Please help me diagnose chicken deaths!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mazurzoo, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. mazurzoo

    mazurzoo New Egg

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    Feb 21, 2008
    We have owned chickens for at least 8 years now, and have never had such sickness before. Until now.

    These chickens are only in their 1st winter of life, so about 9 months old. Various breeds of laying hens. The problem is we keep finding them dead, when we find them they have holes in their rears, near or at the vent, and the other chickens are eating them. We care for them twice a day, so its amazing that they can just go down hill so fast and being picked at so agressively in such a short time. It was happening once a week or so, then all asudden daily and and now sometimes 3-4 in a day.

    Here's the confession, my daughter cares for them, and i KNOW she gives them water and food twice a day, because I watch her do the work while I am doing cows. But I have ignored actually going in there to see how the coop looks. When so many started to die, I thought I better go see. The coop was really dirty. She has not mucked out or even put a fresh layer of straw down in at least a month (I'm so embarrassed to say, but I know for a diagnosis I need to). Other than poop piling up, she gives them fresh water and feed daily, they get scraps and whey and milk, besides their scratch and mash. I really thought we "spoiled' them. But not in cleanliness. Its now been a week, since we have totally gutted the coop and cleaned it, we had a lull in deaths, until yesterday we had 4 more die in one day.

    We have never had issues like this, other than occasional mysterisous deaths. I dont know anything about chicken diseases. They do look very mangey and motley. Bald butts, red butts, bloody butts. Not all of them are like this, but enough to know that something is seriously wrong.

    As I observed them last week when we did the coop cleaning, it seemed the were picking things off each other as well...lice? I didnt see bugs, but I didnt look that close either. It just seemed there was lots of picking activity, besides picking at the bloody rears)

    Well I went out and bought those vitamins to mix in the water, and terrymicin (spelling wrong I know), the antibiotic says do not feed to laying chickens! It didnt say anything about withdrawal, it just said dont ( I see to remember someone else posting something like this but cant recall the thread) We also bought red lights. We totally gutted the coop, chiped away 1 ft of frozen bedding, and spread new down.

    I do not want to use the Terrymicin until I know about whether or not we can eat the eggs, and if not how long do we have to discard them. Also I want to make sure they really need the meds. But we have had them on the vitamins for a week now, red lights, and a clearer coop. Like I said, it seemed the death rate slowed until yesterday, then 4 more died in one day. The original flock was about in the mid 60's, and I am sure we have lost at least 10-15 in the last month, all due to this cause.

    Any diagnosis? Treatments?
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If they seem to be picking things off one another wait until dark and go out with a flash light. Take one of the chickens and shine the light around the vent. If you have chicken lice you will be able to see them.

    You can dust the coop with sevin dust and you can dust the chickens with it. Keep a check and treat as needed until the lice/mites are gone. Wear a mask when you dust and try not to stir it up too much so the chickens aren't breathing it in.
     
  3. mazurzoo

    mazurzoo New Egg

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    If I determine that it is lice or mites, and we treat w/ sevin, then can we eat the eggs? If not how long do we have to discard them?
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You can still eat the eggs. The eggs are fine. The eggs are sterile until you crack them open.

    The sevin is a pesticide like you dust your garden with.
     
  5. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    You said you are giving them milk? I thought Milk was bad for them? Not sure about the whey.
    Definately check them for lice. This would be why they are pecking each other. To get the bugs. Good luck, I hope its something simple...and you can sure it soon, with no more losses.
     
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    justusnak is right. The milk is not so good for the chickens. The whey is good though.
     
  7. mazurzoo

    mazurzoo New Egg

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    I give them raw milk, as we have a milk cow. They dont get much anymore as we culled our 2nd cow. They were getting 2-4 gallons a day at one point and they loved it. Their production shot up to 4 doz a day, then when we got rid of that cow it backed down to 2-2.5 doz a day again. I am also on a family cow forum, and everyone their gives their chickens raw milk, and they have healthy flocks. I would have to say the milk is not an issue. We drink it as well and have no probs![​IMG]
     
  8. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Here are two articles on CANNABALISM in poultry flocks... no matter the reason (and it may have been a combination of things incl the lighting) ... once started it can be hard to break... please note also the possible nutritional aspects (giving a good supplement ensuring it has METHIONINE in it)>I would also offer freechoice live culture yogurt and sunflower seed hearts.... and providing something to peck at such as a head of endijve wrapped in chicken wire and possible adding a few more feeding stations to ensure no fighting or bullying may also help.
    http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g1670/build/g1670.pdf
    http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_pecking.html
     
  9. sammi

    sammi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    treat for mites/lice asap (chickens and coop)

    you may have to get some Blue-Kote to deter pecking at any sores.
    make sure you clean off any bloody spots, or they will continue to peck.

    make sure they have feed stations and extra nutrition as dlh suggested..

    some extra protein, vitamins and/or electrolytes will help with stress

    do they have a pen to get out of the coop during the day?
     

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