*update - resolved* 4 13 week old chickens suddenly dropped dead

Jynestia

In the Brooder
Mar 26, 2015
51
10
43
All in the same day.

It's been 70 degrees during the day
40 degrees at night
I use wood chips as bedding
They free range, and eat Nutrena meat bird feed
They drink just plain water
No sign of struggles or distress
no sign of physical harm
Just 4 dead chickens... 3 inside the coop, and one just outside.

We did toss some expired veggies in the compost, and they got into it and devoured it. I'm a little worried about that.

They didn't act sick. Everyone was perfectly normal up until now. One was one of my biggest pullets, and the other three were my smaller production reds.

There are 2 more the others are picking on looking weak, so I put them in quarantine.

The rest aren't looking sick or lethargic.

We're about to autopsy them and see if we can find anything. (SO thinks we can still eat them... I think not...)

We are going to weigh all the chickens and thin the flock of weaker chickens tomorrow in case it's harassment due to flock size (there were 40 and 10 ducks with them)

I know you probably won't know exactly what happened, but if anyone has any ideas I would appreciate it. Suggestions on keeping the rest from dropping dead is welcome too.

10% of my flock dropped dead in one day :(

*** Update ***

We just did a chicken autopsy and found out they actually were attacked. It was not a predator, it had to be a bored domestic pet because there was no attempt to eat them. They just had puncture wounds on their necks, shoulders, and chest. Two had tears through their skin on their wings. We think they might have had broken necks, but we can't tell.

One of my neighbors has a pit bull, and the other has two dobermans that have on occasion gotten out. The dobermans tend to aggressively bark at small animals. I plan to go try and talk with the neighbors and let them know about it, since it is clear my chickens were in my yard when they were killed.

Thank you for your help.
 
Last edited:

cmonkey

In the Brooder
Apr 13, 2015
34
3
24
Are you providing a buffet or rationing food? With that many chickens, maybe they aren't getting enough to eat.

Are you providing grit? Without grit they won't be able to digest what they eat.
 

Jynestia

In the Brooder
Mar 26, 2015
51
10
43
Thank you cmonkey. To answer your questions they essentially get a buffet. I fill their 12 pound feeder at night (for 40 chickens and 10 ducks to share) and they usually leave 1/3 of it. In the morning I take the leftovers and put them on top of the coop so they'll range. They know how to get on top of the coop if they are actually really hungry, and they do sometimes. They seem content during the day though.

My yard is full of grit material, and I have a gravel drive. I have supplemented some, but they get plenty naturally.

We just autopsied them and found out that they were attacked... I am updating my OP
 

brittanimck

In the Brooder
May 21, 2015
75
3
31
Sounds like poisoning, either by toxic mold or a plant toxic to chickens. What did you toss out? Either way, the meat is safe as long as you properly clean and cook it.
 

Jynestia

In the Brooder
Mar 26, 2015
51
10
43
Sorry that was written before the update.
It's ok. Thank you very much. The information about the meat was helpful for future use!

Unfortunately these little guys were scrawny! Each breast was maybe 4 bites of meat. They are production reds... I feel like they should have been bigger at this age... but everyone seems this size except the gold sex links, which are a bit bigger.
 

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