Experienced Chicken Keepers-What Are You Losing Most of Your Hens To?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by speckledhen, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    That question occurred to me today as I was looking at my "Rest in Peace" list. This thread is about hens only--I did lose one rooster, not to anything contagious. Roosters seems to drop dead of heart attacks more often than not or they die defending their women.

    Of 17 hens lost over past 3 years (first 2 years, no issues at all-have had chickens for 5 years and have owned about 75 total over the years):

    10 reproductive issues, mostly internal laying/egg peritonitis (mostly hatchery stock)
    4 crop stasis during hard molt
    1 heart defect--heart chamber imploded as she was coming into lay at 24 wks old
    1 probable stroke (or so it seemed-symptoms were exactly like stroke in humans)
    1 accidental death (not clear on that one--was a very healthy hen found dead two hours after lockup for the night)

    I have never had any respiratory issues in my flock and try hard to keep it that way, so none of these deaths are from contagion.

    ETA: I have never lost a chicken to predation, though I'm sure my time is coming eventually. I try to be careful about that, too.

    I have listed the breeds below, in case you're interested in that part of it.

    Lacy SLW, hatchery type
    Lorelei SLW, hatchery type
    Ruby RIR, hatchery type
    Velvet Blue Orpington, crop stasis during molt
    Rosemary RIR, hatchery type
    Cassidy Delaware--lost to heart defect
    Vada GLW, hatchery type
    Violet SLW, hatchery type
    Skye Blue Orpington, crop stasis during molt
    Kate Silkie/Cochin x BR (her mother was hatchery stock--lost to crop stasis during molt)
    Glenda Blue Orp x Buff Brahma (her mother is hatchery stock)
    Ginger Buff Orpington, hatchery type
    Ivy BR, hatchery type
    Tux Silkie/Cochin x BR (her mother was hatchery stock)
    Nelda Speckled Sussex, crop impaction/stasis during molt
    Maxie Delaware
    Olivia Silkie/Cochin x BR (her mother was hatchery stock)
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Predation. After almost 4 years of poultry keeping I haven't lost a bird yet to disease or health issues. Knock on wood.

    Great topic. I will be subscribing to this one.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I added to the first post after you posted yours, CMV. I have not lost any to predation, not yet anyway.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have seen an uptick of respiratory disease. May be in part due to increased observation and moving to new locality. Also working with different breeds. Disease issues for me seem related to contact with wild birds which I am not likely to attempt controlling. I am also in closer proximity to others with flocks and other parties taking little or no bio-security measures.

    My birds also having to deal with heavy mosquito burden, certainly some pathogens vectored by those little buggers. Sqeetters bad enough I do not like going out at night.
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I lose two to three a year to some sort of sickness. Never two close together and not usually in the same flock. That's been pretty constant for the last seven or eight years now.

    I lost one several years ago to a badly impacted crop that I could not adequately treat. That was a Speckled Sussex and my first ever loss to that cause.

    Lost three in the last couple of years to internal laying. One Delaware, one White Leghorn. The last one I can't recall what it was.

    Lost my best rooster to what I believe may have been a systemic infection. He had bumblefoot that I lanced, packed with antibiotic good, put a bandage on (changed regularly) and kept him in the brooder for a couple of weeks until the lance wound healed. He appeared to be quite healthy at that point so I put him back in with his flock (no other roosters in that one). Two days later found him dead. Systemic infection is all I can figure, but if so he had not outward sign that I recognized.

    Predation is where I have most of my losses which is why except for the oldest birds they are all in tractors. Last winter was the first predator losses INSIDE of a tractor I've ever had in the now over four years since I started using them. Coon got in and took all five of my daughter's show Silkies in one night. I'm still angry about that. Also got into two other tractors because the apron wire was old and had holes in it that I should have repaired. Fixed everything that week and started killing coons. Haven't had another loss inside of a tractor since.

    The fixed yard flock has all of my oldest birds in it and I let them free range when I'm home. Every three or four months I'll lose one to a daytime predator (fox or coyote). If ever I get the pasture fully fenced I'll be able to do something about even those. The fence charger died one night and a coon got in and killed several. Replaced the charger and hasn't happened since.

    So I lose two to three a year to sickness unknown. The rare bird to internal laying. Most of what I lose is to predation and that's fairly rare if I'm staying on top of things like I should.
  6. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA

    2 BR pullets lost to cocci over the summer
    1 BO pullet lost to cocci in late September

    and then another BR pullet was eaten by a dog. (neighbors who fed the chickens brought their bird dog with them? not a good idea.)

    if only id known how to treat cocci [​IMG]

    i miss u lily, liz lemon #2, salt, and liz lemon #3!
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  7. Cats Critters

    Cats Critters Completely Indecisive

    Raccoons, I hate raccoons.

    ETA: Here is the break down on deaths:

    Freddy - died of a infection after a leg injury
    Romeo- Raccoon

    Easter- Unknown she just disappeared
    7 babies- Raccoon
    little Yellow Legs- Raccoon
    little #11- I intervened in hatching when I should not have
    2 unnamed- disappeared
    Spectacle- Found died in the coop, no injuries, unknown
    KD, Big Mama, Betty, Black,Grey BA/EE,3 unnamed lost-Raccoon
    Barred bird,Baby Broody, Torn-Up-Raccoon
    Grey- Broken back
    Vanna, Fred, Juliet, Romeo's daughters 2 EE/BR-Raccoon attack
    Caramel- Killed today/last night by a raccoon
    BA- raccoon
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  8. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Interesting how you put the fact that most were hatchery type birds.

    I've lost over 20 chickens, hatchery stock, from genetic defects, overall weakness to cold or rainy temperatures, weak immunity, crop impaction, egg-bound issues, etc.

    The only other I've ever lost is a Blue Wheaten Marans from predation - She was brooding WAY out in the back of the pasture, without my knowledge, and by the time I found her nest - She was gone. Left a trail of feathers towards the neighbor's forest.
  9. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    I hope I can remember all of them!

    7 hens, mostly Faverolle bantams and Silkies, to a stray pit bull dog and a chow
    1 Spitzhauben hen to merck or genetic virus, no other birds had the same signs, hatchery stock
    5 White Orp chicks from MM, weak, failure to thrive, some genetic defects
    20 LF Faverolles from Sandhill Preservation, weak, failure to thrive, genetic defects (cross beaks and crooked or bent toes and crooked backs) All of them died approaching six months of age.
    2 Spitzhaubens from private breeder, hatchery stock, one tested positive for genetic disease and other one had a crooked back
    1 Blue Rock pullet starting to lay, breeder's stock (Gordie), sudden death, no sign of illness
    1 Blue Orp Bantam hen to a sewer rat
    4 Faverolles to smoke inhalation due to brooder light fell into the brooder, killing one Faverolle, five EEs chicks also perished
    1 D'Anver hen died from after effects from smoke inhalation, roughly six months later. She never did recover 100% from the fire. I suspect the smoke must have burned her lungs but she did bounce back after two weeks of labored breathing and was fine until one week before her death, she went back to labored breathing.
    I did lose a few to a coon or feral cat but can not remember which breed(s) it was.

    Knock on wood, never had CRD or Cocci YET or any respiratory diseases. MOST of my birds are NPIP and breeder's stock, very few hatchery stock I've owned for seven years in the city.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  10. MrRushed

    MrRushed Songster

    Mar 6, 2010
    When I was young my parents raised chickens for years, and now I just got involved in raising chickens almost 20 years latter.
    I haven't lost any of my chickens ( 12 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Barred rock hens and 2 Barred Rock Roosters) to any sicknesses, but I almot lost 1 to a fox (just lucky I was there to chase it off my hen.) and my neighbor's dog broke 1 of my hens wings 2 days ago. (She in rehab now all taped up doing very well.)

    So to make a long story short, I would have to say preditors are the #1 problem.

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