Losing only hens, cocks seem fine

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by charliewhiskey, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. charliewhiskey

    charliewhiskey Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, I am new here and have only been keeping chickens for about a year. In the last 4 months, I have lost 6 hens in all the same way. I am unable to figure out if they are egg bound or if there is some illness going through the flock.

    I keep them in a pen as we have a large number of raptors in this area of Florida. They have a house but I have yet to dry it in. I do not see any mold or fungus.

    The nearly year old hens all display the same symptoms but only two were sick at the same time. They get lethargic, puffed, trouble on their feet, then lay down and die. The entire process takes about 4 days. They do seem thin while the other birds are not. There is leftover feed each day so they are getting enough.

    The cocks are fine. The dead hens seem small. The remaining hens are larger.

    None of the hens has ever laid an egg which leads me to wonder if they are egg bound. I have yet to treat for worms or other pathogens or parasites as I suspect that the cocks would have these too and be symptomatic.

    I do not know what to do. I have searched for answers but nothing has presented itself. And only hens makes this difficult for me to sort out other than egg bound. What could or should I do?
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Need a lot more information, especially about nutrition, housing, ventilation, etc..

    Any time one loses more than one bird with similar symptoms in short order and they want to figure it out a necropsy is the only way to go. Where are you located? There are poultry labs in every state that can do it. Some are free, some have a small fee. I recently had one done in Missouri. It was $55 but I found the bird had cancer and none of the others were at risk so was worth the money.
     
  4. charliewhiskey

    charliewhiskey Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm in western Florida. I am not totally convinced it is viral as only the hens seem to suffer from it. I have yet to see one of the three cocks display any symptoms at all. And they in fact are vibrant and strong. Of course anything is possible.

    They have been on a cracked corn, layer crumble and now pellet diet. I add a fistful of oyster shell daily. I was adding some old dried dog food but stopped some time ago. Again, all birds were sharing this diet including a bantam cock that is not a part of the other flock. No problems in any bird but the hens.

    Thanks for the quick replies. I need to get to the bottom of this and fast.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  5. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you recently introduced any new birds? Something to look into is a coccidiosis outbreak. What does poop look like in ill birds?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  6. charliewhiskey

    charliewhiskey Out Of The Brooder

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    I can not say for sure what the ill bird stool looks like as I have not witnessed one dropping. The stools vary from firm with urea to brown and very loose.
     
  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    When my first hen died, I opened her up and discovered that she had an impacted gizzard. She had been eating grass cuttings and it was packed solid with green fibrous material. I also noticed that she was totally emaciated and dehydrated (as a result of the impaction) and had some internal parasites and some lice which I think had probably taken advantage of her being ill and not being bothered to dust bath and preen.

    I don't have any medical back ground and hadn't done any sort of dissection since school many decades ago. It took a bit to psych myself up to do it but I'm pleased I did and I was really chuffed that I discovered the cause.

    Obviously, you won't be able to tell if it is viral doing it yourself, but if you don't want to fork out for a necropsy then you don't have anything to lose by giving it a go.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
  8. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    That's some good info. I always worry when my chickens start eating the grass clippings as I mow. My friend had one get an impacted crop from the grass clippings. They're just so easy to gobble up.....It's a good idea if you can handle it. BRAVO! Good job and thanks for sharing!
     
  9. charliewhiskey

    charliewhiskey Out Of The Brooder

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    I put this morning's casualty in the ground already but maybe a quick go is in order.

    Results: skin and bones. I have been watching them all eat. Everyone is eating. these are emaciated. I have dosed for round worm. if it is viral, nothing can be done, but to see a bird eat and yet it starves...
    And the amount of food in the pen that is leftover each day is significant. They are definitely getting all that they want.

    I did not see any parasites but that is no indication. There was no crop to mention. I did not see any tumors or anything else visibly out of the ordinary. Internal organs appeared normal. No eggs present.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  10. charliewhiskey

    charliewhiskey Out Of The Brooder

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    The roosters are meaty and healthy. The remaining hens are thin. I removed the larger rooster to another pen.
    I have treated for roundworm.
     

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