Chickens dying suddenly without cause

Jun 27, 2017
129
119
136
Kentucky, USA
I’m going to try to keep this succinct while giving a lot of info.

One week ago:

-1 rooster and two hens found dead in coop at 2pm. (My husband forgot to let them out I’m sick long story).
-1 hen alive and seemingly healthy.

Notes- All three chickens appeared to have tried to bury their heads in the pine shavings. One neck appeared twisted back two didn’t. Hen combs were pale rooster was deep red and purple. All were on belly or sorta side on coop floor once again with pine shavings around face. No wounds. No blood. No feathers or signs of struggle. No noises of distress made as its right around my window within three feet. All were healthy at night before. Appears they laid eggs that morning. The hen who made it didn’t show signs of anything wrong.

Today:
- 1 hen found dead in large walk-in omelet run about 3pm
- 9 hens and one rooster alive

Notes: This hen bizarrely buried herhead in the mud of the run (it’s raining). This reminds me of the other dead’s. She was also on belly. Paling comb. Legs drawn in under body. Her neck was curved under her like one of the other hens. She was healthy with normal comb and behavior this morning and sometime between 8am and 3pm died. Also no signs of injury. No sounds of distress.

I don’t know whether they are eating or drinking something toxic or if they have gotten a disease I’m unfamiliar with.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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Premium Feather Member
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Jul 16, 2015
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Heat can kill over 80 degrees sometimes.

What are you feeding? Fatty treats can lead to fatty liver which is deadly. Hens can rupture and bleed out fairly quickly internally after a strenuous activity like laying.

The only diseases that kill multiple birds quickly tend to have obvious respiratory symptoms before. Poisoning you generally see some sort of staggering or odd behaviors.

Did you check for broken necks?

Just tossing out ideas.

Sometimes I see multiple deaths close together. Generally during weather changes, spring and fall. Weather changes can stress birds out, and push some over the edge.

Your best answer would be to send deceased birds in for testing.
 
Jun 27, 2017
129
119
136
Kentucky, USA
Heat can kill over 80 degrees sometimes.

What are you feeding? Fatty treats can lead to fatty liver which is deadly. Hens can rupture and bleed out fairly quickly internally after a strenuous activity like laying.

The only diseases that kill multiple birds quickly tend to have obvious respiratory symptoms before. Poisoning you generally see some sort of staggering or odd behaviors.

Did you check for broken necks?

Just tossing out ideas.

Sometimes I see multiple deaths close together. Generally during weather changes, spring and fall. Weather changes can stress birds out, and push some over the edge.

Your best answer would be to send deceased birds in for testing.
I’ve been feeding them layer feed and some cracked corn stored in metal bins that look like trash cans. They don’t have water in them but are in heat. Just giving details in case it helps but I also think I may have to send one off. I only have ten chickens though so by that time I bet I’ll lose quit a bit that will die.

Today they didn’t show any signs of heat exhaustion such as flanning out. I did not watch them for many hours while they were in the run so I can’t say for sure what symptoms occurred in the hours prior to death. I’ll be watching closely tomorrow morning. Something concerning me is there are mice in this yard. That could be unrelated but I know they transmit diseases and could potentially carry rat poison from neighbors. If it’s not that, I don’t really have a guess going forward.
 
Jun 27, 2017
129
119
136
Kentucky, USA
Oh. Also I am not sure if I would be able to identify a broken neck but we did pull on the curved neck to see if it seemed to give and from what I can tell it just seemed like a rigid curved neck that had become rigid after death I’m assuming. It wasn’t floppy or dislocated if that’s what you would be looking for.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
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Jul 16, 2015
45,524
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Wisconsin
We use poison here for rodents. I personally haven't seen any secondary poisoning that I'm aware of.

Corn, or rations in metal cans in the heat can mold. Aflatoxin comes to mind. Not saying that it, but I do notice in summer any feed in metal cans gets moldy quickly if you don't keep an eye on it.
 

pozees2

Crowing
Feb 12, 2020
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Pueblo, CO
Do the feed and corn have any odor other than normal? Any sign of parasites? Any lawn/garden treatment with poisons that could have drifted over? If nothing has really changed, then I'd suspect either feed or parasites. You can get a fresh bag of feed and no corn and feed only the fresh feed, store it somewhere out of the sun if possible, in different container(s).
 

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