Chickens dying

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by justmyluck, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. justmyluck

    justmyluck Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been loosing chickens for about the past 2 weeks, one at a time. 3 hens and now my beautiful Cochin Roo. Everyone seems fine, except the hens stopped laying about 3 weeks ago. Figured it was just moult. We introduced 5 pullets from a trusted source, kept them all quarantined and the introduced them. Thought that maybe there was some stress factored into the lack of eggs. When the first chicken died, we called her runt, always small and frail I just thought we were lucky to have her as long as we had. Then two more this weeked. No coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing, just dead. Poo looks fine from everyone. The only thing is the roo acted like he was having trouble standing yeasterday evening. When I went out this AM it's as if he just fell over dead. Everyone is eating and drinking normally. None of the new birds are acting sick, just the birds from my original flock and as I said they don't act sick. Just die overnight. Please if there is anyone out there that might know what the problem is or what I can do please let me know. I do have some Duramycin, but I don't even know if they need an antibiotic.
     
  2. Yvonne37894

    Yvonne37894 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I keep reading of everyone having sick chickens, some dye same as yours. Others have different symptons.

    My suggestion is to try to find a State extension in your area and have tests done.

    If you give any meds it could alter the results, was told this by a vet assistant from her personal exprence

    Vet Rx is a good beginnig point if you want to try something on you own.

    Good luck with your flock
     
  3. justmyluck

    justmyluck Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2008
    Thanks so much for your answer. Unfortunately, there is not alot of good information in our area for chickens. We have lots of vets, all for dogs and cats. No one seems to care about livestock anymore. They say it's for insurance reasons. I wish I'd have gone to Vet school when I had the chance.
     
  4. Yvonne37894

    Yvonne37894 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    go to the search tab on the blue bar
    Type in: dying hens
    and search under: emergencies/ diseases
    Many to read with what other have done.
    wish I could help more, some times the ones who have answers don't catch your post. I think because of the volume of entries. Your post goes to second page too quick for them to see.
     
  5. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    It is possible that the new birds may have been carriers of a disease such as Mareks which can result in susceptible birds just dropping dead. The previous owner would not necessarily have known about about it.
    In the case of Mareks, there are few flocks that havent been exposed to the disease since it is so common that vaccinating is only done within 24 hours of hatching.

    However, since there are many other diseases that can be carried in a healthy appearing flock, you should consider a necropsy if you can find a nearby university lab to do it.
    If you are in CA, the Univ of CA does them free at Davis and several other locations.

    If you are in the U.S., go to this site and search by state for the state vet's office.
    http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/AnimalHealth/StateVets.aspx
    Contact them and ask if there are any state or university labs that do a free or cheap necropsy. You should put your next, or most recent, dead bird in a refrigerator or ice chest (double bagged in plastic bags) to keep it cold until you can drop it off. If you are too far to drop it off, you can put it in a fed ex box with one of those frozen lunch box cooler thingies (not ice, it will melt and leak) and overnight the box to the lab.

    If any birds show any sign of illness, take one of the sick birds directly to the lab. They can tell more by starting with a live bird since there are some illnesses that are more difficult to detect after death.


    Just a note on quarantining new birds..... if the new birds are already carriers but not actively ill, then they may show no signs of illness during their quarantine, but, as in your case, the illness shows up in your birds after after exposure. When ever possible, put a "sacrificial" rooster or cockerel in with the new birds after the initial quarantine period and keep them quarantined for a few weeks longer to see if the sacrificial bird gets sick.
     
  6. justmyluck

    justmyluck Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2008
    Thanks for your help. I have contacted our local extension office and am waiting for an answer from them as to where to go with this. When I picked up my roo, he was "flat" like dehydrated, very little weight although I had noticed no weight loss with him. As I said, he was eating and drinking normally. Last check was last night about 10:00 p.m. everyone was roosting and acting normally. This a.m. he was right outside the chicken house, dead. We did not bag him, but I will do that right now as I just found him about an hour ago. Thanks again. Really love this group.
     
  7. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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  8. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Chickens often hide any sign of illness until they are near death.


    Good luck.


    And welcome to Backyard Chickens!
     
  9. Sooner

    Sooner My kids Mom!

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    When was the last time you wormed?
     
  10. justmyluck

    justmyluck Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks again for all of the replies. Got in touch with a vet at Purdue, he had me necropsy my rooster. Unfortunately, everything looked rather normal. The air sacs and lungs were of great concern to the vet, but they looked remarkably normal based on his description. His gizzard was huge and hard as a rock, but the vet thought that was of no particular consequence. He did have me look for "cheesy" substance in the lungs, which there was none of. I asked if I should just cull the rest of my flock and his answer was that he thought that it was much too premature for that. He suggested some changes in feeding since the hens are molting and basically a course of duramycin that I have to be sure. I found no worms when I did the necropsy on the rooster. I will be worming for the fall, but think I should get them through this course of treatment first. Maybe I can add some pumpkin seeds during the treatment to be sure. Since we really still do not know what is going on any other suggestions are as always more than welcome. I love my birds, and it was really hard to cut up my big old buddy like that. Reallt tough to do. Thanks again to the whole BYC community. You guys are great and I am so glad to be a member of such a caring group.
    Again Thanks,
    Brenda
     

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