible they could come and cull your flock, so be prepared for this. The new birds could be carrier birds that brought the "bug" in, or wild birds or rodents could have brought in this affliction. Also, if they are showing signs if sickness do not worm your birds, birds under stress like this are likely to die from worming. Without further info, it would be hard to take advice on treatment from these boards. So many chicken diseases show the same symptoms, that it would be hard to know what to treat w/o a necropsy. (Get ya a Chicken Health Handbook by Damerow, all flock owners should have this reference book, even though alot of the treatments are cull the flock and eventually start over.)

    For just a guess on whats ailing them, I know Coryza can be a problem, esp when the birds have been put under stress (temp change, overcrowding, change in feed etc.). If they are having "breathing" problems, (swollen sinuses, discharge), a little Vetrx will work wonders for them. If you notice a "foul" odor, a sure sign of Inf. Coryza, you might try gallimycin or a sulfadrug to medicate. But this is just a guess from my experiences. No matter what it is, those that recover will be carriers. It is best to breed for immunity and cull the sick, hard to do with our feathered friends, but reality as flock owners.

    I do hope you get enough info to help your birds, good luck...

  9. robin416

    robin416 Songster

    Feb 6, 2007
    Having a necropsy done is the best advice given so far and taking a fecal to the vet is the other one you should not ignore.

    If its a reportable disease then so be it. As much as I enjoy my birds if they ended up having anything that could pose a danger to other birds then I want to know about it. If that means culling and starting over then that is far better than worrying for how ever long it would be before I could add new birds to the flock without posing a high mortality risk.

    By not doing the necropsy you could also have a disease in your flock that is easily curable and suffer no more losses.

    This thing of avoiding a necropsy because of possible reportable diseases is not the way to raise a healthy flock.
  10. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Where are you? I have to agree with the Necropsy. We are going through all kinds of grief with our flock, but I can testify absolutely that you can't know for sure til you have a necropsy done; there are so many look-alikes. And chickens almost never show their symptoms til they're really sick. If it's a reportable disease (as was mentioned before); so be it; the state vets here have been very sympathetic to us and have given us lots of advice that they don't really have to; if you cooperate with them they'll be more willing to help you. If it is reportable, you'll be saving someone else some grief, and maybe yourself, too.

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