Any ideas? 4 dead chickens in @ 5/6 weeks


10 Years
Jan 21, 2010
We had some severe (for us) cold a few weeks ago, down in the teens for several days. During this time, I lost 2 chickens on the same day. I had checked them the night before, all were fine and all had been fine before. All eating and drinking no change in laying, no new birds except for the 2 Cardinals that had gotten caught in the coop a few days before. So I go out and find the 2 dead, no obvious trauma, unrelated chickens. One was about 2 1/2 yrs old and the other about 1 1/2 yrs old. We figured the cold was more stress than they could handle and didn't have any other ideas as they had not been sick. So on we go and still, none are showing any signs of illness and 10 days later another dead chicken. So on Friday, we were 15 days from the last death, still no signs of illness, had a cold night Thursday but all seemed fine when I checked them that night before bedtime. I go out Friday to check them and another dead chicken, this one was about a year old. Any ideas? I am not finding any parasites, all were last wormed a few months ago.

No mites? How is their feed- any mold or clumping? Did you check them over very carefully for small injuries or puncture marks?

I think I would send the next dead bird(s) in for necropsy. It seems too mysterious to guess at a cause. A necropsy will tell you for sure.

I hope you find some answers. Good luck.
Right, no mites that I can see, clean water daily and feed is good. Feed is clean and smells/looks fine. I am just at a loss here with them not acting sick or anything. My vet told me when the 3rd died that if it happened again, we'd send it off to the vet school. It was a Friday and didn't want it to sit around all weekend somewhere. Not sure if freezing will affect the necropsy and tests that can be done but that's what we did was put her in the freezer until Monday. Yes checked them over and not a mark on them. If I get any answers, I will post back here. Just thought in the meantime I would toss it out and see if there was anything anyone could suggest.

Ive had the occassional MYSTERY Death before but not back to back. You can put your bird in frig till necropsy can be done if you happen to have an extra frig-I wouldnt put it in with my groceries!. Very strange...if not seeing any symptoms Id sure be changing feed in a hurry as thats the first thought that comes to mind...bad feed. Wouldnt hurt to ad a heat lamp just in case it is the weather, but sure sounds mighty strange for older birds...please post if you find out the cause.
Just an your birds free range?? Could they be eating anything like rat or fly bait??...or are they around antifreeze ect. They are dumb enough to eat/drink just about anything. Ive had bleach straight up soaking some feeders waters etc and my free rangers will go to it and take a gulp as I run screaming at one has died due to it amazingly enough, but they are dumb!
No extra frig so she's in a freezer at the vet clinic. They are fenced in a large area but no access to anything they should not get into. Feed looks/smells fine, I am even on a new bag although I don't know if it was the same batch I guess. But the feed looks/smells as it always has, I check it as I put it out always and water containers are kept clean and fresh water daily. Just don't get it when none of those that died, ever acted ill, were 100% fine in how they looked and acted until well they turned up dead. We check on them often and spend a lot of time with them, most time they are alone not checked is over night and probably not more than @ 8 hrs from when I check them at bedtime until they are let out in the morning. The cold was new record lows for us and I did have heat lamps in the coop during that time but it was still cold. Kept heat on the water and never had it freeze. All of them have died during the same time of day, between when they are let out and being checked on mid day/early afternoon. One my my vet's suggested it was a respiratory illness related to the cold but I would expect to have obvious symptoms. The wild birds (mostly Cardinals) have been around the area more in the cold looking for food. But we do increase the food we put out for the wild birds when it's cold and there is water for them out too. I wonder about them getting something from the Cardinals but I still go back to no obvious symptoms so I don't know. Hopefully having had to freeze won't cause trouble with the necropsy. Not seeing any dead wild birds either. I was going to go with the cold being too much stress for them when it was the 1st 3 as it was still cold and we were just coming out of the bad cold but the 4th made me wonder if it was something else.

Thanks for the input, I will post anything we find out.

we'll be waiting to hear what the report has to say, and sorry for your losses,

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