Lost most of our chickens, thinking botulism, just strange

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jackofiver, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. jackofiver

    jackofiver Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all -
    Here is what has happened till now, I am mostly to the point of being curious as to whether a toxin could have killed the last three as well:

    Started with 16 chickens, 6 are a little over 1 year old(mixed breeds), and 10 Americaunas, which were 3 months old. 4 days ago, let them out to free range, everyone happy, healthy. Went out early afternoon to feed table scraps(nothing they hadn't had before and nothing on the 'toxic' list)..........went to get something in the back shed a couple hours later and find 6 dead chickens, 2 big ones and 4 little ones, and missing 2 little ones that I couldn't find - still haven't (lots of pine trees around here). So, corralled the remaining ones into the tractor. They all seemed fine. Went back out to check about 2 hours later, and a small one seemed weak, just more lethargic. She was dead within half an hour.......about another hour later one of the big ones was dead.

    The one small one is the only one I saw with a symptom of any kind, and the speed of death makes me believe it is a toxin - and I have kind of concluded it is botulism based on how they looked when I found them. They have all been dead with legs kind of stretched behind them - no signs of being messed with or wounds.......a couple had some feathers missing on the neck, but that could have been that way before they died. We also have a crazy gnat issue right now, but I don't think this type of mass dying in such a short time is from the gnats.

    Here's the weird part for me and hoping that (unfortunately) someone has had a similar experience or can attest that a toxin like this could work this way - I had the remaining 6 chickens in the tractor, haven't let them out at all and it had been almost 48 hours since the last chicken died. These again appeared normal. Last evening I went out to feed and water, and the 3 small chickens were all dead (they died within an hour and a half of last seeing them alive). 3 remaining big chickens still seem fine and are still kicking today. It seems really strange to me that those 3 died in such a short timeframe together, and at such a later time than the initial 10 died.

    Anyone have any speculation on that?
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011
  2. equinelyn

    equinelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did you recently spray weed killer or insecticide?
     
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    So sorry, what a shock that had to be.

    My guesses would be heat, toxic plants, "garden" sprays or rat bait, perhaps a contaminant in the water? Hard to say, since I can't walk every inch of the property.

    I lost one to botulism and few years back- he'd eaten a tiny amount of moldy feed he found in a cravice under the coop. But it was very gradual creeping paralysis, not at all sudden.

    Bast of luck discovering what it is and a quick solution.
     
  4. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Oh!

    Check your bag of feed! If it doesn't smell clean and fresh, has clumps at the bottom, get rid of it.
     
  5. jackofiver

    jackofiver Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2010
    We haven't sprayed anything lately, however, neighbors could have (don't think they did) and there is a small field behind us...........I have been trying to figure where they could have
    done just that, where it would have been a poison that we could have avoided somehow and haven't come up with any of those (although they certainly could have found
    something). We have had a very wet spring, maybe could have been gross water somewhere.

    Whatever it was was crazy fast though, and this last little loss has me most baffled........ I had kind of accepted the first batch obviously got into something bad, but then this happened last night and just seemed a little too much.
     
  6. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:x2
     
  7. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    That's why I said to inspect your feed carefully. It's the common denominator.
     
  8. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Free ranging under the Pine trees you say? Were there any mushrooms/toadstools? Some fungi taste good but are deadly.
     
  9. jackofiver

    jackofiver Out Of The Brooder

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    Feed is good, checked through the rest of the bag. We do have some pine trees, I meant evergreens, which, either way - probably things to eat there that could spell trouble!
    I had changed the waterer when I put them in the tractor to be safe. I do think this could be a huge array of things that could have done it - last night is really making me wonder for some reason - they seemed to make it through the initial ordeal, then BAM! - three again at the same time in a controlled environment......why would it take out the first 10 so quick and not these 3 until a couple days later - and in such a synchronized way?

    Definitely appreciate everyone's thoughts and suggestions!
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011
  10. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

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    Where are you? how hot is it? The only chicken i ever lost to heat stroke sounded like the description of the body position of yours... but maybe they all die that way. I've only ever lost one hen.
     

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