Major Mortality rate what could be wrong with my flock? HELP PLEASE

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bossynbella, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. bossynbella

    bossynbella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2007
    First I want to start out by saying I recently lost my job and my husband has been out of work for a year now. We do not have the money to have a vet come out. That being said, we need to know what to do. I am at the point that I am considering putting the entire flock down. This is what has lead up to this ...

    In the spring My friend lost a bunch of birds to a family of raccoons, we couldn't seem to catch them and so she moved her birds to my house.
    On May 5th we received from Murray Mcmurray and from Welp a large order of chicks. 30 for myself and 70 for my friend.
    In May I sold a large group of my chicks to a family and told them if I was wrong and any where roosters they could bring them back.
    In June she brought back one Buff orpinton that was a rooster and I traded her for a pullet.
    At the end of June I bought 4 hens and 9 ducks from a local exotic animal auction. They where quarantined from the flock for two weeks. (except that around the same time we turned our chicks loose, we free range our chickens, and a few kept popping through the fence into the pen with the quarantined birds)
    The week that the Buff orpington cockerel was returned we lost 4 of our chicks (this was before I brought the chickens and ducks home from the auction) We guessed it was from the rain as it had rained almost all week and these where found out in the mud drenched.
    The following week it dried up and we didn't loose any.
    Starting last week we have lost between 2 and 5 every day. At first it was just the younger ones the 2 month old chicks. Then I found my Buff orpington rooster he was alive but wouldn't move, couldnt seem to open his eyes he was just sitting hunched over by the door to the storage area of the coop. The next day he was dead as well as three more of the young ones. The following day we lost one of our 5 month old Mule ducks. In both cases they where fine the day before healthy and eating and following us all over the yard. The duck was different from the rooster. I noticed when I fed them that morning he wasn't there with the others eating out of my hands. So I went and picked him up and put him over by the food. He ate. A couple hours later I looked outside to see him flopping around on the ground. I went out and it was like he couldn't get his balance couldn't keep his feet under him. I layed my hand on him and he stopped and focused on me he seemed to be saying "Whats wrong with me, Help me!" and I couldn't I picked him up and held him. He died less then an hour later. Since then we have lost a full grown 2 year old Barred rock hen a 5 month old Cochin hen, numerous 2 month old chicks. Today one was dead and three do not look good.
    They will be just fine one day, then the next day they are sitting there lethargic and not moving, their eyes will either be swelled shut or look glossy and sickly, they die by the end of the day they start showing symptoms.
    My friend took some of her chicks home on the day that the lady returned the buff cockerel Starting last week she has lost out of 28 Chicks -2 months old- all but 6. She had kept them in a shed with a deer they where raising. Yesterday the deer was fine, ate his bottle and was running around. Today it wouldn't drink and wouldn't stand up, by 4pm it was dead. They have also lost a calf that they where bottle feeding. It wasn't kept with the chicks and deer but the milk replacer was in the same shed.
    Also Possibly unrelated about the time the rooster and duck died we lost one of our rabbits. She looked sickly one day I gave her extra grass and rabbit pellets, fresh water and a frozen water bottle in one corner of her cage, case she got hot the next day she wouldn't move just layed there even if you touched her. She wouldn't eat or drink. The following day she was dead in her box.
    We also lost two turkey poults that had not been kept with the chickens, they where isolated in a tractor but the chickens free range and would lay next to the tractor sometimes.
    We allow all our chickens and ducks and guinea's to free range around our acre farm. The neighbor sometimes has cows in the pasture behind our house and they all get along just fine. They have a one stall garage that is extra deep to go in at night and if it rains. We use Hay and straw and pine bedding in their and havn't had any changes in the bedding. They are fed a mixture of cracked corn from our local feed store and Layer pellets from Thiesens. My father in law feeds his the same thing and hasn't lost any. Though he does have a sickly calf that he was told has Toxidious (Sp?) I have been spending hours looking at poultry diseases online and can't find anything that matches this. Their poop seems normal not green and not bloody, maybe a little loose but they eat a lot of mulberry's so its hard to tell because its mainly purple!
    To sum it up we have lost Chickens, chicks, Ducks, Rabbit, Deer and a calf. Possibly related possibly not related deaths. They act fine one day then the next they are sickly and die by the end of the day. Also We are Getting NO EGGS. We went from getting close to a dozen a day to nothing. We have gotten three eggs in the last week!
    Please let me know what to do. I can't really separate the sick ones as they don't seem sick till the day they die. I love these chickens and ducks and don't want to have to destroy them but I don't know what to do. Will I just keep loosing them until they all die?
  2. crazy chook

    crazy chook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2010
    Langwarrin, Victoria
    I am so sorry for your loss, you must be completely devastated.

    I am probably no help, but could they be getting poisoned? by something they are all eating?

    I just really feel for you, sorry
  3. TyrannosaurusChix

    TyrannosaurusChix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 13, 2010
    Savannah, NY
    [​IMG] i am so sorry!!!! everything just does not sound safe.[​IMG]
  4. cackler

    cackler Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2009
    Central Kansas
    I am thinking that crazy chook may be onto something. It seems so far reaching that poison really does seem possible. Maybe you could call a vet to see if they have an idea? Maybe they won't charge you. I am so sorry for your losses. I just found one of our black austrolorpes dead a couple of hours ago. It's so hot here. I'm thinking that's what may have been the culprit today. [​IMG]
  5. bossynbella

    bossynbella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2007
    Poison was one of my first thoughts. Maybe I will call a vet tomorrow and see what they say. I just can't seem to find anything around here that could be poisoning them. If anyone has any other ideas let me know. Its gotten so i hate to even go out, Im so afraid of what might be dead today [​IMG]
  6. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

    May 24, 2008
    Southeast Arkansas
    Call your state vet and find out if they offer free necropsy, explain the situation and see if they can help you.
  7. SeaHen

    SeaHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2009
    Springfield, OR
    I'm so sorry. I don't know of a disease that would cross so many species, and there have been too many casualties for it to be coincidental. I agree that you should call the state vet and ask for help. This is too big a problem for you to handle on your own.
  8. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    Quote:Exactly what I was going to say....and do it as soon as possible!!

    with so many different species of animals affected, this is mind boggling!!! Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you seriously started losing animals AFTER you brought some in from the auction??? The first ones could possibly be attributed to heavy rain?? Possibly some kind of disease brought in with the auction birds with a 2 week incubation period??

    chickens, rabbits, calves, ducks, & deer... They all eat different feeds, but do they all consume the same water?

    Please call...they would be very interested in case this is some sort of outbreak...there is normally no charge for this kind of thing.

    Keep us informed & I'm so very sorry you're going through this [​IMG]
  9. bossynbella

    bossynbella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2007
    Thank you I will be sure to contact them tomorrow. I have been thinking the same thing and I think poison is out because the chicks at my friends are dieing too. She took those chicks home before i got the birds at the auction though so I don't think they could be the cause. I am almost wondering if somehow something wasn't brought back from the lady who returned the buff orpington cockerel. I don't know what to do. I was thinking the auction too but that doesn't count for her chicks dieing and she is having a higher mortality then I am she is also the one who lost the deer and one of the calves. The other calf was from my father in law's herd and it is still alive just was diagnosed with toxidious. No they don't all drink the same water. Ours have our well water while hers have her well water and we are many many miles apart. 30 or more miles apart.
    Keep the ideas coming I will contact the state vet tomorrow and see what they say.
  10. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    My initial reaction is also some kind of poisoning. There are only so many ways that poison can enter the body:

    injestion by eating or drinking
    absorption through the skin
    injection by needle or enter through a cut (think insect/mosquito)

    So each of these paths that poisons can enter the body is called a vector. So here's what I'd recommend you do.

    With your remaining flock members, I'd just choose two or three at random and make one change in the vectors available for this poison. For example, pen some up outside so they can't get to the regular flock water and offer them only bottled water that you buy from the store. With another few birds, pen them up so they can't get to the normal flock food or any freeranging and offer them only some type of different food. Repeat this process for each different vector that you can feasibly isolate. Then keep an eye on those birds compared to the flock. It just might give you some insight as to what's causing all this carnage.

    Being on well water, I'm assuming you live rurally. Has there been anyone spraying crops lately? Perhaps someone illegally dumped something and it leached into the groundwater supply.

    With as many different species being affected as you have, I'd also be concerned of humans becoming affected too. For that reason it's very important that you call the state vet and get the process started. This is serious stuff.


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