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Losing a bird every other day...any help appreciated

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gottsegnet, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. gottsegnet

    gottsegnet Songster

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    Mar 19, 2009
    Nebraska
    We're losing a chicken about every other day. The only thing they have in common is that one day they are happy and eating and seem healthy and the next day they are dead.

    We have two separate areas where we're keeping chickens. In the garage, we have two welsummers, nine broilers and a chicken being cage trained for the 4H fair.

    Then we have a hen house where every one else lives. They free range during the day, but get as much feed as they want each morning and evening.

    The two groups are not on the same feed and have no contact with each other.

    We've lost three out of the garage (well, 4 if you count the broiler we recieved a week after we got them, but that is too common to raise much concern.)

    We've lost four out of the other group, though one may have been predation. We weren't able to find a body. It just never showed up at feeding time.

    We watched one die. It went from being fine, to laying down, to spreading its wings and panting, then pulled its legs up and died, all within about an hour.

    What kills that fast? And with no other symptoms? We've lost a hen (our best layer), a cockerel, two chicks (about 6 weeks old) and three pullets.

    There are no signs of lice or mites, but we've cleaned out the coop and the garage, disinfected everything and treated them with miticide from Orscheln's according to the package directions (this was after several deaths. We had suspicions of mites because we got bit a few times in the hen house...never bad, and we never found them on the chickens, but I'm really feelig like we have to try something.

    Thinking about picking up something for internal parasites, but without symptoms, is that wise? Their poo is normal. They seem to about the correct weight.
     

  2. jjthinkagain

    jjthinkagain Chirping

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    May 26, 2010
    I would get a necropsy, and fast. So that the survivors can be spared the same suffering (assuming there is a remedy to whatever is causing this). This is a severe death toll in too short a time and I'm really sorry it's happening. Hope you get to the bottom of it before any more are lost.

    JJ (aka jjthink most of the time)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  3. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

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    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    I'm with JJ. I haven't heard of a disease that strikes that quickly. Contact your state vet or a veterinary college nearby, many offer a free necropsy in these situations. Give me a second and I'll see if I can track down who to contact.

    ETA: Here you go, this thread has a couple great links for finding out who to contact. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=40141 Good luck and keep us posted.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  4. cluckcluck42

    cluckcluck42 Songster

    Oct 4, 2009
    Quebec
    That is so messed up, I have no idea what it could be but I hope you find out what it is. I am so sorry.
     
  5. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

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    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    Gottsegnet, what's your weather been like in Nebraska? It would be crazy to think that you would lose that many, that quickly to heat stroke, but just curious...
     
  6. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Fowl Cholera kills VERY quickly, although it took my roo that got it about 10 hours to die with me trying to help him, it's still pretty quick. The disease is much more common during cold and wet spells, there was snow on the ground when mine had it, so it seems much less likely that your birds would get it in the summertime, but a wild bird can bring it in.....

    I had a mystery death a little over a week ago though. Young Dominique pullet was fine in the am, and dead in the coop when I got home from work. No wounds, no bugs, no previous illness, I really don't think it was the heat but it might have been. I had her necropsy'd and they didn't find anything unusual. The vet said all he found was Ecoli and Strep bacteria overgrowth that most likely occured after death since she was out in the heat for several hours post mortem. We have not had any other strange losses though, so whatever got her wasn't contageous.

    Is the garage air conditioned? Seems possible that it could get overheated in there during the brunt of the afternoon, but I don't know how your place is set up. Spreading the wings and panting IS what they do when they are hot. In my experience a bird not feeling well for other reasons bunches up and generally looks "sad" rather than spreading out, but who knows how a dieasese might make them act.

    Get a necropsy done if you can, that's the only way to figure out WHAT might be going on!!!!
     
  7. gottsegnet

    gottsegnet Songster

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    Mar 19, 2009
    Nebraska
    I don't actually have a dead bird at the moment to test, and I'm really hoping to not have any more.

    But I'm really not very optimistic about this.

    I did find someone to contact, though I don't know what they offer. Thanks for the link!
     

  8. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

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    Middle Tennessee
    What exactly is the temperature in their dwelling place(s) during the hottest part of the afternoon? If you do not know, it might help to purchase a cheap thermometer at Wal Mart or similar store. I have one in each of my three coops, and it is a great way to keep tabs on the living conditions of my birds. (That, of course, is no substitute for going inside the coops myself, which I also do at least twice a day, LOL!)

    Temps over 95 F can result in heatstroke in chickens. While I cannot say for sure in your case, that is the very first thing I would check. Many folks are losing birds to the heat this summer.


    Good luck with your birds, and please keep us posted.
     
  9. gottsegnet

    gottsegnet Songster

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    Mar 19, 2009
    Nebraska
    Quote:We actually found her spread out, but she was limp. Her neck was flopping, like she had a broken neck or something. Just that it hadn't been that long since she seemed fine.

    We had some extreme heat which could explain the first few deaths. They had water and shade, but you never know. I was sort of going for a combination of mites and heat weakening the birds, and maybe that's all that's going on even though we've had two deaths since and they've been treated. But I wish I knew. If we get another body, I'm going to see if we can get it checked.

    The garage isn't air conditioned, but well ventilated. Our dog actually goes in there to lie down during the heat of the day.
     
  10. gottsegnet

    gottsegnet Songster

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    Mar 19, 2009
    Nebraska
    Quote:They're free ranged (except the ones in the garage) and the first few deaths were at the start of a heat wave. The others have all been since the temps dropped back to the 80s. If it had only been those first two, I wouldn't have worried too much. But it's been a week. Night time temps are in the 60 and our highs are in the 80s. The hen house is open through the day, and actually feels cooler than the outside, though the birds don't hang out there. The garage is the same temperature as it is in the shade.
     

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