Am i doing something really wrong? birds dying :(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Nyxish, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. Nyxish

    Nyxish Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 23, 2009
    i started with 5 Buff Orphington hens, ordered from cackle hatchery in MO. They are now a year and 1/2 old, or so. They live in a sturdy coop with an attached run, i use pine shavings in the coop, (tho for the first couple months they were outside i did use cedar shavings, which i was later told is bad). i at least partially change out the pine chips every couple months, and completely clean out and scrub the coop entirely once a year. They get to free range in the yard when i'm home, i live in a wooded area of upstate NY. They eat layer blends from dumore or layena depending on what the feed store has, and get treats of BOSS, salad, birdseed, cooked brown rice, etc.

    At the beginning of Jan one of my girls, Honey, was acting really lethargic and looked miserable. When i caught her, her abdoman was all swollen. i followed the advice for constipation or being eggbound (warm baths, molassass and water) and there was no change. When we took her to the vet (my poor vet just *cringes* when i call, i just know it, but he gamely does his best) he extracted some of the fluid and basically it came back that she was in organ failure, her kidneys weren't processing so fluid was just building up in her body. There wasn't anything he could do. We put her to sleep.

    Now Buffy is presenting with similar symptoms, tho Buffy's belly and backside are bare skin (Honey was still feathered and fluffy, even when sick) and the swelling seems more centrally contained instead of widespread. i don't know if it's just earlier in the process? When i touch her belly, i can't feel an egg in her, i don't think, tho i don't know if i'd know what i'm looking for. She is alert and walking around, not lathargic... tho she spent last night in my warm bathroom and i think she's stressed from being lonely and scared away from the flock.

    If she is facing organ failure too, am i doing something wrong? Is this kind of thing environmental or genetic? Am i poisoning my birds? i'm just so sad. :( Any advice or thoughts?
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  2. chickens4us

    chickens4us Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 13, 2012
    It sounds like they have gotten into poison at some point, it takes awhile for poison to affect the organs sometimes. I worry that a good chunk of them have taken it in about a month or so ago. Have you thoroughly looked over their free range area? Are there pool chemicals,etc. kept in the area? I would be tempted to keep them in the coop/maybe fence them in, since that is a controllable area.
  3. 5Leepy!

    5Leepy! Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Also check their feed... smell it and make sure it's not moldy. Make sure their living areas are all good and dry.

    Good Luck!
  4. Nyxish

    Nyxish Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 23, 2009
    We don't have pool chemicals here, don't use pesticides or lawn chemicals or anything like that. the neighbors don't spray their lawn or anything. i can't think of anything around they might have gotten into except maybe the rock salt on the driveway...? but even that is really rare right now because it's been so mild and they have been kept to the run most of winter because my work schedule has been crazy.

    Their food (and the birdseed they get as treats) is inside the house and dry before it goes into the feeder, so that isn't moldy. The only place i can think of that would have mold the might be pecking around in would be the compost...

    i'll check the coop again - i know there are a few places that need some tweaking because of small leaks, but nothing big. Maybe is worse then i saw. Their bedding is dry, nesting areas are dry. We change their water at least once a week or when they need the waterer refilled.
  5. KrisH

    KrisH Chillin' With My Peeps

    what is the protin level on the food. I have read that too high of a protien diet can cause trouble too.

  6. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    Do a search here for internal egg laying...esp by speckled hen I believe it was and see if that can be the issue.
  7. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2007
    New England
    Swollen abdomens and internal fluids can be signs of several diseases. I had two hens, same age, same hatchery. They both had those external symptoms, and died several months apart. I did necropsies and was surprised that they had two totally different issues. One was an internal layer and she had peritonitis. The other had cancer. Neither were diseases that could have been cured. So, put your mind to rest. I'm sure you're giving your birds a good and healthy life. Chickens are comparatively short-lived and they are susceptible to many (dramatic!) diseases. Genetically, some are more susceptible than others. Some lines are studier than others. Don't let it discourage you. I written a lot about these issues on my blog, at

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