Silkies keep dying on me....please help

creekoliver

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2020
6
29
36
We used to keep mixed flocks (including silkies) a few years ago and never had a problem with sick chooks. About 2 years ago, we started a small flock of silkies. We have a beautiful warm house (raised with a ramp and two layers of security for predators), they free range during the day in an enclosed orchard and are shut in at night. Their house has fresh hay, nesting boxes, perches and an enclosed mini yard, water system etc.. We started with a little flock of 6 and have had nothing but disaster. Every month or two we seem to lose someone. We had two roos, both died suddenly about 4 months apart. No sign of illness, though one roo had a bit of messy poo at his vent. We lost our largest healthy hen, just suddenly died by the hazelnut as if something had scared her. The other three hens were good, healthy, and happy, but needed a roo. So we bought a lovely roo and two hens (from a reputable breeder) to replenish our flock. That was perhaps 6 months ago. Since then, we have lost our hens one by one, it is heartbreaking. One did not get on with the new roo ( no longer head chook) and became suddenly, obviously wobbly and unwell. We gave her a block for supplement and she improved dramatically- then died a few days later. The new hen seemed unable to see well, she didn't move around as much as the others but ate and drank, we lifted her every night to her house but one night she came down on her own and we found her lying in the yard cold and wet, we brought her inside and warmed her but she did not last the morning. In the past two months our other two original, active and very healthy hens have died one by one, with nothing obviously wrong with them (though one was a bit sluggish for a couple of days and had a bit of poo at her vent - but was moving and eating well). We have only the roo and the other new hen left. They (also) appear healthy and I don't want to lose them! And I would like to get more silkies for the flock but need to know they will be ok.... Can anyone shed some light on what happened to our girls??😥
 

cavemanrich

Addict
7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
18,123
64,512
1,317
Melrose Park Illinois
I really have no ideas on why this is happening. If it would be possible,, could you have a necropsy performed.
Since your previous flock was doing well, that rules out most environmental issues. Did you switch to different feed supplier, and possibly getting tainted feed?? Small chance but nothing to rule out at this point.:old
Is it a possibility that the Silkies are so inbred, their genetics are weak???:idunno
If I was in your situation,,, I would get 2 or 3 different breed chickens. Keep them with your 2 remaining Silkies. Then see if you get further chicken losses.

WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :hugs
 

creekoliver

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2020
6
29
36
I really have no ideas on why this is happening. If it would be possible,, could you have a necropsy performed.
Since your previous flock was doing well, that rules out most environmental issues. Did you switch to different feed supplier, and possibly getting tainted feed?? Small chance but nothing to rule out at this point.:old
Is it a possibility that the Silkies are so inbred, their genetics are weak???:idunno
If I was in your situation,,, I would get 2 or 3 different breed chickens. Keep them with your 2 remaining Silkies. Then see if you get further chicken losses.

WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :hugs
Thanks so much for your reply. It is some comfort to know I'm not missing anything obvious. The environment is indeed the same and we use the same feed supplier as before. Unfortunately we don't have the option for analysis here, Our remaining 2 are happy and well. Hopefully they remain so! Best wishes, Creek
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,401
2,342
286
West Virginia
We used to keep mixed flocks (including silkies) a few years ago and never had a problem with sick chooks. About 2 years ago, we started a small flock of silkies. We have a beautiful warm house (raised with a ramp and two layers of security for predators), they free range during the day in an enclosed orchard and are shut in at night. Their house has fresh hay, nesting boxes, perches and an enclosed mini yard, water system etc.. We started with a little flock of 6 and have had nothing but disaster. Every month or two we seem to lose someone. We had two roos, both died suddenly about 4 months apart. No sign of illness, though one roo had a bit of messy poo at his vent. We lost our largest healthy hen, just suddenly died by the hazelnut as if something had scared her. The other three hens were good, healthy, and happy, but needed a roo. So we bought a lovely roo and two hens (from a reputable breeder) to replenish our flock. That was perhaps 6 months ago. Since then, we have lost our hens one by one, it is heartbreaking. One did not get on with the new roo ( no longer head chook) and became suddenly, obviously wobbly and unwell. We gave her a block for supplement and she improved dramatically- then died a few days later. The new hen seemed unable to see well, she didn't move around as much as the others but ate and drank, we lifted her every night to her house but one night she came down on her own and we found her lying in the yard cold and wet, we brought her inside and warmed her but she did not last the morning. In the past two months our other two original, active and very healthy hens have died one by one, with nothing obviously wrong with them (though one was a bit sluggish for a couple of days and had a bit of poo at her vent - but was moving and eating well). We have only the roo and the other new hen left. They (also) appear healthy and I don't want to lose them! And I would like to get more silkies for the flock but need to know they will be ok.... Can anyone shed some light on what happened to our girls??😥
Ventilation is the # 1 thing all chickens need.1 sq ft per bird year round Do you have pictures of your coop? They could have worms too.Have you wormed them or checked for mites? That can kill them quickly.
 

creekoliver

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2020
6
29
36
Ventilation is the # 1 thing all chickens need.1 sq ft per bird year round Do you have pictures of your coop? They could have worms too.Have you wormed them or checked for mites? That can kill them quickly.
Hi, they were wormed before they came to us and we gave them some flea powder, saw neither worms or mites - we did look. The coop is raised off the ground and was built with space for 6, we never had more than that, it is well ventilated, also they free range in the day. We fed them quality pellets, chook wheat and a few table scraps mostly cooked rice, nothing on the list as bad for chooks. We do have a wet, cold climate but their house is warm and dry.
 

creekoliver

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2020
6
29
36
20200306_184415.jpg
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,401
2,342
286
West Virginia
This coop has the door that hinges open in the summer which allows heat to escape as well as gases. It also has vents on both ends that remain open year round but I had to raise the roof to add the vents.It wasn't easy.
 

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