Help!! Amature losing chickens, just lost the 5th to unknown reason.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Starter Chicks, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Starter Chicks

    Starter Chicks New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Feb 1, 2013
    Allentown, NJ
    I purchased 20 chicks in October, knowing it is not the best time of the year to do so. They all survived chickhood, but since moving to coop in December I have lost 5 to unknown illness?? This first chicken I think had a broken leg and could not get to water and food enough. Seemed very weak was laying on her side with her feet straight out. The second I thought had wyr neck. Her neck was twisted under her. I feed her for two days out of a small dish and she did better for a little while then passed on the third day. At this I started with a powder antibiotic in the water of all other hens. They have not started to lay yet, as I live in NJ and it is very cold now. The other three just were curled up and dead when I went in the coop in the morning. No signs of being ill. The first round of antibiotics was not complete. I started another round (it says not to give more then 14 days) and 14 days will be on Tuesday.

    I had grown up with chickens and my grandparents were chicken farmers and have never had this many die so close together. Do they need to be outside? Can it get too cold (this past week it was about 7)? Should they not be on dirt floor? I ask my grandfather these things but he is of the old school mindset and says everythings is fine. Is this normal for buring chicks in the fall instead of spring.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I am failing at this and really don't want to loose any more chickens.
     
  2. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,170
    103
    181
    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    How old are the chickens?

    Chris
     
  3. Starter Chicks

    Starter Chicks New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Feb 1, 2013
    Allentown, NJ
    I got them in October and they were at least 5 or 6 weeks old. So I would say they are now about 5 months old. I have them on medicated chick starter feed still, as recommended by the feed store.
     
  4. mychickenbrood

    mychickenbrood Chillin' With My Peeps

    155
    0
    89
    Apr 12, 2012
    Central Valley CA.
    Can they get up onto roosts? If they are on the ground, are there shavings or other bedding for them? Is there water available? If it is frozen, that could be a problem, of course.

    I would think the cold could be the culprit for the last three, but I am no expert and have never raised chickens in cold climates. I'm just tossing out some ideas.

    Here it never gets that cold, but my young chickens appreciate a horse trough turned on its side and lined with some shavings, on really cold, windy days. Once they can get onto a roost, most prefer that though.

    Some of my heaviest chickens prefer to roost on the ground. I put some shavings down on the ground for them and they appreciate that, as they will roost in that spot.

    I hope someone can be more helpful. Good luck.
     
  5. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,519
    72
    201
    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    No way should they be on medicated chick starter. At 5 months old, use layer feed. Chickens need roosts/perches. I recommend checking for mites and lice and treat them for worms. Offer treats like boiled eggs, tuna, shredded cheese. Provide them with a heat light since they are sick.
     
  6. Starter Chicks

    Starter Chicks New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Feb 1, 2013
    Allentown, NJ
    Thanks Nurse Turtle. I did take them off the medicated feed for one week then they all came up sick and my feed store told me to put them back on. I will remove them, as the bag is almost done now anyway. I will also add heat at night to take the cold edge off but I can't do more then that becuase there coop is in our hay barn. They do not run outside yet- could that be a problem too?
     
  7. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    While most do not, some medicated chick feeds have antibiotics in them. Make sure that yours does not have any.

    I don't think access to the outdoors is a problem, unless they are building up so much poo in their bedding that it's making them sick. SLOWLY transition them off of that feed, their bodies have probably come to rely on the medicated and can't do well without it. You can even just feed them unmedicated chick starter until they begin to lay, then switch them to layer or offer oyster shells for their calcium. I would feed them some plain, cultured yogurt as you transition them to help them along.

    Be sure to check for drafts in the place that they sleep. As mychickenbrood said, you may have to provide some sort of wind block (a horse trough is an excellent idea) with dry bedding for them to sleep in, or roosting poles so they can get to a space up out of the draft.

    Clean, fresh water is very important; just make sure to dump out straw/poo/etc and then refresh it at least in the morning, preferably more often. I also go out and put hot water in their bowls 2-3times a day to melt any ice, but some people like the heated dog dishes if they have electricity out there.

    Good luck and please keep us updated on your flock!
     
  8. mychickenbrood

    mychickenbrood Chillin' With My Peeps

    155
    0
    89
    Apr 12, 2012
    Central Valley CA.
    Are they of good weight? Do they need worming? Another thing is cleanliness, as mysunwolf mentioned. Chickens are very susceptible to health problems in a dirty coop, especially if they do not get out during the day. Good ventilation is a must too.

    Are they getting grit? I would definately switch them, gradually over a about a week, to regular feed. It can be scratch, or grower crumbles, for instance.

    I think the continuous use of medicated feed can be a detriment in the long run. Later, if they get sick, the medication may not be effective, since the microrganisms can build up a resistance to it.
     
  9. Starter Chicks

    Starter Chicks New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Feb 1, 2013
    Allentown, NJ
    Thanks for all the advise. They have plenty of ventilation maybe even aittle too much. The coop islarge and clean but may be too cold. I will slowly take off starter and give yogurt. I will do some changes to the coop too.
     
  10. Starter Chicks

    Starter Chicks New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Feb 1, 2013
    Allentown, NJ
    How do you know if they need to be wormed?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by