Sick chickens ?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 28, 2010
We obtained some new Key West chickens that we added to our flock about 2 months ago. The lady we got them from had them in with all her other chickens and her flock looked very healthy. They appeared very healthy. They would not go up in the coop at night with the others, as she told us they wouldn't, but did say they were wild so they would nest at night and probably be okay, but after 3 weeks all of them are gone. Now, 3 or so more weeks have gone by and my two rhode islands reds have died. The first one started just sitting around by herself, this lasted for two weeks or so and she died. Then the second one died a couple of days ago, she looked droopy but not like the other one. She did not look sick at all, her comb was still bright red. My black star is now sitting more than normal. Could the rhode islands have just been old or do I have a disease amongst my chickens? What can I do? Thanks for any suggestions you may have.
I'm not entirely clear on how many chickens you have total. Is only one currently acting strangely and do you have others that are not? Is the one that you think might be ill eating and drinking? How do its poos look? Have you noticed anything other than it seeming to have lost some energy (with the one that might be sick currently or the RIRs that passed)? Do you have any idea what their ages may have been?
I have 7 chickens left. The two rhode islands that just died were still eating and drinking but I do not know how much. I have no idea how old they were. We had only had them about 6 months or so. Both seemed fine except lack of energy and resting alone or with the flock. They would be with the rest of the chickens but sitting or sleeping while the rest were scratching. I do know they were not laying many eggs at all. The other chickens seem fine. The last rhode island died two days ago. The black star I have had for a year and a half and she was supposed to be 6 months when I got her so she should be about 2 years. She has slowed down on laying eggs as well over the past month or so but the timperature just got really hot here too. I have gotten no eggs from her in the past week. The last rhode island that just died did have runny poop the day she died that i just happen to see that day. The do not look sick. The only sign I see is more sitting instead of stratching than normal, and the rhode island's tail was droopy. They are free range and always have pellets and running water available.
It is not unusual for egg production to drop off around 2 years of age. That's about retirement age for layers. It's really hard to say if your chickens are sick or if the RIRs were just old. Runny poops are not unusual and can fall in the range of normal. It could be that there is a plant in your yard that is toxic to them. Did your RIRs tend to range in the same general area and does your black star range in that same general area?

Here is a list of plants toxic to poultry.

Here is a similar list from the Merck Veterinary manual, though it covers more than just poultry.
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They all range in the same area. It is the same area they have always been in. I will look at the list of plants though. How long do chickens normally live? Are there any signs to tell how old they are? Thanks for you help.
I believe the typical lifespan is about 5 years, but I have seen some BYCers with chickens that are 7 or so years old. I don't know if there is any way to tell how old they are.

I'm sorry I don't have more definitive information for you. Diagnosing the backyard flock can be really difficult.

Perhaps you could send an email to the Chicken Whisperer.
Did you quarantine the new ones for at least 30 days? They may have been carriers of any number of things. As far as the KW birds being gone, if they werent locked in a secure coop at night they may have been taken by predators. Her flock probably looked healthey because her birds had developed immunity to whatever they carried.

I am so sorry, but I think it was disease combined with predators.
Hope you can get it all straightened out without further loss.
Most of my chickens live 10 or more years. I had a hen who laid eggs until she was 14.

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