Multiple Chickens Dying of Prolapse???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cjropher, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. cjropher

    cjropher New Egg

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    Dec 2, 2011
    We started this week with 11 white leghorn chickens. They're about 7 months old or so and have been laying since the end of July. About two weeks ago, one chicken started to keep her tail tucked down and her head in (does that make sense?). She had some spots on her comb that we attributed to frostbite and I thought maybe she was just a little sore from getting the frostbite. Then on Tuesday morning, my son found her dead in the run. Because she hadn't been looking right for a little while, we figured that there had been something else wrong and didn't think much more about it.

    But then the trouble started. That night (Tuesday), he found a seemingly healthy chicken, just about dead in the coop. Her back end was very bloody and that's what led me to guess that it's a prolapse. He has collected a eggs with blood on them quite regularly, but they all seemed fine. Then tonight, he found another dead chicken. Same thing. She's quite bloody on the back end. I looked in the coop about a half hour before he collected eggs (all the eggs had already been laid) and there was no dead chicken.

    Any ideas what's going on? This is my son's business (he's 9) and so it's pretty hard on him. The chickens aren't super friendly and don't really like to be handled. Please help!
     
  2. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    Is it damp/humid where they sleep?

    I know they don't like to be handled, but you need to pick them up, check their vent to make sure it's clean and not blocked up, and gently rub some olive oil on there to keep it smooth. Wear rubber gloves.

    If you stroke them under the throat when you turn them over they get "hypnotized" and lay still for you.
     
  3. turtlebird

    turtlebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Leghorns, I hear, can be rather flighty. Don't take their lack of friendliness personally. Just the way they come sometimes.
    I was wondering if you don't have some cannibalism going on. Sometimes there may be a hen that figures out that the skin around the vent is delicate/tender and if they peck at it, a little blood just might come out...and once that happens, all heck breaks loose.
    Do they have enough space? Are the nest boxes dark (do they have a curtain across the front)? Check their vents to see if there is any evidence of pecking?
    If you are able, spend some time with them and watch for any bullies. If so, bullies need to be stopped before they teach everyone.
    I hope you figure this out soon. Your son is learning some good lessons about caring for livestock....it isn't always easy. [​IMG] Good luck.
     
  4. cjropher

    cjropher New Egg

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    Dec 2, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestions. It isn't damp where they are. But we'll get in there and examine them. This is when I remind my husband that when we got chickens I said they weren't my responsibility. He was fine with it then... LOL

    They don't have a curtain over their nesting boxes. They haven't been laying in them anyway. They were, but then suddenly they were all laying in a nest and one chicken (maybe, they all look the same so I don't really know) was sitting on them. But not tons, we would look in and all the eggs would be there, but no hen on the eggs. We don't have roosters, so they weren't going to get any chicks, but I can't figure out why/how all the chickens started laying on the ground when previously they had been really good about laying in the boxes. The boxes are too far above the ground for them to be able to roll the eggs onto the ground without breaking them... would they do that? And it was like one day they just stopped laying in the boxes and started laying on the floor. Chickens are strange little critters.
     
  5. turtlebird

    turtlebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hmmmm, interesting. You say they WERE laying in the next boxes? It isn't too uncommon for them to all chose to lay in the same nest box. But the change in behavior is suspect. Here's what I would do: Clean out the nest boxes and put new shavings (or whatever material you use in the boxes). Dust the boxes with poultry dust just in case some mites have moved and and are attacking your hens. Mites can do quite a number on the ladies, even to the point of death.....and bloody vents may be occuring post-mortem. SO check for mites and lice.
    It could also be that your ladies were being harrassed IN the nest box (that tender vent is exposed while they are laying that egg)....this might drive them to leave the nest boxes. I would darken the nest boxes with a curtain or towel or something. Put golf balls back into nest boxes to encourage them in the nest boxes where they are safe. I am inclined to think there is a nasty bully in the bunch. Pull up a chair and spend some time watching them. No bullies are allowed in my coop. They end up either in isolation or the stew pot.
     
  6. cjropher

    cjropher New Egg

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    Thanks turtlebird. I guess I have to admit that I have been somewhat lax on the cleanliness of the coop and I think we all know that a 9 year old boy is most definitely not the most interested in that part of the business. More free eggs for me! He did a good clean out before it got cold, but we've never dusted it with anything, just cleaned it out (and it did meet my criteria for cleanliness then) and fresh straw put in. However, with it being cold right now, we've been just adding more straw and not cleaning out. Is that a bad thing? We will clean it out and try that.

    They did so well. We didn't lose a single chick when they came and they started laying at what I thought was early. And now this. We'll give the suggestions a try and see what happens.
     
  7. cjropher

    cjropher New Egg

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    Thanks everyone! I'm happy to report, no more dead chickens! We didn't get to cleaning out the coop until today, but we cleaned it all out. The straw was all really wet and gross. But it is all cleaned out and fresh straw put in. They seemed pretty happy. Then ds let each hen in one at a time so I could do an inspect. Their rears all look fine. Ds says he hasn't seen a bloody egg since Friday (the date of his last dead hen) either.

    While inspecting, of the 8 hens, 6/7 (I forget already) had what some research has suggested are broody patches. Seriously? They're all laying great, ds has been getting a decent amount of eggs every day, 6 on Saturday, 7 on Sunday, and 7 today. But when I did my inspect, I noticed that so many were missing so many feathers around their belly. I mentioned how we were finding almost all the eggs in a nest on the floor, could that be it? Could they all want to be broody and so they're all laying on the floor? Today of the 6 eggs, only one was in a nesting box.

    They aren't all sitting around though. They all seem very happy, moving around and eating well. And even the one who is sitting on the eggs at any point isn't too upset to be moved. There wasn't even a hen sitting on the eggs when ds went to collect them today. We think they are all laying regularly, kind of hard to tell in our set up! So is this a further cause of concern or is it just something that chickens do? Crazy chickens! LOL
     

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