Three batches dead - why???

Sylla

Hatching
Jun 1, 2020
8
1
8
When we moved to Portland, I wanted to bring out 5 chickens along with us. I had a concrete floor poured, about 10x12 feet. We added walls, which I just recently found out were made with strand board. We also fenced in an outdoor run - about 14x14 feet. I'd had chickens for the past 5 years without any issues. In April I added 6 chicks to the flock. I build a "nursery" for them with an added run so that the older girls could see them as they grew, but not have the opportunity to peck at them. Eventually we opened the dividing gate and all mixed in happily together. (Chicks arrived in April, mixed in in August). then as it got colder, in November I turned up the heat a little. Within one week, all 11 girls were dead. Remember, I had strand board up.

In 2019 I got 8 chicks. Had them in the house in a tub for three weeks, then put them into the big girls coop, which had been previously cleaned so that it was pristine. The first night I put them into the big coop, I was worried (April) that they would get too cold, so I divided the coop by half, put in plenty of pine chips, and had about 3 heat lamps going. To my fault, I added a big waterer that had nipples. The babes had never had that, so I checked with two or three that they could get water from it. I failed to add their old waterer. The next morning, all were dead, spread out over the coop. We sent three bodies to OHS for necropsies. After 4-5 weeks, nothing was found to have caused their deaths. This April I brought in 10 chicks - same pattern, except that I put in fewer heat lamps, and made sure they had plenty of water.
three days later, all died.

I now suspect that the strand board and heat are the source of some toxic fumes that killed the chicks. I have a new batch, 10 1 week old chicks in my house. I plan to seal the stand board. Is this enough, assuming that this is the culprit, or should I cover the board up with ply wood as well. Most of all, does anyone have an idea of why all this has happened. I really would appreciate help on this before I put this batch of chicks out in the big coop.

Many thanks.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,447
79,171
1,462
Wisconsin
What type of bulbs are you using? Some can be toxic, especially shatter proof ones. Chickens don't need all that extra heat.

Can you share pictures of your coop? Is it well ventilated?
 

Sylla

Hatching
Jun 1, 2020
8
1
8
What type of bulbs are you using? Some can be toxic, especially shatter proof ones. Chickens don't need all that extra heat.

Can you share pictures of your coop? Is it well ventilated?
The coop has three windows - very well ventilated. The first time I now realize I had way too many light bulbs, the second time I had only one, and it was the same one I had been using to raise them indoors. I did check on the toxicity of the bulb.
 

Sylla

Hatching
Jun 1, 2020
8
1
8
What temperature is the coop? Chickens can get heat exhaustion at temperatures over 85-90 degrees.
Yes - to heat exhaustion. It is possible, but I wonder if the strand board puts out some toxic fumes when it gets hot. Would sealing the strand board be useful? My other solution would be to eliminate the heat lamp, but while they are little it seems iffy. At what temperature can 3 week old chicks survive?
 

Flockincrazy

Crowing
May 23, 2020
2,372
5,070
356
Elyria, Ohio
chickens are temp adjusters they don't even need the heat after so much time after hatching they need 95° for 1week then down 5° every week till temp is at ambient temp even the cold and they need ventilation if they don't have good ventilation they can get dust lung and it will kill them
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,447
79,171
1,462
Wisconsin
Yes - to heat exhaustion. It is possible, but I wonder if the strand board puts out some toxic fumes when it gets hot. Would sealing the strand board be useful? My other solution would be to eliminate the heat lamp, but while they are little it seems iffy. At what temperature can 3 week old chicks survive?
We use that type of wood without problems.

Chicks need heat for a few weeks before you can start weaning them off. I personally only use 125 watt bulbs for chicks. The 250 can be quite hot. They need to be able to get away from the heat if necessary. Heat kills chickens fast than cold most times.

Adults need no extra heat in most instances. Nature provides them with a thick coat of feathers and down.

When brooding I generally start at 85-90 degrees directly under the light, than decrease by 5 degrees weekly until I reach ambient temperature or my chicks are mostly feathered. Generally by 4-8 weeks.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,750
30,162
1,052
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Probably wouldn't hurt to cover up the OSB if you're worried about it but I really think it's the heat... 3 heat lamps? What are your absolute coldest temperatures? I can't imagine needing that amount of heat even for newborn chicks.

At 3 weeks (depending on temperatures of course), your chicks can be weaned off heat already.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom