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One more chicken dead... what's going on?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Carolyn227, May 8, 2011.

  1. Carolyn227

    Carolyn227 Out Of The Brooder

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    We recently got 6 chicks who were about 6 weeks old. We put them outside about a week ago. They've had some scraps but we cut out all the scraps a few days ago. They are eating chick starter and get grit and plenty of fresh water, and they have a small yard to roam in with grass, bugs and other things to scratch for. A couple of days ago, two of our chickens died within 24 hours of each other. The remaining chicks looked fine, and that's when we went back to basics, added a three walls around the coop for a little more warmth, and cut out all scraps completely. This morning, all four remaining chicks looked fine. We just returned home and one of the chicks was close to death. My DH put it out of its misery because it looked like it was going to go fast and he didn't want it to suffer any longer.

    We're new to this and have no idea what's going on. Why are they dying all of a sudden? Could there be a disease they picked up? Something they ate? I am so upset at the fact that our chickens are dying right and left and don't know what to do. I don't know what to look for with their poop, either. I saw a page with chicken poop on it and I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary, but they spill a lot of stuff in there too so I'm not really sure what I'm looking at.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated. I feel like I have the touch of death with these little guys.
     
  2. nnbreeder

    nnbreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could you please describe anything that sounds out of the ordinary? Like loud cheeping, manure around the vent. Sorry weather conditions etc?
     
  3. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry, but we really need more details. Are they puffed up when sick? How is their appetite and water intake.

    Being new on ground my first guess would be Cocci. Without more information that is just a flat out guess, but a week is about what it takes from first exposure to symptomatic birds.

    Matt
     
  4. Carolyn227

    Carolyn227 Out Of The Brooder

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    They sound totally fine, and DH looked at the dead bird and noticed nothing out of the ordinary. I didn't know another bird was sick until we got home tonight and it was almost dead. I think their appetite is fine but I'm new to this. They are acting like my friend's chickens always act.

    What is Cocci?

    We're concerned that it's something either in the ground or else something is able to reach in and get to the birds. They are fully enclosed in a pen outside by the house. The weather is wet spring weather, lows in the mid 40s. Some days are sunny and it gets to the 60s or 70s, but most days still are wet and rainy in the 50s or low 60s.

    I'll look at their poop a little later- DH just cleaned out the tray underneath so I'm going to closely examine it to make sure it looks okay.
     
  5. Carolyn227

    Carolyn227 Out Of The Brooder

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    I worried about my chickens all through the night hoping to find the remaining chickens all alive this morning. They are all alive. I checked on a chicken poop website and their poop looks normal. They were all three pecking at their food and water this morning. I'm still terrified that other three are going to suddenly drop dead.
     
  6. Carolyn227

    Carolyn227 Out Of The Brooder

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    Bump to see if anyone has info or suggestions for me. The three still are looking healthy and are eating/drinking well. I'm terrified another one is going to die because the other ones all looked healthy before, too.
     
  7. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

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    Do they have supplemental heat in case they can't stay warm enough on their own?

    I have 6-week old chicks and put a light back on that they could choose to sleep under if they got cold. And when the temps dropped into the 40's they all piled up under the warmth!
    Also, if they got wet then they're even more susceptible to the cold.
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    At 6 weeks they should not need supplemental heat if they have a draft free but sufficiently ventilated coop. If they have cocci, you should see them hunched up as if cold and hamburgery, mucousy stool. It does kill quickly; fortunately, they will develop an immunity to it, though. Here is a thread about cocci:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=368508

    I don't know by any means that that is what is going on, though. There is a sticky at the beginning of the emergencies forum asking several questions to answer when you have a sick chicken. You might look it over to see if there is anything else of note you could tell us that might help.
     
  9. Carolyn227

    Carolyn227 Out Of The Brooder

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    We turn the light on after sunset and turn it off during the day. Should I keep it on all the time?

    I think they're closer to 8 weeks now, we got them when they were about 6ish weeks old. My friend wasnt' 100% sure how old they were when she gave them to us.
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I would just turn it off, unless you are in a VERY cold climate. At 8 weeks they are definitely fully feathered; usually they are feathered plenty to not need heat around 5-6 weeks. I have 4 week olds in my coop who were avoiding the heat lamp at 2 weeks.
     

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