Small flock has runny stool, one bird died already

mandab1127

Chirping
Apr 14, 2020
24
62
69
Fort Worth, TX
HELP! New chicken owner here. My first flock of Buff Orpington pullets is already in trouble after only 5 months. My head pullet started separating herself from the other birds. She wouldn't eat with them and started hiding. I noticed she had lost some weight, had runny stool and was quite pale. She was found dead this morning. I have 2 other pullets that are the same age (about 5 months) and they are both exhibiting normal behavior, but one of them also has runny stool now. I'm concerned if I don't take action she may have the same fate. There is no sign of injury on any of the birds. My neighbors do spray chemicals in their yard and since we've had lots of rain, I'm concerned some of it may have washed into my yard or potentially they ate bugs that were contaminated? The birds all free range during the day and they are being fed 50/50 medicated chick starter and layer feed as well. The birds were not vaccinated. I've considered the possibility of this being coccidiosis, but I thought the medicated starter feed would prevent that. I have Amprolium on hand. Should I feed this to the remaining birds as a precaution? What can I do?
 

Eggcessive

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Apr 3, 2011
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The pullet likely died of natural causes, perhaps a heart or kidney problem, or a reproductive disorder. This happens occasionally at point of laying. Only a necropsy by your state vet would have given you an answer. I would either take in a few samples of their droppings to your local vet (call ahead) to do a fecal float for coccidiosis and worms, or go ahead and treat them with Corid at the severe dose. They should already have built up tolerance to coccidia in your soil, but you never know. Sorry for your loss.
 

mandab1127

Chirping
Apr 14, 2020
24
62
69
Fort Worth, TX
The pullet likely died of natural causes, perhaps a heart or kidney problem, or a reproductive disorder. This happens occasionally at point of laying. Only a necropsy by your state vet would have given you an answer. I would either take in a few samples of their droppings to your local vet (call ahead) to do a fecal float for coccidiosis and worms, or go ahead and treat them with Corid at the severe dose. They should already have built up tolerance to coccidia in your soil, but you never know. Sorry for your loss.
Thank you so much for the quick answer. Certainly makes sense being so close to laying, although none of them have laid an egg to my knowledge. Going to take your advice on administering Corid to the other 2. Should I also feed them a dewormer?
 

ChickenCanoe

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Nov 23, 2010
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Eggcessive is exactly right. What kills a bird could be so many things, it is impossible to guess the cause. Be ready to send a bird to your state poultry lab so you won't be flying blind.
What state are you in?
 

Eggcessive

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southern Ohio
Many have different opinions on worming, chosing to get a fecal float. But if you cannot, at 4 months they would be able to be wormed with Valbazen 1/2 ml or SafeGuard Liquid Goat Wormer 1/4 ml per pound once and again in 10 days.
 

ChickenCanoe

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Nov 23, 2010
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Thank you. Just over here wondering what I did wrong. I'm in Texas.
You may have done nothing wrong and you won't know without a necropsy.
Texas has a lot of labs. Here are some of them.

Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory - Amarillo (Branch)
6610 Amarillo Blvd West Amarillo, Texas 79106-1706
Phone: 806-353-7478
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory - Center (Branch)
635 Malone Dr Center, Texas 75935-3530
Phone: 936-598-4451
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (Main)
483 Agronomy Road College Station, Texas 77843-4471
Phone: 979-845-3414
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory – Gonzales (Branch)
1162 East Sarah DeWitt Drive Gonzales, Texas 78629
Phone: 830-672-2834
Texas Animal Health Commission State-Federal Laboratory
8200 Cameron Road, Suite A186 Austin, Texas 78754-3832
Phone: 512-832-6580

I don't want to speculate but just a heads up, knowing what Texas weather can be like, in the future, I might consider staying away from more cold hardy breeds like Orps. I know people raise them there but if it got extremely hot most of the year, I'd be opting for more heat hardy breeds.
 
Last edited:

mandab1127

Chirping
Apr 14, 2020
24
62
69
Fort Worth, TX
You may have don't nothing wrong and you won't know without a necropsy.
Texas ha a lot of labs. Here are some of them.

Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory - Amarillo (Branch)
6610 Amarillo Blvd West Amarillo, Texas 79106-1706
Phone: 806-353-7478
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory - Center (Branch)
635 Malone Dr Center, Texas 75935-3530
Phone: 936-598-4451
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (Main)
483 Agronomy Road College Station, Texas 77843-4471
Phone: 979-845-3414
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory – Gonzales (Branch)
1162 East Sarah DeWitt Drive Gonzales, Texas 78629
Phone: 830-672-2834
Texas Animal Health Commission State-Federal Laboratory
8200 Cameron Road, Suite A186 Austin, Texas 78754-3832
Phone: 512-832-6580

I don't want to speculate but just a heads up, knowing what Texas weather can be like, in the future, I might consider staying away from more cold hardy breeds like Orps. I know people raise them there but if it got extremely hot most of the year, I'd be opting for more heat hardy breeds.
Thank you for the information! This is super helpful. Regarding the heat: We've had unusually cold weather for spring (temps in the 50s at night, and 70s during the day). It couldn't possibly be heat related at this point, but I had considered the challenge of raising these cold hardy birds in North Texas. I've taken measures to provide as much ventilation as possible and full shade. All 3 of these birds have chosen to gather in the sunny spots to sun bathe every day so I'm assuming they aren't too hot. I've purchased 4 Australorp chicks to add to my flock of only 2 birds. I've been told they are both cold and heat hardy (hopefully that is true).
 

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