Flock slowly being wiped out


Jan 26, 2021
Kent, England
Hello. Wondering if anyone can help out with this. We've lost a few hens in the last 6 weeks or so. Symptoms have included:

All had green diarrhoea
Some were gaping and sneezing
Some had bubbly eyes
Some had yellow lesions in throat

Vet diagnosed microplasma initially and later suspected canker. Hens were treated with antibiotics, anti canker medication and wormers.

The last 2 deteriorated very quickly, one of which was gaping and the other couldn't hold her head up. Both had blocked full crops.

We had a post mortem done on the first one and vet highlighted an abnormally shaped heart and an enlarged spleen and liver. He also said the crop was full but there were no droppings or food in the rest of her system, or any signs of parasites. However, he didn't offer any explanation for her death.

We have consulted defra, who suggested it wasn't avian flu due to the symptoms. The hens have also been kept under cover and shut in their run.

We are at such a loss as to what it could be, but have read about something called Newcastle disease, although this has not been in the UK since 2006.

We'd like to get to the bottom of it so we can obviously provide the best care for our other hens.

Thank you for reading.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Would think your vet would preform more tests to find out what's going on.

How old are these birds and did you raise them from chicks?
Are these your first birds?

Oh, and .....Welcome to BYC @Njs1999 Sorry for your troubles :(
Where in this world are you located...UK?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
May 24, 2020
ok i have a few questions that will give me info... did hey have sour smells coming from there mouths? what kind of bedding do you use? how many and how fast have your hens gone? have they ever properly been diagnosed with worms? what is the current temp in your area/season?


Jan 26, 2021
Kent, England
Vets are currently reluctant to do many tests due to the avian flu we have over here.

I'm surprised the vet actually did one, as another more specialist vet has been told defra are advising not to. Though, they did say we could send them the chicken's organs for them to analyse. Don't really fancy that one.

They are not our first birds, wife is very experienced. They are on chopped straw for bedding and the climate is typical English weather 🙄. A few cold days and some wet days but nothing extreme.

No real worm diagnosis, as we thought gapeworm due to the gaping but vet found no parasites.

We've lost 5 birds in the last 6 weeks. The wyandottes went really quickly - a day or so after symptoms. Others took a couple of weeks. Another one, I put her out of her misery. No real smell from beaks.


Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
It did sound like they had symptoms of a respiratory disease and possibly canker, although lab testing would be the only way to know for sure. Canker can invade the crop and prevent them from eating or absorbing food. Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a common respiratory disease, but there are several others, both bacterial and viral. Those can make carriers of survivors, and the disease can be spread on and on until all the bepirds are gone. I would close the flock untill all birds are gone. Then, after waiting a few weeks, it would possible to get healthy baby chicks that are not affected. Sorry that you are losing birds.

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