My Chickens Keep Dying...Please Help and Ideas


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 30, 2008
I have lost three chickens over the last few months. First was Little Jerry, who I think had an impacted crop or something.

The next chicken to die was Shelby. She was a rescue chicken and was probably more than five years old, so I think it was just her time to go.

Yesterday morning, my frizzle hen, Oatmeal, was acting very, very lethargic. She would not move from the coop at all. She was cold to the touch. She died later that afternoon.

I want to make sure that I am not missing something. All of my birds are free range, so they are exposed to a lot of things to eat. They will be fine and then all of a sudden be dead or very sick. Does anyone have any ideas on what could be wrong or what I could do to keep this from happening? The others are all very happy and healthy.

I was thinking it could be worms, but I have not found a safe deworming program. Are there safe dewormers that I can use on laying hens? Are there things that I can add to their feed to help prevent worms? What about impacted crops? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Take a really good look around where your flock free ranges. Things like spilled motor additives can sometimes be very detrimental. My sister(lives on dairy farm) lost her barn cats after long illnesses due to antifreeze. It tastes sweet to them. there may be some one little thing that is so ordinary looking to you that you just don't see it.
Any other symptoms?
Peeper, Thank you for your help. I will look around for anything like that, but I am really good about keeping things like that up. I have three dogs and three cats, so I make sure that there isn't anything like that around.

I was thinking if it is anything they are getting from the yard, it could be a toxic plant or something. I have horses as well so I keep an eye out for poisonous plants, but they may be getting into something I cannot find.

The symptoms are:
1) Distancing from flock, not acting quite right
2) Lethargic, ranging from mild to extreme
3) puffy looking crop, which leads me to belive it could be an impacted crop
4)Ruffled feathers, droopy wings
5) Cold to the touch, slow breathing
6) Death

These symptoms apply to Little Jerry and Oatmeal. Little Jerry was sick for about a week before he died. Oatmeal was sick for a day and she died.
You might consider asking a local extension agent to come out. Sometimes there are things growing on your land you might not recognize as poisonous or noxious that is.

Extension agents usually know what to look for in their specific area and it might be something that would never affect a dog or cat... Good luck.

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