chickens suddenly dying? lost 4 in 2 days! HELP!

mjs500doo

Hatching
8 Years
May 25, 2011
2
0
7
We've lost 4 of our chickens. Little background:

They're about 3-4 months old.
They have access to clean water and food (layer mix as told by the feed store)
They all get along, we got them at the same time and they've established their pecking order almost 2 weeks ago.
We got them 2 1/2 weeks ago
We have several breeds, 25 total. Americanas, cuckoo marans, buffs, silkies, and a few straight run crossbreeds.
4 have died. Before death (which occured around dusk), they were fine in the morning 5am, around noon or 2pm they were very weak and lethargic. Between 7-9p, death.
We've lost our silkie pair, and two black crosses. That's already 3 hens, and 20 bucks!
I haven't noticed anything strange about any of their poop.
The two silkies died 2 days ago. I think those two got hyperthermia from sprinkled rain.
Wisconsin resident and weather has been 60-70 during the day, commonly 40 at night.
I've been letting them free range up until 2 days ago when my two silkies died. But then the two crosses died yesterday.

We were told a dirt-bottom coop would help with grit, and we figured they were getting grit from outside, but we don't have any in the coop with them.
They sleep huddled together on several roosts with shavings on them.
Good ventilation in the coop.
We check on them 3x a day at least.
We are 20 yrs (me) and 21 (fiance) and we are trying to live self-effiiceintly with gardens and our animals. So we rely on these guys to grow up and supply us with chicks to sell, chicken to eat, and eggs to bake with. Every life is extremely important and it's heart-wrenching emotionaly, not to mention financially.

My ideas are hypothermia, not enough grit to digest, wrong food, too cold?? I don't know. They have absolutely no wounds on them, no mites or anything either. I put grit in there today, and the only heat lamp we have is a red one and we were told it'd work but an experienced chicken-flocker told us red means blood and our rooster would kill the others.
help!!

-megan
 

mjs500doo

Hatching
8 Years
May 25, 2011
2
0
7
Went out for noon check and one of my cuckoo maran hens was dead. Great. Make that 5 chickens, 4 hens, and 25 bucks!
 

ChooksChick

BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist
11 Years
Aug 17, 2008
7,738
161
341
Larry, KS
My Coop
Quote:At that age, they ought to have a lot of energy and be out rolling in the dirt and digging all day- are they active? You really oughtn't need a heat lamp nor have any issues with temps. Do you have blackflies (buffalo gnats)?

I would get Corid if you can't find any other reasonable cause- and quickly. Amprol is another brand name. You may be dealing with a bout of coccidiosis.
 

sumatra

Songster
10 Years
Jan 8, 2010
155
0
109
NW PA
They are probably warm enough. My young ones have been out in really cold weather without any problem. you shouldn't need a light. It sounds as though you are doing evrything right though. If they've been on dirt at your place, but not earlier, they may have picked up something there. I think if it were my birds I would begin by treating for coccidiosis with Sulmet in their water, just in case. usually coccidiosis doesn't kill them, but it can weaken them and if they've never been exposed to it, it can be a problem. I would probably get some new food, too, just in case there is fungus spores or something in the old food. I will check my books to see if there's anything else it could be. I hope you don't lose anymore!
 

flowergirl60

Songster
8 Years
Feb 13, 2011
1,355
7
141
Austin Tx
First I am very sorry about your losses. 3 months old is a little young to be on layer feed. But I can't say for sure that is the problem. I think it has something to do with the calcium in that non layers don't need. Do they free range? Maybe they got into some pesticide IDK. I hope someone here maybe able to help. 40 at night shouldn't be to cold. Hoping for the best for the rest of your girls. Keep updating. I'm curious.
 

pips&peeps

There is no "I" in Ameraucana
12 Years
Jan 18, 2008
8,431
168
341
Newman Lake, WA
I agree with Chookschick on the amprolium, more than likely cocci. I would also suggest you get them off layer feed until they start to lay; put them on flock raiser.
 

NewToFarming

Songster
9 Years
Apr 28, 2010
2,305
28
193
Millersburg, PA
Quote:At that age, they ought to have a lot of energy and be out rolling in the dirt and digging all day- are they active? You really oughtn't need a heat lamp nor have any issues with temps. Do you have blackflies (buffalo gnats)?

I would get Corid if you can't find any other reasonable cause- and quickly. Amprol is another brand name. You may be dealing with a bout of coccidiosis.

Do the blackflies cause illness in chickens?
 

ChooksChick

BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist
11 Years
Aug 17, 2008
7,738
161
341
Larry, KS
My Coop
Quote:At that age, they ought to have a lot of energy and be out rolling in the dirt and digging all day- are they active? You really oughtn't need a heat lamp nor have any issues with temps. Do you have blackflies (buffalo gnats)?

I would get Corid if you can't find any other reasonable cause- and quickly. Amprol is another brand name. You may be dealing with a bout of coccidiosis.

Do the blackflies cause illness in chickens?

They suffocate them and bleed them to death, and you'll find lots of threads if you use search- they are worse this year than ever before in many places, and there are lots of experienced chicken folks losing birds like crazy.
 

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