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The Mystery that is plaguing my New Hampshires

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Fairchild Farm, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. Fairchild Farm

    Fairchild Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 18, 2012
    Since mid July my 10 New Hampshire hens have not produce their usual 7 to 8 daily egg production. As I mention a month or so ago two of my adult hens mysteriously died in there nesting box.

    I contemplated that it could be:

    Pack of rats but, I only found one or maybe two eggs broken the other 5 are gone without a trace.
    It could be an individual or several cannibal chickens eating their own kind (the eggs) but, wouldn't there be a daily mess of broken shells instead of just one and, most of the yolk and white is still in the nesting box.
    It could be the heat but, they laid fair last year and its been 10 degrees cooler these last few weeks.
    It could be there diet but, their diet didn't change.
    Could it be some other predator like a possum or raccoon. Don't they eat the adult chickens too?
    Most of our hens have a raw spot on their back. We contribute this to our roster liking rough sex but, maybe not...?
    Finally, it could be some disease or parasite but, what and how do I identify it and then treat it.

    If anyone has have any suggestions that will get my hens back on the egg laying track I would appreciate the input.
     
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have a problem with mites or lice? Poultry dust would be great in dealing with both. The raw spot makes me want to say check for mites at night with a flashlight on the roost and in the nesting boxes. This would explain all of the problems. Is anyone in molt? It would explain up to 2 months of reduced eggs but not the loss of birds and extra length without eggs. What happened to the 2 that passed? Any info would help in trying to figure it out. Last but not least, do you have rat snakes in the yard? They will steal eggs and sometimes chicks but leave the full grown ones alone. This, however does not explain the 2 girls. Because of the time frame, you want to consider the 2 girls as a symptom of the problem.
     
  3. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Raw spot on backs is probably due to rooster,hen saddles should fix that problem. Check for lice/mites as previously suggested,look under wings/base of tail feathers/around vent area,you may need to look at night,use a flashlight and look on walls,roosts,nest boxes. Worms are another thing to consider. How many hens do you have and how old are they? There are so many things that will cause a drop in egg production,the tricky part is to find out what,a few reasons are: stress,diet,molt,parasites. Do you gather eggs first thing in the morning? Do they receive enough calcium in their diet? Lastly some chickens do become "egg eaters",bad habit that you need to break.
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Are your hens old enough to molt? At about 18 months of age most chickens will have a molt, losing feathers, and taking a break from egg laying. It happens yearly, and you may notice combs will be pale. Worms cause a decrease in laying, as well as feeding less than 16% protein. At this time of year when we have less than 12 hours of daylight in the coop, laying will slow. Sometimes adding a light for a couple of hours in early morning will help.
     
  5. Fairchild Farm

    Fairchild Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 18, 2012
    Thank you for the info, if you can recommend a particular mite or lice dust I'll try it. I have been using DE but, the jury is still out on its effectiveness. I can not explain my two mysterious deaths. We examine them for bites and wounds and found nothing. As far as their behavior we didn't notice anything that stood out. The extension Agent From UF said chicken "do that" They sometimes just die. Probably from the heat. I am worming them now.

    Thanks.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Sevin dust 5% is most effective for lice or mites. Permethrin dust or spray is also good.
     
  7. Fairchild Farm

    Fairchild Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    They are molting. I'll check for mites. When using a flashlight at night what specifically are we looking for. In other words what do mites and lice look like. My wife has been in the child care business for thirty years so she knows what lice looks like on kids. "rat snakes" I thought snakes digest slowly. I thought if snakes was doing the egg stealing it would tak one or two a week not 6 or 7 a day. I do believe there may be a egg eating chicken but, how do we identify that chicken then rehabilitate it. thanks!
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  9. Fairchild Farm

    Fairchild Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    I'd use Seven (5%) but, that stuff is dangerous. I don't want my chickens to become blind or effect their respiratory system. I hear of the "Shake & Bake" method, putting the chicken in a bag with the dust and gently shaking it on them. Also, the hang chicken upside down and dust them method. I don't want to hurt my chickens. Are there safer methods of riding chickens of mites and lice?
     
  10. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Those two are the best and safest way to get them completely covered without it dusting up into their nostrils. I hold mine to make sure they are calm and show them the bottle so they know what is happening, then lay them on their back and put it as far in the feathers as possible and dust as a preventive every 3 months. When I bought 4 birds that had lice already I had no choice but to do the shake and bake because they were not used to the routine. It can be a bag or pillow case but make sure their head is out and the top is closed by your hand so it won't dust out. Chickens are stronger than you think, you won't hurt them. You can also buy poultry dust. I use whatever one I happen to have on hand and both work well.
     

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