Chickens dropping dead

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by erikareger, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. erikareger

    erikareger New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2009
    we had 4 Rhode island Reds and 4 barred rock about 3 years ago. got rid of them because i had school, didnt have time to take care of them. my dad and i decided to get some more back in June. we got 2 from local co-op and 27 from internet (McMurray's Hatchery). so we had 29 total. everything was going fine until just recently, five of them died off. the first one just stopped moving one day. it seemed like it was paralyzed. it was only like 2 to 3 months old. my dad put it down (no details on that. there was some tears shed) after about a week of trying to nurse it back to health. about a month later, a fox got 2 of them. not too long after that, my dad went out to check on them in the AM, and one of them was laying on the floor under her roost, dead. we have no idea what happened. now, just 3 days ago, my dad found one just lying dead as a doornail on the ground in their run. it was raining the other day and he said the chickens got a little wet from it, so he thinks it might have gotten sick, but there were no signs of illness. the fox incedent, i can undersstand, but the body count is getting a little high for it to just be coincident that they are just dropping off like that. ever since the fox, we keep them completely locked up so no predators can get to them. we don't have any roosters. i can't think of anything else that would cause them to die like this.

    can anyone explain why they are just dying off so easily? we take excellent care of them. we add a little vinegar to their water to keep germs out, we just performed a physical on all of them (don't laugh, very serious [​IMG]) about 2 months ago. they all were in perfect condition. i don't see why this is happening. my dad seems to think its coincidence, but i think otherwise. ive heard of them having heart attacks, and there is foxes, raccoons, and hawks, etc. around our property, so i just don't know. help! were down to 24 chickerdoodles now [​IMG]
     
  2. Nava

    Nava I Got The Naked Neck Blues

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    Aug 2, 2009
    Ocala Fl
    did u guys vaccinated for Marek's disease?
    couse u said they seem paralized.
     
  3. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    honestly- there is not enough detail here to make heads or tails of this. Back up and describe the run & coop. What do they eat? Do you do routine deworming? You have a paralyzed bird, fox attack, and 2 dead when found. Fox attack is straight forward. Paralyzed but alert could be toxin, trauma, viral infection, weak from lice, weak from impacted crop, or nutritional problem. Suddenly dead, but perfectly normal the day before could be a really hot infectious agent, trauma, toxin, heart failure (what breed are these birds?), or maybe they weren't as normal as you thought they were. Chickens hide their illnesses well, and might not look sick until they are dying. Any time I find an unexpectedly dead bird- it gets a very thorough inspection (outside, AND inside if I have the time). If I don't have the time, and it is not obvious trauma- I think about sending it to our state lab for necropsy. That would get the definitive answer most of the time. If you want to better figure out what is happening in your flock- send a dead bird in for necropsy. But also so the Sherlock Holmes thing, and look at each case individually. Look at the housing, look at the diet, look at the vaccine history. Maybe the illness are related, maybe not. Infectious problems can take out an entire flock- but usually there are clues before hand.
     

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