Mystery Chicken Deaths...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by happyhens120, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. happyhens120

    happyhens120 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2011
    Central PA
    It's been a rough winter in PA, but my birds (until yesterday) have done great in the snow and cold as they've always done. Yesterday I found two dead Leghorns - one outside in the run and the other in the coop. There were no signs of struggle, no blood, nothing, so I'm confident this is not a predator problem. They are also healthy... no colds, mucus, coughs. The coop was just cleaned about 2 weeks ago.

    Today when I fed them I found my beautiful RI roo dead on the coop floor. Again, no struggles, healthy, just gone. I can not find out what caused their deaths! The ONLY thing that has changed in my routine is a switch to a different brand of food. There is no mold in the food (that I can see), but I'm so skeptical considering that I began feeding this brand on Thursday, and now have 3 dead birds.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I think, to be safe, I will take the food back and explain what happened, not to accuse or point finger but just as a precaution. I can't think of anything else it would be. Thanks!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Just to be safe, stop feeding this feed, and switch back to their normal brand. Is anyone sitting around puffed up, not eating or having diarrhea or any blood in the stools (symptoms of coccidiosis)? Any watery eyes, runny noses, or other symptoms? Do you have close neighbors that could have used poison of some kind, maybe for rats? If it is not the feed, I would worry about poison, or some very bad virus affecting them. Here is a list of common diseases where you can look up symptoms: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044
     
  3. happyhens120

    happyhens120 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2011
    Central PA
    Hi... thanks for the ideas. I've had some coccidiosis in younger hens before so it's something I look for when I feed the girls. We've also dealt with mycoplasmosis that was contracted through chicks that I purchased from another chicken raiser. We had to cull the entire flock, disinfect the coop and start over 2 months later. I am super cautious now... always listening and looking for symptoms of either.

    Fortunately there are no chickens that are showing signs of either disease. No sneezing, coughing, puffy eyes... nothing. I was just out with them yesterday and my roo was acting completely normal. Then today he was gone. We live in the country so we have no true neighbors, and the birds are confined in the winter to just their run and coop so there shouldn't be any way they are getting any poisons.

    I am really feeling like it's the feed. I checked it out closely but didn't see any signs of mold, but it didn't smell quite right. I pulled it from the coop and I'm going to return it tomorrow. I've read about other cases with this brand of feed, and maybe I'm just being overly cautious, but I'm not risking feeding it any more. I've never taken food back, but I'm going to request a new bag for the half bag that I have already fed. I also bought a bag of scratch grains... should I take them back, too?
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Another member on BYC from Wisconsin recently had a feed issue with a brand new bag of feed. Her entire flock of 50 birds and chicks got either aspergillosis or aflatoxin, and she lost quite a few after they only ate it 5 days. Her feed store was to reimburse her for the dead birds and her feed. I would save a handful of the feed, and if you could get it tested, I would. Also look online and look for any recalls. I think i would also call the company and report it (if it wasn't milled at your store.) You might look into doing a molasses or epsom salt flush to get the feed out of their systems. Is the scratch the same brand?
     
  5. happyhens120

    happyhens120 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2011
    Central PA
    Thanks for the advice! I called the store this morning and talked to the asst. supervisor. He said it was no problem to bring the feed back. I am asking that they exchange it with the feed that I normally buy, even though it costs more. I looked for recalls but didn't see anything lately. My cousin said her chickens are dying, too, and she feeds the same brand! It took 4 days for the toxins to set in. I haven't checked today to see if there are any more... almost don't want to!

    The supervisor said they would send a sample away for testing, and take down my name and information and give me a hotline number to report the issue. My husband is not a chicken guy, and he's not convinced it's the food but I just can't seem to come up with any other explanation for this! The food is the only thing I've changed in my routine. The scratch grain is the store brand, but it's going back also. Not chancing it!
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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