Help! My chickens are dying.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by nancyld, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. nancyld

    nancyld New Egg

    Nov 29, 2008
    I have been periodcally losing my mature hens one by one. They are free range and have alway been healthy until recently. They are approximately 5-6 years old and do not lay eggs anymore.
    The illness begins with me noticing that their poop is getting stuck on their rear end, then it progresses to respiratory distress, weakness and ultimately death.
    I have tried penicillin, steroids, forcing fluids and food, but nothing seems to help.
    Now, my big old rooster has it and another one of my hens. No one around here (vet. wise) wants to mess with them.
    Can anyone help me? I would hate for them to die if there was something I could have done.
    Nancy in Florida
  2. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    have you wormed them? changed food? clean water source? have you tried ACV and electrolytes in the water? do they have diarrhea or is the feces pasty / sticky and getting stuck, causing them to have problems eliminating? can you post any pictures?
  3. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Get on the phone and find your local agricultural extension office--they should be able get you to a lab somewhere that could do a fecal. At the least you should be able to get a necropsy done that could help you figure out what is going on (see the first sticky on forum). Is it possible that they are getting into something bad for them (being free range?). Good luck!
  4. nancyld

    nancyld New Egg

    Nov 29, 2008
    Thank you both for answering me.
    No, I have not wormed them, nor have I changed their food. They have fresh water available and I use no chemicals outside anywhere that they could get in to.
    I will try to take a photo and get it posted. I did give the last one Gatorade which has electolyes in it. Nothing seemed to help.
    There are no other domestic fowl around here, I guess wild birds could carry something in.
    Again, Thank you for your offerings.
    Nancy in Florida
  5. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    6 years old is an old hen, roosters can live longer. how sudden is this problem? if this is really periodic- you may be losing them to age related problems (like one every 2 or 3 months), if you have a cluster of sudden deaths you do need to look into infectious problems. how long does it take to progress from poopy bottom to weakness and death?

    Have you inspected for lice?

    No eggs any more- do you mean years, or just the winter slow down?

    Knock off the steroids- that won't help with anything. Why would you give steroids? What are you hoping to accomplish with that? Birds do terrible with steroids, giving those may very well hasten death, not prevent or treat anything.

    Call your state vet, or find your local poultry extension person- you can probably get a free or cheap necropsy done on your next loss if it happens- they you will have some facts.

    Being in Florida, there are tons of people there with exotic pets. You may have to drive a bit- but you will be able to find a vet who sees exotics. Don't ask for a vet who sees farm animals, ask for exotics and birds in general. Call your closest vet and ask who they refer to for exotics, they have lists of who sees what at the reception desk.

    Bring your next sick bird and a fresh fecal sample- at the poopy bottom stage- before you get to the trouble breathing or obviously weak stage.


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