Chickens keep dying

Bede

Hatching
Mar 10, 2020
7
8
8
UK
We have had chickens for around 4 years now, and aside from fox attacks have had no health issues until this year. Our first hen (3 years old, vaccinated when purchased at point of lay) got sick in March. First she stopped laying, which didn’t seem too abnormal. Then she started stretching her neck out and convulsing, as though choking. I tried massaging her crop and vomitted her a few times, because lots and lots of clear-ish liquid was dripping out of her mouth and I thought it might be sour crop. She got a pasty bum, so we have her a warm bath and gently checked her vent in case she was egg bound, but there was nothing. She got quite thin, and was pooping clear liquid and clear liquid would leak out of her beak every now and then. After trying various home remedies, she eventually collapsed and convulsed on the floor until we felt we had to put her down.
We were very worried about what it could be in case the other chickens were at risk and thought gapeworm, as her neck stretching looked just like that. We wormed our hens religiously with stuff that apparently targets gapeworm. However, around five months later another hen stopped laying (only 2 years old, not vaccinated). Her decline was far more rapid but there was no neck convulsions. She got a pasty bum, we gave her a bath, then after a day of lying down with her eyes closed she collapsed and died.

Two weeks later, another hen has stopped laying (2 years old, not vaccinated) but has no other symptoms other than lethargy and the odd sneeze. We’re worried she too will soon die.

What can we do?! Meanwhile, our other hen, a White Leghorn (3 years old, vaccinated when bought) is still going strong and laying daily, despite surviving a fox bite and watching all her pals bite the dust!

Help!
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Apr 3, 2011
55,891
46,486
1,202
southern Ohio
Really, the best way to find a cause of death is to have a necropsy done on your hen that dies. There are poultry labs or vets who may perform one. I do my own when I lose one. The fist hen who died sounds like she has some neurological issue which caused her seizures, and that could be a respiratory disease, such as Newcastle’s. Other respiratory diseases, such as MG, coryza, infectious bronchitis, or ILT, can cause sneezing and other respiratory symptoms. When hens reach 3 years old, reproductive or crop disorders can become more common.
 

Bede

Hatching
Mar 10, 2020
7
8
8
UK
Thanks Eggcessive! We wondered about respiratory diseases, but chicken symptoms are so variable and vague it’s very hard to diagnose. We might try and get someone to take a look at our sick hen. If she dies it would be good to know what the issue is, in case it’s something we’re doing wrong.
 

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