Sudden Death & Illness Contacts and Advice Needed


5 Years
Sep 11, 2014
Okay, So we have 12 wk old Cuckoo Marans and New Hampshire Reds...
Yesterday we sold 4 maran hens, and last night they all huddled and did not eat much at all.
I was taken back by how hard they were taking the "loss".
This morning we awoke to three dead, some mopey, and some moseying about...
I immediately started moving the birds out of the pen to free range in the back yard so I could clean up the dead birds and figure all this out. Meanwhile, when I picked up a small rooster, he squealed and spit out clear liquid, when I looked the mopey chicks had clear liquid on the tip of the beaks. I read through several sites, and called both animal control and disease control (as well as the lady who bought the 4 hens). I have cleaned all feeding and watering containers. I have provided apple cider treated water. It was the only one of the suggested remedies other than cleaning and decontaminating that I had on hand.
I lift the drippy chicks in the pen... I don't have another place to set them aside only one or two carriers.
I gave them fresh cider water in cleaned containers.
(Clean meaning freshly scrubbed. Because we are cleaning them and giving fresh water every other day.)
I check them in between and interact with them daily. Until we sold the 4 hens there was no sign of illness.
We have other animals and I don't want it to carry on, but am not 100% sure what it is based on online reading it could be a myriad of things. Does anyone know someone experienced with chickens in the Charlotte area that might take a look?
If I have to have the rest put down, I don't know what my options are.. I've already been researching processing options for if we didn't get them sold. We hoped all would sale as chicks and only set up coop to house 4 for long term, and have been refitting food and water systems to accommodate more for longer. Meanwhile, the chickens have remained in a covered penned area.
I know this is long but I'm trying to be clear and complete.
The plan until we get someone who is experienced with chickens is to let them free range.
We have 14 left with 3 acting like they won't make it. The rest are spending a lot of time resting or two at a time seems go about pecking.
THANKS for any help!
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Please examine your sickest birds and try to answer the following:

1) Any discharge, bubbling, rasping, sneezing, etc... from the eyes, nose, or mouth? Listen carefully to their breathing, you can gently restrain a bird and hold it near your ear if you must.
2) What are their droppings like? If possible isolate the sickest into a pen or crate with clean bedding or lining so that you can get a clear look at the droppings. Are they firm and well formed? Watery? Undigested food? Any redness or blood?
3) Are they eating or drinking well?
4) What is your climate like right now? Hot and humid? Cold and wet? Buggy/lots of mosquitoes? (etc)
5) Where did you get the birds? Did they all come from the same place at the same time? Any new additions within the last few weeks?

If it is not warm where you live, keep the ill birds in a warm (but not hot) location, and try to monitor them. Detailed descriptions of any symptoms are helpful to share.
Thanks all.
No return call or email from the lady we sold the hens to, yet.
Coccidiosis is a possibility.
We did find out about a disease pathology lab in Monroe, NC. It's a state facility.

I got everything cleaned out and sanitized. Gave 'em apple cider vinegar water throughout the day.
Bedded them down in fresh pen space tonight. I have two sickly ones crated, and now a total of 4 dead bagged on ice.
I'll share back what we find out from the pathology reports.
Meanwhile, we have eltrolyte water, cider water, and molasses water and a small amount of feed in the pen.
I pray they are all up and at 'em tomorrow, if not we make take all in to the pathologist. (They keep 'em, so it'll be a total loss for the flock. but not sure if being newbies we can risk the hope of treatment or if we could then consciously eat 'em and only 4 hens remain.) Phew! What a day!
1) drippy beaks from the sickly ones. A couple spewed clear liquid with picked up... no other discharge or irregularities.
2) discharge varied from well formed to some more clear... not sure which was from who.
3) They ate and drank well until last night (Wed) didn't feed this morning. They drank the apple cider water throughout the day.
4) climate has been quite humid... rain Sat to Monday and again today... their pen was covered and dry. It has been cooler for two days. A cold front came in Tuesday. Some bugs form time to time.
5) I got them all at first of Jume as eggs from same source. incubated, hatched, and raised all myself together.

No issues at all until last night and today.

Now total of 4 dead, two sickly, and others bunkered down in new pen space. Everything cleaned and decontaminated.
Fingers crossed and prayers lifted for what we'll find in the morning.
Sorry all. It's been a wild weekend.
It was coccidiosis and with the stress of their first loss... I guess it did in their immune systems.
All that remain have been treated and back to fullness of health... out and about, crowing, drinking and drinking, and as of yesterday eating normal again.
Due to all the advice I got from this forum, a chicken farmer from church, and the NC ag office...
The chickens have had a very nice weekend of de-worming meds, electrolytes and vitamins, and other water options.
So glad! So glad. I am sad that only two hens made it through, along with 8 roosters.
But so glad all were not lost.
I just needed to be more attentive because I noticed no signs until it was too late, even with interacting 3+ times a day.
We have a lot to learn, and book reading and online research just does not prepare you well enough. :)
I'm sorry that you lost so many girls, but really glad that you know what it is and have managed to get on top of it.

You can read all you like about diseases, but it is only when you get them in your flock that you can really see what people were trying to describe online, and no matter how much we interact with our flocks, it is all too easy to miss the signs, as chickens are oh so good at hiding illness from the other birds.

Here's hoping that everything is looking up for you and your flock.

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