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


12 Years
Aug 11, 2007
The Lady from the USDA asked me the same question and I think I might have somewhat of an answer. This could be a long post as I work from the beginning to find out how many birds I actually had to begin with.

I started this year with: CHICKENS:Three Salmon Favorelle Hens, three Cochin hens, 3 white silky hens and 1 rooster, 3 black silky hens and 1 rooster, 1 Dark brahma hen, 1 crevecour hen, 1 white faced black spanish hen,1 Light brahma rooster, and two bantam hens.
Ducks: three muscovy ducks, 3 call ducks. And guineas ( i am not worrying about numbers since I haven't lost any to the disease)

So At the beginning of March I had 20 chickens and 6 ducks

Then My friend and I went to the Kalona Sale at the end of March I think it was. I brought home 1 rooster and 2 hens Buff Orpington (great awesome birds both hens only took one day a week off on eggs! and A pair of grey call ducks. 5 barred rock (hers), 5 black australorp and 5 buff orpingtons from Happy Creek hatchery Which one of the buffs ended up a EE rooster.

Welp Hatchery messed up her order and sent her 28 California White chicks March 2nd instead of May 2nd.

Early April I bought some pretty Cochins from a BYC'r 5 pullets and 1 rooster. They where about 6 weeks old I think.

It was April I think that we went to the Waverly swap. I brought home 5 blue/splash silkies and Anna bought and brought to my house 5 Beautiful Black copper Marans that where only 4 weeks old and 5 Easter eggers and 4 Blue Americana(SP? I can never remember) chicks that where 2 days old. I also bought a year old Mallard X hen duck. And 3 muscovy ducks

My call ducks hatched out 12 ducklings the same day as Waverly swap.

The following weekend we went to the Maquoketa Swap and I brought home 5 anacona ducklings, and two White laced red Cornish.Sold all but 4 of the call ducklings. She also sold 26 of the California whites. Since Welp was reshipping in May

Shortly after that My friend lost almost all her chickens to a predator. A few days later we decided to bring what remained of her flock to my house. That was 7 barred rocks and 3 Rhode Island Reds.
I lost two of my Muscovys when a friend accidentally ran them over pulling in the drive. and the third muscovy a predator got because she had gone broody and we couldn't find out where till it was to late.
I then got two rouen ducks from The local Thiesens store
Sold two more of the call ducklings.

So at this point there where : 77 chickens and 18 ducks.

May 2nd we received our order from Murray McMurray. Mine: 28 Black Australorps (10 went to our friends) 28 Buff orpingtons (10 went to our friends) Hers: 28 White Orpingtons, 28 Gold Polish, 10 Bantam Golden Cochin chicks.
15 of the Gold Polish died the first week. They reshipped two weeks later and she kept them at her house. We also lost 2 BA, 2 Bantam Cochin, and 1 W0 Chick as well as 2 of the blue silkys I had boughten earlier.

We bought a pekin duck from Theisens.

Then May 5th we received from Welp the reship of 28 California Whites. We lost 10 of these some time that month.
We went to the Kalona Auctioan again this month and She bought 15 Barred rocks 3 rhode Island red and 1 black hen. As well as three roosters. I bought 3 mule ducks ( I thought where Muscovys at the time)

We sold 10 hens sometime after that. And I sold the last two of my call ducklings. We lost a Call drake to a dog.

In June we sold 17 chicks. 7 buff O.s 5 BA 5 White O.'s

At the last week of June we had: 157Chickens 20Ducks
Sold my 2 rouen ducks.
The last weekend of june I went to the kalona auction and brought home 4 hens(3red sexlinks 1 delaware?) and 9 rouen ducks.
That following weekend July 3,4,5, we started loosing the little chickens. Im not sure how many but it was the Polish again, all but 3 of them died that weekend ( so 7 died), 9 california whites, 3 Rhode Island red chicks we had hatched out (forgot about them till now) 2 white orpingtons and 1 buff orpington. All 2 month old chicks. This was also a very cold Wet rainy weekend. Four days of rain I think.

The Second week of July we lost our buff orpington rooster. The medium sized Muleduck. as well as 2-3 chicks a day I am not sure of what breeds but mainly the California whites and White orpingtons. The Buff Orpingtons seemed the strongest. We lost probably a total of 8 California whites that week. 2 Buff orpingtons, 4 White Orpingtons, and 5 Black Australorps. both of the white laced red cornish, 1 more of the blue silkies.
After that we lost more each week. Sometimes there would be 3 days with no deaths then 8 dead in one day. with 2 each day after for 2-3 days then 3 days with no dead again. We have lost 3 Full size Barred Rock hens, 1 Salmon Favorelle hen, 2 of the younger Cochin Hens, as well as all 4 of the hens I brought home from Kalona. The weekend after Kalona I sold 2 of the rouen ducks and traded the lady the buff cockerel for pullet.
So If I where to take a rough estimite. We now Have : Aproximatly 76Chickens and 25Ducks. The other day when I tried to do a quick count I got 56 chickens but they might not of all been up by the house.Or I might not have added correctly. Or we may have lost more then I think we did.

So sorry its so long... but Thats my guess as to what we have and if I added right we have lost 81 chickens? does that seem right to anyone else? and 1 duck
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9 Years
Mar 27, 2010
San Diego, CA
I wonder... is it possible that the deaths have occurred during rain or when the ground is still wet from rain? The whole time reading this post, I just can't help thinking it sounds like poisoning ----Could there be something toxic in the soil thats being brought up with the rain? Maybe you can test soil where the ones sick or dying have been hanging out? Or what about a plant they recently found on your property and are eating?

Here is a list of toxic plants -- not just for poultry, but for most animals. For anyone interested - they also have a non-toxic list.

I really feel for you, I don't think I can imagine how overwhelmed you must feel. Best wishes and I hope you can get this beat and not have to lose any more of your pets.


10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Kingston, GA
WOW! That is a catastrophic number...almost unfathomable! Whatever it is...its definetly serious. So sorry you've had to deal with all of this! Next spring-after you've gotten this behind you- let me know when you are ready for hatching eggs. I'll send you some free. All I have are bantams(dutch, and d'uccle), and I'll have some mixed standards- if you're up to trying to start over next year. Best wishes and I'm glued to the post for updates!


Winsor Woods

10 Years
Jun 14, 2009
Cascade Range in WA
I'm so glad you finally got some help. Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel yet? As far as the test results.....



12 Years
Aug 11, 2007
All the chicks where fed medicated feed, so it can't be Cocci.
The USDA doesn't feel like it is a poisoning.


11 Years
Aug 19, 2008
I just read the whole thread and wow you have been through a lot!

I hope the test results will shed some light on the situation. Losing 81 chickens is a huge loss.

Congratulations on your job


9 Years
Jun 29, 2010
Matthews, NC
I'm glad you're finally going to be getting some answers after all you've been through. If the past few weeks haven't driven you completely, hopelessly crazy, you'll be the most laid-back person on the planet. Whenever someone makes a big deal out of nothing, you can just tell them about this and settle them right down!

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