Had a few deaths recently


13 Years
Feb 5, 2010
Grenada W.I.
My flock is basically common breed yard fowl where the hens are encouraged to roost in the coup over night to avoid predation. The Cocks have to tough it out outside when they mature as they create havoc of a night time.

The most of the deaths do not seem to be connected, other than for what ever reason once the birds start to shut down they do not seem to be revive-able.

I suspect two were shock related from being trampled in the scrabble to get out in the morning. One however was hard work as I noticed laboured breathing and the sound of fluid in the lungs. I tried inverting the bird, and quite a lot of liquid drained from it's mouth followed by a kind of cough and splutter. This seemed to help, so I repeated the process a couple more times, until the wheezing disappeared and she seemed less stressed.

This was a "Layer" that has been past laying for about 6 months, she continued to be poorly so I separated her and then placed another similar aged bird who seemed to have the same lack of energy she did, but without the fluid issue. The "fluid" chicken died first, and the bird simply lacking vitality just settled into to a no move no eat and no drink routine until it just died.

Generally speaking these are happy if just a bit lazy birds, that get reasonable feed rations morning and night, but have to tough it out during the day eating fallen bananas, mangos, palms seeds, grass and what ever is in season during the year. They lay sporadically, and I let them sit from time to time so the flock will grow, but if we get half a dozen chicks we then lose 3 birds either one or two from the chicks but mostly from the older ones so flock growth is not exponential.

I don't know if chickens get heart failure symptoms like humans with oedema filling up the body, but if I can avoid getting it again I would appreciate some recommendations.
Chickens do have heart problems, commercial meat birds especially, but any chicken could potentially get it. http://www.millerhatcheries.com/Inf...nfo/Ascites (waterbelly)_in_Meat_Chickens.htm The chicken with fluid coming out of its mouth I would wonder if it a crop/gizzard problem (sour crop, impacted crop), I can't see a living bird having enough fluid actually in the lungs to get it out like that. Was the other poorly one a layer also? With layers that start to fade, I usually guess peritonitis or internal laying or egg bound as possible causes. Sounds like you have just had a couple of fatalities from unrelated causes.
Thanks for the link and the response.

They were both layers that had stopped laying a while back, they were part of the first dozen birds we owned. All the others are run of the mill yard fowl, but they all have the same opportunity to roam.

There was definitely plenty of fluid emitted from the beak, and it had sounded as if it was drowning prior to my inverting it. I figured I couldn't make it any worse than it was, and although I have been keeping chickens for about 4 years now I know I am a long way from knowing why some of them die.

From that link maybe a lower protein premixed food might be better, one supplier has "18" and the other which I have been using is "19" which I am told is the higher protein one. They have about 12 hours to forage, but are pretty lazy and just charge at anyone holding a plastic bucket.

I am both practical and hopeful, so I will terminate if there is no hope, but I have this residual hope they can be restored. The longer I do this the quicker I realise termination is the best option in most cases.
Older layers, especially any of the commercial types are prone to peritonitis/internal laying/egg binding, especially as they get older.
Don't know what was going on with the bird with all the fluid if it wasn't crop related, chickens always seem to come up with new ways of getting sick.
If you are feeding adult birds, the slightly higher protein % is fine, they may actually lay better, the link above is talking about young cornish rock meat birds who are really really prone to ascites and you really have to watch their diet.
Know what you mean about the dinner bucket, chickens aren't dumb, why go look for your own food when somebody will bring it to you.
I know it is hard if you are dealing with pets to euthanize them. I know I have waited too long sometimes in the past, but I agree, you tend to learn you aren't doing the chicken any favors, they don't care about tomorrow.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom