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Hi. New here. Curious about dying chickens...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by longshot farm, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. longshot farm

    longshot farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Maine
    Hello, I just discovered "Backyard Chickens" It looks like a great site. I was wondering if there was someone out there who could possibly give me an idea about what went wrong with my chickens last spring. I have done a lot of searching the internet and reading to figure it out, but have not found any answers.

    I purchased 25 Jumbo corishX rocks from a hatchery last year, along with 12 buff orp. pullets. These birds were kept in the same brooder until 2 weeks old. I then seperated them into 2 seperate brooders in the same building and always fed them the same food. At about 4-5 weeks, the meat birds started dying off. There would be 1 every morning dead and it would be on it's back with no outward signs of injury or sickness. Finally we were able to observe how the deaths were occuring. A perfectly healthly looking chicken would suddenly go into convulsions, sounding like it was in great pain, flip over onto it's back and be dead within 1-2 minutes. The only thing obvious upon autopsy was that the liver looked sliced up.

    If anyone has any ideas on this, I would love to hear them. Thanks
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sounds like what some call "flip". Meaning.. they just die. Meat birds are very prone to just dying due to their outrageous growth rate. High altitudes, and warm temps stress out their hearts real bad because they are growing so fast. Many start to restrict feed intake at a few weeks old to prevent growth so fast they can't keep up with it. Their internal organs just don't keep up with how fast their bodies grow. Just a guess. Generally people use a high protein feed for meat birds too, inorder to try and help with leg problems that are very common due to their growth rates.

    Welcome to the board!
     
  3. longshot farm

    longshot farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Maine
    Thanks for the welcome. I was really happy to find the site. After I spent half the day reading the forum, I decided I had to subscribe. It can be so difficult with birds to decide what the best course of action is when you have illness or unexplained deaths.

    For the last few years, I have raised 30-50 meat birds per year (in 2 different batches), and while we may lose one here and there, I have never seen anything like what we experienced last year. We have also only ever had one with the leg issues that meat birds seem to be prone to. (I happily attribute this to the feed.)

    I am getting ready to order my first batch for this year and am a little paranoid.

    Thanks for the information!
     
  4. mmajw

    mmajw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2008
    Maine
    Broilers are known for heart failure due to their rapid growth. We lost several once due to the same thing. Good luck with them.
     
  5. tnkinhunting

    tnkinhunting Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2008
    East Tennessee
    Welcome, this is a GREAT site!!!!!!! [​IMG]
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Best of luck. Could have just been that particular breeding or batch, or a slight difference in the strain. So many factors it can be hard to determine. I know I had one strain of silkie that were total terrors, and another strain that were little love bugs. maybe you just had a bad batch of meat birds?
     
  7. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *Hi, longshot. Sorry to be grusome over your losses-- REALLY-- but I'm too curious not to ask. Did the vet give any opinion on why the liver had that look?? I've not heard that b/f.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2008
  8. ZykloniaDark-GothikRanchr

    ZykloniaDark-GothikRanchr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    Saint Cloud Florida
    I have my first batch of cornish x rocks. 20 total, and so far they are doing well. I only feed them once per day, of course it is enough to last them through most of the day, leaving them without food at night. This is what I have read to be the most successful way to make sure they don't eat themselves to death!! I, of course, freshen their water all day and night, and I use broiler booster in their water to help with leg problems. After the first 2 weeks, I went out on a limb and lowered the heat dramatically, and they are thriving in spite of it! I was noticing they were all sweating and panting one day so I turned off the brooder light, and when I went to put it back on that night, they looked so comfy, I just left it off. They don't seem to miss it! Good luck with your next batch! I plan to get another, bigger order next time!!!!! [​IMG]
     
  9. longshot farm

    longshot farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Maine
    I never called the vet. The one I use for my dogs seems to give me the blank look when it comes to most farm animals (especially pigs), but I did speak with someone from our local university (I can't remember his title, but he was in charge of the dept. that looks into issues like that). He said that he had never heard of that issue with the liver. I expected to find the heart messed up, but it was just the lacerated liver with a lot of blood clots surrounding it.

    I have wondered if it was just a weak batch of birds. I ordered them from a different hatchery than I usually use because they were less expensive and since it was my second batch of the season, I figured I'd take a chance and try them out. I'm definitely going back to the hatchery that I usually use this time.
    ZykloniaDark-GothikRanchr, they are little heat factories aren't they? They just sit around digesting all that food creating heat. It is a really good idea to let their food run out at night. A lot of people don't realize that at first. My husband's cousin raised his first meat birds last year and having a feeder that would hold 50 lbs., he dumped the whole bag in. He had 15 birds and they had eaten all of the food by morning! Needless to say, there were some dead ones.
     
  10. ZykloniaDark-GothikRanchr

    ZykloniaDark-GothikRanchr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    Saint Cloud Florida
    WOW!! that was alot of food to consume in one day!![​IMG] I got mine from welp hatchery, it is my first dealing with them, and I was IMPRESSED!! I paid $1.48 per chick (st run) and that INCLUDED postage!!!!!
     

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