My hens are dying & I have no clue why?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mominator60, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. mominator60

    mominator60 In the Brooder

    Apr 6, 2017
    I have had 2 of my 4 hens die. A 3rd I believe is dying & it's really too late to separate her from her sister. I feel like a failure because I have no clue what's wrong & can't afford a vet. They walk like a penguin & are in obvious discomfort. The poop is black with white. The first one just became listless & was sitting by the pen door all night. In the morning she was dead. The second one started the same way so my son tried to see what was wrong. He told me there were maggots eating her alive so he & dad put her down. Now like I said, the last 2 seemed doomed unless someone can tell me what this is & what to do. I feed them crumble with oyster calcium added by myself, dried worms & spring mix. We originally had 6 but lost 2 in a battle with a Martin(weasel) we got there in time to save 4. Now in the last month they've been dying. One day fine & the next dying. Took about 2-3 days for the first one. The second they put down after 2 days. It's silly but I love those hens & wish I could stop it.
  2. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    You mentioned maggots... is it possible they had wounds from the martin attack that got infected? Another thought is that an attack can be quite stressful for the surviving chickens. If there was any underlying disease or problem it's possible that in the stressed state following the attack that it has surfaced.

    I'm sorry you are going through this. It can be really challenging to figure out what is wrong with our animals, and sometimes we never know for sure. It is not your fault. :hugs I hope with some TLC you can save your remaining girls. You are doing the right thing by seeking answers and advice.
    micstrachan likes this.
  3. mominator60

    mominator60 In the Brooder

    Apr 6, 2017
    Thank you so much for replying. The Martin attack was the first winter we had them which was not this last one it was November 2016. The 2 that died were actually attacking the Martin as it was coming in. I had no idea how brave they are! If they hadn't I'm sure they all would have been killed before we got there. It's been just the 4 girls since then. We've had cuts on feet that healed on their own remarkably fast. I love them but would be afraid to try to raise anymore since I've failed at this... Thanks for sharing!
  4. Wil781

    Wil781 Songster

    Apr 29, 2018
    Central Alabama
    Walking like a penguin sounds like egg bound but that would be very odd to have several hens at once be egg bound. Black poop could be old blood from the digestive system or some form of food could change the color to a black such as blackberries, blueberries, etc.

    What are you feeding? Do they free range? Are their vents clean, free of poop? Maybe someone with expertise in chicken health will pipe in soon!
    micstrachan likes this.
  5. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    I’m so sorry about this sad situation. Do they get any free range time and could they be getting into a toxin like rat poison? Do they get grit to help them digest the meal worms? Also, just a heads up, the oyster shell should be served free choice (on the side). Do they always have fresh clean water? What is on the floor of the coop and run? Maybe we can help you figure this out.

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