Losing chickens...can't figure it out.


11 Years
May 22, 2008
Upstate NY
I seem to have a bug :/
I have never had sick chickens. I have read everything I can find online with symptoms, but can't pin point what this is. I'm confused and don't know what to do next.
My flock is 7 months old and not yet laying. They're a mix of maran, ameracauna and delaware. There have been two hens that have passed away. The first one we culled when it could no longer walk. The second got lethargic and passed after a few days. The third is at the point where she hops on one leg and barely gets around. They are all very thin and boney. They all eat layer crumble and scratch, have oyster shells and gravel/sand, and free range evenings during the week and all weekend. They have fresh water and a clean coop.

I have wormed them with wazine and dusted them with poultry dust and DE.

None of them act sickly (sneezing or coughing or anything. The two who lost control of their legs were not sick acting at all. The one who was lethargic was so for about 3 days and had no issues with her legs.

Their crops are fine and they don't appear to be eggbound.

They are very thin! I saw lice on one of the roos before I dusted them. I changed the bedding and dusted everything again after ten days.

I do have wild turkeys in my yard daily.

The coop and run are brand new. As far as I know there have never been chickens here before.

Someone has suggested EEE? Should I call the health dept:( ?

I have had chickens for years at my last place and only ever lost them to a fox (and one with a crossed beak).

Any advise is appreciated.

It sounds like marek's to me. The symptoms vary for marek's and what you described are a few of them.
You can take your dead chickens to an avian health department to have them determine for sure.
How is their poop? normal or runny?
Did you worm them with anything after the Wazine?
How do their combs and wattles look? bright red, or small shriveled and pale?
Is there anything that they could have gotten into that would give botulism or similar? (dead animal, poison plants, antifreeze?)
Do they have access to any Oak tree leaves (old ones, rotting leaves)?

I have had hens that I have lost to Mareks, and hens that I have lost to botulism and poisoning. They did have a lot of the same symptoms. Getting a necropsy is very impt. to your next dead hen. take it from experience from a ton of us on here.
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