Have lost 5 laying hens in 2 days


In the Brooder
11 Years
Dec 10, 2008
Prineville, Oregon
My kids and I went on a road trip Tuesday and left at 4 am in the morning and we figured we be gone most of the day, so my DH fed and watered animals that morning. He called me and said that 2 of my 9 laying hens was dead. They all looked good the night before when I fed. We got home from our raod trip about 5pm and I went out to look them over and 2 other hens didnt look like they felt well and by the next morning 1 was dead and the other was on the ground and couldnt stand, beak to the ground. When she tried to move around she couldnt even lift her head from the ground. My husband took care of here because I didnt want her to continue to suffer. I started researching the night I got home and the closed I can figure is Cossidiosis. Went to the feed store and got Corid and have been treating them since yesterday morning. One of the other hens started not feeling well and I tried to make sure she stayed hydrated with the medicated water and some electrolytes but by this morning she was gone. I have sat out by the pen to try to watch for any signs to help me figure out what is going on. As of this morning after checking over my remainder 4 laying hens on looks a little fluffed up and I also noticed she keeps opening her mouth(kind of looks like our gag reflex)
Ive have raised chickens for a while and this is the first time Ive ever experience a catastophy.They have always been easy keepers and except maybe needing to dust them for lice/mites Ive never had anything really bad happen. I am a mom who is raising 3 teen age kids and always seem to be on the run with my kids and all the stuff they have going on in their lives, so Im guilty of not worming and things like that as often as I should. But I love my chickens and this is a huge eye opener for me with some of the things that can kill them so quickly.
I guess my question would be: Is there anything else I could reseach as to whats going on because I am sooooo beating my head up agianst a wall right now. Apparently its something contagious and my worst feel is loosing all of my chickens and not being able to raise anymore because of contagions being on the property???? Weather heas been mild here(70*) so they are not dying of heat.
Do they free range? Could they have eaten something poisonous? Do they all gape--beaks open wide like you mentioned?

There is a parasite called gape worm--it's a worm that gets into the chicken's throats, causing that gaping....

I don't think it was cocci because usually, adult hens are pretty much immune to that.

So sorry you're going through this! HUGS TO YOU,

My hens do not free range, but I do let them out once in a while in the back yard while Im working in the garden or yard. I havent let them out in a while. They range from 2 to 3 years old and I have not brought in any new chickens since last year and Im a huge believer in quarintining. Because of the amount of hens Ive lost in such a short amount of time I think Im going to call the Ext. office and see if I cant find help there as well.
I am so bummed about this because out road trip I mentioned was going and picking up 13 Black Copper Maran chicks that are quarintined in the garage.
The necropsy is your best bet. That way, you will find out what is going on. Nothing screams Marek's to me at this point. Were the birds that died of a good weight?

Please let us know what you find out.
I don't think it's Marek's, but maybe something they caught from a wild bird....call the extension agent....

I'm curious.

I wouldn't suspect worms because they all passed so quick, it sounds infectious.....
All the hens were of good weight.Sick one day, gone the next. Ive been watching poo and Ive not seen any blood which is the only thing missing for Coccidiosis.But the one that come up sick have had very runny diarrea. No swollen comb, waddle or earlobes which would be Fowl Cholera. No wheezing or coughing, so ya Im totally at a loss right now.
Definitely take one of your dead birds in and have it looked at. Have you put out fertilizer or weed killer lately. It sounds like either poisoned or some bacterial infection. Can you take a poo sample to a vet? How many do you have left and are they showing any symptoms? I am so sorry for your loss! Please keep us all posted
Its been a long day BUT I havent lost anymore hens :) I had one this morning that wasnt looking like she felt well and my first call was to the OSU Ext office. The person I needed to talk wasnt in and they also told me to call the vet. This makes me kinda laugh even though its no were near being funny, but the vet told me that I probably knew more about poultry than he did. I have no vets near me that know anything about poultry? So I called the Ext office agian and they gave me the # for the Poultry guy at OSU and he said he didnt think it was Coccidiosis because they had no bloody poo. He said it sounded like my hens may have gotten a something contagious from wild birds and that he just didnt know what could be killing my hens that quickly. He said that I needed to stop the Corid right away and to start them on Tetricycline as soon as possible. SO my DH came to the rescue and ran to the feedstore to pick some up.Now its a waiting game and we will see what happens in the next couple of days as the guy from OSU said that it should start working in the next couple of days and that if Im loosing hens in the next few days then we need to try something different. Sad part is, if Im still loosing hens in the next few days Im not going to have any more to treat. Praying this works...In the long run Im going to continue learning and researching so maybe if this happens in the future Ill be able to rush right in there and know what to do next time instead of feeling so helpless. You never know, maybe I might figure out a way to be strickly a chicken vet in my area LOL....hmmm theres a thought
Oh and almost forgot, I asked about sending one of my bird to OSU, but it would have cost over $100 not including overnight shipping. Thats just a bit out of my budget right now.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom