Chicken Lead Poisoning

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Made in USA 1, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Made in USA 1

    Made in USA 1 Hatching

    Jan 3, 2015
    Hello all, I am new to this site, however I have had backyard chickens for about 35 years. I have a warning to send out!!!! We had a chicken die of lead poisoning. We had a rotten digger pine stump in the corral that was used for target practice years ago from the previous owners. It had holes pecked in it from wood peckers so I did not notice the bullet holes too. It started to get rotten and I pushed it into a pile to burn, but I wanted to let the chickens rummage thru and get the grubs out first. Well you know what happened, they got some of the 22 bullets out also.
    One of my chickens got very lethargic and had lost weight so we took her to the vet. Now we would not have taken her to an emergency vet hospital for a sick feeling chicken $$$$. However over the last couple of months we lost two other hens and we thought we had a disease going threw them. Their deaths were a little different we just found them dead in the coop. They had not presented the same lethargic symptoms as this latest one had. She had progressed to far to save, so after having her put down and sent for a Necropsy at UC Davis in California at $350 for the vet office bill and the shipping for the bird, they reported she had died of lead poisoning from several 22 bullets that were found in her stomach. My Dr. was shocked at the findings she thought of several other possibilities. I went on a cleanup in the corral and spent about 2 days or so with my metal detector digging up bullets, shotgun shot, jacketed bullets. I got even the tiniest pieces of lead I could find. It was grueling work but it was the only way to try and correct the years of the wrong thing that was done. I guess it was an easy thing to overlook, we like to let our chickens out and in the corrals to get grass and bugs. We never thought they would get sick from eating something out there. Our chickens have done that for years and they love it.
    Sorry for the long post, however this is a horrible death to suffer, and I wanted to tell you all about my stupid mistake to help others not have it happen to them. Please think about the areas that they roam, they will pick up anything they see, good or bad.

    Made in USA 1
    We love chickens, don't you!!

  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Songster

    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    [​IMG] So sorry about your hens! Thank you for sharing your problem. If you buy property somewhere rural, it might be a good idea to check if previous owners were heavy on the target practice at home. I never would have thought of that.
    Good warning! [​IMG]
  3. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Songster

    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    I good lesson for all of us.

    Do you think you would do a home necropsy in the future? Just wondering what your thoughts were if you had performed it and found lead in her stomach.

    Sometimes, things happen that are outside of our control. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, but fortunately you were able to find the cause. Poor mamas. :(

    I hope this is the last incident!

  4. Made in USA 1

    Made in USA 1 Hatching

    Jan 3, 2015
    Mrs Brooke thank you, I am sorry not to have responded sooner. No this was not the last incident, we had one more die but that was the last. All are doing fine now. My wife and I did open the last one and we went through the organs with my pin pointer metal detector, but found nothing. It could be she passed it, but not before she had become poisoned to much. Or there is also the possibility that she died of something else. You know chickens as well as I do they just sometimes die. We lose few that way but occasionally it happens. We have a new mini donkey that hates chickens and she has killed two by chasing them down and stomping them. They are in separate areas, but two just had to cross the fence to see what was on the other side and paid the price. As soon as I get her laptop repaired (hoofs are hard on the keys), I will have her log on to BYC and see if you friends of mine can teach her right from wrong. Thanks again for the kind words, Kevin.[​IMG]

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