Chicks ate insulation and died

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by christieann, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. christieann

    christieann New Egg

    Dec 29, 2010
    I am new to hatching and raising chickens but this is bizarre to me.
    I put my 3 week old chickens out in our barn in a heated 10 x 10 room.
    In one corner where i had the heater and heat lamps i surrounded it with
    an insulation board that i had left over from some home project.
    I was hard sided insulation with paper covering, not the old loose cotton candy type.
    After one day two of them started looking sick and eventually died.
    I noticed they ate out a corner of it.
    Then i pulled the insulation board out of there and stuck it in a remote place in my other barn.
    My free ranging older chickens found it and I think is going to die tonight.
    What is it about the insulation that attracts these birds?
  2. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I'm so sorry for your loss. Chickens tend to peck at everything and eat whatever seems edible to their little bird brains.
  3. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    Sorry to hear about your loss. I am aware that chickens will eat foam insulation, but did not know it would harm them. My adult hens have gotten into some several times but they were no worse for the wear. However, I don't think I've ever had chx as young as 3 wks eat it. I would doubt it's toxic (unless your insulation is different from mine). Maybe it killed the chicks by causing intestinal obstruction. They have such tiny GI tracks, and I would imagine a tiny bit of foam could block it. If that's the case, your adult birds might be fine, as mine were.
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    It could be they ate that rather than regular food and actually starved to death. I've had adult birds eat the foam-type insulation without suffering any ill effects.
  5. TajMahalChickens

    TajMahalChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    I second woodmort
    I think it is that fact that they are chicks that they died. My 4 original adult hens probably ate a cubic foot of insulation. They all lived. I wouldn't worry about your old birds.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  6. rebel yell

    rebel yell Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    I know they eat styrofoam & it wont hurt them.
  7. christieann

    christieann New Egg

    Dec 29, 2010
    Thanks for the insight but it was only after i removed the insulation board that they stopped dieing.
    Could be the coating on it that was poisonous. It had paper on one side and like a tinfoil coating on the other side.
  8. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    Did any of the older ones die, or just the 3 week old ones?
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'm so sorry. Chickens eat anything -- string, bits of wire, styrofoam peanuts, on and on. Usually what goes in also comes out, so I'm inclined to agree with the starvation, since they were so young. These things just happen; don't beat yourself up. It's possible that one got the idea this was especially good food, and the others followed its example; they will do that.
  10. christieann

    christieann New Egg

    Dec 29, 2010
    There is one older rhode island red hen that is soooo sick right now. She is only 9 months old but fully grown.
    I am not sure what is going on. She sits in one place all day long all fluffed out. She moves from time to time but not far.
    She has been like this for about 3 days now and she is not dead yet.
    We had to separate her because the other hens were attacking her viciously and pecking her until she was bleeding.
    I can believe that the other hens were attacking her today.
    The night before the sick hen was sitting outside on the ground for the night and another hen would not come in for the night.
    The other hen sat on a fence above her. It was like she was watching over her.
    I thought that was so nice but today they all seem to want to kill her.
    Any suggestions on how to bring her back to a healthy hen would be great!!!![​IMG]

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