Chicken died... health concern?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Westy6, May 30, 2016.

  1. Westy6

    Westy6 New Egg

    Apr 10, 2015
    I have 4 backyard chickens that are in an enclosed coop and pen (chickens are 3+ years old). They lay about a dozen plus eggs per week. I was away for 3 days and came home to find one chicken dead... no obvious cause, but maggots had already started their natural process. I removed the carcass and buried it, and while doing this, the remaining chickens devoured the hundreds of maggots that were on the ground. My questions:
    1. are the eggs that I harvested at the same time safe to eat, I assume some were laid by the now dead chicken ?
    2. What precautions do I take with the remaining chickens?
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    I would think the eggs are safe to eat. Maggots, as gross as they are, are just larva.

    Do the other hens act sick or weird? If not, it was probably natural causes for the other one. Just pay attention and take immediate action if you notice something off.
  3. DS-Cluckers

    DS-Cluckers Just Hatched

    May 28, 2016
    Pacific Northwest
    I lost a chicken two days ago- no one else appears to be sick.

    This Buff was eating day before and no signs of wounds or blood she was just dead- she was fine the day of her passing as well.

    No one else has died. I took her out that afternoon and buried her.

    Should I be worried about disease? I also (my first year raising chickens), that earlier they were molting. Some of them have lost tail feathers, vents exposed, feathers on the back and should of some are gone. They look horrid. One hens back looks very dry and sore. Embarressing too. :( What is wrong with them???
  4. DS-Cluckers

    DS-Cluckers Just Hatched

    May 28, 2016
    Pacific Northwest
    I lost another chicken yesterday! [​IMG] No one else seems to be sick. She was getting pecked on and beat up by the other hens so I treated her lil injuries and put her in a cage with all nessecities (sp?) and then another chicken that I had, she hatched a chick and it is about two weeks old now and she started to treat that baby bad like she was peckin at it, stepping on it and I feared she was going to kill the baby ( she just started doing that) so I just took baby away and put with my other chicks ... And mama chicken started to try to pick a fight with the other hen that was recovering from being beat up. What in the world is going on??? [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Well.... I never got to say hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]I am at the very bottom of the PNW.

    I am sorry you had yet another loss! [​IMG] You are having a serious problem. So where did you get these girls and how long have you had them? What breed? Some of the feather loss could be previous mating damage if they had roos. If it is molting you should see pin feathers coming in.

    Possibilities I can think of are... not enough space causing boredom and aggression. Mites, or other parasite load. Or nutritional deficiency.

    If you have another death, I would refrigerate the body and call your local ag dept to see about a necropsy. Usually cheap or free. Let them know that you have lost X # of birds in a short period. They may be able to direct you elsewhere if they don't do that, like one of the universities.

    Sometimes the flock or a hen will kill a chick or another if they sense weakness or illness, we may not be able to detect.

    I would put Blue Cote on any visible red sores as chickens will naturally peck at red stuff, often to the point of death.

    What are you feeding? What do you provide for treats and entertainment?

    This is an especially bad way to start out your first year chicken keeping. Try not to be discouraged as it can be really rewarding. After this experience, everything else should be less difficult. It is a learning process that is ongoing.

    These things go by the front page really fast, may be why you haven't gotten too much response. But with any luck, someone who has more experience will see it and chime in.

    1 person likes this.
  6. DS-Cluckers

    DS-Cluckers Just Hatched

    May 28, 2016
    Pacific Northwest
    Howdy Eggsighted4life! Thanks for the hug and reply.
    I got the first batch of girls from a lady that was to busy to have chickens last spring and they did well over the winter.
    Second batch I got from a lady (4-6 months old- she raised them), was moving and could not take them with her. I got them early this spring. Were all to be hens! From this batch I found that we had a rooster. I love him and hearing him crow and I think he is a beautiful rooster but (my hubby cant stand him), the hens are getting pounded by him and one of his faves her back is bald. Othe girls have no tail feathers and some missin feather on what I would say are thier shoulders. And the tops of some of thier heads (like the one that just died) was bald. I was using that peck no more lotion but they still where peckin at her. That is when I decided to isolate her to let her heal.
    I feel horrible.

    They have a large galvanized tun with DE to dust with for mites and other bugs. They seem to like it- I have is straight nothing added.

    I will try the blue coat - I have some as I use it on my horses.

    As far as feed- last year I was getting fruits and veggies that our local store was throwing away that they could not sell and I was giving it to my animals (chickens, horse and the nieghbors pigs) they liled that real well. But takes a lots of time to go theough it and open packages, take twistie ties and lables off and I just couldnt keep up with all I do so I had to stop that. So they dont get that fresh produce anymore. Now all they get is grit, oyster shell, cracked corn, and organic layer crumble (Purina). I also save all of my egg shells, let them dry and crush up with potatoe masher and give back to them free choice. The grit and oyster is also free choice.

    They have a chicken yard and on the days I am home (we are in the middle of haying), I let them out and free graze. I have to watch them from my dogs and they LOVE to tear up my garden beds. I had blocked them off into the back yard so that they would not dig in the flowerbeds in the front and I put up poultry netting but the are concentrating in a certain area and I have a HUGE yard so not enough netting at this point. So I also needed to give my grass a break cause they were gunna kill it. At this point when they are out, they get to go back and fourth to the coop/chicken yard and go lay thier eggs in the house. And from what I have seen for the most part if not always lay in the house.

    I got a book on chicken heath and disease but have not had much time to read cause like I said we are haying (alfalfa).

    I am open to any help I can get and right now feeling pretty embarressed about the lack of feathers on the poor girls-the rooster seems to be ruthless. Should I just sell him or should I take him away from the girls for awhile? I know what my husband would like me to do! I think they have a mutual dislike for each other.

    Anyways, thank you for chiming in and advice. Grateful and many blessing to you.
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Thank you, I am very blessed! [​IMG] The chickens LOVE my garden as well. [​IMG] We are still working on fencing.

    A few things... have you heard of "Peepers"? Those might alleviate some of the pecking.
    Chicken saddles? Could mitigate some of the mating damage.

    If their feathers are pulled out, they won't grow back until they molt. Then the best you could hope for is at least healing of that location until molt.

    Is your roo 3 years old as well? Why do you keep him? If you are not selling chicks or fertile eggs, I would let him go. 3 hens are really not enough for 1 roo, so over mating is more of an issue. At the very least I would separate your boy until you decide what to do with him, for your girls' sake. What I've heard so far doesn't sound like you need him to defend your girls. My cockerels are still young, but I have heard there are good and bad. Also, layer feed is too high in calcium for boys, hens not laying, and chicks. It can cause kidney problems. So if you do need a roo, he's a lot more replaceable than a good hubby. [​IMG]

    Plus life it too short! If you are unable to process him, you might consider letting someone else feed their family... such is the circle of life, we are all connected. You might be able to sell him as supper or offer for free even though not many will want one. I saw 1 father on Craigslist offering a cockerel for free "to a good home at least at first" because his kids didn't want him consumed.

    One other thing is that might be too much DE. [​IMG] I don't personally use it as I think it is harmful to breath. So, not preaching just sharing my reasoning.... My chickens do regular dirt baths with no additives and have yet to get any issues with parasites. One way that DE works is it has microscopic sharp edges that will rub the surface off of pest and thus dehydrate them to death because they cant retain moisture. So if that goes down the lungs or guts, how much energy is being used by the bird to repair the damage since we have the miracle of bodies that heal themselves'? (Not as fast as science fiction, but in reality!) Since it kills off bugs and worms, I wouldn't use DE in compost. Many people use it and is a personal choice so I don't mean to start a great debate. Maybe, if you aren't considering eliminating DE completely [​IMG].... you might consider thinning the bathing area down with some dirt or other material? I am not sure how much grit cost, but if they have access to the ground it really isn't required because they will pick up small pebbles, sand & other stuff.

    So you are down to 2 hens and a roo? A nice idea would be to send the roo home, and get yourself 3 young chicks when they start selling them at the feed stores next spring. Your current hens will continue to decline in production, so adding some fresh every few years is a good way to keep production consistent as years go by. I have found raising less than 3 is hard if something happens. For me 5 is better because they seem to learn faster when they have different levels of curiosity and confidence. I would do some research over the winter and see if there are any breeds you particularly like the look of or are interested in. Make sure the Hubbs picks out one of them! [​IMG] I think a variety of breeds is nice so you can tell them apart and have different types of personalities as well as lot's of eye candy. Incidentally, more than 10 chicks is more difficult to tell apart. If you try different breeds you may find one you really fall in love with. Not all breeds are created equal. And every bird is an individual.

    Haying sounds like hard work. Sorry my post is so long. If anything I said helps in any way, I am honored. I hear you about the store/veggies being too time consuming. Right now I just toss our scraps to them. But I also raise red wigglers, darkling beetles/meal worms, couple broods of chicks, goats, dogs, family, good size productive garden, not to mention normal life stuff and home maintenance... Beyond blessed is what I truly feel, and I hope to share it with as many as possible.

    Hang in there, challenge is what makes us who we are and has brought us where we are. I like to believe everything happens for a reason. Sometimes easier said than believed. But think of this as a new start maybe. Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings' end.

    One other thing you asked about was taking precaution. I would ditch all old bedding, do a thorough cleaning, and refresh bedding. I saw someone loosing birds to a fungus that was growing in his wood chips. Can't hurt.

    Best wishes!
    1 person likes this.

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