- Jun 12, 2012
An egg farmer was getting rid of about 75,000 chickens, and he gave me 150. I love chickens, and enjoy seeing them run and play all around the back yard all day. I have a weak spot for wanting to give these chickens a better life because they are treated so poorly in those small cages, and I have never had a problem (aside from predators getting one here and there) before. But this time, with these chickens, they just seem to be dying. At first I chalked it up to the weather-it has been so up and down lately. 70 and sunny one day, and cold, cloudy and rainy the next. It's been like that for a couple weeks now. I always had one heat lamp I left on for them at night because it would get cool, but I just recently added two more heat lamps throughout the coop for them that I keep on when it's cold, and I keep them in when it's nasty and rainy out. (Some of these chickens don't even have feathers from being in those tiny cages for so long, so I assumed it was just a shock to them.) They also haven't quite learned how to act. Most of them have taken to the new "free" lifestyle very well and quickly (they love it), but about 30 or so still huddle in the corners on top of eachother in the evenings. (I put the two new heat lamps in those general areas). When it's warm and sunny out, they get let out to run loose. They LOVE it, and you can tell they are so happy and grateful! The chickens I have had for over a year now have no problems. I always have let them out during the day, they go and roost at night. Even in the snow they loved it. But with these...I just don't know anymore.This is what they do: One second they seem fine, the next they are just standing there, eyes closed, head sagging a little bit. Then they will snap out of it, go peck around, and do it again. Some completely snap out of it, some get worse. I take the worse ones and lay them in the sunshine and they perk up by the days end, but if it gets cold that night, they are either dead or close to it by morning. Last night it didn't even get cold and one was laying dead this morning! I got them almost a month ago, and in that time I have lost almost 20 now. Could one of them have had some kind of illness or something that is spreading in the birds? I'm just trying to figure this out to avoid losing any more. Hoping someone might be able to shed some light on this for me!