All 3 bantams died. Desperately trying to find the cause...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by uberschweiz, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. uberschweiz

    uberschweiz New Egg

    Nov 24, 2011
    We're first time chicken owners and got 3 silver duckwing old english game hen bantams last week. They were all 4 month old pullets.

    The weather has been extremely rainy here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon over the past few days — over 1" a day plus strong winds. Last night I went out around 10pm in the rain to check on the chickens and found them huddled together out in the run. Apparently they couldn't find their way up the ramp and into the coop. The run is protected with chicken wire 8' high, but the rain still falls through the top.

    I picked up each bantam and placed them in the coop by hand, and tucked them in for the night thinking they would be ok.

    Today, they were in the coop all day without food or water (our fault) but thought they would be fine until this evening until we could address them.

    We're completely confused as to what could have happened.

    Here's some assumptions we had:
    - 4 month old chickens can be outside in any weather
    - They won't die in 1 day without food or water
    - Chickens will go back into the chicken coop (providing they know where it is) to get out of the rain

    We would appreciate any feedback you can give as we're a little devastated from this and obviously don't what this to happen again.

    Ben & Shauna
  2. Hens_And_Chicks

    Hens_And_Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2009
    Don't know for sure but they could have been stressed from the move and the weather. Babies are funny like that. Sorry for your loss. It is always hard to lose them. Unfortunately, I think being without water helped [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  3. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    I'd say theycould deal with a day without food, but without water/any moisture at all... pushing it a little. Birds have very fast metabolisms.

    Plus shipped birds get sent with fruit (lots of moisture) or have extra water put straight into their crop for a 1 or 2 day trip in order to be ok.

    Stress would have been a factor though.

    Do you know if they had experienced that kind of rain before? It may have scared them so they 'froze' rather than just seeked shelter
  4. rarely bored

    rarely bored Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 22, 2011
    Central California
    Welcome to BYC... sorry the circumstances are so sad.

    I agree the lack of food/water and being in a high stress situation took them over the edge. They are small animals they should have water and food available to them in the daytime.
  5. uberschweiz

    uberschweiz New Egg

    Nov 24, 2011
    Thanks everyone for the input. Definitely a hard pill to swallow and to learn from this mistake.

    We'll be sure to not let this happen again. [​IMG]
  6. ChicknThief

    ChicknThief Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2008
    Nor Cal
    I'm so sorry for your loss! [​IMG] Please don't beat yourself up over it. We all have to learn these lessons.

    A year and a half ago, we lost our ENTIRE flock of 80+ birds. My mom had an emergency in the morning and forgot to let the chickens out of their coops (I had moved out of the house already). They went all day in the middle of June with no water in stifling heat. Only a couple survived. We were no newbies either. We had been doing poultry for years.

    My point, everyone makes mistakes. Welcome to BYC [​IMG] You will find that everyone on here is very kind and helpful. We are all happy to help with any questions you may have when you start afresh with another flock. [​IMG]
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    You didn't mention what the temperature was, but if a chicken gets soaked through its feathers lose their insulating properties, and they can get chilled. They need a place to get out of the rain, and unfortunately your flock hadn't figured out where to go to do that. It helps if you can cover the run at least partially because sometimes chickens want to stay outside during the day even when it's rainy to their own detriment.

    Being without water for a whole day is problematic, also. I always keep feed and water inside our coop just in case something comes up that prevents us from tending to the chickens in the morning.

    It could be a combination of these stressors that caused the demise of your flock, but since you only had them for a week, they might have been ill when you got them. It's impossible to say for sure.

    By the way, I just wanted to be sure that you realize that chicken wire won't protect chickens from predators. I would hate for you to replace your flock and then come out one day to find it is wiped out again because some critter ripped through the chicken wire and got to your chickens.
  8. Tracy the chick

    Tracy the chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2011
    Please dont beat yourself up about this! Im sure most of us have made mistakes in our life i know i have... Welcome [​IMG]. Tracy x
  9. TreeHugger

    TreeHugger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    I say they were soaked from the rain and got chilled, especially since that breed doesn't have much body mass. If it was raining hard enough they might not have been able to see good enough to get back into the coop.

    A few years ago there was an ice/snow storm and a few of my chickens froze to death outside. I think the ramp got to slippery for them to make it back into the coop. After that I always give them a quick look whenever we have snow or ice.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by