Sudden Chicken Death Syndrome?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cheirogloss, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. cheirogloss

    cheirogloss In the Brooder

    Aug 23, 2009
    Lenoir, NC
    Ok, so this isn't a real disease. But I was reading on here that several hens (including one of my own) have suddenly become sluggish and listless, stopped eating/drinking without any other symptoms, and several have died. Another commonality is that this issue doesn't seem to spread in the flock with only one or two birds affected. In my case at least, worms and mites are not an issue.

    This is just an observation that whatever this issue is , it seems to be prevalent across the country and with several hens (seems to always be hens) in our forum.

    Who else has noticed these symptoms and does anyone have any ideas?

  2. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I have lost a total of 2- 4 year old hens this year that suffered the same fate with only those symptoms. I have no clue as to what the heck it was but I tried like heck to figure it out asking folks here but never got to the bottom of it [​IMG] Lost the last hen on the 3rd. She was puffy listless, mite and worm free. SHe wouldn't eat/drink at all. I ended up holding her while she took her last breath on my bday of all days [​IMG]
  3. Nif

    Nif Songster

    Dec 16, 2008
    I just lost a comet hen yesterday. I have had her about a year now and she was probably 9-12 months old when I got her.
    I also got a orpington hen when I got the comet. Neither one have ever been good egg layers, lots of shell-less eggs. The comet, Tangerine was her name, had a bare back for a while from the roosters and also just didn't seem to grow. Recently she just exploded with a beautiful set of feathers and was looking really nice. Then within the last week I noticed her looking a bit under the symptoms besides being sluggish. She was cruising around with the rest of the flock, eating and drinking. A few days in a row, I'm thinking last weekend, the chickens got into the "manure pit", but I have since patched the hole in their pen so they can't get back there anymore. Yesterday Tangie was just hanging in the coop, but pecking around and eating...late afternoon when I went to collect eggs, she was dead in the nesting box.
    Everyone else seems totally fine and dandy. I'm down to 11 now!![​IMG]

    Let me add...I don't worm my chickens, although I am seriously thinking I should...and the hen I lost did not have any external parasites. The only time I have lost a chicken suddenly was when I got my first 3 RIR hens. I had them about 2 months and they were approaching a year old, and I went to put them up in their pen and I found one stiff as a apparent causes. I also knew nothing about chickens at the time, but it was still a sudden death of a very healthy chicken (or so she appeared to be)
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  4. Egg Lady

    Egg Lady In the Brooder

    May 18, 2008
    I just lost a hen today! Perfectly fine yesterday, as far as I know, found her a few hours ago, dead in the coop. No marks, no mites...[​IMG]

  5. pamiejune

    pamiejune Chirping

    Jun 27, 2009
    Northwood, NH
    I'm so glad I found this thread! The same thing happened to me this weekend! I had a beautiful, almost full-grown, hale & healthy bantam Orpington roo in with a Orp hen and 4 NH Red pullets and he became listless (no crowing - I knew something was up) and dragged his wing tips a bit when standing. Eyes clear and bright, alert otherwise, vent clear, and would drink when coddled. He even ate a bit of wetted crumbles. He did a few watery, white with some mucous poos. Within 36 hours, he was dead! The others are fine, so far. We are heartbroken [​IMG] - he was such a sweetie. All I can think of is that I would let them out in the yard to free-range a bit every day (and keeping an eye on them because I have a hawk) and it's possible he ingested some dog poo. I am fastidious about scooping and the poos are small (it's a toy dog), but I'm sure there were small scraps left behind. I know these birds will pick up anything, never mind if it doesn't even look like chicken food, so wondered if it could have been that...[​IMG]
  6. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    The reason that it seems birds die for no reason is that they're really at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to food chains and predator/prey relationships. They're very delicate, they have very fast metabolisms designed for flight, and they are VERY adept at hiding any weakness or symptoms in order to protect themselves.

    Then when they do get sick, it can run through them quickly because of their metabolism and their whole design.

    There's never a bird that dies for no reason. And when there's more than one loss, there's a definite problem.

    Cheirogloss, if you'd like help, maybe you could give us a little more information to help us set up a flock history to get a better picture of what's going on? The second sticky in the forum is a great place to start, the questions there. From there we can try to figure out other things.

    In the mean time, to that set of questions, I'd add the following:

    Is the heat there extreme at the moment; any weather changes, etc?
    Have your birds had access to algae water, puddles, or compost? Fallen fruit/berries/veggies? Meat or milk products? Any feed that was old or got damp or allowed to set at the bottom of the feeder? etc?
    1 person likes this.
  7. Nif

    Nif Songster

    Dec 16, 2008
    Sorry about your rooster. I never thought about the chickens eating dog poo, gross! I guess rooting around in a manure pit isn't any better. Which is worse, a chicken manure pit (pine shavings, chicken manure and hay, some yard clippings from time to time...but no compost) or dog feces?

  8. [​IMG] I just want to offer everyone that has lost a loved one, a huge hug!

    Sometimes, even with a necropsy, it seems that the reason for the death is a mystery. Sometimes there might be something in the environment, their care, or a small symptom that doesn't signify anything at the time, but later seems significant. That's what we do here, try to look at the care, maintenance, etc., and make an educated guess at what could have happened. Sometimes there won't be anything that sticks out at first, but with more questions answered, a better picture is formed. Likewise though, we might not ever be able to really tell you what caused the death. It could be a slight birth defect that gets worse as the chicken grows. Could be a heart defect. Just so many things that could happen.

    Again... huge hugs!
  9. Egg Lady

    Egg Lady In the Brooder

    May 18, 2008
    Fallen fruit? Yes, the chickens were free ranging the day before my hen died and I have pear and peach trees in the yard. There were some pears on the ground, but the turkeys eat them all the time.

  10. augustmomx2

    augustmomx2 Songster

    Aug 31, 2008
    Central Indiana
    I had a girl die of the same symptoms. She was a 5mo White Rock. Fine and dandy one day, listless & refusing to eat/drink the next. It went on over a week, finally I culled her to put the poor thing out of her misery [​IMG] Luckily, I haven't had any probs with the others [​IMG]

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