My pullets keep dying!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by morgbrow, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. morgbrow

    morgbrow Hatching

    Nov 17, 2016
    So I am super new to keeping chickens, as my fiance brought home 4 pullets (14-16 weeks old not laying yet, 2 barred rock and 2 rhode island reds) that he found a farmer selling on a country road in a giant dog crate with 15 other pullets. We built a makeshift coop with a run in the back yard for them, and feed them a mixture of egg layer scratch, cracked corn, mealworms, treats, and oyster shells. One barred rock was mysteriously found dead the second day of having the chickens, with no odd droppings or symptoms at all. Then, the second barred rock started sneezing and being lethargic, and we ended up culling her as to not harm the other chickens. One of the Rhode Island Reds was sitting down alot yesterday morning so we separated her, and she was dead by evening. My fiance was so heartbroken he went out and bought 2 laying hens of about a year old from craigslist(a sex linked chicken and an arucana) and now the fourth and final pullet is being lethargic, and I am scared since he did not isolate the 2 laying hens that they are all doomed. I also know that if they do all die he will run out and buy more and I want to make sure whatever they have isn't still around when he does!

    The only real symptoms are lethargy and death; and sneezing/watery eyes kind of appeared in one. Please help!
  2. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    [​IMG] What do their droppings look like? Not sure what it is but sounds like you may have purchased sick chicks and it may be contagious. (Would corrid help, but I think stools need to be involved for that.)
    But I would suggest not adding any chickens to sick chickens and new birds should always be quarantined before being added. In this case, I would wait, perhaps check with a local avian vet to see if a necropsy can be done or county agent to see about testing.
    Depending on the findings you may have to wait and totally disinfect everything before new birds are added if you ever want a healthy flock.
    Good luck. That is difficult to go through.
  3. morgbrow

    morgbrow Hatching

    Nov 17, 2016
    Droppings look totally normal, well formed and solid except for one (of the hundreds lol) that looked a tad runny but no odd colors or bugs or anything in them.
  4. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

    Aug 23, 2012
    My Coop

    I hope Kat can help you, I am so sorry. Welcome to BYC

    Medicine Chart for Chickens & other Poultry CLICK HERE

    Biosecurity Tips: 6 Ways To Prevent Poultry Disease CLICK HERE

  5. BullChick

    BullChick Not who you think Premium Member

    Apr 17, 2012
    Coffee shop
    I am so sorry that you came to be a chicken owner with such a problem right away! [​IMG] Perhaps you need to build an incubator, and hatch your own chicks.. It will give you time to figure out what is going on in the coop.
    Check out Sally Sunshine's signature for the right links to building an incubator (it is cheaper and more reliable than buying one Most importantly, it is bigger!!) and joining us on the incubating thread.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I'm also sorry that your first experience with chickens is going so badly,and echo the importance of bio-security. I wouldn't bring any new chickens in until you get a handle on what's spreading through your current flock.

    One thing I would suggest, if you do end up getting all new birds, is to get a handle on that diet. If I understood your reference to feeding them "egg layer scratch", do I take that to mean you are feeding them layer as their main diet, or does the bag specifically say "scratch"? Scratch is not a complete chicken food - it's just a supplement. If you did mean "layer pellets or crumbles", my apologies for misreading your post. If they aren't laying yet, they don't really need layer food, but I don't feed my flock layer anyway. I'd get them on a good quality All Flock, Flock Maintenance or Grower/starter ration for the higher protein, since you are already providing oyster shell to supply calcium. The higher protein content in any of the foods I mentioned can give sick birds a bit of a boost. That's all I feed my flock, which is often a flock mixed with roosters and chicks who definitely don't need the extra calcium. I'm too cheap to buy separate foods for each group, and they won't stay out of each other's food anyway so it's better to feed something they can all eat from the same feeder and supplement with oyster shell in a separate container for the layers. Cracked corn, in moderation, is fine but shouldn't make up a good portion of their daily ration. Do they get any grit at all? They don't digest foods like we think they do - they need grit in their crops to grind what they eat. Grit and oyster shell are not the same things.

    Stress can also cause illness in birds. Being caught up, put in a roadside cage, then taken away and given a new home is pretty stressful. Without knowing for sure what you are dealing with - stress, illness, diet, or a combination, it's really hard to give you any concrete advice aside from not bringing in new chickens until you find out for sure, and a necropsy is the best way to do that.

    Good luck! And even though it's not under the best circumstances, welcome to BYC!
    1 person likes this.

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