Help! Sick birds & I'm not sure what is wrong.


6 Years
Apr 11, 2014
I need some chicken advice from some very seasoned chicken keepers. As I have owned chickens for years now without an issue with my birds yet. I recently lost 2 adult birds several days apart. The day before they died I noticed they were acting weird. My rooster still look beautiful but was acting like he was on pause. He would just stand in a position or sit in a position & move nothing but his eyes for several minutes until i made him move. That evening behind where he was sitting was a large weird, stool. Next morning my bird was dead. We started probiotics. Couple days later, similar issues with a hen.We believe she also laid a egg that was squishy with nearly no outer shell that day. We immediately isolated her, and cleaned everything out of their area(including roosts) & then washed it out with bleach water. Hen died the next day. I thought maybe all would be well since the other birds looked great & we disinfected EVERYTHING. But last night i noticed our pet chicken had what looks like diarrhea on her back side. She is still acting fine. We put a chicken antibiotic in their water. I have read the story's chicken book but I haven't been able to narrow down what is going on with my birds. I could really use some chicken wisdom here. Thanks in advance guys!
Have you moved them to new ground or have you added a new chicken which could have exposed them to a new strain of coccidiosis? Treatment is Corid or amprollium. The other thought is botulism, which comes from eating a toxin from an animal or fish carcass, or rotted vegetation or maggots. Many chickens free range in areas where they might come across a mouse or other animal that has died, or where fish have become trapped during flooding. The first symptom can be death, but if you see them they may have paralysis that moves upward from feet to the head, and they may lay their necks on the ground. Here is more info:
In addition to the possibility of coccidosis, have you checked them very carefully for a mite infestation and are they on a regular deworming program? Both of those things can cause chickens to weaken and die. How is their body condition? Do they feel like they are thin or have lost weight? I wouldn't necessarily expect to loose two birds one after the other like that due to parasites but it could happen if they were heavily infested.
Our birds are mainly in an indoor enclosure. We are in the middle of relocating our family & animals to our farm property a mile down the road. So the birds have a large indoor space on concert & pine shavings that we are keeping very clean & dry. We have let them out while we are working in the yard here for short periods of time. We haven't had them around new chickens, or dead mice, or maggots or anything like that. We have not wormed them in a while though. The only thing different that i can think of is we built a duck house with a duck run that is currently inside the same building. The ducks are very healthy & about 6 weeks old. The ducks & chickens have no physical contact with each other. And we kept our ducks inside out actually house for the first 3 weeks. I'm not sure if the birds got sick before the ducks were put out there or not. And wouldn't the young ducks be sick if they were the cause?
I would suggest that if you suffer another death, to contact your state vet to have a necropsy done on a refrigerated, not frozen, body. Someone posted here recently saying their state vet said to ask about getting one tested for bird flu, and it would be done free. I'm not sure that it would work in many states,but it usually only costs a nominal fee to have one done, and in states such as California, they are free. Here is a link to finding yours:
Well birds were on a couple days with an antibiotic with no change in my sick bird. So we found an antibiotic that we think will work better. Also we wormed them all yesterday. The more we learn we believe that the birds we got back in January likely were not wormed or properly cared for. They didn't have bugs or anything but I don't think they were cared for much more then fed. So we are starting back at square one with them all. We have learned, when in doubt, don't buy the birds. I'll let you all know in a few days if the wormer helped. In the mean time we are going to find a chicken testing vet through our local extention.

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