Black australorp hens mysteriously dying - moldy food or bird disease?


9 Years
Jun 7, 2010
We had 3 black australorp hens, about 1 yr old, in a coop in a bamboo thicket in our backyard. They have been laying very well. We've been feeding them laying pellets, oyster shell, and occasional chicken scratch, and fresh water every day. Two days ago I found one dead on the ground in the morning. She hadn't exhibited any sign of sickness before this, and her body didn't seem in bad shape at all. The other 2 still seemed healthy, but this morning we found a second one dead, same situation. The 3rd seems fine for now, though distraught that she's the only hen left
I'm trying to figure out what to do before she dies too. This is our first time having chickens - we've had them for about 6 months now.

We are in South Carolina so the weather is getting warmer and warmer, but like I've said we provide them water all the time.

We were trying a new method of feeding - we made a feeder and filled it with pellets, but some of the pellets sat for so long in there they got moldy, and I'm afraid that may be the issue. I have now taken that feeder out of there, scraped up all the pellets I could in the coop, and put fresh food in there.

The only other difference is that 3 days ago somehow a small wild bird got into the coop, and it appears the chickens tore it apart - all we found later in the day were its wings. Perhaps the bird had a disease that was then passed onto my hens.

If anyone has any ideas about what has happened to my hens and what I should do to save the last one or prevent this in the future, I'd be very appreciative! I've tried to find answers on other posts, but decided to put my own details to see what people thought. I feel awful about this!


11 Years
Dec 11, 2009

sorry for your struggles.
It really sounds like you are on top of the game and take the best possible care of your birds. Sometimes, in our best efforts, stuff happens. That is just the way it is. Don't be too hard on yourself.
It sounds like you are doing all you can to preserve the life of your last little lady.
Maybe you could thoroughly clean the coop and work on finding some company to gradually introduce to your lone hen

Australorps and just stunningly beautiful, aren't they?!
Good luck, keep us posted.


Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
Hi callalily,

The moldy food might have been the problem, I lost a rooster to it last year. It's so dang humid in SC, I have to clean the feeders daly. All the rain is just making it worse.

There are quite a few "chickeneers" in SC. If you post a Wanted To Buy listing I'm sure you can find a couple of hens. Also, there is a thread for folks in SC -

Here's the link to it:


9 Years
Jun 9, 2010
Also have 3 black australorp hens in a large fenced pen with a nice "chicken coop deville" for roosting. This morning found one hen dead in the coop, no trauma visable. They have all been laying and seem healthy. Feeding layer pellets and scratch. plenty of fresh water and shade.

Hoping it's just a fluke and I don't lose any more!

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