- Mar 30, 2011
Why would 2 chickens, just 27 months old, hatched and raised together, suddenly drop dead? I live in Utah, but I'm away on vacation, and my caregiver found the first one dead Friday morning, and the second last night. It's been hot-- around 97 degrees for a stretch of several days, but they've had water and watermelons. Could anyone who has lost young chickens to the Northern Fowl Mite tell me how it happened, how the birds looked at death, that sort of thing? Could it be the heat? I wonder how many more will die before I get home? The only other chicken I've lost was in 2001. She went broody under the house and died when I was on summer vacation at 17 months old on the 25th of August, when the temperature hit 98. She was missing feathers from her breast. I thought she was just broody, but I think she must have gotten mites. The girl who died Friday showed no sign of mites, and I had dusted her and her dead sister with D.E. a week ago, before I left on vacation. The tail of the golden girl who died yesterday did have that chewed look that I"ve read is characteristic of mites (downy), but I had hoped maybe she was molting, and I had seen a mouse in the coop and wondered whether a mouse might have been chewing on her tail. The chickens were all roosting outside, so I thought they were safe from the mites inside the coop, but maybe when they went in the coop to lay their eggs, the mites got them or maybe the mites were in their outside roosting boards and came out at night and bit them (I read mites hate sunlight, so I thought the chickens would be okay while I was gone roosting out in the run.) I read Northern Fowl Mites die after 2 weeks, and I had dusted in the coop with both pyrethrum and D.E., but maybe it was not enough. All thoughts appreciated. Could I have carried something back from Africa in April? On my shoes? We did walk in the soil there where folks had chickens, and I forgot to throw away those flip-flops I wore... Could the buildings that were recently moved by the chicken coop have carried disease to them? It had barnswallow nests that were removed the last few weeks along with insulation? Could they have eaten insulation while free-ranging? Could Diatomaceous Earth from their dusting on July 16 have gotten in their lungs and killed them? And what are the instructions for preparing chickens for a necropsy, should more turn up dead? There was a mice in the coop before I left? Could mice feces have killed them? I bought a new bag of chicken food before I left. Could it have been contaminated? Thanks for your help.