Three girls down - what’s happening?

Cozpip

Hatching
Oct 23, 2018
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2
Hello all.
Having been a happy hen mommy for about 8 years with very few problems, I now find myself having had 3 girls die in the space of 3 weeks.
First bird became very swollen and unable to walk. I think it was possibly eggbound but then it went too far and she just blocked up and swelled up. I took her to vet who said she would be best being despatched as she was too poorly to recover.
Second bird went very lethargic and just wasted away. The vet said she had basically starved herself as she was so thin but he couldn’t see anything else wrong. She wasn’t sneezing or showing any other symptoms. Could just have been old age.
I disinfected the whole eglu and hoped all would be fine.
And then today..... Fat bird was a bit lethargic a few days ago and I noticed her one eye was shut and a bit sticky. I cleaned it and the next day she seemed ok and brighter. She was eating fine but also seemed a bit sneezy and laboured breathing. Yesterday she was fine and chasing the new girls around the garden, eating from my hand etc and seemed much better. But I’ve just gone to check them all and she’s dead, on her back legs up which I’ve never had before - almost like she’s fitted.
I’m puzzled and concerned about what’s going on. Could they be linked or is it just a bad luck phase? Should I be giving the other 5 (. 3 newbies) medication? Any advice welcomed please
 

Wyorp Rock

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Premium Feather Member
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Sep 20, 2015
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3 girls die in the space of 3 weeks.
First bird became very swollen and unable to walk. I think it was possibly eggbound but then it went too far and she just blocked up and swelled up.

Second bird went very lethargic and just wasted away. The vet said she had basically starved herself as she was so thin

Fat bird was a bit lethargic a few days ago and I noticed her one eye was shut and a bit sticky... also seemed a bit sneezy and laboured breathing

chasing the new girls around the garden,

I'm sorry for your losses.

Without a necropsy, it would be hard to know the cause of death in the other 2, if they were older, then some of what they had going on could have been coincidental, but there's really no way to know.

If you have Fat Bird's body, refrigerate it so you can send it to your state lab for testing. (If you are in the US, you don't i.d. where you're located).

How long have you had the "new birds"?
Fat Bird's symptoms sound like respiratory illness, but again, that's speculation on my part. Since you brought in new birds, they could be carriers of illness. Mycoplasma, Infectious Bronchitis, ILT and Infectious Coryza are all fairly common respiratory illnesses that can spread through flocks.

Since no one else is showing any signs of illness at the moment, there is nothing to treat. All you can do is just monitor everyone.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
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Consett Co.Durham. UK
Diet can play a large part in the health of birds. I mention that because "Fat Bird" for a name suggests she was a big girl. It is possible for birds to become obese and not be particularly obvious due to all those feathers and it can cause them a number or serious health issues including egg binding and Fatty Liver Haemorrhagic Syndrome which can cause the symptoms and sudden death you describe as regards Fat Bird. Hens lay down fat stores when their diet becomes unbalanced. Formulated feed like pellets and crumbles are produced as a complete feed to provide the bird with everything they need to be healthy and lay eggs. They cannot over eat it and become fat. Once you start to treat them with other things, they eat less of the formulated feed and the balance starts to change. It is all too easy for those treats to become a greater part of their diet than they should and just like children they will eat the treats rather than their main food. Over time, even a relatively small dietary imbalance can have a significant impact and birds can store huge amounts of fat in their abdomens and around their organs, especially if they are penned rather than free range, where they burn off more calories.

It may not be the case that you feed too many treats or you may have no idea of what is reasonable but one tablespoon of treats per bird per day would be about right. High carbohydrate treats like corn and scratch and bread or pasta or high fat foods like cheese can be particularly dangerous in this respect.
 

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