Mortality ratio in a flock.??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by emjay, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. emjay

    emjay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    I know that chickens are susceptible to many things and that it is normal to lose a hen or two in their first egg laying season.

    What is the norm generally for mortality rates in the first year or two? are some breeds hardier then others ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  2. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    If you don't count chicks we lose maybe 1 - 2% per year. We usually over winter between 150 and 200 chickens (mostly hens but a few roos) and lose maybe 2 or 3 a year. Some years we don't lose any, some years we might lose 5, so it varies. On chicks under 30 days old it runs about the same %.
    Also, not all our chickens are young. We have chickens on the farm right now from 4 1/2 months old up to around 4 years old. Most are under two years old though.
     
  3. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Says who? [​IMG]


    What is the norm generally for mortality rates in the first year or two?

    Excepting losses to predators should they occur and assuming past the chick stage, 0% is, imo the "rule". Losses to unknown illness or other "natural causes" past the chick stage is not "normal". It happens but those instances are the exception, not the rule and usually there is something underlying that could have prevented the losses.

    are some breeds hardier then others ?

    Yes, of course. As are some strains within breeds. But even in the less hardy breeds it is not "normal" to lose grown chickens for no apparent reason.​
     
  4. emjay

    emjay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Quote:Says who? [​IMG]


    What is the norm generally for mortality rates in the first year or two?

    Excepting losses to predators should they occur and assuming past the chick stage, 0% is, imo the "rule". Losses to unknown illness or other "natural causes" past the chick stage is not "normal". It happens but those instances are the exception, not the rule and usually there is something underlying that could have prevented the losses.

    are some breeds hardier then others ?

    Yes, of course. As are some strains within breeds. But even in the less hardy breeds it is not "normal" to lose grown chickens for no apparent reason.​

    says who? apparently quite a few people have hens or roos just drop dead with no tell tale signs

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=56681&p=1

    cases in point.
    maybe normal isn't the right word, but, i'm trying to exclude tell tale diseases and predators.
    I had a hen drop dead on me a few months ago, happy healthy one minute and dead the next.

    more of a curiosity question.​
     
  5. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Quote:Says who? [​IMG]


    What is the norm generally for mortality rates in the first year or two?

    Excepting losses to predators should they occur and assuming past the chick stage, 0% is, imo the "rule". Losses to unknown illness or other "natural causes" past the chick stage is not "normal". It happens but those instances are the exception, not the rule and usually there is something underlying that could have prevented the losses.

    are some breeds hardier then others ?

    Yes, of course. As are some strains within breeds. But even in the less hardy breeds it is not "normal" to lose grown chickens for no apparent reason.​

    says who? apparently quite a few people have hens or roos just drop dead with no tell tale signs

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=56681&p=1

    cases in point.
    maybe normal isn't the right word, but, i'm trying to exclude tell tale diseases and predators.
    I had a hen drop dead on me a few months ago, happy healthy one minute and dead the next.

    more of a curiosity question.​

    Twenty or so accounts of "happy, healthy" chickens dying at various ages does not make it normal. Notice also that some of those accounts included suspect circumstances or older ages as well. And keep in mind just because someone says their chickens are "healthy" or "well taken care of" does not make it so.

    Yes, chickens die of natural occurrences. Sometimes they are young chickens, but if you're having so many deaths in the 1 to 2 year range that you have a ratio worth keeping track of it's highly likely something is wrong.
     
  6. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To quote from Gail Damerow, Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, "Normal mortality among chickens is 5 per cent per year. If you find several chickens dead within a short time, however, you most likely have good cause for concern." She also says of chicks that "a pattern of increased deaths" is "a sure sign of disease."
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Southern Oregon
    Not counting losses to predators, I've only lost two birds in many years......a pre-laying pullet and recently my mature (I think he was four? or five?) brown leghorn roo. Both DRT (dead right there) in the coop, no known cause. I've also never had a sick bird. [​IMG]
    According to the Storey's quoted, I should have lost around five birds or so...........glad I'm on the good end of the curve!
     
  8. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As many times that I have had chickens I have never lost a bird. If I factor in failed attacks I guess my mortality rate would be on the negative side of 0%.
     
  9. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Working for an avian vet, I can assure you that not all birds who appear healthy, even with a thorough physical exam by a board certified avian vet, are. We recommend routine bloodwork (a complete blood count and a basic chemistry panel that checks liver and kidney function) for all birds because we have found a significant percentage of birds who were normal on a physical exam to have some underlying health issue that showed up on the bloodwork. We also require pre-operative bloodwork for all surgeries on the mammals we see because while it is uncommon we have found significant disease in young (less than a year old) animals that seemed completely normal and healthy on physical exam (for example, we have had two puppies in the past three years who came in for a routine spay and were found to be in kidney failure, most likely due to a genetic defect). I would also point out that people are not always as observant as they think they are. While it is extreme, we have several cases a year of birds who come in for an exam because they "aren't doing right" or just seem a little off and on physical exam we find that they are literally starving (in one case the bird was almost dead from hypoglycemia!) or have some other health issue that is obvious to us but not the owner. It's not that the owners don't care about their birds or don't spend any time with them, but they just didn't notice the oh-so-subtle signs. Like Olive Hill said, just because someone says their birds are "healthy and happy" doesn't necessarily mean that they are, just that they didn't notice anything that would indicate otherwise.

    I would also like to point out that an individual flock's mortality rate might or might not mean anything. I only have 7 birds, if just one dies that's 14% of my flock! Someone who has 100 birds looses one bird, that's only a 1% mortality rate. It doesn't mean that I actually have more mortality in my flock, only that I have fewer birds to loose (since the smallest loss I could possibly have is 14%).
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  10. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    Quote:This is pretty much my experience. My laying hen total varies. At the moment I've got about seventy or seventy five. I lose maybe two or three a year to causes unknown and almost never two in the same flock or within a close span of time to each other. My losses are usually to predators once they are in the tractors or have aged out to go to the henyard.

    If I were to have two or more dead close together in time I'd go looking for the reason.

    Of the birds that we hatched I've come to expect to lose one in the brooder and usually that within three days of hatch. The only big losses I've ever had in the brooder box was a batch of chicks that had a rough ride from the post office. Had several dead in the box when I opened it and lost six more within three days in spite of the sugar water/electrolytes and everything else I could think of. Normally even with shipped chicks I never lose more than one.
     

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