Newbie - lost 5 of 6 chickens!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jullom, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. jullom

    jullom Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2009
    Muncie, Indiana
    Sorry, but this is going to take a minute to tell all the facts...I talked to a guy with several hundred 1 yr old Isa Browns he had bought from an Amish farm. He was selling them (he has other hens & he seems to know what he is talking about) and i bought 11 of the last 15 he had. When we talked on the phone he said these are "rough" looking but they will be fine - basically the Amish farmers rounded them all up a couple days before he was coming to pick them up and about 15 of them had feathers that looked rough due to the farmers putting them in too small of an area for a couple days. The guy i bought them off of said they were laying and were doing fine other than looking rough. I bought 11 of them - gave 5 to my brother in law who had a flock of 2 dozen or so that he wanted to add to and i kept 6. They were put into a brand new coop - built up off the barn floor with 6" of compacted dirt and 6" of pine shavings. The 6 had a fenced run approximately 50' by 20'. We put the 6 in the coop on a tues evening and they all were checking out the space just fine. The next morning, two were not moving much - we picked them up and took them outside and by noon they were dead. Wed evening the 4 were put into coop and all ran in by themselves. By thurs afternoon another one was dead. Same thing on the following Mon, one dead in the morning and another one dead in the afternoon after the weekend had all 3 doing very well and acting normally. As of today, we still have 1 that is doing fine, my brother in laws 5 are fine and the guy i bought them off of says the other 4 he still has are doing fine...what is going on?
  2. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Are you sure it was pine shavings and not cedar? Cedar gives off a toxic fume. Also, what was the new coop built out of, painted with, anything that could be giving off deadly fumes? For them to get sick and die practially overnight there must be something in the coop. What did you feed them - could it have been moldy or bad in any way?

    If you had not given half the birds to your BIL I would have said the birds were sick but since his birds aren't sick or dying, there must be something in the coop or feed that is killing them so quickly. How well ventilated is the coop and what are your temps? If the coop isn't well ventilated and you are adding heat, could they have overheated?

    Take a good Sherlock Holmes look around your coop and let us know if you find anything. Try getting in the coop and shutting the doors and see if you smell anything.
  3. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    Ruth gave you excellent advise. Please keep us posted on what you find and good luck. [​IMG]
  4. lildinkem

    lildinkem Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2009
    It has to be the shavings. Unless you have some type of poisen that was treating the yard. Chemicals used in yards, like Chemlawn, are very toxic to ALL animals. Chickens are much more sensitive. I'd remove the shavings and get straw or something.
  5. jullom

    jullom Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2009
    Muncie, Indiana
    Thanks for the thoughts. I am truly not expecting an answer but wanted to make sure i was thinking things thru and not crazy! The coop is all unpainted OSB that is either new or had been in the barn for a few years. There are treated 6x4's on the ground that we built up the coop with, it is very ventilated - 2 open windows to outside (currently covered with loose osb at night) 1 open window on the inside of the barn and an open "ceiling". Weather has been lows from 30-45. I'm 99% sure they are pine, but i'll double check - my wife picked them up at the farm store and told them what we were using them for...The food was new and unopened and doesn't appear moldy or any problems. Thanks again for the insight...also, it has been 1 week ago Tuesday and the one left hasn't started laying - it doesnt appear she has even really inspected the nesting boxes...any thoughts?
  6. momof247371

    momof247371 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2009
    hello, your hen should start laying once she is used to the coop. Usually when a change occurs a hen will stop laying until she is comfortable with her new home. sorry to hear about your other losses though. I live in Portland,IN so were kinda close, PM me if you need anything else. would be happy to offer suggestions or tips....
  7. Renee

    Renee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2008
    Sheesh, I don't know about those chickens. It sounds like your set-up is fine. No injuries on any of them? A predator didn't get in?

    I would get rid of the last one, disinfect the place, and wait a month or so and start over.

    Good luck.
  8. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    what happen to the others you gave away?
  9. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

    May 17, 2007
    How long have you owned this property? Maybe a previous owner put out some rat poison.

  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:I agree there could have been a problem on the receiving end, cedar shavings or rat poison or something, but this really sounds to me like the OP was sold some sick chickens.

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