Many Chicken Deaths

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Joshuwawalker, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Joshuwawalker

    Joshuwawalker In the Brooder

    Apr 4, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ
    My wife and I started raising backyard chickens over a year ago and have experienced an extremely high percent of deaths among our flock. Out of about 50 chicks/chickens I'm left with 14. I did not get them all at the same time, age, or place. And we haven't had a chicken live longer than 8 months. It's definitely not for a lack of trying or negligence. I've purchased many books, been very active on this site, talked with other chicken owners in my area, talked to the feed store owners, and watched many videos. My whole flock now is older than 5 months, but none are older than 8 months. We feed them a mix of layer crumble with scratch and daily give them fruit and vegetable scraps from in the house. I keep the coop decently clean. I could clean it everyday, but I currently only clean once every 3 days. This has been very hard on my wife and I as we view our chickens as pets and they all have names. Our flock does free range in our backyard throughout the day. My backyard features two Sissou trees, a Moringa tree, and a lemon tree. Our flock is filled with rare breed chickens from Greenfire Farms, breeders, and hatcheries. We just can't keep losing chickens because though we love them very much we are starting to consider getting rid of them to due them a favor. We are very active in our chickens lives. We hang out with them daily and talk, walk, and hold them. We just can't figure out what is causing the deaths. Most were Mareks vaccinated. Oh, I live in Phoenix, AZ. Please help!!!!

  2. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    What are some of the symptoms they are showing?

    That's an awfully high death rate. :(
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Did you notice anything going on with them prior to their deaths? Any strange breathing noises, messy bottoms, not eating well, not as active, standing around fluffed up, anything at all? The first thing I always suspect with lots of deaths in young birds is coccidiosis but there are lots of possibilities.
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    The problem is you're mixing birds from different sources and not quarantining them for at least 6 weeks.
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013

  6. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Songster

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    This is true. It also sounds like you might have had some bad luck with disease [​IMG]
  7. mrsbrcant

    mrsbrcant In the Brooder

    Sep 6, 2009
    Escondido, California
    What about extreme heat or cold temperatures?
  8. Joshuwawalker

    Joshuwawalker In the Brooder

    Apr 4, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ
    We have lost a few during the summer months when it was extremely hot. At that time, my uncle who also raises chickens lost a few girls who were several years old. My local feed store had also reported many customers reporting deaths. I have installed some measures to help them during the summer months (mister system, oscillating fan mounted in the coop, and planted more trees for shade). However, I have lost several in recent months when its cooler outside. The symptoms of the deaths have not been consistent so we are not even sure that all the deaths are linked to one cause. One hen showed signs of being lethargic, not drinking water, not walking, and not active for days before she passed. One hen was perfectly fine one night when I put them up and dead the next morning when I let them out. My most recent loss came this morning when my Blue Splash Americana, Fancy, had passed. She had been making this sounds at random intervals that sounded like hiccups. She was still eating, drinking, and very active. She was even alive when I opened up the coop this morning at 630. When I went to check on the girls at noon after running some errands I found her dead. When I did my usual investigation of her body to attempt a cause of death, I noticed an infection in her mouth that looked similar to one another hen of mine recently had. The other hen is still alive and completely healthy after I gave her small amounts of acid water for several days. I have used this method in the past with 100% success to heal the mouth infection. The three girls I lost during the summer passed away in the night with no sign of illness before that. Prior to all these deaths we had lost many chicks (12) and I had buried them in my backyard. My wife is still concerned that if those chicks were diseased that maybe the pathogens still exist and are causing us issues now. Not sure if that's logical. Also, I have had some troubles with wild pheasants, pigeons, and doves entering my coop and eating the food. My concern their is that maybe they are spreading avian diseases to my chickens. Keeping them out has been difficult without restricting my hens access to their roosts for laying. These continued deaths have been a nightmare. Also, almost all my chickens from raised from day old chicks. And I never integrated or introduced the chicks to my older chickens until at least 8 weeks. Some older based on size. The few chickens I got that were older were never older than 6 weeks and they were segregated for weeks before integration. And always integrated with a group. If the chickens made it to the integration point they didn't end up getting sick or dying until months after they had been outside. However, many did pass before ever leaving the brooder. Thank you all again for the advice.
  9. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    This sounds respiratory in nature.

    Wet Pox
    Infectious Bronchitis

    or maybe Gape worm.

    Are you sure it's not a sneeze you are hearing?

    Is this mouth infection blocking their airway?

  10. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    I don't know what's bringing down your older birds, agree with aoxa re possible respiratory disease or parasites. As far as all the chicks, coccidiosis would be highly suspect, assuming they were otherwise well kept, eating chick starter and kept at appropriate temp. etc. Chicks/young birds that then go out and share space with existing flock can also bring in a new strain of cocci that the older birds may not have come in contact with before and so are not immune too, resulting in them also developing coccidiosis. So that may be one possibility but there's probably something else going on too. A necropsy would be very helpful to you at this point.

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