Issues...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bethaldridge, May 13, 2008.

  1. bethaldridge

    bethaldridge Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2008
    I'm new to the forum. So I'll give you a little background....

    MIL bought me a set of 25 Fancy Layers from McMurray in early April of last year. 15 died. McMurrays replaced them with an unsexed batch of 25 none of those died. In June 21 of the 35 we had left came to live at my house. Since then for one reason or another we have lost chickens and roos. One morning I came in to find a roo decapitated and the head completely missing. Several of the other roos over time have appeared to be sick they have troubly standing, they sort of tip over, they'll shake their heads and then pass etc.

    So... long story short.... we are down to 4 hens and 1 roo. They are a year old and I have NO eggs. None. My only layer was eaten by a possum about 3 weeks ago. I don't get it. I should have had eggs in September of last year. We had nothing. December rolled around. Still No eggs. Finally in Feb my buff cochin starts laying an egg a day. Then she gets picked off and now I just don't understand. They're a year old. Shouldn't they be laying???? I checked the hens, and they're hens alright. Vents look healthy. Chickens look healthy and behave healthy. They eat layer feed with the occasional scratch treat, fruits and veggies and they get fresh clean water more than 2X daily.

    I just don't get it. If anyone has any thoughts on the matter I'd appreciate it.

    We just bought 22 more chicks and 2 ducks to replace the malfunctioning chickens. I'm going to clean and scrub the coop before sticking them all out there. Any suggestions on what to scrub the place down with would be appreciated as well.

    I just want cotton pickin eggs for Pete's sake!
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    [​IMG]

    Could you describe their living establishments in space and type of bedding?

    As for predators, beheading sounds like weasels.

    For what happened to them... otherwise am not so sure. Maybe more details?
     
  3. bethaldridge

    bethaldridge Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2008
    They have a large 10X25x8 ft space inside the barn that is enclosed with two large windows to let in light and a door with a ramp to go outside into the run which is about 14X20 fenced in with a bird netting overtop to keep them in and other things out. Their bedding is straw only. There are 10 nesting boxes which they don't use for any other purpose than waste disposal KWIM.

    At the time of the beheading and the buff getting eaten there was a break in the fence which I have since fixed so nothing else can get in.

    Hen's Breeds are... Black Cochin Bantam, Black Rosecomb, Partridge Rock and a Silver Seabright (who is the DEVIL!), the Roo is a large White Rock
     
  4. antiquebuff

    antiquebuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some of the Fancy Hens can take longer to lay. My Top Hats were around 8-9 months before I got any eggs. I don't know what kind you have but this could have something to do with it. [​IMG] As fas as the predators, keep the run and coop as tight as possible. We use hardware cloth only because we have to may animals around. Good luck and I hope you find the answers you need!
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Did you ever take the birds who died a non predator death to a state vet for a necrscopy to see if they had some sort of disease? Could there have been a bad batch of feed? Not sure what would have slowly done your flock in like that.
     
  6. bethaldridge

    bethaldridge Out Of The Brooder

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    I have never taken one of the dead ones in for a necrscopy . Although in hindsight that probably wouldn't have been a bad idea. 5 roos had similar symptoms just long legths of time in between deaths. The shaking of the head like it had something in it's ears and was trying to get it out. Lethargy. Closing of the eyes and not wanting to open them. Not wanting to eat or drink. And when they did drink the water would just pour back out of the nostrils or drip out of the mouth. Extreme weight loss. We had to cull 2 of the roos because they were both sick at the same time. Dh's Marine Corps rifle skills were finally put to use.

    We did have a HUGE Roo to Hen ratio and a biologist friend of my mom's suggested that the hens were too afraid to lay because the roos made them nervous. Although that doesn't account for them not laying now I suppose.

    I wonder if we did get a bad batch of feed. Odd that it didn't affect the others just the roos.

    We've had issues with the chickens roaming and dogs snacking on them. We lost 5 that way and I gave 6 to my friend and her dog ate all of them. Really pretty top hat ones too. [​IMG] Shame.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Hmm... if you had a really bad roo to hen ratio, the other roos could have very well kept the lower ones from eating feed and getting water and thus basically starved, or got sick because of malnutrition or succumbed to their natural paracite load in their intestines. The stress of roos over hens can also set them back in laying. You say their vents are moist... sure hope you don't have egg eaters? Nowhere they can hide them right?
     
  8. bethaldridge

    bethaldridge Out Of The Brooder

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    Nope. Nowhere they can hide them except in the bedding. But I think I've done a good job checking. I haven't found shells either.

    Vents are moist and look normal.
     
  9. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I don't know for sure, but the flock dying over a long period of time sounds like Avian Tuberculosis; it takes a long time (months) to kill them, they usually get it one or two at a time, symptoms slowly progress, and they don't all get it, in fact, lots of birds develop immunity to it. Symptoms can vary although lethargy is one symptom, so is weight loss, and white diarhea towards the end. Sometimes sneezing and coughing,and raling, is a symptom, too, but not always. But those symptoms can represent lots of things. The head shaking makes me wonder about ear mites, have you checked the ears? Look for discharge or bad-smelling stuff clogging the ears. When our hen could not keep the liquid food down that we were trying to feed her, our avian vet told us it was probably because her body was starting to shut down and her crop was not functioning normally as a result; therefore, stuff just came back up. As far as disinfecting, there are lots of opinions about that, but, we bought Oxine and used it in a spray bottle mixed with water, and just soaked everything; it works really well, especially if you can't get to everything with a fine-toothed comb. You can also disinfect the bird's drinking water with it and even mist the birds themselves. We used it when our flock was sick, and now I wouldn't use anything else; it's a little pricey but a little goes a long way. It says on the directions you should fog with it, but you don't have to use it that way.

    My husband says to tell yours, Semper Fi. [​IMG]
     

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