Random deaths.

Notebook

In the Brooder
6 Years
May 1, 2013
17
0
24
I'm having an Issue with some silkies. I got a batch last spring, was about ten. I lost half of them the first few days and sent one to the lab to make sure It wasn't some communicable disease and it was found negative but the bird had soft bones. So I had five.. and just over the last few months I lost another two of them (now almost year old birds?) I keep finding them unable to walk or stand and then they slowly die over a few days after that. What could this be? None of my other birds are effected. Just the silkies from this breeder. Anyone have any idea? I just brought another one in today to try and get her to drink but she cannot walk like the others.
 

Nambroth

Fud Lady
8 Years
Apr 7, 2011
2,961
1,135
312
Western NY
My Coop
My Coop
Do the silkies "share" all things in common with your healthy birds? Meaning, same feed, same water source, housing, etc?
Is there any way to talk to the breeder to ask if they are having any problems with their lines?
Sometimes certain lines, or lineages, of chickens are more susceptible to a given disease, due to their genetics. Even certain breeds seem particularly prone to some diseases.

If everything is the same between your silkies and other healthy birds, there are a few possibilities:

1) The silkies came with a vertically transmitted disease, such as Avian Lymphoid Leukosis (I am not necessarily suggesting this is what they have-- it is an example, but a possibility). This can be passed from hen to chick through the egg;
2) The silkies are genetically weak against a disease or condition that all of your chickens have, or a disease that exists in your flock, but none of your other healthy birds have shown any symptoms due to good immune systems;
3) The silkies, due to any number of factors, are experiencing chronic problems, such as severe vitamin deficiency (as an example). This can be due to deficiencies in parent stock, though usually this sort of problem will show up in chicks first;
4) A combo of the above (diseases such as ALV might not show signs except weakening the immune system).

If the silkies are being raised in any way differently than your other birds, then it would be a good idea to pay close attention to any differences.

Can you consider having another tested? Sometimes gross necropsy does not 'find' all the problems that can exist.

Were any of your birds vaccinated?
Did you get the silkies as hatching eggs, or as chicks, or as adults?

With soft bones found in the necropsy, I would be considering the possibility of vitamin D3 deficiency, click here and scroll down to "VITAMIN D3 DEFICIENCY" http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/pou..._poultry/vitamin_deficiencies_in_poultry.html
Though I am still suspicious that you lost half of them during the first few days!
 

Notebook

In the Brooder
6 Years
May 1, 2013
17
0
24
Do the silkies "share" all things in common with your healthy birds? Meaning, same feed, same water source, housing, etc?
Is there any way to talk to the breeder to ask if they are having any problems with their lines?
Sometimes certain lines, or lineages, of chickens are more susceptible to a given disease, due to their genetics. Even certain breeds seem particularly prone to some diseases.

If everything is the same between your silkies and other healthy birds, there are a few possibilities:

1) The silkies came with a vertically transmitted disease, such as Avian Lymphoid Leukosis (I am not necessarily suggesting this is what they have-- it is an example, but a possibility). This can be passed from hen to chick through the egg;
2) The silkies are genetically weak against a disease or condition that all of your chickens have, or a disease that exists in your flock, but none of your other healthy birds have shown any symptoms due to good immune systems;
3) The silkies, due to any number of factors, are experiencing chronic problems, such as severe vitamin deficiency (as an example). This can be due to deficiencies in parent stock, though usually this sort of problem will show up in chicks first;
4) A combo of the above (diseases such as ALV might not show signs except weakening the immune system).

If the silkies are being raised in any way differently than your other birds, then it would be a good idea to pay close attention to any differences.

Can you consider having another tested? Sometimes gross necropsy does not 'find' all the problems that can exist.

Were any of your birds vaccinated?

Did you get the silkies as hatching eggs, or as chicks, or as adults?

With soft bones found in the necropsy, I would be considering the possibility of vitamin D3 deficiency, click here and scroll down to "VITAMIN D3 DEFICIENCY" http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/pou..._poultry/vitamin_deficiencies_in_poultry.html
Though I am still suspicious that you lost half of them during the first few days!


Hello thank you for your response. Yes my silkies are in with my other girls. If I lose this silkie in my house I will test it. I got them as day old hatchling from a breeder. She had given me several silkies and two polish, the two polish died so she gave me some more, which also died within a week. So I stopped getting chick's from her and had it tested. If this is a disease my girls have, is there anything I can treat them with? None of the other hens have died or acted sick. I also had the silkies in with other chick's which never showed any weakness. What do you recommend I do?

Avery
 

Nambroth

Fud Lady
8 Years
Apr 7, 2011
2,961
1,135
312
Western NY
My Coop
My Coop
Hello thank you for your response. Yes my silkies are in with my other girls. If I lose this silkie in my house I will test it. I got them as day old hatchling from a breeder. She had given me several silkies and two polish, the two polish died so she gave me some more, which also died within a week. So I stopped getting chick's from her and had it tested. If this is a disease my girls have, is there anything I can treat them with? None of the other hens have died or acted sick. I also had the silkies in with other chick's which never showed any weakness. What do you recommend I do?

Avery

It sounds like there is a problem with that breeder's lines. But that is just speculation... I wish I could tell you how to treat this but I can't without having a better idea of what is going on. Do you have an avian veterinarian nearby? Could you get a blood panel run on one of your silkies? This can be done on a live bird. It might give you a better idea, at least, on if there are any deficiencies that they inherited. If you were so inclined, you could also have the blood tested for relevant infectious diseases, but that might cost a good amount. It depends on how you feel about it.

For now, vitamin supplementation might help. B-complex vitamins can not hurt. You can also try a D3 supplement as that can cause soft bones and leg weakness. I am not sure what the dosage is, though-- don't overdo the D3 supplements as they can accumulate in the body and cause overdose. I wish I could tell you the dose but I can not seem to find it-- maybe someone else here can!! A vet might also know.
 

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