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


10 Years
Mar 31, 2009
SouthEast Texas
The OP made it clear that if anyone else wanted to call and talk to the state vet in Iowa on her behalf, they were welcome to. They aren't listening to her about this.

We're all ignorant as to the severity of this situation. None of us knows what is actually going on here. And none of us can sit at our computers and know for sure what is going on with some medical testing, which the OP is trying hard to get.

My hope is that this Dr. Schmitt fellow will have some presence of mind to realize that there is a situation here which calls for investigation.

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 26, 2009
Out to pasture
When you bring a problem to the forum you open yourself up to endless criticism and advice, some of it very good, some bad. Unfortunately, there are some who not only want to kick dirt in your face but to stomp on your grave also. I love animals but, I believe with all my heart that FAMILY comes first. At the risk of sounding horribly insensitive and opening myself up to numerous nasty attacks I do believe you can buy replace chickens at some later, safer date But, you can not replace Family. This OP has more serious problems than anyone would volunteer to deal with. Any one of which would overtax the average person. She doesn't need to be made into some pariah because she cannot satisfy someone elses scheme of how to handle her sitation(s). It has been said if this is such a crucial poultry situation why aren't the state vets concerned about it?

Life is more than chickens or dogs, or goats, or cats. If you don't have family, if you don't have jobs, if you don't have money and support of others, you cannot worry about the luxuries in your life. Sadly in this situation chickens are the luxuries. I know the op cares for her livestock but, you have to care more for your family. You cannot replace them. Give this woman the compassion she deserves.

I cannot help but see the comparison of cannalbalistic chickens with the way some people have responded to this OP's problems. Chickens have the excuse of being well - just chickens and thats what they sometimes do. But, humans are removed many times from that primitive response - oh golly I sure hope so. If you can't tolerate the op's response please switch to some other forum thread.If you stay tuned in please show this OP some tender mercies... My heart goes out to her


10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Kingston, GA
I empathize with your situation. It must be VERY overwhelming. My husband was laid off recently, and I completely understand the no job situation, at least. Times are tough for a lot of people right now. Add to that the other perils you are dealing with, and I am sure you just don't even know where to begin. Or hang your hat. Maybe you should try to attack the chicken situation one step at a time. Maybe try segregating the sick from the healthy into two seperate quarters if you have the facilities to do so. Then maybe consider culling all of the ones who are sick or appear ill. Burn the carcasses. Wear different shoes, wash your hands, and change your clothes in between the sick and healthy pens. Spend a good while observing both pens each day so you can try to pick up on any changes and move them out when you see a change. Maybe that will help you at least try to get a handle on it. Are you treating with ANY antibiotics? Maybe research what the widest spectrum antibiotic is and try throwing that at them. Can't hurt, at this point. Keep friends and family away and put them all in lockdown. I know its a difficult decision...and I would like to say if it were my birds, I would cull every single one healthy or not...but that is easy to say until you're faced with a hatchet in the right hand and your favorite bird in the left. I don't even have the heart to kill an ant. But maybe segregating them at least will help to get the situation under control and stop the spread of whatever this may be. Good luck


Free Ranging
13 Years
Feb 14, 2008
This world is not my home.
I would freeze a sampling of some of your freshly dead birds and then I would systematically kill and burn~not bury~ the rest of the flock. There are signs at all the feed stores where I live, begging people to let the state test their flocks for diseases.....if you ever want to raise birds again, I would pursue this testing and then have the frozen specimens ready when they are ready to take you seriously.

I am very sorry for your family troubles and I know this is the least of your worries right now...but it probably should be something you set aside a day for and very soon. This sounds like a very lethal and contagious thing and it should be contained and traced, if at all possible.

Good luck!


9 Years
Jul 27, 2010
I didn't read through all the posts but from me reading the situation I would think the culprit to be the WATER supply. That would be the only thing they ALL are taking in. I'm no biologist or scientist either so I can't say for certain or anything like that but I would suspect that first. Just my thoughts
. I'm sorry for you loss as well and hope things come around better for your family.

EDIT: I did read the first page but somehow I missed you said they aren't drinking the same water. Sorry about that
Last edited by a moderator:


10 Years
Jul 14, 2009
Stark County, NE Ohio
Oh Bossynbella, I am terribly sorry for what you must be going thru. Wow!!!
You must be exhausted and just over burdened. I agree, family comes first. About the chickens, I'll tell you what I think I would do, but really none of us know until we are there ourselves, and you have alot on your plate. Chickens last, I agree, you have called the state vet and done what you could there so I say cull every last chicken. I know, easier said than done, but have this friend of yours that your keeping chickens for come and help if she can. I feel so bad for you. But chickens are replacable. You have so much going on, removing one burden may really help you out. I am not in your situation, so I am just offering some support and advice. But know many of your BYC friends are praying for you and thinking of you, whatever you decide.

Winsor Woods

10 Years
Jun 14, 2009
Cascade Range in WA
Thanks for the update Melissa. Take care of yourself and your family first. I hope someone will convince the state vet to take you seriously. Keep good records of your contacts with them. If this turns out to be Newcastles, then having the records of all you've done to try to mobilize the state resources will be a great asset for you because you'll be the first to get blamed and you need proof that you did try to do the right thing but the state fell down on their end.

We'll keep you in our thoughts. Please continue to keep us updated as things progress despite some of inappropriate responses you've gotten from some BYC members.



12 Years
Aug 11, 2007
So some good news. I got the job at wal-mart, it will only be part time 30 hrs a week and I will only be making 7.65 but it might be enough to keep us in our house and pay most of the bills. On the downside I picked up my last check from my old job and its not even enough to pay our rent! Thank god we can borrow from friends and family. Also my beagle has disappeared. She went out last night and didn't bark to come in which isn't that unusual she will often just decide to sleep with the outside dogs. But this morning when I made breakfast ( I always make her something too) but when I called for her to come eat her sausage she was no where to be found. She still hasn't shown up I called the vet the local animal rescue place but no one has seen her. We drove around calling for her and talked to our neighbors but no one has seen her. I swear sometimes things just can't get any worse then they do.
When we got home this afternoon I found my favorite chicken a Salmon Favorelle Hen named Tobacco under the nest boxes. She obviously has whatever is killing them and will be dead by morning. As well as 4-5 other sickly looking young ones. I did take some pictures both of the healthy and the unhealthy. I feel like everyone needs to see what we are talking about. Its easy to say we should just destroy them all but maybe really seeing them will help. Hopefully seeing the sick ones may let someone have a good idea about whats going on.
Well these are the 17 pictures I took today. I will just share them all with you.

The flock waiting for breakfast


another view of them waiting for breakfast this morning


the last view of them this morning. All the barred rocks,and all the white chickens, and all the easter eggers in these first three pictures are my friend Anna's.


Foraging for the cracked corn in the tall weeds. I usually fill there feeders with layer feed and throw the corn into the weeds by the driveway.


Some of the ducks


Our peacock Peter Pan on the clothesline


Our mama guinea with 11 keets. She started with 15. We have one inside because it got wet when it was a tiny keet and she lost the others one day when she took them up back. Peter Pan the peacock seems to think hes the dad! He follows them all over and is always with them.


another picture of the Coral blue mama and babies.


one of my 5 month old blue cochin pullets


My mix breed bantam hen Lacey with her two turkey poults. We cleaned out the garage and shut them inside hoping that they don't get whatever the others have.


Some of my adult cochins and one of anna's barred rocks and one of her EE's drinking from the big waterer outside.


Our two outside dogs. Apollo the black lab and Leilani (lani) the Shepherd/husky/chowchow/? mix

Now the not so happy pictures

My only male Guinea he is a coral blue. Doesn't seem sick. He was hiding from me. He seems to have hurt his left leg. I put him in the garage with the hen and poults. His eyes look fine his poop isn't runny and he isn't weezy. I examined the leg but couldn't feel a break. He limps on the other leg and still flies just fine.

These are the sick ones

This is the end or 4th stage She will be dead within a couple hours. She has her head tucked in but often they will be turned backwards or laying to the side looking like they are dead. Her eyes are closed and though there is no visable mucus she seems unable to open them. This is Tobacco one of our salmon favorells andmy favorite hen. She was always so friendly she would ride around on my shoulder and when I cleaned out pens she would ride on the wheelbarrow over to where we dump the bedding then I would pick her up and set her on the ground dump it and put her back in the wheelbarrow for the ride back. It seemed like more of a chore cleaning it out today without her help. Crap this sucks so much.



This is a good example of what I could call the third stage. They are able to get up and move. Often only one eye is sealed shut. They are lethargic and will lay with there heads turned funny until you touch them. I belive this was a california White from Welp Hatchery. Hatched on May3rd. so that makes it almost 3 months old.

And just to add it on there this is the rabbit area which is on the other side of the yard but as you can see the chickens go over there as well.

Well just wanted to share these pictures. As for the person who thinks im not taking this seriously, bug off. If you don't have something constructive to say keep quiet. I love these birds. Im sorry if that is wrong and I should just go out there with a ax and start chopping. If I had the money I would try every antibiotic out there but its just not an option. Its either I buy them feed or medicine I can't do both. We seperated the sickly looking ones into a pen. we just don't have the room to pen them all. Problem is they look ok one day and sick the next.

Thanks again to all those who are helping. Honestly this has become my place of refuge and understanding. Thank you all.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom