Chickens getting ill one by one and dying....


Oct 10, 2021
Hi everyone, I've done a bunch of research about this and consulted the vet but still no real answers. One by one the older members of my small flock who are around 4 now are dying of something. The vet seemed to think the deaths are unrelated because the symptoms have varied but it's just happening one after the other and nothing seems to be helping. I have wormed them with flubenvet which we have in the UK and treated them for mites, they have plenty of space though are not free ranging strictly and I clean their water out regularly and it is also fed with rainwater and the coop usually gets done every 2 to 3 weeks. They are fed Marriages layers pellets and kitchen scraps. The symptoms have either been lethargy, head shaking, poo around the vent and eventual death or with the addition of gaping as well for which I provided copper sulphate in the water and epsom salt flushes in case it was sour crop. Nothing seems to be doing anything to prevent this and I can't tell if it is something infectious that will eventually kill the whole flock or if it is natural decline and illness accociated with old age. Please help!!!!


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
It can be common to lose a hen now and then after the age of 3-4. Reproductive disorders can be common. Have you checked them to see if they have any mites on them? Mites can cause anemia and death, and may need to be treated every 7 days until they are gone. The coop needs treating with a mitacide after all bedding is removed, and before new bedding is added. Have you checked their crops early in the morning to make sure they have emptied?

Head shaking can be related to either a respiratory infection, mites or lice, or crop problems, but it needs to be narrowed down. Have you seen any bubbles or foam in an eye, nasal drainage, gasping, or sneezing?

Copper sulfate should never be used, unless it is acidified copper sulfate, and the dosage must be right on. It should not be used to treat unless sour crop has been confirmed. Was there a sour or rotten odor from the beak, with a puffy full crop early in the mornings? Epsom salts can dehydrate a hen and cause diarrhea, so should be used as a flush only when a toxin has been ingested.

If you lose another hen, it would be best to get a necropsy done, to look for reproductive disorders or cancer, or other problems. Sorry for your loss.

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