My hens are dying

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by rebeccae, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. rebeccae

    rebeccae New Egg

    Dec 28, 2010
    I have had chickens since July, and they have been like pets and very healthy. We live in a cold area so now they are shut up in their coop with plenty of food and water daily as well as wood chips on the floor. I have been finding htem dead within the coop in the morning. Today, i had two hens that were not dead but did not act right. Their feathers were puffed up and they could not walk on on of their legs. The one lege seemed frozen or stiff. I did get them to eat a little, but I had to hold them as they would just topple over. Could they be freezing? I am so worried and do not want to lose any more hens as we have lost 4 all ready.
  2. Melinda35

    Melinda35 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2010
    Yes, your chickens could be freezing. Are they roosting on a metal bar? Do you have a lot of moisture in your coop? Adequate ventillation is important. I am definitely not an expert on ventillation. I am in Texas so I don't even have a fully enclosed coop. There are many posts on this site about ventillation and moisture. Hopefully someone with more experience with that will help. There are a lot of experts around here with great advice.

  3. Sooner

    Sooner My kids Mom!

    Mar 22, 2009
    I understand it being cold but I would still let them have the choice of going out some. Could they be eatin the wood chips out of boredom? ARe the crops impacted? I would suggest that you inspect each one & see if you can find any signs that would help you figure out what is going on.
  4. nivtup

    nivtup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    It sounds like the symptoms of Mareks disease.
  5. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Overrun With Chickens

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    Where do you live? I have had chickens for 3 1/2 years and am on my 4th winter. It can get in the negatives here and I have never lost a chicken to the cold. I don't heat my coop and they always have the option to go outside. I agree with the others - if they are bored they might be eating their wood chips. Mine got bored recently and have started eating their own eggs [​IMG]

    Do they have any other symptoms? Puffing up is a sign of illness but they also do it when it is cold out. It traps air in their feathers and helps keep them warm.
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You need to answer the questions in the sticky at the beginning of the emergencies section.
  7. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Sorry you're having problems. At this point I would start some nutritional intervention including electrolytes and vitamins in their water, which should be clean and unfrozen. You can get chicken vitamins at feed stores; please read the directions and dosages carefully. Some of the packets are meant for horse and cattle waterers.

    You could give them some scrambled eggs and other sources of protein.

    Please remember that chickens (and other animals) need sunlight to process Vitamin D and leaving them inside, despite the light in the windows is probably not enough sunlight. I'm in Colorado, last year it was 4 below zero and my girls did just fine.

    Good luck, Mary
  8. jljchester

    jljchester New Egg

    Dec 29, 2010
    Could they be eating cedar chips? I believe that cedar bedding is poisonous to chickens if ingested
  9. Peepfreak59

    Peepfreak59 Out Of The Brooder

    I am in VA and it has been very cold and windy this year. My coop is an old metal shed, so I found a lot of cardboard and used it to insulate my walls, and the paper feed bags as well. We have a concrete floor, so we started putting straw down, lots of straw, about 8-10 inches of straw. I found that wood chips moved a lot, so I don't use them. A friend of mine does, but she has a dirt floor, so they don't move as much. Also I do have two 50 watt flood light I put into a brooding lamp, which is not real hot, but seems to keep the chill off. The chickens nestle down into the straw and sometimes do roost on the the wooden roosts we have for them. We ran long extension cords from the house for the lights. I also did this for my pigs. So far so good. I hope it helps, alot of times it is trial and error. But if you can defienitly put straw down for warmth. I had read in Backyard Poultry Mag that the chickens poop in it, but with them scratching, it airs out. Mine also do have the option of going outside, I put straw on top the the snow.[​IMG]
  10. TajMahalChickens

    TajMahalChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    I would still let them go outside. I have and 8x8 pasture pen that I covered with a tarp to keep the ground snow -free. My chickens spend most of the day outside. this is much healthier than keeping them inside.

    Ventilation is a must. Not a draft, just enough to let moisture and gases escape.

    What is the age & breed of you chickens?

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