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PLEASE HELP!! Our Pet Chickens Keep Dying!!! :(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by countrygirlcutie, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. countrygirlcutie

    countrygirlcutie Hatching

    Jan 15, 2010
    We need someone's help!!!

    We had 50+ chickens that we had raised since they were 3 days old. ALL of them were named, all were considered pets; royally pampered, spoiled & loved (some people are dog people, we are chicken people). We spent all last Spring & Summer building them two coops & a huge "chicken arena" that is completely fenced (even underground) & has a tire swing, a teeter-totter, picnic table & a fort for them to all play. During the days that we were home all day, we would let them out of the arena to roam over our property. They would follow us everywhere, come to us when we called them, talked to us, even perched on our laps & shoulders. All the chickens flourished. The enjoyment we received from them was priceless. My conversations with family/friends always had to do with the chickens & what new thing they did. [​IMG]

    Around November, we started losing them. Three would show up dead. Then nothing. A week later, five would be dead. It's gotten to the point where we are down to around twelve chickens total now. [​IMG] It's absolutely heartbreaking to me. These weren't "just chickens" to us. They show NO symptoms, no signs of sickness. Just one day they would be gone. When they were babies, they were vaccinated with Marek's & Coccidiosis.

    Every Saturday is 'clean the coops' day, also. And the chickens are only outside in their arena (or our property if we are outside with them) during the day. Every night they get put in their coops. I just don't know what to do. I believe we are doing everything that we should be.

    We would like to order more chickens in February from McMurray (where we got the above batch last year), but I am scared to add any more until I can figure out this problem. Please help!! I can't lose any more of my babies!

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!

    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010

  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Well, you didn't say what you were feeding them???
  3. I would check for Roundworms, mites and lice.

    Since you see no respiratory problems these can be your "hidden" diseases.

    The ONLY other think I can think of is that your babies are getting into something on your property. DO NOT let them free range any longer until you figure this out.

  4. Karlachix

    Karlachix Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    I'm so sorry!

    Could they possibly be getting into something they shouldn't be eating? We lost a chicken and realized after the fact that it was probably from eating insulation. It's odd that so many are dying and not showing any symptoms.
  5. KKatknap

    KKatknap Songster

    Nov 15, 2009
    Albany, OR
    When/where do you find them? In the coops, in the run? Any wounds or signs of trauma at all? Feathers anywhere? Do your coops have ventilation? Possibility of mold in the feed?

    It's hard to tell from what you've said. I hope we can help narrow it down for you. I'm very sorry for your losses! [​IMG]
  6. countrygirlcutie

    countrygirlcutie Hatching

    Jan 15, 2010
    We feed them All Purpose Poultry, along with Grit. We have plenty of feeders around the inside of the coop & two big water feeders.

    My husband finds them in the coop & in the chicken arena. [​IMG]

    NO signs of ANYTHING. I looked up all potential diseases & they show none of those symptoms. No signs of trauma, either. That is what makes this so frustrating, because I don't know how to fix it. I feel helpless.

    Both coops have ventilation.

    When I talked to a vet, he stated that I have to bring in a dead chicken within 24 hours (of the chickens passing) & for $60 he could do an autopsy to try & figure it out. People in the feed stores around here say it has to be a virus. Yet??

    Should I get worming medication for them? We don't notice their poop being any different, but??

    I feel like this is all my fault, but I honestly did everything I thought I was supposed to. I had raised chickens before & I never had this problem.
  7. nzpouter

    nzpouter Songster

    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    necropsy is the best answer if there's no symptoms and mass death, at least it will eliminate the posibility of foul play if there's any.

  8. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Songster

    Nov 24, 2009
    Just curious....what breed?.....could age be a factor?.....has there been any weight loss?......any poisoning (or anything harmful they could of ate)?.....are they getting enough nutrients (vitamins, protein, minerals, etc)?
    Autopsy will probably be your best bet...definitely if they are more than pets.....or just so you will know and learn.
    I had a roo (he was a cross) that died for no apparent reason (nice, big, loved his hens, and was my favorite) but found him with a purple head and blood out the mouth....I figured it way a bad heart or he might of ate a spider. Don't really know though. But I removed him and no other chickens died.
    Hope you find a solution. [​IMG]
  9. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    My guess would be lice, mites, or worms. Have you checked for these? Pick them up, do they feel light weight? Are they eating and drinking? What kind of litter do you use?
  10. rosco

    rosco Songster

    Nov 24, 2009
    Texas Panhandle
    countrygirlcutie - i'm sorry for your loss.

    * If you haven't already, i'd lock them up in the fenced area.
    * check for things they've pecked at and things like stagnant water, moldy straw, insulation (suggested above) would certainly clog intestines, ...
    * if you have kept an expired chicken, open its GI tract and record what you see through each section. compare this to "chicken GI tract" photos on the internet. post pictures of what is inside, put bird in refrigerator and await help from someone more trained in diagnostics than me.
    * if/when another misfortunate chicken "checks out" i'd take it to the vet. ask the vet ahead of time what to do if you collect it at night (he/she'll probably say refrigerate in a bag). $60 to save more chickens is what your weighing.
    * one thing you must consider is the city/county/state/fda or usda finding out and imposing quarantine. i doubt it is anything that would start a county-wide outbreak, but they might think so. I'd honestly keep it quiet around town. and certainly not publicly or privately suggest an outbreak or "mass death."
    * or even call a large chicken company and ask for help. it is their off season so you might get some. i spoke to a breeder that advertises on this website and they (or the lady who answered the phone) was extremely helpful. don't remember the company's name but they were somewhere around springfield, MO.

    here is an idea. call the manufacturer of the feed. tell them you've not ruled out their feed as the lethal contaminant/contagion. they should have the resources to help you figure it out.

    Great Luck to you and very sorry to hear about your losses. i'm sure your efforts will pay off!

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010

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