Calling Mystery Detectives.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by heby, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. heby

    heby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yesterday was a tramatic day for us. After losing 7 of our brand new babies, I came home in the afternoon after running errands and found all 4 of my 10wk old chicks laying in their brooder cage dead. [​IMG] Those were my first chicks and I have been very protective and watchful of them. I have no idea what could have happened and was wondering if anyone had any ideas. Their cage is inside my other chicken pen but they are off the ground and away from the other chickens. They did get down on the ground for a few min while I cleaned their stuff and gave them new water and food the day before. But they have been down on ground before. They ate some cracked corn that the older chickens had left and there may have been a few layer pellets still there but not many if so. They were healthy and always flapping and trying to fly around then they were gone. Any suggestions and opinions would be appreciated. I just don't want it to happen again.

    They did seem to have scratched their face with their toenails due to gnats starting to come out. But it just happened and wasn't bad. Which leads to the question.. Does anyone know something safe to put around them or on them to help with gnats? They are horrible around my black hens.
     
  2. heby

    heby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had just started giving my chicks treats of fruit. But they also had access to chick grit. Could this have affected them?
     
  3. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    So sorry for your loss! This is indeed mysterious. What happened to your other 7 chicks, if I may ask? Did the 10-week olds that you just lost have any symptoms at all? It surely is suspicious that they all passed away at the same time. Where did the chicks originate?

    I hope this does not sound gruesome, but when you found them dead, were there any marks on them, or signs of struggle, or unusual body positions? What was the last thing they ate?
     
  4. heby

    heby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My other 7 chicks were day old and I think the mom squashed them as this was her first time with babies and she had 10 total under her. The other 4 were older and seemed healthy to me. They were fine the nite before, ate a little corn that the big chickens had left.. possibly a few layer pellets. But that was while I was cleaning their area and giving them fresh chick starter and water. I used same feeders as usual with same feed. They were all scattered in the small brooder. One was in the container that used to be their "bed" but we recently replaced the straw for some dirt so they could "bathe". Another was laying beside it and the other 2 were laying in another area. They are completely off the ground about 3 feet and there was no struggle. The day before I did notice that they seem to have cut their face on either some lose cage wire or with their toenails. Due to the gnats starting, they are scratching their heads. But none of the marks seemed bad. Thank you for your response. I had given them some banana a few days earlier & was afraid mayb I messed up their digestive tract but seemed all for all 4 to die together at same time.
     
  5. drdani67

    drdani67 New Egg

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    Could the other chickens get into their cage? No signs of a fight?
     
  6. Velvet Sparrow

    Velvet Sparrow Out Of The Brooder

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    That is really weird, sorry you lost them. :(

    I'd check over their bodies carefuuly--are all 4 nice and fat? Any dirty vents? Liquid oozing from eyes/nares/beaks? Pry open beaks and look inside for anything unusual. Are their crops full or empty? Look for any signs of ANYTHING, especially if you find the same thing on all 4 or on most of them. If they had all been scratching at their faces, I'd suspect some kind of disease that affects their sinues/eyes. Usually a chicken will shake it's head to dislodge flies in my experience, not scratch at their heads--had you actually seen them scratching their heads or just noticed the wounds?

    What kind of chick grit, could it have packed their crops? I realize this is a long shot to have killed them all at the same time...

    Is it possible that some predator came around and scared them to death--are they near the exterior wire of the run...? Any nasty neighbors that could have conveniently hopped the fence and poisoned them while you were out? What did you use to clean their cage, could it have contaminated their feed or water?
     
  7. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it possible that there was something in the dirt that perhaps they ate and it blocked them up? I have no idea what could have happened.
    Is the rest of the coop fairly clean and dry? I ask because gnats are drawn to moisture and moisture is a chickens enemy.
    The only way to find out is to take them apart and see what was going on in there. I would necropsy all of them to see any similar issues between them. It might have been a blockage, that is all I can think of
     
  8. heby

    heby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They all seemed healthy to me. These were my first experience with chicks. I was given a mix selection of hens and 2 roosters. One of the game hens hatched out the 4 chicks. I let them stay with her for a few weeks and then I took them and put them in a cage area off the ground. They could see the other chickens but not were not totally with them since they weren't as big. I've read where you need to keep the babies away until they are almost same size as other chickens so they don't mess with them as bad. It was a wire cage with feeders and waterer and a place to roost. My husband buried them soon after we found them so I couldn't inspect them much. I didn't see any liquid oozing. I don't know what you mean by "crops". The gnats around here always gather around face or arms or any other body parts. They are just aggravating. I did see at least one of them scratch a time or two but not much.

    I bought regular chick grit. It looked like tiny salt and pepper gravel.

    I don't really know about a run. We had all the chickens in a pen but then we decided to let them be free-range. So they wonder during the day and go in at night. However for the last week or 2 they have been roosting at night at the top of our shed instead of in the pen. Not sure why. I doubt a predator came around and we don't really have any neighbors. I usually just give them fresh water and food cause I can scrap their poop out the bottom of the cage.

    I was told yesterday that I kiiled them by keeping them in a cage/brooder and not allowing them to free range with the others. But I thought you could keep chickens in a pen. Now I'm afraid for my other babies that I have hatched this week.
     
  9. jeepgirl13

    jeepgirl13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never heard of chickens dying because they were caged. Maybe in too small of a coop with dirty, wet living conditions, but not just from living cooped. The chicks at the ranch I work at are kept in a coop away from the other chickens for about four months and we haven't lost any in the past two months. My girls spent their first 4 months of life cooped and they are healthy as can be. I seriously doubt this was the cause. I hope you find an answer. :(
     
  10. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Usually a broody hen will keep the chicks safe. I added a mama hen and 7 chicks to my existing flock and she made super sure nobody messed with the chicks...so perhaps leave the next ones with mom, or cage mom and chicks separately...might work out better...then again at 10 weeks they should have been ready to be with the other chickens anyway I would think
     

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