Down to One

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by dsgmyers, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. dsgmyers

    dsgmyers New Egg

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    Oct 4, 2015
    Hi all, this is my first post and I am perplexed by our first chicken experience.

    About 5 months ago I purchased our small flock for my 8 year old to get some experience with. They were 3 olive eggers and 1 Americana. The Americana was about a week older than the other 3.

    All was well until they were about 2 months old. My husband found one dead in their coop/box. They are in an 8x10 tractor. There were no signs of illness before the death and no foul play like predators, etc. No blood, no injury- just a dead chicken. We even keep the tractor very close to our house under shelter to try and prevent them from being too hot/cold.

    About two months later we lost our second. We thought that could have been due to a storm that happened the night before, but again, just a dead chicken. No blood, no injury, no previous signs of illness. They all acted fine the day she died.

    Tonight my husband went out to check on our remaining 2 girls and was hoping he was seeing some early egg-readiness-signs. Our oldest (Americana) was acting a little lethargic, not interested in food, etc. Within 2 hours, however, she seems barely alive. Barely breathing, panting a bit when she is held, and not able to get into their coop.

    We have done as thorough of an exam as amateurs can do. She isn't hurt or injured, no blood, doesn't seem egg-bound or anything. Her eyes were clear and she seemed somewhat alert. When we picked her up to do the exam (we normally don't hold our chickens) she was very passive. After a few minutes of checking her out, she seemed barely able to hold her head up. While my husband was holding her, she was kind of drooling a bit though- clear liquid coming out of her beak and dripping on his shirt, but maybe only 3-4 drops.

    We don't have an emergency vet that treats chickens in our area, and even if we did, I honestly don't think I can afford to put more money into this amateur endeavor. I have spent a small fortune for these guys for my daughter and so far it has been nothing but a nightmare. She is crying and crying over this one, for the third time.

    Any idea why we are having such bad luck with our chickens? Are we doing something wrong? We check on them at least 2x every day, morning and evening. They have feed which was recommended by the person I bought them from, fresh water 2x per day, shade and a box to stay warm in with a roosting pole and a nesting box... I really don't understand what we have done wrong here.

    My mom kept chickens growing up and always said they were so easy to care for. My daughter is distraught over losing another and I don't feel like we can keep the last living bird by itself in our tractor, so I assume we will find a farm home for her assuming the other one passes away tonight (which I expect to happen).

    I am so upset that I decided to go into this for my daughter, and now this has happened. If I've done something wrong I would love to know what it is- but all my searching, reading and research turns up nothing. Any ideas for such bad luck?
     
  2. Jesusfreak101

    Jesusfreak101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of bedding do you use in the coop? And what is the temp outside? Does the coop have ventilation?
     
  3. dsgmyers

    dsgmyers New Egg

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    Oct 4, 2015
    We have shavings in their coop from Tractor Supply and the temps have dropped this week but it is still in the 50'sF. They do have a door and 2 windows in the coop part, as well as the door into the run.
     
  4. Jesusfreak101

    Jesusfreak101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pine or cedar? (Cedar fumes are harmful to chickens)
     
  5. dsgmyers

    dsgmyers New Egg

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    Oct 4, 2015
    I just double-checked to make sure and they are pine. I really hope this isn't due to something we've done wrong! I am feeling so guilty!
     
  6. Jesusfreak101

    Jesusfreak101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of feed? And i doubt that it something you done if they are just dropping. I just trying to get all the fact, you said that there have been no other signs before they just get ill/die?
     
  7. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi! Let's focus on trying to save the chicken.[​IMG] if you can, try to get some electrolytes into her. Will she drink? Scramble some eggs or some oatmeal to get her to eat. Keep her warm and dry.
    So the symptoms that you describe are that you check the tractor 2X/day, fine on one check and dead on the next? The hen seems fine then quickly fades and dies? What does their poop look like? Do their combs ant wattles look a nice healthy pink? Is the sick ones comb and wattle color paler than the rest? Did you purchase them as day olds? Were they vaccinated for Marek's?
     
  8. dsgmyers

    dsgmyers New Egg

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    Oct 4, 2015
    She did eat and drink earlier tonight a little bit.

    Yes, the tractor is checked at least 2x a day, sometimes more if my daughter wants to go out and visit. The other 2 have not even faded but we have just found them dead. This is the only one with any signs of distress. Their poop looks normal, brown chicken poo- nothing unusual to notice. She did have some poo on her tail feathers during the exam we did earlier. Their comb and wattle aren't very well developed at all but they were a bit pink, not white. We purchased them at one and two weeks old, respectively, from someone locally. To my knowledge they were not vaccinated or treated in any way before we got them.

    Husband just checked again and she is hanging in there. Asleep on the ground but still breathing. Husband put her in the nesting box to try to keep her warm. But we are afraid if its something contagious it could spread to the last one?
     
  9. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't have enough details, but I do suspect they might have been passing something. Antibiotics, like Tylan might be in order but I am not an expert and wouldn't venture to diagnose. There are so many silent diseases that manifest themselves once they've infected the flock. I don's see what state you are in but if you loose another hen, I strongly suggest you take her to a state vet for necropsy and diagnosis. Most states do not charge. If @Eggcessive happens to see your post, she may jump in to assist you. She is an educator. I'm pulling for you!
     
  10. dsgmyers

    dsgmyers New Egg

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    Oct 4, 2015
    I am sorry for seeming ignorant, but will they overeat and die from too much food?

    My husband and daughter juiced last night and took out the pulps and scraps for them. They dumped quite a bit of food scraps but all veggies and apples- into the pen. (Pulp from spinach, carrots, and apples only) Is it possible that she gorged herself on the goodies? She is still hanging in there so I hope she makes it through the night but I'm trying not to be optimistic and get our hopes up. The last one seems healthy and normal.

    But if one dies we shouldn't keep the remaining one by herself should we? I suggested to my daughter we give her to a friend who has a large flock and a farm so that she doesn't have to live alone. But now I'm afraid if she has something contagious we could spread it. There are no signs of illness though, at least not with this one until tonight when she went downhill so quickly.
     

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