Two chickens passed in night - concerned about rest of flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by citizenkahn, May 26, 2010.

  1. citizenkahn

    citizenkahn New Egg

    Aug 2, 2009
    Southborough, MA
    I think I have a ventilation problem and I'd like someone to take a look at my plan and let me know if it makes sense. I have a flock of 7 birds and two passed today an elderly aracona and a 1 yr old Light Brahma. These were our favorite birds too, the most friendly among the flock. They will be missed.

    - purchase 64 CFM fan and thermostat control. Set the fan to activate at 74 f
    - I believe I have time because with 5 hens the risk of death is less since two of the largest died. I intend to purchase something in the next week

    Link to photos of inspection of deceased birds and and of coop prior to cleaning

    Coop size: 64 cubic feet (old dog house)
    Coop Picture:[email protected]/4559048532/

    +3 yrs old - deceased (2-3lb)
    Light Brahma - deceased (3+lb)
    Aracona 1 yrs old - ok
    Black Sexlink 3+ years old - ok
    Red sexlink or redstars 3+ years old - ok
    Buff orphington - 1.5 months old - ok
    other - 1.5 months old - ok

    All chickens seemed fine this morning and and by 2pm we had two dead hens. Poop and other conditions all seemed normal, but it was very hot today. We have had this coop in this configuration for 2 years, the only recent change was the introduction of the two new little hens.

    Thanks for the help and suggestions.

    Peter Kahn
    [email protected]
  2. MotherJean

    MotherJean Chillin' With My Peeps

    The photos of the birds is a little disorienting because there's no frame of reference. I'm wondering about the last photo in the series on Picassa. Is that the vent area of one of the birds? If so, those black mats on the feathers make me suspect mites or lice. A bad infestation can kill. On a healthy chicken, the vent area is clean, a nice pinky flesh tone, the feathers are clean and fluffy. I suggest you check everyone in your flock. If they all have dirty looking vents, mite or lice infestation should be suspected. You can find information on treating your birds and coop here on BYC - just search "mites".

    Here's a link to a fact sheet from the Univ. of Calif. that I found helpful

    I'm reading those photos wrong...hope so.
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  3. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    Hello, Peter. Welcome to BYC. I hope we can help you, as you have asked. I have a few questions.

    Am I reading this correctly ..... you have 2 new chicks that are only 1 1/2 months old (6 weeks old) in with full grown chickens? I hope I am reading this wrong. You really do not want chicks in with adults, for health reasons as well as the fact that they adults will kill the little ones. Also, your adult brahma only weighed 3 pounds? Was it sick?

    Your dead chicken appears it may have lice or mites. Have you wormed or dusted your birds with poultry dust?

    What size is your coop? Not cubic feet, but length and width. It appears to be no more than 4' x 4' = 16 sq ft which would be adequate for 4 birds. Figure 4 sq ft (minimum) for each bird. Is there any ventilation in it? Is that bales of hay inside the dog house?
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  4. citizenkahn

    citizenkahn New Egg

    Aug 2, 2009
    Southborough, MA
    Thanks for the help and the references.

    MotherJean: sorry, my photography skills are quite poor sometimes. I do see the concerning bit by the vent on photo 10/10. Those do look like they could be lice. However, I put in crushed shells every 2 days to keep the calcium up and that could also be remnants of that. Still, I'll stop inspect the others, stop by the farmers exchanges and pick up some worming and dusting supplies as a precaution.

    Kathyinmo: I'm probably off on the chicken weight. 8-10 might be more realistic for the brahma. It is still a guestimate since I didn't weigh her. She was the largest hen I had. We introduced the little ones and had no issue with their being attacked and we've checked them for damage. For the first week we put them in at night in the nesting box (the adults prefer the roost) and took them out in the morning. After that we let them stay. Last year we added 3 hens and did have problems. We got 1 that was about a month older than the other two. She tore off one of the younger's tail. We used cornstarch to stop the bleeding and nursed the hen back.

    The coop is 4x4 and about 4' high with an 1x4 nesting box on the back. It has 3 1x1 windows with just chicken wire on them. I have started freezing 1 gallon jubs of water and putting them in the coop in the morning to keep the noon time temp down. Heat stroke is still a possibility. I plan to add a fan with a thermostat control but until then I'll use the ice technique.

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