Do NOT use Chickens for Backyards! Please read - this is my story

heathercara

Chirping
Jan 18, 2019
43
113
99
Santa Cruz Mountains
BEWARE CHICKEN LOVERS: Stay FAR AWAY From Chickens For Backyards (chickensforbackyards.com). Please read below as my chickens arrived infected with a rare disease.

I ordered 10 chicks of various varieties from them and received 13. One arrived dead, and others began dying immediately afterwards despite a heat plate (I used a temperature gun to make sure it was the correct temp), good food, water, and an large indoor climate-controlled brooder free from drafts. I called into work to try to save them, but I couldn’t revive them. I lost 6 out of the 13 total.

I contacted Cindy at Chickens for Backyards, and she was immediately defensive, accusing me of not caring for them appropriately, even though I had checked with multiple chicken experts in my area who said I had done everything correctly. She refused to give me a refund unless I called her, and given her dismissive and hostile attitude, I decided to let it go.

Well, approximately 4 weeks ago, one of my hens named Crackers started exhibiting neurological symptoms. I took her inside and placed her in a safe, dark dog crate, hand-fed food that I had cooked for her, and fed her regular and electrolyte water. After a week, she still wasn’t doing well. We took her to the vet who said she’d had a stroke or some kind of neurological event and was also exhibiting blindness and would probably not recover. We elected to have her put down for her quality of life.

Last week, I came home to my sweetest silkie rooster Jetsam with his neck twisted upside down underneath his body and hardly able to stand. It was horrifying. I rushed him to the vet where I decided to hospitalize him for 24 hours to give him a chance. He was still exhibiting awful neurological symptoms after 24 hours, so I decided to have him put down. My vet recommended an autopsy since I had two chickens with strange neurological symptoms all within a month, and I wanted to see if this would happen to my other babies. So I did.

My vet Dr. Stern called today, and Jetsam had tumors all in his organs, including in his spinal cord. My chickens have been diagnosed with myelocytomatosis, a disease my avian vet has never seen, and the chicken pathologist has not seen “in forever.” Essentially, this disease is a retrovirus that gives them all cancer. All of my chickens are carriers and may or may not come down with this disease. It is going to be a waiting game to see who gets sick. Additionally, I cannot add any more chickens to my flock, as they may infect the others.

I tell you this because it’s heartbreaking to see chickens that you raised from babies suffer in this way and not know who may be next. Obviously Chickens for Backyards doesn’t care at all about their birds, has awful biosecurity practices, and sells diseased birds. I just want to spread the word so no one else will have to go through this awful and heartbreaking situation.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I Want Ice Cream
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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It sounds similar to Mareks?

I have lost chicks. A good hatchery may be willing to refund your money depending on the circumstances. Sometimes chicks just get too stressed over the shipping and never recover too. I definitely would choose a reliable hatchery next time. I haven't heard of that particular place before.
 
Sep 2, 2018
7,889
30,571
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Big Chimney, WV
My Coop
My Coop
Very sad story! Sorry for your losses.
The web-site looks like one of these »drop-order« poultry businesses: They themselves don't have a single chick on site, but work together with several (small) hatcheries who actually send the birds to you. Another example for these businesses is purelypoultry.com.
You may be lucky or not, its like playing the chick lottery…
Well established hatcheries, like Meyers, Stromberg, Metzer, … don't do business with these people.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
38,410
54,517
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
BEWARE CHICKEN LOVERS: Stay FAR AWAY From Chickens For Backyards (chickensforbackyards.com). Please read below as my chickens arrived infected with a rare disease.

I ordered 10 chicks of various varieties from them and received 13. One arrived dead, and others began dying immediately afterwards despite a heat plate (I used a temperature gun to make sure it was the correct temp), good food, water, and an large indoor climate-controlled brooder free from drafts. I called into work to try to save them, but I couldn’t revive them. I lost 6 out of the 13 total.

I contacted Cindy at Chickens for Backyards, and she was immediately defensive, accusing me of not caring for them appropriately, even though I had checked with multiple chicken experts in my area who said I had done everything correctly. She refused to give me a refund unless I called her, and given her dismissive and hostile attitude, I decided to let it go.

Well, approximately 4 weeks ago, one of my hens named Crackers started exhibiting neurological symptoms. I took her inside and placed her in a safe, dark dog crate, hand-fed food that I had cooked for her, and fed her regular and electrolyte water. After a week, she still wasn’t doing well. We took her to the vet who said she’d had a stroke or some kind of neurological event and was also exhibiting blindness and would probably not recover. We elected to have her put down for her quality of life.

Last week, I came home to my sweetest silkie rooster Jetsam with his neck twisted upside down underneath his body and hardly able to stand. It was horrifying. I rushed him to the vet where I decided to hospitalize him for 24 hours to give him a chance. He was still exhibiting awful neurological symptoms after 24 hours, so I decided to have him put down. My vet recommended an autopsy since I had two chickens with strange neurological symptoms all within a month, and I wanted to see if this would happen to my other babies. So I did.

My vet Dr. Stern called today, and Jetsam had tumors all in his organs, including in his spinal cord. My chickens have been diagnosed with myelocytomatosis, a disease my avian vet has never seen, and the chicken pathologist has not seen “in forever.” Essentially, this disease is a retrovirus that gives them all cancer. All of my chickens are carriers and may or may not come down with this disease. It is going to be a waiting game to see who gets sick. Additionally, I cannot add any more chickens to my flock, as they may infect the others.

I tell you this because it’s heartbreaking to see chickens that you raised from babies suffer in this way and not know who may be next. Obviously Chickens for Backyards doesn’t care at all about their birds, has awful biosecurity practices, and sells diseased birds. I just want to spread the word so no one else will have to go through this awful and heartbreaking situation.
I'm sorry for your losses.

Avian Lymphoid Leucosis can often be mistaken as Marek's. It's good that you were able to get a necropsy so you have an official report.
There are a few people that have LL in their flock, they may be able to give you some tips @azygous if you can chime in.

How heartbreaking this must be for you. You may want to take a closer look at the company you purchased your chicks from - I do believe as has been suggested in the previous post, that it is not a hatchery - they are a 3rd party that "takes orders". Find out what hatcheries they deal with. Any reputable hatchery will want to know that they have sent out chicks that are LL positive.
 

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