what's wrong with my flock?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by girlonthefarm, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. girlonthefarm

    girlonthefarm Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 30, 2011
    I need help trying to figure out what is wrong with my flock. This summer egg production dropped to almost nothing. We had some hot weather (triple digit) for several weeks. The hens seemed to go into a molt, so we waited. But the heat is long gone, their feathers still look bedraggled, the egg production is still down, and I'm looking for an explanation. Let's talk about flock management. All hens are full of energy, seem happy, come when we call, and except for straggly feathers act healthy. Our girls free range for 2 to 6 hours per day. When they are not free ranging, they have a generous run, generous hen house with lots of shade and 5 nest boxes. They have had the same laying food with oyster shell. They always have fresh water. This summer (like Last summer) we supplemented with our garden scraps. This had an effect of loosening their stools, but I am aware there are other reasons for loose stools. We have turned on a light in the hen house for estimated 14-15 hour day. The big change we did this summer was to increase our flock. I read here on BYC how to do that. The new chicks were 12 weeks when we got them. We kept them separated for more than 30 days, then put them in an adjacent run for several weeks and then slowly began to combine them. During that 30 day isolation on two occasions a new chick sickened and died within 24 hours. Because of that we waited longer to begin to combine flocks. The surviving chicks look and act healthy. 3 of the 4 surviving chicks are now laying and lay nearly every day.
    What can be wrong? What do I need to do? Sorry for a lengthy post but wanted the facts available. This is our first flock so I am still a newby. Thanks, Bonnie
  2. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    I would inspect the hens and see if they have mites, lice or fleas, to rule out that as a reason for feather condition and dropped egg production. Have you wormed them - another reason production drops. I added light last winter to keep mine producing and it caused them to peck on each other in the coop so, their feathers look bad until spring.
  3. girlonthefarm

    girlonthefarm Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 30, 2011
    I will check for fleas etc. in the morning. What do mites look like? If I see evidence of such insects what is the recommended treatment? I haven't wormed them either. What do you give them for worms? I only knew about worming dogs. I assume it is a similar process? Thanks for the info. So much to learn.[​IMG]
  4. Mehjr10

    Mehjr10 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2012
    Moscow, TN
    Search Treating chickens for worms with Valbazen 1/2 ml per large chicken given orally followed by second dose 10 days later. I give it to mine at night while they are roosting. You should be able to see the mites crawling around the chickens vents in the evening while they are on the roost. You can use Diatamacious Earth (DE) to assist this chickens with this along with a dusting powder for mites. Used to use Sevin dust, or pyrethrins.

    Most of these topics can be found in the forums.

    Spelling may be off on some.

    Good Luck
  5. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    Check the bases of the feathers around the vent area for hard clusters of tiny white lice eggs. Google lice and mites in chickens and you'll get good pics. If your birds have them, search this site for treatments and you'll get tons of ideas.

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