Mar 8, 2019
Hey guys. I have had three hens die in the last three weeks. I am trying to decide if there is something going around my flocks (I have three flocks that live alongside each other) or if these are isolated cases of natural causes. One big consideration right now is the temperature which has been over a hundred several times recently. The birds do have shade, constant access to fresh water, and I have started giving them electrolytes. But none of them have lived through a summer quite this hot before.

Bird #1 acted off one day before she died, no appetite, just laid in the corner. Was found dead the next morning. Young bantam hen. Lived in small flock in chicken tractor.

Bird #2 had acted off for a couple days a few weeks ago, so I had separated her, gave her a supply of food and water, time out of the pecking order, etc. She was acting normal again in a few days and was returned to the flock. Fast forward a few weeks and the same thing happened again for 1 day. I separated her in the morning, she was still eating and drinking, put her back in the coop with the others at night and she was dead in the morning. 1-yr old hen. Lived in main flock in the big coop.

Bird #3 possibly confused with the bird above since they look very much alike, same breed, etc. Only symptom was acting a bit lethargic and hanging back in the coop yesterday, but she still got out with the others to free range. Oh, almost forgot. Noticed her comb/wattles were pale last night. 1-yr old hen. Lived in main flock in the big coop.

In between birds #2 and #3 I had a hen begin acting exhausted, standing by herself just nodding off. No other symptoms. I brought her inside to a brooder box to be in the AC thinking she might be over heating. Gave her some electrolytes. She stayed there for a few days, ate and drank okay, wasn't too happy about being alone but mostly just relaxed in the box, wasn't laying. Let her spend a little time outside one day and the next day put her back out with the flock. She is acting normal.

What are your thoughts?
No respiratory symptoms. No other birds acting off. Still giving everyone electrolytes and keeping them in the shade (their runs are covered). Haven't changed feed. Most of the flock is laying, have several broody hens doing well. Have had chicks and ducklings and keets recently and only had problems with two little keets.

We have lost a hen here or there in isolated cases before and I know there are many reasons that can happen. The only thing that makes me think there's possibly something going around is how close together these birds have died, but it's still been about a week apart for each one. Symptoms haven't been consistent between them.
I would suspect heat, it might be hard on them if they have not lived through anything that hot. maybe spray a bit of water under their wings to help keep them cool.
Thanks! I will see what I can do. I think we have a kid pool that isn't being used right now so maybe I can fill that up for them. Our summers are usually quite hot but temps over 100 are not normal for us, usually 90s, so none of our animals have lived through this extreme heat. We're hauling water to all the animals all day.
Lost another one. A young pullet this time. Just added her to my flock this year. No symptoms just found her dead this morning. I'm wondering if they are getting into something they shouldn't be eating when I let them free range. I'll look around and see what might need to be cleaned up or removed. Any other ideas?

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