Silver Wyandottes dying

endo12

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 1, 2010
37
0
32
This is our third year with chickens. In a new coop this year we raised Silver Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons, and Austrolorps (all hens). All are doing fine except two of the Wyandottes have just dropped dead in the last two weeks. There was no evidence of sour crop (had that in our other coop and lost two Araucana until we figured out they were eating straw), but they acted sick and vet couldn't save them. These Wyandottes were active the morning of their deaths - out of the coop with all the others and going after scratch. There is no evidence of blood or damage from the other chickens. We have one Wyandotte left and she is in an isolated part of the coop because her leg has been bent backwards completely since two days old (did lots of things to correct this but of no use). Obviously we're worried that this is not a strain specific problem. We've read that Wyandottes are "hardy". Egg laying has been good. The crippled Wyandotte remaining lays every other day. All the hens seem healthy, but obviously we're still on the learning curve, having only raised chickens for three years. Right now the bird I just found is buried in the snow until light so I can dig a proper grave. Any ideas of what to look for? Anything I should know about this strain? Really sad and at a loss as to what to do.
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
welcome-byc.gif
Sorry your first post had to be here!
It is really difficult to tell what happened without any clues at all. Chickens do get heart attacks, but 2 so close seems unlikely. If it is at all possible, I would keep the last one chilled and try and get a necropsy done on it. Sometimes your agricultural extension agency will do it for no charge, or check with a vet. Seems unlikely that it is breed related. Could you give us more info on your setup, their diet, droppings, laying habits, etc...?
 

endo12

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 1, 2010
37
0
32
Thanks for the reply. Husband insisted on burying hen. Just waiting now. So far none of the others appear ill, but the dead ones looked perfectly fine to us, also. The coop is off the ground and 8X3X3 feet with a full length roosting bar. Regular metal 2 gal water can and feed bins are inside. The coop is in a totally enclosed yard 12X12. We're down to 8 from 12 (2 cockerels we gave away and now 2 dead). The feed is Nutrena Nature Wise layer pellets. They get fresh water daily. The litter inside is pine nuggets. There are three ceramic disc heaters in the ceiling which keep the coop 10 - 20 deg above ambient temp which we switch on when temperatures dip into the teens - keeps the water from freezing over night. No one appears ill to our amateur eye. Crops are solid, vents are clean, eyes look OK, poop is "blobby" not runny.... so we're waiting. It just seem odd that the two dead are of the same breed. The remaining Silver Wyandotte is the lame one who is simply isolated in the coop by a chicken wire "shield" with her own food and water. She gets sunshine through a plexiglass window. Getting 5-6 eggs a day. Any thoughts?
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
Where did you get the Wyandottes? It is possible that there is some problem due to them being related, such as lymphoid leukosis. Or perhaps they had hatching issues, that could have resulted in the one with problems. Sounds like everything you are doing is great! If you have a poop board, it is really helpful to keep an eye on their droppings for any problems--watch where everyone perches at night, and you can get a pretty good idea what is going on. Have you tried putting the lame one in with the others? She might do just fine, often handicaps are not an issue if they can get to feed and water.
 

endo12

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 1, 2010
37
0
32
All the chicks were acquired the same day from Mt Healthy Hatchery. When they roost at night they consistently bunch up as tightly as possible at one end of the roosting bar, usually the end near the lame hen. The Wyandottes and Orpingtons were new to us this year. Since day one I thought the Orpingtons had runny smelly poop relative to the Aracaunus and Austrolorps we'd raised before. Nonetheless, all of them are doing quite fine. The Wyandotte poop is like the majority.

Come warm weather I may let the lame one be out in the yard with the others. My fear is that she hops on one leg and falls a lot, with the lame leg flailing out behind. I'm afraid of her falling out of the coop. When she was very young last summer we had a pen within the chicken yard with it's own food, water and shelter so she could be outside in the fresh air and yet be sheltered if it started to rain. No way could she get back up into the coop.

I appreciate all your thoughts and advice. At the moment I'm sort of in a waiting state, hoping everyone else is OK.
 

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