What killed our hens? Advice please.

HollyWoozle

Songster
Jun 12, 2018
512
1,201
236
Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Sadly we have lost two hens in the space of a few days, actually whilst I have been away (they are our family flock so we all take care of them). Emily had been sick for a few weeks, on and off. We had separated her and she started to look much better but went downhill again and died a few days ago. Symptoms: very puffed up with ruffled feathers, runny droppings, not interested in food, sometimes with her eyes shut and looking tired.

My mum messaged me just now to say that one of my rescue hens, Ingrid, has also died. Ingrid started to look a little under the weather maybe 10 days or so ago but I was worming them at the time (thinking maybe Emily had a worm problem originally, plus it was due to be done anyway) and I thought perhaps the wormer was just making her feel a bit poorly. She didn’t seem too bad last I saw her (Wednesday) and happily wolfed down some scrambled eggs that I gave her. She was just a bit slow and quiet, but she did have very runny/watery droppings. My mum said she had puffed herself up and gone very slow in the end, looking more like Emily.

I thought perhaps it was coccidiosis but my mum spoke with Emily’s breeder who said they are vaccinated against it. Ingrid was an ex-battery farm hen and I don’t know if they vaccinate those.

I thought about treating all the hens for coccidiosis just in case but it’s not easy to get the medicine without a prescription here in the U.K. and I don’t want to give them all a serious treatment if it’s not required. Does anybody have any ideas please?

I’m feeling very guilty for not having figured it out so as to treat it before it killed them, although I thought Ingrid would perk up. ☹️
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jan 30, 2015
56,874
227,680
1,687
No need to apologise :) There should be a delete option on the bottom left hand of the initial post. Though I haven't started a thread in a good while, so I'm not sure if it applies to a thread (a post, yes) :confused:.

I'm sure the ER experts will be along soon to help you out.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,677
138,436
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Sadly we have lost two hens in the space of a few days, actually whilst I have been away (they are our family flock so we all take care of them). Emily had been sick for a few weeks, on and off. We had separated her and she started to look much better but went downhill again and died a few days ago. Symptoms: very puffed up with ruffled feathers, runny droppings, not interested in food, sometimes with her eyes shut and looking tired.

My mum messaged me just now to say that one of my rescue hens, Ingrid, has also died. Ingrid started to look a little under the weather maybe 10 days or so ago but I was worming them at the time (thinking maybe Emily had a worm problem originally, plus it was due to be done anyway) and I thought perhaps the wormer was just making her feel a bit poorly. She didn’t seem too bad last I saw her (Wednesday) and happily wolfed down some scrambled eggs that I gave her. She was just a bit slow and quiet, but she did have very runny/watery droppings. My mum said she had puffed herself up and gone very slow in the end, looking more like Emily.

I thought perhaps it was coccidiosis but my mum spoke with Emily’s breeder who said they are vaccinated against it. Ingrid was an ex-battery farm hen and I don’t know if they vaccinate those.

I thought about treating all the hens for coccidiosis just in case but it’s not easy to get the medicine without a prescription here in the U.K. and I don’t want to give them all a serious treatment if it’s not required. Does anybody have any ideas please?

I’m feeling very guilty for not having figured it out so as to treat it before it killed them, although I thought Ingrid would perk up. ☹️
Coccidia vaccinations work for particular strains.
If the chicken was a battery rescue it is possible she has been exposed to a strain that the vaccination didn’t cover.

This article explains at more depth.
http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publi...-for-natural-and-organic-poultry/47/vaccines/

I don’t know if your chickens are dying from coccidia but it’s very common and one of the first things I would investigate if a chicken here had the symptoms you describe.
I would treat any other chickens that show similar symptoms for coccidia if you can’t find another reasonable cause for their illness and can’t take them to a vet.
 

anvia

Songster
6 Years
May 7, 2014
167
361
196
Wales, UK
Sorry to hear about your hens.
You can get Coxoid (it’s labelled for pigeons) via eBay in the UK.
Same with wormers & other meds that can require a prescription in the uk. If you research what you need then try looking for pigeon or game bird medicines & be prepared to do some maths to get the right dosing for your hens.

Hope this helps.
 

anvia

Songster
6 Years
May 7, 2014
167
361
196
Wales, UK
I’d also be cautious assuming it’s coccidiosis especially with two hens vaccinated at different points succumbing to this illness. I wouldn’t personally treat for coccidiosis without good cause.

Sadly the symptoms you describe are generic poorly hen symptoms. It is also possible for them to die following worming, particularly if you think the chickens had a large enough worm burden to make them feel poorly before worming. As the worms die off in the hen, they can cause an internal blockage & then as the worms decompose they effectively poison the hen.

Ex batts can be very susceptible to worms when they first move to a home with outside access. They do need worming regularly.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
37,250
52,603
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
lost two hens in the space of a few days
Emily had been sick for a few weeks, on and off. We had separated her and she started to look much better but went downhill again and died a few days ago. Symptoms: very puffed up with ruffled feathers, runny droppings, not interested in food, sometimes with her eyes shut and looking tired.

How old was Emily and how long did you have her?

one of my rescue hens, Ingrid, has also died. Ingrid started to look a little under the weather maybe 10 days or so ago but I was worming them at the time
I thought perhaps it was coccidiosis but my mum spoke with Emily’s breeder who said they are vaccinated against it. Ingrid was an ex-battery farm hen and I don’t know if they vaccinate those.

How long did you have Ingrid?

Even if birds are vaccinated for Coccidiosis, a vaccine may not "take", a bird can encounter a different strain, especially if you have a flock coming from several sources or if birds are new to your property.

What did you worm with?

You can get a fecal float to check for worms and coccidiosis. In the UK a vet can do testing for you or you can use mail order through places like Westgate Labs.

It's hard to know what happened to birds unless you have further testing/necropsy.
Ex-Bat hens can have reproductive disorders as well, so it could be coincidental.

If you have any more that become sick, ask your vet for to run a fecal float or go ahead and treat with Amprolium (Coxoid) to see if that makes a difference.
 

HollyWoozle

Songster
Jun 12, 2018
512
1,201
236
Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Thanks all for your thoughts, helpful as always.

Emily was approximately 2 years old and we’d had her for around 18 months.

Ingrid would’ve been approximately 20 months old and we’d had her for 4 months.

I wormed with Flubendazole in their food over a period of 7 days. Ingrid had shown no signs of illness until the worming began, whereas Emily had already been unwell on and off. She really perked up for a while before going downhill again.

I never saw any blood in their droppings and had been keeping an eye out for that, but I’m not sure what else could be the cause. I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’ll be sure to worm the others regularly.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
37,250
52,603
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
Thanks all for your thoughts, helpful as always.

I never saw any blood in their droppings and had been keeping an eye out for that, but I’m not sure what else could be the cause. I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’ll be sure to worm the others regularly.
Getting a fecal float is always a good idea.

There is a misconception that Coccidiosis only presents as bloody in the droppings. There are 9 strains of Coccidia that affect chickens. Only 1 or 2 strains may show as blood, the rest do not. Loose droppings that are mucousy or foul along with symptoms of depression/lethargy, huddling and looking unkempt and not eating/drinking well should be investigated thoroughly.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom