Help please, new to this and chickens keep dying!!! :-(


6 Years
Mar 27, 2013
Long story so here goes....
So I have just started chicken raising and it is not really going smoothly thus far. They have what I see as the ideal chicken home, a safe & secure coop for at night & free to roam fenced 15x 4m area during day. I have a hanging water & food bowl in night coop & two each of food & water for yard during day. They are being fed top quality laying crumble & bedding is pine chips/ clean layer sprinkled each day then completely changed weekly.
I sprinkled gardening lime on grass in their area and there is also a hot water system pipe that drips into their area & they sometimes drink. Breeder thought both these things fine though. We have been in this house two years now and have never put down rat poison (if ppl prior to us had done so could it still be around to hurt chooks?, assumed would have washed away. Well that's all the environmental factors covered, now back to chooks.
We brought the hens from a breeder who, on the three occasions I have seen her now seems very caring & knowledgeable. Five weeks ago we purchased 3 Isa Brown pullets. One week later one became sick & was just sitting in garden for a couple of days not eating/drinking. I took this one back to her as wanted it to be treated humanely if needed to be killed rather than dying a slow painful death. The lady sent us home with a strong new chook to add to flock. Then another wk later the same thing happened only quicker this time. Chook came down sick in afternoon, called breeder for advice then less than an hr later was dead. When a few days later tgis happened to second of origional 3 I didn't muck around & took it straight back out to her. She yet again replaced chook so only one left, who was still super healthy didn't get lonely. Hopefully this is not becoming too confusing! We are bow left with one of the origional 3 hens and the one new hen she gave last wk. Mt newest issue now that this one is dripping blood from its nose & coughing. Can not work out for the life of me what it could be and am getting upset with so many falling ill, 4 now, and dying (1 to date). Breeder says other two had. Chicken pox like sores on combat but getting stronger now..... Does anyone have any idea what could be going on please!??? :-(
It would be helpful to know the age of the pullets. Has the breeder suspected coccidiosis? Are they are medicated chick starter? Black spots on the comb can indicate fowl pox. I would be talking to the breeder about their thoughts. I think i would get chicks from someone else perhaps.
It sounds like the breeder has something going around in their flock...that or there is something terrible at your place...

But here is what I found that causes bleeding from the nose areas...

You should try to see if you can get a sick chicken to a vet, or send one in for a necropsy and see why they are dying...but this sounds serious...
If one of the birds you got have an infectious deadly disease then bringing more chickens in will kill them as well...
So for real you have to find out what the problem is and then see where to go from there.
it really sounds like something in the breeders flock though.
Also if she said the ones you took back have spots on their combs and such you might have ended up with fowl pox...The dry version is not that big of a deal...makes your chickens face and possibly feet (less common other spots) spotty...The wet version gets inside the chickens mouth nose throat and basically all their sinus inner workings...So that might be it..
it takes quite awhile to spread from chicken to chicken, and lasts for a few weeks...the wet version is sometimes deadly...the dry is not a big deal...
So it might be either of those things. Hopefully it is the fowl pox...that laryngitis one sounds pretty nasty.
Hi, thanks heaps for the replies.
It is early morning here and still dark so will check fecal matter once light. Pretty sure it is green/brown/black which assumed was the normal colour for chickens. Definitely have not noticed any blood in it though.
The pullets would be about 22 weeks now. The one healthy one we have left from the initial three is a model bird, in health and laying which is why I am so perplexed. She lays an egg every day in nest box, us alert and digging/feeding in garden all day then puts herself to bed by 6.30/7pm when dark now. If she wasn't so healthy I would suspect something in breeders flock but due to thus just doesn't make sense. They are also all vaccinated apparently and consumed medicated crumble as chicks and are now onto laying crumble, which we purchased from her when buying pullets. She also said none of the other 20 birds in that lot have come back ill (apparently sells about 20 a week). To be fair the birds were all in great health with shiny feathers, healthy legs & bright spirits. Legs are still clear if parasites and I did not notice the chicken pox like sores she said they had on their combs but may not have been looking carefully enough. She has not mentioned coccidiosus, though on looking this disease up noticed one of the tell tale signs is diahorroea which they definitely do not have.
All this led me back to yet again questioning my own yard but, aside from the afformentioned things there us really nothing else that stands out. I also have a 12 year old border collie who keeps watch from outside there area so no cats can gain access at all. :-(
Also have four six week old chicks from same lady who again are all healthy. Began integrating them with the two pullets this wk, having chicks in coop box by day with a basket only they can get under for protection when others in during night. All has been going perfecrly with this and no issues between birds at all.

ch from outside their area
Wondering can the wet version of fowel pox kill them over the course of a few days or is it a gradual thing? The bird that died at our house had only been here for about 5 days and I did nor notice any signal of scabs or respiratory distress, though again may not have been looking/aware of it then. Did consider necropsy when bird died after first falling ill and being returned prior to it coming home. Separated the ill chicken from rest of flock last night and if thus one dies think that will be my next course of action to rule out any chance of residual poisons in soil from past owners.
But it still could be fowl pox..did anyone there before you keep chickens? It is one of those diseases that sticks around for up to a few years...if the chickens have scabs on their combs and stuff it is very likely that is the long as it is on the outside the chicken is usually ok if it's on the inside then it causes issues
The previous owners father had chickens in the same area of the house but that would have been 30-40yrs ago. If they were vaccinated would it not have included some level of protection against fowel pox?
Chicken still alive and seems ok this morning. Has still coughed a bit though, almost like it is trying to clear it's throat.

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