New chicken owner needs advice-why are my chickens dying?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cobblehillchix, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. cobblehillchix

    cobblehillchix New Egg

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    PLEASE HELP!
    We got our first chicks July 1st (2 sussex) and over the summer added on three blue coachens, two silkies, one polish and two black rock(?) all around the same age.

    They all are housed together and have a pen to run in. I believe we have one rooster for sure (blue coachen).
    About 4 wks ago, the smallest blue coachen was fine then died at night in the hen house. Then 2 wks ago our beautiful polish was found dying. Last night one of the sussex was found deceased as well. We have now lost 3.
    They are eating the starter chicken feed, will be switching to pellets when the bag is done, as well they eat hen scratch feed and fresh veggies and bread pieces.

    This is breaking our hearts, they have become pets to us and we love them. We are so new to this and wondering if we are doing something wrong.
    We live on Vancouver Island, it doesn't get too cold here but it has been chilly the past few nights. Do I need a heater in the hen house? How can I figure out what is going on with my chickens (none have laid eggs yet).
    A lady we know at the chicken supply store said it may be a MINX getting into our coop which is hard to believe but something I will investigate. Would a Minx kill just one? or?

    Any and all advice would be appreciated as I don't know a lot of "chicken people".

    Thanks very much in advance
     
  2. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do they have grit? Any sign of injuries/wounds on deceased hens? Check their crops for impacted crop. Any symptoms at all? My first guess if hens have no sign of being attacked would be Coccidiosis,time line is a bit spread out,but could still be the problem. Cocci is a parasitic infection of the intestinal tract,spread by droppings,which get into feed/water via droppings. Some symptoms of cocci are: runny/watery poop(may or may not contain blood,depends on which of the 9 strains it is)fluffed feathers,lethargic,not eating/drinking properly. If symptoms match,purchase Corid(Amprolium)may also be called Amprol,in Manitoba it is called Amprol,i can only purchase Amprol at my vet. Dose for Corid/Amprol 9.6% liquid is 2 tsp per gallon of water,dose for Corid/Amprol 20% powder is 1 tsp per gallon of water,treat all chickens for 5-7 days,do not give vitamins during treatment(interferes with the ability of medication to work properly)give vitamins after treatment is complete. Cocci kills very fast,but is easily controlled with medication. Most birds have some cocci in their sml intestines,only becomes a problem if they have an overload/outbreak,then we medicate to bring it back under control. Make sure medicated water is the only water they have to drink.
     
  3. cobblehillchix

    cobblehillchix New Egg

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    Thank you for that info on Cocci, I will look into that. How do I know for sure?
    No wounds anywhere that we can see (still new and figuring it all out)
    As for symptoms, they are all energetic and happy up until we find them dying or dead already. Their water is changed every second day.
    Grit, yes they get that 3x a week
     
  4. cobblehillchix

    cobblehillchix New Egg

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    Wondering if it is because of the cold, do I need to put a heater in the hen house?
    They are approx 14 wks old and the temps at night here on the island can get down to -5 C in winter
     
  5. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member

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    It would not be the cold that is killing them. Chickens can take cold temperatures.

    Do you have proper ventilation in you coop? Ammonia fumes can build up and kill them.
     
  6. LMiller

    LMiller Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens do fine in the cold so I wouldn't worry about a heater. They don't need it. Just make sure their roost is draft free and keep moisture down. My guess is that something was introduced with the new chicks/chickens. There are so many diseases (like 160) chickens can get that it can be overwhelming trying to determine which one is the problem. One of the most common is the coccidiosis mentioned above. You are going to have to really observe signs and symptoms and inspect the dead chickens and their poop for clues as to what is going on. Start reading up on chicken diseases and signs and symptoms of trouble. Some are very subtle like you pick your chicken up and find out it is a bone with feathers on it, or they just act sleepy all the time, just aren't as active as normal, are they sneezing or shaking their heads, or they have blood in their poop?

    If a Mink killed your chickens there would be blood and you would know they were killed by a predator. They don't just suffocate them to death.

    Many people, including myself, learned that quarantining new chickens is a must. Bringing in new chickens is always risky and you really need to buy from a good source if you choose to bring in new ones.

    Also, I wouldn't switch to layer feed until someone lays an egg. 14 weeks is to young, they are still growing and need the higher protein in the chick feed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They have to have access to grit at ALL times,this is how food is digested. Water needs to be changed daily,otherwise you have bacteria build up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  8. LMiller

    LMiller Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do your chickens get outside in the dirt and grass or are they strictly confined to the coop? If they have access to dirt, sand, and pebbles then they don't need grit from the store. That's a waste of money. I have never purchased grit. If I am feeding chicks something other than chick starter in the brooder, then I give them a dish of sand (of which I have an over abundance), which they gobble down. Keep the coop clean, have good ventilation, avoid any moisture because mold also leads to chicken deaths.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. cobblehillchix

    cobblehillchix New Egg

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    hhmmm I am now wondering if water is an issue here. My hubby and I were gone for a week and our daughter was caring for them, Im thinking its doubtful that the water was changed every day :-(
     
  10. cobblehillchix

    cobblehillchix New Egg

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    they have sand in the penned area and they get to run around the yard often and play in the garden so we were told it wasn't necessary to give them grit every day
     

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