Chickens continuously dying.....

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by katebrown90, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. katebrown90

    katebrown90 In the Brooder

    Jul 22, 2015
    Hello! For a little background info to start, let me say that we moved to this new property with our three original hens in January of this year. We now live out of city limits so we can have as many chickens/roosters as we like! Well I spent a couple months establishing a larger flock, accumulating young chickens from a few different sources(all local farms selling chicks). I then attended a poultry and homesteading fair and even though I know it is advised against to pick up new animals from a fair which could be crawling with disease, I was anxious to get more hens that were currently laying, and I bought two pullets. Within a week one of the fair pullets was exhibiting strange, involuntary jerking movements of her head. I quarantined both her and the other hen from the fair away from the rest of the flock(huge fail not quarantining them before integrating them into the flock). The black hen(head jerking one) didn't improve so we got rid of her but kept the red hen who was not showing any signs of sickness. After another week or so of observing her under quarantine, she seemed fine so I reintegrated her into the flock. Well after about another month went by I noticed the red hen not coming down from the roost in the morning with the rest of the flock, and upon further observation found that she was wobbly when walking and had horrible balance as well. She was quarantined and eventually euthanized because she only got worse and eventually couldn't walk at all.

    Well now after this I felt terribly nervous and quite upset with myself for going against my better judgement and bringing those two fair hens into my flock without any caution or quarantine whatsoever.... and alas, from that point on we had a chicken come down sick or mysteriously dead about once a week for 6 weeks or so. Every time one would get sick I would immediately quarantine them, in hopes of the disease or illness not being spread further, the chicken would get worse, and eventually die or be euthanized. I came close to bringing in a chicken for a necropsy but to be honest, the symptoms my chickens were displaying were not all consistent with each other. Some seemed to have respiratory distress, some had strange movements that seemed were neuro, some just seemed wilty, tired and under the weather. I had vigilantly been cleaning coops, waterers, feeders, bedding, etc... diligently removing any sick birds and keeping them in a completely closed off area that no healthy chickens have access to. So after we had quite a few deaths, the sickness seemed to have ended.

    It has now been at least 8 weeks since any chicken deaths! We did still have two silkie chicks in the brooder and 2 weeks ago, since the flock had all seemed healthy for some time, we added the two silkies to the flock. I know silkies are sensitive and whatnot, and maybe it was the stress of moving and being picked on, but within 3 days being with the rest of the flock one of the silkies seemed ill, we brought her in, and by evening she died. She didn't show any symptoms like the other sick chickens did, so we attributed it to moving stress, being picked on, etc. Well now a week later I had my beautiful blue andalusian chicken start showing the involuntary jerking muscle movements. First her toes started to curl and her feet wouldn't flatten correctly when she walked, then she stopped coming down from the roost in the AM, and this morning she was laying on the droppings board under the roosts, barely breathing. I took her out, as a last ditch effort gave her some molasses water and hand fed her some layer ration.. but she didn't make it. I am of course feeling horribly paranoid again at this point and really would like to avoid having to completely start my flock over. I don't know what to think!!! Does anybody have any encouragement, insight, advice, etc.??!

    Thanks in advance for reading this lengthy post!
  2. AK Chick

    AK Chick In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2016
    I'm no expert, but maybe something is in the soil. I know that with dogs, parvo can live in the soil for a few years. Did someone have chickens there before you? Maybe move the location of the coop and start over? I am so very sorry for your losses! Sometimes the local Co-operative Extension office has good advice, too. Good luck!
  3. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Free Ranging

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    I'm sorry for your loss.

    I do recommend that you send one for necropsy so you know what you are dealing with, this will help you know which direction you need to go and whether the illness is preventable, treatable or if you need to start over.

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