Sudden Death/Sleepiness! Please Help!

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


9 Years
Oct 11, 2010
I have 28 chickens in a tractor, all from different places. Added 7 Rocks last week, about 5 months old. The barred rocks (only the barred, not the buff or red rocks) of this group looked really sleepy the past few days. We thought it was cute... Until this morning, one was run over by the tractor because she wouldn't wake up-so, she is separated and hopefully her foot will heal- really don't want to put her down. When I checked on the rest this afternoon, another barred rock was dead. just dead! I removed her immediately. I am worried they are diseased and will kill the rest of my flock

The only thing I can think of is that I also got another batch of 5 black copper marans and added them all with the rest on the same day. the marans don't act very "chickeny." one ameraucana/marans cross just sits all day. hardly moves. The others don't jump at the site of scraps like the others do. And the rooster doesn't act like a rooster, if you know what i mean. they were hatched in may, so he should be acting like a rooster I'm pretty sure.
Could they have infected my chickens? The man who I got the rocks from is a friend and none of his are sickly.

What do I do?

I haven't noticed anything strange, except the sleepiness and that they are very small- but they are young so I don't know if that's normal.

Thank you!
First let me say welcome to BYC. Secondly, I am sorry for your difficulties. Unfortunately, if your chickens were OK before you introduced the newcomers into your flock, it is very possible that they brought in something with them. Chickens can be carriers of disease and not show symptoms until a stressor (such as a move, high temperatures, sudden cold spell, etc.) can trigger the illness. There have been some people who have had to cull their ENTIRE flocks because of inadvertently bringing in chickens with a highly contagious disease. I am NOT saying you will have to do so; I'm just saying it is very possible to bring in a disease w/o knowing it. That's why it is always a good idea to quarantine any newcomers for AT LEAST 3-4 weeks totally away from your current flock. No sharing of food, water, airspace, or ground until the quarantine time is up. Don't go from the isolation pen to the "well guys" pen without changing your shoes and changing clothes or you'll just risk carrying any pathogens in on your shoes/clothes. This isn't foolproof, but does give a "window" of opportunity so that IF the newbies are carrying anything contagious, chances are the symptoms will show up before you introduce them to your whole flock. Since they've already been exposed to each other, I'd at least separate the ones who are showing ANY symptoms. Try adding the ACV (apple cider vinegar) in the water, and do some searches in the forum for other threads with posts concerning the same symptoms. I hope it turns out to be something minor and that all your birds recover quickly.
Thank you for responding. We have quarantined them now. We figured we didn't need to since the Marans were tested and leg-banded right before we got them for their county fair and the other batch (the sick ones) were at our friends house for awhile and doing great.

The one that was run over was doing find yesterday evening-walking around even! This morning she wouldn't "wake up." She won't open her eyes. Even when you pick her up, she keeps them shut and hardly stirs. I have her in a basket inside now and it looks like she's about to go any minute now. I've thought that for the last 6 hours. I'm not sure if I should put her down. It definitely seems like she's not going to make it. I have noticed that her nose is running.

The others seem fine for now. I hope they were strong enough to not get whatever it is. I just want to know what it is so I can prevent it. I feel awful. I did notice some of the others eating chicken poop yesterday... is that unusual?

Thank you again.
I have had sleepiness in my flock to. All mine were born here so it is not from a new bird. Mine act almost anemic. Their face is white and their feet are cold. I have put electrolytes in their water and vitamin B. Tomorrow I am going to add either denagaurd or tetracycline. Havn't decided which.

My roo is wobbly and seems to have lost weight.

I was thinking mites or lice although I havn't found any on the birds. I have 10000's of little lice or mite like bugs crawling all over my green house and the ground. I have dusted with DE hopefully that is the problem or a vitamin deficiency.

I hope someone else has some info.


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