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Dealing with death?

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Dixiedoodle, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    I am not sure where to post this. I hope this is the correct forum.

    A little information/background: In July, I purchased 12 POL pullets and a roo. The price was great, the chickens were healthy, the breeds were just what I wanted and the lady raised them just for me because I didn't want to raise chicks and deal with that...

    Well, I had one little Buff Orpington pullet who just never grew. She was tiny, maybe 1/2 the size of her sisters. She seemed healthy but one day she was withdrawn and with in a few days she died..

    Then a few months later, I had a RIR that seemed to have a neck problem (my vet thought it was an injury)??. She lingered for weeks (over a month) but never really recovered. I fed her and gave her water with an eyedropper and she just never got better and became the 'whipping girl' for all the other chickens. So she was moved to a crate... well after 7weeks we put her down...

    And today I lost my only Blue Ameraucana. She was our sweetest pullet (never laid an egg even though she was 10months old). She had struggled for two weeks with (what I believe to be) Mareks. I tried vitamins, minerals, herbs, ACV. Any and everything I could think of, read about etc. I isolated her as soon as I noticed a problem.. She was eating and drinking as of last night but with each passing day I could see no improvement and could see her slipping 'away'... She had no mites or worms...Needless to say it's draining to deal with. Then I have my grandson who is heartbroken because this was 'his chicken'!

    So my questions are:
    What am I doing wrong? I feel like losing a 1/4 of my flock in 7months is a horrible rate. And have learned nothing to help support the remaining ones. My learning curve isn't so great????

    How do you decided, how long to care for one that is not responding?

    When do you take them to the vet?? My vet will help me with anything and most of the time he doesn't charge me a huge fee...BUT....

    thank you for any and all help...Dixie

  2. marytoast

    marytoast Songster

    Dec 31, 2008
    Carthage, NC
    I am so sorry for your loss. I really can't answer any of your questions other than maybe buy vaccinated chicks. I lost a few hens to illness and predators in the past 3 months. It is hard to loose them. [​IMG]
  3. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Thanks Mary...How are your EE/Ameraucanas doing? One of my EE started to lay last week...Beautiful aqua colored egg.. lays two days and miss a day.. I was surprised at how large they are but she is 9 months old....
  4. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Hummm does seem like something is going on. What were the exact symptoms of each bird? If you lose another , try to send it in for a necropsy. Often your state Dept. of Animal & Ag will do it for little fee. That way you will know exactly what is going on.
  5. AmyBella

    AmyBella Songster

    May 26, 2009
    Western MA

    I can relate. I've had my chickens since April and had deal with pasty butt, a broken wing, impacted crop, egg binding, a dog attack, putting down a sick boy at 3 months old, and nursing an eight month old pullet for five weeks before she died. [​IMG] I only had 7 birds!

    For me, each situation was different. (And luckily just one bird was affected each time) The broken wing went to the vet... he was far away, expensive and not experienced with chickens. I will not be going back. My boy's health declined so fast and did not respond to treatment. Putting him down was an obvious decision. The crop, egg-bound girl, and dog attack aftermath I dealt with myself thanks to the kind people on this forum. My poor girl that died... well, we decided that we would do whatever we could to keep her. (She previously broke her wing and was just the sweetest thing ever! [​IMG]) I had to hand feed her three times a day and give her medicine which was very time consuming. She got better, then worse, then better, then died. BUT, her illness led me to contact "the chicken doctor" Peter Brown at First State Vet supply and he was terrific! The phone consultation was $25 and worth every penny. I would not hesitate to use him again.

    I also just remembered that most states have a poultry extension. You can call and talk to the state vet... they will know if there are any disease outbreaks in your area. The guy I spoke with offered to come out and inspect my coop and flock and vaccinate for free! I might take him up on that this summer!

    What are you doing wrong? Well, the only thing I can think of is blaming yourself! I doubt that you have done anything wrong. (Unlike me... the broken wing was an accident, but totally MY FAULT!) Even so, taking a carefull look at the flocks feed and environment might be a good idea. You are so lucky to have a vet close by, but maybe talking to a chicken specialist would be better. They might be more likely to connect the dots and know if your illnesses are related. Good luck! [​IMG]
  6. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007

    1st girl: BO pullet. When I got them at 18 weeks old, she looked prefect, same size, same color, ate and drank well. She was the roosters favorite girl. They slept together, he fed her and if he found treats he would take them to her but I never saw him mount her. After two weeks it was very noticeable that she wasn't growing. I thought she might have been a bantam (but the owner said impossible). After a few more weeks --even though her size was very different, her personality was bright, energetic and even feisty. I found her dead on the poop board where she always roost.. She would have been 25weeks old.

    2nd girl: RIR pullet one day she was fine nothing going on--looked beautiful, fat, sassy. That night (I had been gone and our step-grands (8-10) had came to get the eggs w/o adult supervision) she was walking funny--head pulled to her chest, puffed out like a hen with chicks... She live over a month of me babying her, feeding and water w/ an eye dropper.. Called my vet (who is not a chicken vet) he said it was so sudden--he would think it was an injury.. So after almost 6 weeks we put her down.

    3rd girl: a true Ameraucana 41 weeks old not laying. Sweet, gentle, friendly... Began looking unkept. Staying in the coop more and more. She seemed to have problems with her vision but could find food and water (It was always in the same place). I would offer her food and water, three /four times a day and she ate like she hadn't eaten in days. She stuggled to walk or move but managed to leave the coop and run and get outside where she would stay for a while and then would return to the roost... Each day she got weaker but continued to eat and drink, I moved her to a secure crate with a heat lamp and fed/water which she used. . ... She was dead when I went to check on her. I checked her for mites--she didn't have anything on her. I checked her throat but it was clear. She did have some poop on her feathers but there was also poop that looked normal inside the crate. My chicken guru thought she might have internal egg laying (I think that's what he called it). I thougt she might have Mareks...

    None of these girls were laying eggs. None had worms, mites, lice. No breathing problems or nasal dripping, sneezing..They all had fresh organic veggies, oats and BOSS from my farm, and fresh water (changed twice a day) and Layena pellets offered inside the coop. Their coop is dry and gets cleaned out every morning. I have more square ft. than recommended for them in the coop and run and they free range for several hours every day... I have no neighbors so they aren't getting something from them. I do have wild birds that go into the run and eat the seeds that have dropped.

    I hope that helps...Dixie
  7. lockedhearts

    lockedhearts It's All About Chicken Math

    Apr 29, 2007
    The BO Pullet sounds like what our State Ag Vet here calls "Failure to Thrive" I too had some grow up to be 3-4 months but be smaller than the rest and then just die. I finally took 3 out of one hatch to the State Vet, he necropsied and said Failure to Thrive.
    As he put it, in nature not all eggs hatch, but when we artificially incubate, the eggs that may not have hatched in nature will hatch, or we , as humans will help. These are the chicks that generally have issues.
    I have had some chicks that I have helped and they grew up just fine, but there are some where I have incubated and had great hatches where I have had a few that just never grew like the others, these eventually died.

    As far as the other 2 I can't really say what went on, but with the BO, I would assume that she was just a non-thriving bird.

    It is possible that the second bird did get injured.

    My policy with an ill one, is assess the symptoms, get a course of treatment and if not better in a week then re-assess. I usually can tell if they are going to get better, if not I go ahead and cull as the quality of life is poor and I don't want them to suffer.

  8. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Thank you. I was very frustrated with the last death. It was my 2yo grandson's favorite and he was very confused and upset. He is now better and excited about the new green eggs that are coming. LOL

    I never thought about the "FtT" in chickens but I have been a care giver for the elderly and see it often. So, I do understand.
    It's just so easy to blame ourselves when we don't understand what's going on..

    I will contact my AG dept and find out where and how to send chickens.
  9. SilverPhoenix

    SilverPhoenix Bantam Fanatic

    Dec 15, 2009
    Penn Valley, CA
    I'm not sure what's happening exactly, but I just wanted to say I'm so sorry you've lost that many birds in a row. [​IMG] It's definitely sad and frustrating dealing with losing members of one's flock, especially when we try so hard to save them. [​IMG] To me, my chickens are pets and I love them as individuals, so losing them is as tough as losing any beloved pet. I've been pretty lucky with my flock for the most part over the last few years, only losing some birds that were more than ten years old to old age, but I lost two young hens this year to heat stroke and it broke my heart. It still saddens me to think of their deaths more than six months later. Don't feel alone in being saddened and frustrated by the deaths of your chickens. Many of the members here have experienced similar grief at the losses of their birds. It's hard not to love and care about our chickens when they're such fun and interesting individuals and we only want the best for them. [​IMG]

    I'll be hoping the best for your flock! I hope you don't lose any more for a long, long time. [​IMG]
  10. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    I am sorry for your losses. The bad thing about our beloved chickens...they hide illness well. Most often by the time we see something is wrong, they are very sick. It is hard to say when to see a vet, depends on the circumstances. If you have another start looking ill with the same symptoms, I would get her checked out.

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