Cull or cure my whole flock?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by magistradomina, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. magistradomina

    magistradomina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2010
    Where I live.
    4 weeks ago we were getting 8-10 eggs from our 15 Black Australorps. 12 of these were purchased as day old chicks from a hatchery in 8/09, and 3 were hatched by a broody hen in 4/10. For the past month we have been getting about 4 eggs a day; yesterday we got 1. Several environment changes have occurred: a) Took red infrared heat lamp down about 3 weeks ago; last Saturday we put a 75 watt regular bulb in coop to give 3 extra hours of light b) Have been experiencing fairly dramatic weather changes every 3-4 days; it snowed on Tuesday but yesterday (Thursday) it was in the 70's. c) 3 weeks ago, we isolated the 2 "bottom" chickens in the pecking order because they were so torn up by the top hen, d) isolated the top hen about a week ago because she was still harassing/harming the rest of the hens, and e) 4 weeks ago one of our best layers was killed by a neighbor's dog while the flock was free ranging.

    They are housed in an 8x8 coop with access to an outside enclosed yard. They seem to be eating and drinking normally. Yesterday, we checked their pelvic bones to see who was laying; only 4 seemed like they might be. In addition, 2 hens have pale combs and wattles, and 3 hens have pasty butts. We gave one of these a bath; afterwards, her poop was very liquidy with very little solid matter.

    Specific questions:
    1) could this be coccidia, perhaps specifically E. hagani? Gail Damerow's book notes a symptom as watery diarrhea, but does not mention blood in the droppings. She also states that little or no egg production is symptom of coccidia in mature chickens.
    2) What do you think is causing the drop in production and/or the symptoms of illness?
    3)Can you suggest a course of action?

    My daughter, who does most of the work regarding these chickens, would prefer to butcher these chickens, clean up, and start over. Do you think this might be a better course of action than diagnosis and treatment? Also, is it safe to eat these chickens or the few eggs we are getting?

    Appreciate any help you can give us.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  2. TheSitcomGirls

    TheSitcomGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 17, 2010
    To me it sounds like your chickens are really stressed out. That will cause a drop in production for sure. I would do anything you could to minimize the stress. Try adding another feeding location or two so the chickens don't have to work so hard to compete for food. I had a hen who was a bully...I added two more feeding stations and she got over it. She couldn't defend all three!
  3. magistradomina

    magistradomina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2010
    Where I live.
    Thank you! [​IMG] Today, we got 8 eggs. I'm really confused. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  4. serendipityfarm

    serendipityfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2010
    Could they be molting?
  5. magistradomina

    magistradomina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2010
    Where I live.
    I am wondering that. They started molting in Dec, and I thought they were done in early Feb, cause we were getting 13 eggs out of 15 chickens. But the hens on the bottom of the pecking order weren't growing feathers back so we seperated them and they just now started getting the "quills" of their feathers. So I am not sure if they are done, or if they are in the middle of it. How can you tell if they're completely done?
  6. magistradomina

    magistradomina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2010
    Where I live.
    Does any one else have any suggestions? We have only gotten 2 eggs today.
  7. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    Molting is very hard on them, I would give them a couple of months to return to normal

    Be sure and give them plenty of protein, and you might consider adding a Vitamin Supplement. I use Ultimate Vitamins from Foy's Pigeon and it's a really good vitamin
  8. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    You named a lot of changes in a relatively short amount of time. That can definitely stress them out. You may have to give them a couple weeks to calm down. What I've also learned is that a lot of stress can throw them into a molt...that might also account for the pale combs. I'm not sure if stress could account for the pasty butt scenario...

    Good luck. I would hang in there for a couple more weeks to give them a change to adapt to change and to see if some are molting.
  9. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    I agree that it is likely stress induced. I have several coops and pens, and when I rearrange and make moves, I can always expect decreased egg production for some time. ANY kind of change stresses chickens. Moving nests or roosts, rearranging and cleaning, a predator; all these things can cause stress resulting in decreased egg production as well.
  10. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop

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