This is the conversation between the vet and I. ME: I'm not sure why my chickens are slowly dying. I have enclosed some images from my autopsy this evening from the latest hen to die. I have been putting vinegar in the water for a week, giving them vitamin supplements via water, plus electrolytes. This one showed no sign of diarrhea, Lathargy or any other symptoms, but some of the chickens have had white to yellowish/brown clumping feathers around the vent area. DR: The most severe lesion appears around the heart. The kidneys are swollen and pale… but it is difficult to properly assess from the photo. Did you see whether the ureters were dilated or had crystals/stones in their lumen. There are also changes in the liver. The white and opaque appearance of the pericardial sac is suggestive of acute visceral urate deposition, also known as visceral gout. Are you sure the birds are drinking? ME: yes. I saw some of them drinking from the water with the electrolytes, vitamins and vinegar today. Is it contagious? Is there a cure that I can do? ME: The white stuff on the end of my finger was in the last section of the intestine and felt like pumice stone. DR: Yes, that is urate accumulation in the gut. ME: My research suggested visceral gout as well, but the birds feet were not as affected as most of the images I saw. I'm just not sure about the proper treatment. I eat the eggs and am concerned about that because my child eats them as well. DR:Deposition of urate throughout the body can be considered equivalent to uremia in mammals. Visceral urate deposition is generally caused by failure of urinary excretion. This may be due to obstruction of ureters, renal damage, or dehydration. Possible causes of urolithiasis and acute visceral urate deposition include excess dietary calcium, in particular if combined with low available dietary phosphorus fed to non-laying hens, vitamin A deficiency, and acidic water/feed. Urolithiasis and nephritis with acute visceral gout is occasionally observed secondary to infection with some strains of infectious bronchitis virus also. ME: Is there a cure? DR: You need to solve the underlying problem. Check the diet to make sure there is not excess calcium or phosphorus and that the birds are drinking water (with the cold weather the water sometimes freezes). ME: It must have been the oyster shell. I tossed three, maybe four hand's full out, twice this past week and they ate it all. It was oyster shell I gathered off the beach and crushed myself. Could Phosphorus come from feeding them too much scratch? I seriously spoil and pamper my birds. I might feed them scratch 2 - 4 times daily, spread out in the garden. They are in an extremely clean environment. I heat the hen house with an inferred light and there is a halogen that warms the outside coop. They always have food and clean water (It froze once, but I knocked it out). There is no feces on their perches, nor in their outside coop. I keep a lot of wood chips on the ground outside and straw on the inside to absorb that, and I change it out once a week. I'm just stumped and that is where I feel bad. ANYBODY? I can't afford to pay hundreds of dollars.