Biddie Death Wish - 40% bird loss

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BiddieBehavior, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. BiddieBehavior

    BiddieBehavior Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 25, 2015
    Now about 5 weeks old... I ordered from Moyer's Chicks in PA 150 Production Red pullets. Had successfully ordered and raised groups from them in 2013 and 2014 without a single bird loss. This year's batch so far has had a death wish with a loss of approximately 40% in 5 weeks.

    Moyer's was notified and said they were not aware of anyone else having a problem out of the 28,600 chicks in the run. So I am looking to connect with anyone having biddie behavior problems, a 'death wish' with mounding against walls or in corners, and or behavior that is irregular such as very few of them going on the roosts to sit as would normally be happening.

    I am looking to at least have the company stand behind it's product and either replace the biddies or refund the money already laid out. It is a totally frustrating experience.

    Thank you for your time.

    Edited by Staff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2015
  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    What is your brooder set-up? How large? What is the heat source?

    Without more information, I'm suspecting you may be experiencing overcrowding related problems.
     
  3. Akwasi

    Akwasi Out Of The Brooder

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    Will really help if the problem is from Moyer's. However I suspect your brooder may be having some issues as Azygous pointed out
     
  4. BiddieBehavior

    BiddieBehavior Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your response. Heat source is from four lamps hanging suspended from the ceiling in a wire cage approximately 36" X 36". Every time I look at the birds they are never close to filling a quarter of the space, and sometimes not under it at all.
    ..........
    Here is more detail in an email from me to Moyer's Hatchery describing the situation and conditions:

    This is my third order, September 16, 2015 date, and totally frustrated and discouraged with the outcome.

    First I was losing a bird or two a day. After talking with Leon another died and I decided to take two sample bird losses to be looked at by the State of Delaware wanting to eliminate the chance of bird flu, connecting through those who test animals at Dill's Auction in Camden Wyoming. Another two birds were delivered fresh to the office in Georgetown. After inspection the doctor suggested Duramycin 10 for 5 - 7 days, finding a possibility of an e coli problem and nothing in another bird. The total lost through the end of the use of meds was 9 from the original 153 ordered, ending about the 3rd week.

    The biddies were starting to fly and outgrowing the original containment area, so they were moved out to a larger barn, an area approximately 10' X 32' with an area of heat lamps, large water containers and feeders as well as roosts. For some reason they mounded in a corner and smothered the lower birds, something not experienced in prior flocks. Corrected that with an angled board with a crate on it's side in front of it stabilized with 3 bricks inside. That seemed to end this problem area.

    Upon opening the barn the next morning I found the entire wall from the crate to the hanging feeder (the length of at least 5 nesting boxes) with birds mounded, and 15 dead underneath. Upset, removed them... checked to see if there were solutions to this problem on the internet. Possibly more roosts? Added 5 roosts from between 2" off the floor to 5" above the floor and set the lower ones next to the wall. That night some were roosting on them, thought this a possible solution.

    Monday morning I opened up their area and found the roosts basically empty and birds mounded under and between the feeder and the wall, not at the roost area. (The feeder has an outside spout to be able to pour feed in a funnel to refill easily so it is in close proximity to the wall... has been like that for the last 4 years of flocks when the barn was built.) When moving the mounds of birds there were 20 dead beneath. I moved the feeder onto a single piece of 2 x 10 so there was no room to get under it, and it was in an open area.

    Before coming in for the night I checked again and found legs sticking out from under mounds of birds without the feeder being there. By the way, it is a mixture of some of the largest birds dying and none of the smaller ones (some very small that I think were more of the egg sack problem originally experienced). They try to hold their ground when being pushed away to uncover the remains of others below.

    Out of the original 153 birds, I am hopefully at 100 left if there is any luck, most likely less in the morning. The origin order was expanded from 103 to 153 and the order charges are as follows:
    7 – 13 – 15 $185.54
    8 – 25 – 15 82.00
    $267.54 subtotal
    9 – 18 – 15 -3.28 refund for delivered dead chicks
    9 – 25 – 15 -3.28 refund for egg sack irregularity chicks
    $260.98 total

    One month into growing these birds I have gone through other expenses of 4 bags of feed and two pouches of Duramycin-10, let alone the time cleaning pasted bottoms, cleaning cages, feeding and watering them but worst of all the frustration of day after day losing birds... especially now to this massive extent! I am so disgusted I'm ready to cancel raising birds all together, it has left a terrible mark that will not easily go away. I am 66 and retired, doing this for the love of animals and do not give up easily.... but this is totally ridiculous.

    After checking this morning there are another 9 birds dead, so the count is somewhere at 90 or below. Tomorrow, whatever is alive will be packed up and removed to auction.

    The first two years dealing with Moyers Hatchery were wonderful, great bird personalities and no bird loss. I am extremely concerned about raising a good product for a laying hen.

    There is something massively wrong here that needs to be brought to your attention. What do you suggest?
    ..............

    Yes, it is happening in both daytime as well as night, because in the morning I find some of them piled on each other against the wall... plus there was one flattened out next to the feeder in the new location and not a single bird anywhere around it.

    1 – Environmental conditions – temperature too cool or too hot would be difficult to obtain with the setup of four lamps inside a wire cage hung from the ceiling for the birds to get under, and never has it been filled with birds under it. Some go under it but at the same time they are also spread out in the remainder of the 10' x 32' barn they have to roam in. I have never witnessed anything near more than half the area covered in biddies trying to be warm. The barn is not insulated. There is plenty of fresh are from where the siding and headers meet the tin roof where the ribs on the roofing are open to vent. Windows are available for light but they are not open with the cooler temperatures.

    2 – Nutritional or electrolyte imbalance from to much stress or improper feed ration or specific nutrient deficiency.... I would feel certain if that was the case when the birds were analyzed by the State of Delaware there would have been a suggestion to adjust the feed to correct the problem. There was no such suggestion. The feed I use is the exact same as for all prior years' flocks from Tractor Supply. It was mentioned to the doctor when the analysis was taking place and it was not a problem.

    3 – Loud noises or bright flashing light at night … We live in the country set far back from the road. At times there may be an emergency vehicle siren, but that would be all. We are not near a firehouse or rescue squad that would be in close proximity. I house rabbits next to the chicken barn and they are not jittery or showing any upset by something being disruptive to them.

    And yes, the heat lamps have been on since Day One of having the birds. When moved to the larger facility the heat lamps were set up before they entered and have remained on to date. Therefore my opinion is that whatever is wrong with these birds cannot be corrected with the addition of light.

    You are correct, they have a death wish and it is baffling to me why it is happening and continues to happen. I appreciate your suggestions to try understanding the problem. After calming down, today I decided not to take the remainder of birds to auction but instead to contain this problem here.

    There is evidence of a possible bad rooster in production as much as some biddies I received had problems with the egg sack development, with it hanging out of the back end as we had previously discussed. Also a few of the birds are very stunted in becoming 50% of the size of others so I did not catch all that had the problem.

    Basically I am looking for a full refund on the order. Moyer's should be standing behind it's product and not giving wishes that it could be of more help.

    If my order came from one production of 28,600 chicks then odds in my favor there are others also affected, possibly in different proportions so as to be more masked or they may still be searching for a reason as to why it is happening, but I'd bet they are out there. It will be necessary to reach out through the internet and social media looking for others and indicating my approximate 50% bird loss in 1 month using Moyer's Hatchery or Moyerschicks.com ….


    Edited by Staff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2015
  5. shodack

    shodack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, read the entire email chain, deleting my comment because it doesn't apply. I misread.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  6. Akwasi

    Akwasi Out Of The Brooder

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    Really disappointing and a scary situation to be in



    Edited by Staff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2015
  7. BiddieBehavior

    BiddieBehavior Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your time... this awful and those emails gave details to understand what has transpired. Seasoned large scale ag people tell me sometimes a bad batch happens, and this could be the reason. Considering the physical problem of the egg sack hanging out of some of the biddies in the beginning makes me wonder if that isn't the case, possibly a bad rooster?

    My picture shows they are beautiful birds with deadly results.
     
  8. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Have you put thermometers in the different areas to measure temps just to totally rule out that they aren't trying to escape to the coolest part of their pen? Thus all ending up on top of each other? By 5 weeks old temps should only need to be around 20c (68f). If there is a lot of them, the heat lamps plus all that small body heat could be causing them to try and find the coolest spot perhaps?

    As for the different sizes I think that's pretty common, we had it with the first bantams we bought a few years ago and again with our last hatch. They all end up the same size at maturity I've been told (and that was true with the bantams)

    One of our chicks from the last hatch also had the cord still attached, again when I asked was told it's fairly common. So thinking those issues are probably less signs of a problem and more just because with such a large batch you are bound to have that happen.
     
  9. BiddieBehavior

    BiddieBehavior Out Of The Brooder

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    Please... if you know anyone out there that purchased from Moyer's Chicks September 2015 batch ,one production of 28,600 chicks, I would be very interested in connecting with them as to any behavior abnormalities being experienced with their birds. As indicated in their email, Moyer's is not looking to do anything to stand behind their product without hearing from others in the same situation. I find it very hard to believe this is just happening to me after raising flocks like this successfully for the last 6 years.

    There are pictures to document what has been happening... one of which is posted as my picture here. I believe it's what the ag people call a 'bad batch' of birds and Moyer's should stand behind their product.
     
  10. BiddieBehavior

    BiddieBehavior Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 25, 2015
    Thanks for your response -

    My brooder area is 10' x 32' with a four lamps hanging in a suspended from the ceiling in a wire cage area of 3' x 3' with four lamps. There are no open windows or doors for drafts. Venting is through the ridge area where the tin roof meets the headers. The chicks have more than enough room to enter or escape from a heat area and yes, have a lot of feathers at this point. It would be great if they separated instead of piling up, or mounding, with what looks like a healthy bird being suffocated.

    At the livestock market I frequent weekly there are multiple large chicken house growers for Perdue and Mountaire, past or present, as well as general ag people and those that work for the State Department of Ag. Those large house growers explained the sack hanging out of the back of the biddie is an egg sack that nourishes the bird for the first few days. If it is abnormal, protruding out the back end, the bird does not get what it needs and will eat and not grow to the size of the flock, and should be culled out of the flock. Normally caused by a rooster or some small abnormal handling when being processed. One of my biddies had a sack hanging out, like a bag without feathers, the size of a quarter. That was the worst case... another was like a small bubble.

    And yes to the cord attached. When cleaning off the biddies butts when the pasting problem can occur around the 3rd day, I noticed there can be an umbilical cord 'thread' still attached and care should be given not to try to pull or scrub it off. Mother Nature will take care of it. Being extremely conscious of that pasting possibility has helped me in the past with 100% survival rate.
     

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