dying chickens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by didak, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. didak

    didak In the Brooder

    Oct 9, 2011
    Hi, my name is Juliet and I live in Maleny, Queensland Australia.

    I have a pen of chickens and every few months one dies. I have lost 2 in the past two weeks and another one appeared to become sick yesterday and will no doubt die within the next 24 hours. They have been wormed and treated for coccidiosis but have no idea as to what is killing them. This same thing has been happening for a couple of years and my local vet said it was probably coccidiosis but as I say they have been treated for that and I have since heard that baby chickens would only contract this disease and not fully grown chickens. The symptoms are lethargy, tail down and crop colour changing. One thing I have noticed in the last couple and with this one is that they shake their heads all the time.

    I have them penned with 2 ducks and while the ducks are outside during the day, is it possible that the ducks could be frightening them by picking on them to the point where there is no chance of recovery. As you can see I am clutching at straws trying to figure out what the problem is.

    Most of the chickens I have are ex battery hens which I saved to give them a life and its very upsetting because I feel like Im letting them down.

    I would appreciate any help or advice please.[​IMG]

  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    First of all, welcome to BYC. I'm glad you joined us.

    If you look up toward the top of the page you will see "Index". Click on that you you will find a list of all the topic categories. Your post belongs in the Emergencies section and you will get more responses to your issue by posting there. There is also a "sticky" under that category that will help you set up your question to provide the most valuable information so that people can help you better. And be patient. Someone will attempt to help. Good luck!

    Edited to say that it looks like you successfully got your posting moved to the right place. Now I hope that the situation with your chickens is resolved.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  3. TheMainException

    TheMainException Songster

    Jul 7, 2010
    Lebanon, PA
    Mine have similar symptoms. Have you noticed a change in weight? Can they eat okay? Some of mine have lost significant weight, shake their heads, peck at food, but don't seem to have the energy to eat it. I've lost many over the course of a year and a half. All different ages. All the same kinds of symptoms, but some faster, like one day and some slower, like 3 months. I thought maybe it was different things affecting them, but I don't know. Can you describe more of what their living conditions are like? What food they get?
  4. didak

    didak In the Brooder

    Oct 9, 2011
    Thank you very much for your reply. I feed my chickens "laying mash" which is bagged that I get from the local produce store. I also give them pasta, rice with cooked frozen vegetables and other bits and pieces from the fridge (leftovers). I never feed them anything that is off, citrus or onions. They live in a pen that is dirt floored, they have 3 nesting boxes on the ground with straw. The chicken that is sick is still hanging on and when I picked her up this afternoon, there is nothing of her, she weighs nothing, she has no breast at all, just bone more or less. I do have another one like that but she is healthy. As I mentioned that most of the chickens I have now are ex battery hens, I havent always had them, the others I have lost have been very healthy.
  5. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Crowing

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    Well, you have posted in the right section
    The only two things I can think of are - worms - and more specifically, gapeworm.
    Have you tried worming them?
    Battery hens I know nothing about, but I would have to wonder what their life expectancy is?
    I would also try vitamins and electrolytes in their water occasionally, it may also be a vitmain deficiency? Maybe, not sure
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    The head shaking thing makes me think mites. Have you checked them for mites?
  7. didak

    didak In the Brooder

    Oct 9, 2011
    Hi again, I was in the middle of answering your reply but pressed a button and it disappeared so not sure if you got any of it so I will start again. Im not very good with the computer and not sure how to reinput my original question. Thanks for your help.

    I have wondered the same thing about the life expectancy of an ex battery hen. I have wormed them twice since I have had them which is about 8 months now I think. I have wormed them for roundworm, caecal worm and hair worm. This is a 3 in one wormer from the vet. I have also treated them for coccidiosis. When one of the chickens got sick a couple of years ago, the vet gave me the treatment for this disease because she said thats what it is, so I put the drops in their water and she came good, so therefore since then I have thought that has always been the problem but it doesnt appear to be the case and I havent been back to the vet because I dont think they really know and they told me that there are about 200 diseases they are prone to.

    I have had very healthy chickens before, I had two pairs of chickens given to me by friends and one from each pair has since died and yet were fine with the original owners as well as all the other chickens I have had. I am willing to try putting vitamins and electrolites in their water so will do that tomorrow and keep in contact on this great site for any further help.

    PS: That is a lovely thought you have written down.


  8. didak

    didak In the Brooder

    Oct 9, 2011
    On a sad note my chicken died during the night which was expected. I have read a fair bit of info about mites since your post but I dont think that is the problem. My chickens choose to sit in the nesting boxes rather than roost, being ex battery hens I dont think they knew how to fly and have always sat in their nests so cant check roosting posts for mites as suggested but tomorrow I will check the nesting boxes thoroughly and will replace their nesting material although I think Im back at square one.

    I wasnt able to speak to my vet yesterday or today but will be contacting them tomorrow and I might enquire about an autopsy. I will let you know the outcome, thanks for your help.

  9. hello from the uk [​IMG]

    i had a similar problem with my ex-batts, after the 3rd death. i had some samples sent to the lab, and it was confirmed they had mycoplasma. theremaining ones were all treated with antibiotics, they are currently well and laying, but i understand that mycoplasma never fully goes away.

    good luck with your hens.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011

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