We need some answers, please!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by virgo91182, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. virgo91182

    virgo91182 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello everyone,

    My name is Dawn and my husband's name is Jacob. We just became a part of this website, mainly because we have some questions about our chickens that we're hoping someone can answer.

    We have 6 white leg horn pullets. We purchased them on 3/17/13 when they were a week old. They are AMAZING chickens with delicious eggs. We raised them in our house in the basement (in a small, confined space, of course) until they were about 2.5 months old and we moved them into our outdoor chicken coop. They started laying around July 2013 and we were getting 6 eggs a day, every day. Then in the winter of 2013/2014 we were only getting 1-4 eggs a day, sometimes none. Then in the summer of 2014 we encountered basically the same thing. We were and are still to this day almost never getting 6 eggs a day.

    Last week Wednesday my husband went out to get eggs and check on their food/water when he noticed one of the chickens had all her feathers missing around her butt area. He also said she had bloody feces and it looked like her inner body parts were coming out of her rear-end. He tried to catch her to look further into it but they're very flighty birds. She wasn't acting sick or sluggish in any matter, she just did not look good from the back-end. Well when he went out to check on her the next day, she was unfortunately dead. She passed away in one of the spots where they lay eggs. The worst part was one of the other chickens was laying over here with the saddest eyes imaginable. (Nobody can say animals don't have feelings, because they do!)

    Now here we are, almost a week later with only 5 chickens left, and it looks like another chicken is starting to have the same symptoms as the one who passed away. She's losing her feathers around her back end and had some bloody stools yesterday. We are unsure if it's the one who was laying on top of the dead chicken last week because we don't have them tagged in any way to tell them apart.

    I'm just wondering if anyone who has raised chickens before has come across this issue? We've talked to several people who have raised chickens and they're stumped. What's pretty obvious to us is if another chicken is having the same symptoms as the chicken who passed away, it must be something contagious and they all might have it, in which case that would be devastating.

    These chickens are in a coop where absolutely nothing can get in to hurt or expose them to anything, not even a mouse. It's a HUGE coop but sealed up well (with doors we open up daily to get them their sunshine, which is rare right now because we live in Michigan and it's gloomy and snowy here during this time of year) and they do have an outdoor pen we open up for them (when it's not snowing or freezing cold out) and that pen is also fenced in top to bottom where nothing can get in and they can't get out.

    Sorry for the long post, I'm just trying to give as much information about our chickens as possible to avoid any "well do you do this, do they have that, etc" questions about them. We would just really love some answers as to what may have caused this illness that one died from and another is possibly suffering from. We've seen what they look like when they're molting, and this is completely different.

    Any thoughts? Thank you in advance!

    ~Dawn
     
  2. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    S.E. Michigan
    Sorry for your loss. They may have lice or mites. A heavy infestation can make a bird sick and they can die from it if, left untreated. I would wait till dark and they are roosting to catch them. Use as little light in the coop as possible, to grab and remove them from the coop to inspect them one at a time. You will need to have a good light to inspect the skin near vent and belly area. I find putting them in a dark crate after inspecting, they will relax again and I know which ones I have already inspected and treated. This way also helps keep the others in the coop relaxed and makes the job go quicker. Good Luck.
     
  3. mg15

    mg15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,
    Can you post some pictures.?
     
  4. virgo91182

    virgo91182 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2015
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    We've already buried the deceased one. I'll work on trying to get a pic of the other one. My husband called me at work to tell me she's looking better than yesterday and doesn't seem to have bloody stools today, but she still has lost her feathers around her rear-end.
     
  5. mg15

    mg15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 22, 2012
    Hi,
    Yes, the picture is a good start.
     
  6. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Regarding the missing feathers around her butt, check for lice and mites and make sure they have a spot to dust bath in as that helps rid them of parasites. I personally think some have a tendency to lose feathers in that area as I've got one gal going through the same thing. She doesn't have bugs or lice but has had spotting feathering in the rear since her molt in the fall.

    You said your first chicken looked like her insides were out. That sounds like it could have been a prolapsed vent. If you search under "prolapse" in the BYC search bar, it will give you other threads and images that might help you determine if that is what it was.

    Best of luck with your gals!
     
  7. virgo91182

    virgo91182 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2015
    Southwest MI
    Would you mind elaborating on what a "spot to dust bath" is, please? The way their coop is set up is we have hardwood floors (that way no critters can dig underneath to get in their coop) but we throw straw and shredded wood chips down so they're not walking on a hardwood floor all day, and the straw/wood chips help soak up urine/feces. They have a couple branches to perch on, and a ladder that they walk up to go into their egg laying spot, which is about 3-4 feet off the ground, and enclosed because we're been told they like their privacy from the other chickens when laying. That basically sums up their coop. Maybe the spot under where they lay could be a dust bath spot? If so, what would we need to do to make it as such?

    Thanks for your responses! Please keep them coming!
     
  8. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a big square tub made for changing oil out of cars, don't know what you'd call it. It's big enough for 2-3 birds to squeeze into at a time. I put construction sand - not play sand as it's too fine - in there along with wood ashes from my wood burning stove. Cold ashes, of course! I've been known to add dry dirt when that was available to me but right now it's wet everywhere. The birds love to roll around and dust bath in the tub. It discourages bug, lice, mites and I think it feels good to them based on how much they seem to love to do it. Those birds that free range will do it naturally in any dry, dirt spot.

    I'm fortunate that part of my run is covered as you do need to keep it dry.
     
  9. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A dust bath area would be a great addition to your birds housing, but if you are indeed losing birds to a mite infestation a bath area isn't going to fix the problem. Get some poultry mite dust and dust all your birds well. Change out the bedding and nest material. Dust the coop and roosts too. THEN create a dust bath area. Repeat dusting as directed until you no longer see signs of mites or lice as per the directions.
     
  10. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    If they have not been wormed, now would be a good time for worming. Think of it as a spring tune up!
     

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