Help, four dead chickens in two days!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by FairWeather Featherduster, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. FairWeather Featherduster

    FairWeather Featherduster New Egg

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    My family is growing broilers for ourselves and I'm the one (19 year old) taking care of them.

    My problem is yesterday, I found a chicken dead. Okay, 100 chickens from arrival to pen, this was not so bad. Annoying, but not bad. This morning, another dead one. 98, still not bad. I went out about 1, 1:30 to feed and water, two more were dead. There was still as little feed left on the ground and in the feeders and the chickens, usually loud, chirpy and pushing at the chicken wire on the Chicken Tractor. This afternoon, they had to roust themselves up and about. The strange thing, is that with other sick animals, off their feed would mean off their water, right?

    They were getting up to drink.

    This is our first year raising broilers and this is the second batch. I'm not sure what's going on or what to do. We have layer hens that were in with the first batch and they're giving me 10 to 11 eggs a day, and they are happy and healthy.

    Am I missing something with the broilers? I move them every two or three days. Less often than I should, I know, but getting help is hard and I have college classes two days a week.

    Do they need to be moved, given anti-biotics? We're trying to avoid chemicals.

    I had thought this morning it was the temperature, low 50's, high 60's this morning, it's gotten warmer since.

    I'm really concerned.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  2. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    How old are they? Are any others sneezing etc? I don't THINK it's too cold for them, 50-ish should be ok overnight, (sounds like our weather here).

    Meaties can just keel over with heart attacks because they eat so much and put weight on so fast. I'm not saying that's what they're doing, but if you cannot find any other reason for this, that just could be it. Others might have a better idea than me about how much they should get to eat. I think you are supposed to feed a little less after a bit, not sure though, see what the real experts have to say! [​IMG]

    Possibly a fecal sample to a vet will tell you more, or a autopsy/necropsy. Either costs money, but see what others say here... since the family will be eating them, it may be worth it.
     
  3. threehorses

    threehorses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We definitely do need more information. How much room do they have ? Any runny droppings? I'd make a point to move them more often, daily, because you have an intense flock and without bedding they need to get off of the ground onto fresh ground. They absolutely should not be eating off of the ground - I'd say that is likely one of the issues, even though you have feeders.

    Honestly with nearly 100 chickens at stake, I'd get a necropsy done by a local extension agent (contact your state ag college) on two of the birds or you risk losing them all. That's a great expense considering the number of birds you have invested in.

    Medicating is a moot point because you don't know for what to medicate.

    Also what are they eating, exactly? What are their weights - have you picked any up to examine them? A few random birds to get a good feel of weight, condition, breathing, etc?
     
  4. FairWeather Featherduster

    FairWeather Featherduster New Egg

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    Yes they have runny droppings, we're just beginning to move them daily, I know, I'm a bad chicken owner, we've lost seven now.

    We ran, the engine was humming, to a local TSC and got a Tetracycline soluble. Duramycin-10 for Necrotic Enteritis.

    It's a 10x12 Chicken Tractor, made from Joel Salatin's blueprints.

    The chicks will be eight weeks next week.

    Thank you for all your help! It's so frustrating for them to perk up a little throughout the day and then find dead chickens at night.
     
  5. threehorses

    threehorses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I doubt it's necrotic enteritis, and probably using the antibiotics (those anyway) will make their digestive flora even more weak, resulting in more deaths.

    I'd just move them to clean ground, do a flock wide cleanse, give them GOOD probiotics (probios brand powder, in the feed), and keep moving them.
     
  6. FairWeather Featherduster

    FairWeather Featherduster New Egg

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    Quote:I doubt it's necrotic enteritis, and probably using the antibiotics (those anyway) will make their digestive flora even more weak, resulting in more deaths.

    I'd just move them to clean ground, do a flock wide cleanse, give them GOOD probiotics (probios brand powder, in the feed), and keep moving them.

    With all due respect, I think you are wrong. I gave the chickens the Tetracycline, 1/8th of an teaspoon, this morning, after finding three dead ones and by Noon they were cheeping again. They were more active, more interested in the feed and they swarmed the feeders.

    They are still sluggish, but they are much better.
     
  7. threehorses

    threehorses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I doubt it's necrotic enteritis, and probably using the antibiotics (those anyway) will make their digestive flora even more weak, resulting in more deaths.

    I'd just move them to clean ground, do a flock wide cleanse, give them GOOD probiotics (probios brand powder, in the feed), and keep moving them.

    With all due respect, I think you are wrong. I gave the chickens the Tetracycline, 1/8th of an teaspoon, this morning, after finding three dead ones and by Noon they were cheeping again. They were more active, more interested in the feed and they swarmed the feeders.

    They are still sluggish, but they are much better.

    With all due respects, that dosage of tetracycline won't work within a few hours for true necrotic enteritis which is inflammation and necrosis of the digestive tract. You've lost seven chickens or so total. But you know, apparently you've studying chicken diseases and chemotherapy for a number of years. So good luck to you, and best of health to your flock.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2009
  8. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    A bit late here, but if I may be so bold- next time you have an emergency illness, please answer the questions in the following link as best you can. It will make it much easier for a very experienced and well-respected member such as threehorses to accurately answer your questions.

    I wish you the best for your flock of broilers. One caution- since you have chosen to administer Tetracycline to your flock, you will need to wait several weeks before butchering then, so the antibiotic has time to clear their systems.

    Please read:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=3569
     

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