Something is wrong here... chickens sick

Noah Way Farm

Songster
Apr 29, 2019
117
171
101
South Carolina
Hi - wondering if anyone can offer any insight here. I have a flock of cochins ranging in age from 11 - 15 weeks. These have been very robust chicks. They were moved outside to the main coop about 3 weeks ago. They were started on layer feed last week.
This morning, my husband went out and found one of my two barred pullets talking to God. He rushed her in, and she was pale, cold and dehydrated, laying on her side, eyes closed. I immediately gave her warmed subcutaneous fluids, some karo syrup, and a b12 injection. A short time later, I gave her some baytril and some albon, and applied some frontline, to cover all my bases.
She has steadily improved throughout the day, is now standing and eating some eggs and chick starter.
However, at afternoon check, we found the other barred pullet in the same condition. This one we couldn't save, she died within minutes of being found. She appeared normal this morning, and seemed to be eating, but she too was very thin, and had an empty crop.
There are about 30 birds in that coop. We checked each one individually, all were good weight and full crops.
Is there any reason anyone can think of why both barred hens were affected, and no one else? There is a barred cockerel, and he seems fine. All of these birds came from the same source, and were between 1 day and 2 weeks old when I got them. The barred birds were actually kept in two different brooders in the same room before going out to the main coop together.
I have noted nothing at all abnormal with the surviving pullet except extreme weight loss - no diarrhea, no respiratory signs, she isn't neurologic and I have checked her over really thoroughly for parasites.
Is it possible some bird has taken a dislike to the barred birds and was chasing them off the food? It just seems so odd for both to go down on the same day.
I have not been out to the coop in a couple weeks myself due to a badly sprained ankle, but my husband hasn't noted anything unusual going on in terms of behavior.
Thoughts anyone?
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
61,190
53,472
1,322
southern Ohio
I am very sorry for your loss. The only way to know what killed the one pullet is to get a necropsy, and your state vet can do that, if you refrigerate the body and send or take it in tomorrow. Call them early tomorrow. Here is a list of state vets:
https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm

In the meantime, spend some time with your flock, and put out multiple feeders and waterers. If heat could have been a possible problem, then make sure they have shade and shaded water. A fan inside the coop to pull air through and out the opposite side would be helpful. Let us know what the necropsy shows if you get one.

Pullets under 20 weeks or not laying should not be on layer feed, since it has too much calcium. They should be on chick grower or an all flock feed.
 

Noah Way Farm

Songster
Apr 29, 2019
117
171
101
South Carolina
Unfortunately, the other pullet just died. I had checked on her not ten minutes ago, she was bright, alert and eating. My husband went in a few minutes after me, and she was dead. So bizarre.
Yes, there are a couple food/water stations and plenty of room, but maybe I will add more.
 

Noah Way Farm

Songster
Apr 29, 2019
117
171
101
South Carolina
I am very sorry for your loss. The only way to know what killed the one pullet is to get a necropsy, and your state vet can do that, if you refrigerate the body and send or take it in tomorrow. Call them early tomorrow. Here is a list of state vets:
https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm

In the meantime, spend some time with your flock, and put out multiple feeders and waterers. If heat could have been a possible problem, then make sure they have shade and shaded water. A fan inside the coop to pull air through and out the opposite side would be helpful. Let us know what the necropsy shows if you get one.

Pullets under 20 weeks or not laying should not be on layer feed, since it has too much calcium. They should be on chick grower or an all flock feed.
Oh, they were only on layer feed about a week or so because the feed store ran out of grower. they are all back on grower now.
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
61,190
53,472
1,322
southern Ohio
Please consider saving her body—wrap in 2 clean garbage bags and keep cool in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice—but do not freeze. Take her in for a necropsy, and they will have an answer to what happened. Sorry for your loss. If you can get any pictures of your set-up tomorrow, we may be able to help. How hot has it been? Do they have shade?
 

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