I need help figuring what may be wrong with my flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Motherhenny, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Motherhenny

    Motherhenny New Egg

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    Oct 17, 2007
    West Virginia
    I have 54 lovely hens and 7 grown guineas and 6 keets. 22 of the hens are pullets and not old enough to lay yet. They seem healthy and active but I am only getting two to six eggs a day. It has been a hot dry summer here and they have just went through a molt but is it normal for 30 hens (two hens are raising the keets) to just stop laying? I let my girls out in the evenings when I am home to let them range but most of the time they spend their days in a large running pen. I have close neighbors and their dogs run lose and I have to watch them while they range. Also I have noticed three of my girls seems to having problems. Doing the day they seem fine but at night they don't go to roost on the roosting poles but are either laying on the floor or on the nest. They also seem to have labored breathing or hurting I'm not sure. They are not coughing or wheezing but their bodies are moving in a distressful way that I know something is wrong. During the day they seem fine.
    My adult quineas run free and are healthy. I just wanted to know if there is something other then layers pellets and scratch feed that I feed my chickens that I should be feeding them. I will be penning them in for the winter and I don't think that chicken feed is the right food for them. The keets are not growing as fast as I think they should. Any ideas. I love my flock but I am not very knowledgable in sickness in my birds. Growing up on a farm my mother raised chickens but she never had the problems that I have had so what am I doing wrong?
     
  2. peepsnbunnies

    peepsnbunnies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2007
    Central Florida
    Have they been wormed? Have you checked the birds for lice and mites? Also, the roosting poles at night for mites? Mites can literally suck the life blood out of your birds and kill them. Some mites will live on the birds and some will live in little nooks and crannys on roosting poles, nests and between boards on the walls. They come out at night and crawl onto the birds to feed. That may possibly be why some of you girls don't want to roost. Or they may not want to roost because they are weak or don't feel well. If it is mites or lice, you can dust the birds with Sevin Dust or Diatomactious Earth. If you are not having a mite problem, it could be worms. You can worm your flock with Wazine 17. Layer pellets and scratch feed are fine as far as I know.

    Lisa
     
  3. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2007
    upstate New York
    If they're fine until they go into their coop, maybe the coop is the problem. It sounds to me like a problem of circulation. Some people get so focused on blocking every little breeze to keep the chickens warm that they forget to allow air circulation. Give the coop a good cleaning without bleach scrubbing and open a window or door at night and see if that helps. What are you using for bedding? Sawdust or the wrong kind of shavings can give them breathing problems. Try it out and good luck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2007
  4. Motherhenny

    Motherhenny New Egg

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    Oct 17, 2007
    West Virginia
    Lisa,
    I haven't wormed them for over 6mo. I don't know the name of the med that the vet sold me. Where can I get Waxine 7? I would like to keep some on hand. How often should I worm them?
    Why do you think that the hens haven't been laying much this year. Those that I have hand raised is going on three years and the others I'm not sure. according to the previous owner they should be four or five years. I've raised nearly half of the hens from chicks.
     
  5. Motherhenny

    Motherhenny New Egg

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    Oct 17, 2007
    West Virginia
    Peepkeeper,
    I have two large narrow windows at the top of coop on the north and south side and the door that goes into the running pen.
    I use straw for my nesting. I will dust them for mites and give the coop another good cleaning.
    What are your thoughts on the hens not laying much the year? The hens are between 2 to 4 years old.
    Thanks for the advice.
     
  6. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

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    Jan 30, 2007
    WV
    I'm in WV too...and I have hens that are going on 3 and 4 years old...right now among those 14 I am getting one egg a day...my thoughts are, first it was a hot summer here, mine are in a hard molt and the days are getting shorter and not much light... 2 of my hens that are 4 years old stay on the roost longer in the mornings and are the first to roost at night......Sept. Oct. and Nov. have always been my months for the hens to slow down in egg production....alot!...
    Sound like you have good air circulation...I get my Wazine at the local feedstore....my DE I order online (Garden Harvest Supply)...also this time of year I feed mine pumpkins as a natural wormer that helps....
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2007
  7. peepsnbunnies

    peepsnbunnies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2007
    Central Florida
    I get DE and the wormer Wazine 17 at my local feed store. Sometimes I sprinkle a little DE on the food as a wormer too. You have to make sure it is food grade DE. You can not get the kind used for pool care, it is too coarse. There is a link on this site somewhere of a custom milling company that has it, I will try to find it.

    Lisa

    The website for Custom Milling is: Custommilling.com They have a lot of dealers, maybe one near you.

    I agree with Tuff about the drop in egg production. I have had a drop too and I think know it is directly tied to the days getting shorter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2007
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The keets not growing fast could be that they don't have enough protein. You didn't say if you were feeding them gamebird feed or chicken feed. Guineas need about 30% protein as keets, much higher than chicks, to grow to their full potential.
     
  9. Motherhenny

    Motherhenny New Egg

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    Oct 17, 2007
    West Virginia
    Tuff,
    So cool, that you are in WV. What part? I'm in Marion Co. I cleaned the coop again and dusted it with seven dust to make sure that there is no lice that could be bothering my hens. I will get some wazine and DE tomorrow. You may be right about the hot summer and shorter days but my hens has never went this long not laying. I usually get around a dozen and sometimes 20 eggs a day doing the winter. The molt was normal and rather light. I read somewhere that if you add dry cat food to chickens doing molt that it will give them a boost and help them molt quicker and I think it works. My neighbor has 12 or 14 hens and they have nearly lost all their feathers and they are laying everyday. I really felt so sorry for them. she never let them free range at all and their pen is small. Anyway, I just want my hens to be healthly. I love watching them and having them follow me around. they are my babies.
    Thanks for the help
    Henri
     
  10. Motherhenny

    Motherhenny New Egg

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    Oct 17, 2007
    West Virginia
    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for your help. I will get some Wazine and DE tomorrow and hopefully I will get my hens on track. I am still concern about three of my hens that are not going to roost on the roosting poles but roosting on the floor. I don't think they feel good. I just don't understand why they seem so down at night and ok doing the day. I have also noticed that some of the hens are showing signs of aggressive behavior. I know they have a pecking order but this is more then that. This is new.
    thanks,
    Henri
     

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