What hath God wrought/or what has Jimmy done???

JeremiahLee

Chirping
May 13, 2019
42
152
80
Spartanburg, Souith Carolina
What hath God wrought? I thought raising my own hens would be great therapy for me, helping me stay active due to my MS and Crohn's. I had about 25 RIR (of which 5 were Leghorns) hens and 5 roosters of various ages with the oldest about 3-4 years old and the youngest about 3 months old. All have shed their down and so many are molting. BUT SO MANY ARE DYING!!! It's the eggs that the broody hens abandoned so I put them in a Styrofoam incubator and hatched them and kept the chicks in my guest bathroom until time to go outside. (I don't advise that for ANYONE!!!) Perhaps there was a reason the hens abandoned the eggs? Maybe in my quest to save them I messed up?

Now I'm finding them dying! They were quarantined initially when I introduced them into the large coop. Slowly they got "used" to each other so I took down the mesh fencing separating them. They played like normal chicks.

Now I'm finding so many of them lethargic, horribly thin with no body mass, combs pale, and the roosters seemed "sway" backed. So many of them isolate themselves. The older flock is thriving, but I'm not getting many eggs as I used to (many to me was 10 a day...now I'm lucky if I get three or four). So many are molting and yes, it looks like a war zone. And they were visited by that dang hawk that killed one of my older chickens. One was a runt...it didn't make it.

I found one dead this morning. I don't know what to do. I don't see loose poop all over the place at all. It's incredibly hot in South Carolina. I feed them Purina laying pellets, crumbles, and three way scratch every morning. They seem hungry and eat, but during the day they just lay down, some next to a fence and look as though they could be the next casualty.

Should I dust each chicken individually with the anti-mite dust? I put diatomaceous earth in the nesting boxes. I wanted to feed them some but I throw their food into their run so there's no way to tell how much they would be eating. I do not see any discharge at their vents. They don't seem to be drinking, however. I make sure the water is filled to the top and clean. It truly was difficult euthanizing several due to the fact that there was no body mass and they simply were not going to make it. I always said I'd never do that but I did. I don't want to lose all of them. I could take one to the vet for $70 a visit, but that won't include any treatment whatsoever I'm sure. Any advice would be so welcome and I'm so sorry this is so long.
 

wyoDreamer

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 10, 2010
5,530
10,088
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NE Wisconsin
you say it is hot, do they have a shady place to rest in. Maybe a shallow dish of water that they can wade in to cool their feet.

Chickens will stop laying when they molt, so after their feathers grow back, you should see more eggs once again.

Is it just the younger - 3month old- chickens that are dying?

so you have more than one feeding station, maybe the older chickens are not letting the young gals eat.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,177
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SW Michigan
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I feed them Purina laying pellets, crumbles, and three way scratch every morning.
... but I throw their food into their run so there's no way to tell how much they would be eating.
You're feeding layer feed to baby chicks?
What are the "crumbles"?
They need to have a good age appropriate poultry ration available every hour they are awake...in a feeder that is protected from the weather.
 

JeremiahLee

Chirping
May 13, 2019
42
152
80
Spartanburg, Souith Carolina
you say it is hot, do they have a shady place to rest in. Maybe a shallow dish of water that they can wade in to cool their feet.

Chickens will stop laying when they molt, so after their feathers grow back, you should see more eggs once again.

Is it just the younger - 3month old- chickens that are dying?

so you have more than one feeding station, maybe the older chickens are not letting the young gals eat.
Great reply! It's just the young that's dying. I have to areas I feed for the very reason you suggest. I bought this 'mister' and lowered it so that it would provide a cool mist, but I have no idea whether this helps chickens or not. It probably just satisfies me. The egg laying had ceased altogether, so at least that has started back. Thank you so much.
 

JeremiahLee

Chirping
May 13, 2019
42
152
80
Spartanburg, Souith Carolina
You're feeding layer feed to baby chicks?
What are the "crumbles"?
They need to have a good age appropriate poultry ration available every hour they are awake...in a feeder that is protected from the weather.
Thanks for your response. The youngest hatched back in June, so I'm off in my information. Most hatched back in April and May. I fed starter food to the new chick and they thrived then. It wasn't until they were old enough for outside that I put them in a fenced in area and still fed them starter food until it was time to feed layer crumbles and the three way scratch. I do this because they will not eat the pellets.
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
61,207
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southern Ohio
So sorry for your loss. It would be hard to know what is killing the young birds, but coccidiosis might be a problem. Symptoms are lethargy, hunched or a puffed up appearance, weakness, poor appetite, and runny poops with mucus or sometimes blood. It is more common in hot weather especially if it is wet or rainy. And young chickens can be exposed to a lot of coccidia in the soil where older birds have been living. The mister might have added to that. That is just a guess, so if you should lose another 1 or 2, place them in a cooler or refrigerate, but don’t freeze the bodies, and send them in to your state vet for a necropsy. Here is a list of state poultry vets:
https://www.metzerfarms.com/PoultryLabs.cfm
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
18,357
68,037
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SE Missouri, USA
It sounds like you are throwing food to them once a day in the morning, which they eat. But they "have no body mass, " are lethargic and dying. It sounds to me as if they simply are not getting enough to eat. They need feed available all day long. Provide all-flock or grower in feeders they can access all day long and I bet you see improvement. They also need grit and oyster shell avilable in separate dishes. Good luck!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,177
138,617
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I bought this 'mister' and lowered it so that it would provide a cool mist, but I have no idea whether this helps chickens or not.
It can if you live in an arid(desert) climate.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
upload_2019-9-26_19-58-15.png
 

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