in need of all the advice byc can give....*long post*


De Regenboog Kippetjes
13 Years
Apr 7, 2010
For a fair few months now things have not been going well here...we've been losing poultry to an unknown cause and no one seems to be able to help. we live out in the country so you think vets would be willing to help with chickens? only vet in the area refuses to see them..they're chickens...a few euros a piece, not worth the cost of the medicine.... i was given one only option is to get one of the dead chickens up to Luik (theres a vet university there who could let the students take a look) but as i dont drive its difficult and they need it within 4 hours of death so public transport is also a no no. a body thats been in the fridge/freezer is useless....

im basically on my own here trying to figure out cause and devastated. my elderly neighbours about a mile up the road have not had any loss of poultry so it seems contained to here whatever it is.

i'll try and recall all factors/symptoms as well as i can. i know you guys arent vets but your the next best thing in my eyes at the moment. if i can narrow it down to a few suggestions perhaps i can get to the bottom of it

we'll start with the basics.

poultry numbers that we had before the winter.........;

100 chickens give or take a few. from day olds to 7 years old. about 20 roosters to 60 hens and various pullets/chicks
8 geese
14 muscovy ducks
3 indian runners
4 mallards
9 ronquieres turkeys

poultry numbers as of today

60 chickens/chicks
8 geese
8 muscovy ducks
2 indian runners
0 mallards
4 ronquieres turkeys

so death toll around 40 chickens, 6 muscovies 1 runner, 4 mallards, 5 turkeys. of these i culled about half myself as they showed suffering and no sign of improvement. the rest were all found dead in the field/chicken houses

home - 100metres by 75metres field.....split in two half to free range, the other half houses the sleeping quarters and breeding pens.
there is 10 large houses (easily fit 20 hens in each so not over a large horse stall, 2 duck house and a shed where the geese/turkeys take shelter
stream runs through the field, i tested water for ammonia,nitrate and nitrites, minimal traces.., thats the only water parameters tests i had available to me. geese and ducks swim in this water, the donkey drinks from this stream too as do the cows and sheep in the next field, im guessing the poultry does too although fresh water is available at all time. water from this stream is also used by our pigs.
there are also breeding pens were i keep breeding stock for a few weeks of the year to collect eggs for hatching.....these house my pure breeds

feed- flock raiser, maying pellets, corn and grains...also scraps from our kitchen.


firstly all symptoms pointed to cocci, and so EVERYONE was treated for cocci with ESB-3 (this drug is available over the counter in farm shops here) most seemed to respond, we lost a few, this was mid winter. it was a hard winter, cold snow for 4 weeks straight.
then a few chickens got the dreaded sniffles (a sneeze here and there) these were quarantined immediatly and never returned to the flock.
all went well for a few weeks, no deaths, then we had a week were we had a few deaths every day.....heartbreaking. poultry seemed disorientated, used wings to balanced, ruffeled feathers, closed eyes, lost weight then died. theres was also frothy light brown/yellow poo, so again we treated for cocci.
after the winter all the snow and ice melted flooding the field, we lost around 3 birds to drowning, but cocci seemed to rear its ugly head in the damp warm conditions. spring arrived thick and fast, unusually hot, we've started losing poultry again....

a new symptom.....bleak pale looking 'wrinkly' faces with a bit of feather loss around the head, a sort of yellow look instead of the usual red far present on muscovies and chickens. no geese have been sick during all this time. roosters are showing a sort of discolouration on their combs......sort of spotty scabs? major drop in eggs (from around 40 eggs per day to 3!! yes thats 3)

ive taken some photos to try and show you what i mean about the faces.

ive opened up a few of the deceased but as i dont know what i was looking for maybe i missed something, but from looking at pictures on here everything looked 'normal'. i believe one hen had egg issues as she had that yellow liquid in her abdomen but for the rest...nothing out of the ordinary. no scarring, lesions, discolouration.

so far medications used
antibiotics in the water (denagard and another in a powder form cant recall name)

we've also tried raw milk, dried mil, acv in the water, changing food brands, not letting the chooks free range so we can see what they eat/drink.

poops have been all the colours of the flipping rainbow, black, brown (light and dark) green, green with water, yellow, reddy/orange.
frothy, hard, watery, you name it ive seen it out there.

no new chickens been brought in in the past few months, but plenty hatched. they seem to get to around 1O weeks old then die

all poultry has been dewormed, treated with ivomec for bugs (except for chicks but they are kept inside until around 6 weeks old)





its very hard for to ask for help in regards to this, its like admitting defeat, i know theres a problem now, i cant hide it anymore.....i was even considering doing this in a 'new' account as i get the feeling some people are going to think badly of me for letting this go on so long (6 months now?) but im asking as a member of this community if anyone has any idea of where i go from here id be great to hear.....just tell me what you think, dont be afraid of hurting my feelings, im tough as old boots where criticism is concerned, but i just want to try and save my little feathered friends. as a very very very last resort i may consider culling the flock but really dont want it to come to that if possible.

is it possible im battling more than one illness? ive been thinking maybe fowl pox alongside the cocci...or botulisim...but wouldnt antibiotics have helped by now?
not all the poultry is showing symptoms..maybe around 10 chickens and the muscovy drake have the pale discoloured look to them? nobody appears sick at the moment but theres something not right (especially the drop in eggs and the inactivity of the chickens)

i thank you all in advance........
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I'm afraid I haven't the knowledge or experience with your issues to offer help, but I wanted to offer support and give your post a bump. It's devastating to face losing your entire flock. And I really don't see how anyone can fault you, you're doing the best you can under the conditions and circumstances you're faced with. I hope you find some answers here.
Another thought, if you don't get the responses you hope for from this post I would post again in 8 to 10 hours as this is when people will be returning home from work here. You may get a new batch of responses in the evening (our time). Good luck to you.
thank you for the comforting words.......ive taken this week off work as a vacation so i can try and get to the bottom of the problem.
And thanks for the hint about when to post, i always thought it was a bit quiet this time of day....never gave the time differences much thought
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I'm so sorry, and I certainly hope you can get this resolved. I have no idea what is going on, but I do have a link to a good publication on poultry diseases. I don't even know whether there is a lot of difference in them between there and here; I rather doubt it.

I think your definitive answer would come from getting a bird to the vet university. Is there perhaps some way you could arrange a ride for this?
tnaks for the link im gonna make a coffee and settle down for a good read. there is somone willing to take me and a body to Luik, but they need to know in advance a time and day to pick me up, they also work full time so arent always available, i cant predict when the next body will be or if i find it and can get it to Luik within the 4 hours....
I have to agree with ddawn on this one. We would only be guessing as to cause. A necropsy is past due. The amount of money you have lost on dead and/or dying birds at this point (not to mention your time and heartbreak) make it worth the cost of hiring a car or a courier to take the 4 hour trip.

Sorry for your losses. Good luck finding some answers.
Take your sickest chicken in a carrier or small covered crate to the university in Luik and let them draw bloodwork and/or conduct a necrospy. You will have to call and coordinate times and dates for transportation to and from the university with friends/neighbors/public transportation as well with the vet at the university at his convenience to do the testing. Good luck.
Fowl pox?
Avian flu? (which I doubt)

You might have a combination of the diseases but the autospy would be youre BEST bet to determined whats going on with your flock.

Did you ever introduce a new duck or chicken on your property that was not raised from a chick ?

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