Why are my birds dying? UPDATE Laryngotracheitis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lexustami, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. lexustami

    lexustami Chillin' With My Peeps

    299
    4
    141
    Jun 14, 2007
    St. Clairsville, OH
    Hello all,

    I haven't posted in awhile but I need help figuring this out.

    Mixed breed and age flock affected.
    No symptoms until I find them either dead of half dead.

    If they are still alive when I find them I have about a 50/50 chance of saving them.

    I thought at first I was losing them to the cold but it isn't cold out anymore and they are still dying.

    I've lost about 25 birds since December.

    Their poop is normal. No wheezing, no sneezing, no runny eyes or noses.

    I'm losing another one right now. She is about 3 months old and has been seperated from the main flock. She has been in the house and was perfectly fine last night. I found her this afternoon on her side almost dead.

    I put her under a warming light and have been trying to get fluids in her. She isn't drinking but I'm still trying.

    I don't understand what is going on. What can kill a bird practically overnight that has no visible symptoms?

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.

    Tami
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  2. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    4,273
    81
    271
    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    I'm so sorry to hear of your losses - it must be frustrating. How are you able to save the half that you are saving? Is it just a matter of getting them warm and getting food/water into them? If so, that may be the answer - too cold in earlier months and birds aren't eating/drinking properly???? Really just don't know.
     
  3. lexustami

    lexustami Chillin' With My Peeps

    299
    4
    141
    Jun 14, 2007
    St. Clairsville, OH
    Ruth,

    I thought that was a possibility until the birds I have in the house started dying. I know they aren't getting too cold in the basement and they have plenty of food and water when there are only a couple of birds in the cage at a time.

    I lost a bird a few hours ago and now I have that birds sister sick.

    She is laying down in the brooder and yelling. I don't think she can get up. She was absolutely fine earlier when I posted the first message.

    I put the other bird in the frig hoping I can get ahold of the state vet tomorrow and see if I can get a necropsy.

    I've got to go check on Maggie. My son is going to be heartbroken if we lose her... he is 10 and told me he is going to have a nervous breakdown because it kills him when we lose a bird.

    I will keep you posted and if anyone has any ideas please throw them out there.

    Thanks.

    Tami
     
  4. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    4,273
    81
    271
    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Tami - are the outside birds and the inside birds ever in contact with each other? If it were a disease I would think they would need to be in contact with one another and I'm not sure which disease would still be lurking since Dec.

    I'm still thinking temps or food/water. Any other signs/symptoms at all? Again, how are you "saving" some that you find sick?

    It's always hard on kids to lose their pets - heck it's hard on us adults too.
     
  5. lexustami

    lexustami Chillin' With My Peeps

    299
    4
    141
    Jun 14, 2007
    St. Clairsville, OH
    Ruth,

    They aren't in direct contact with them but they share the same food supply (feed buckets) and we handle them one right after the other.

    This is what usually happens.

    I will find a bird that was perfectly normal the day before laying on its side. Sometimes it looks like they are dead. I've been able to get them under a warming light and get some fluids and vitamins in them. If I can get them to drink then I feel that I have a good chance at saving them. I will need to hand feed and water them for sometimes a couple of weeks and they can recover.

    Now, I've had some recover and they seemed fine for a month or so then I will find them dead.

    I surely thought it must have been the cold that was killing them so we put a heater out in the coop. I lost some more after that.

    They have plenty of water and there are 2 hanging feeders in the coop that gets filled up every day. I go through about a 50lb. bag of food every 3 days.

    I have about 20 pullets and I'm only getting 2-3 eggs a day. They started laying around 7 months old or so and only layed for a couple of week (maybe 6 eggs a day) and have just recently started back up.

    I just don't understand it.

    Thanks.

    Tami
     
  6. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    4,273
    81
    271
    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Sounds like more clues. 20 egg layers should be laying much more than 2-3 eggs a day. Either they are not getting enough nutrients (I assume they are not free ranging and hiding eggs) and/or they may be egg bound which would account for sudden death. They also should not have stopped laying for a long period of time and if just now starting back up and just now dying again there may be something to this.

    What foods are you feeding them? Anything other than layer feed?

    Hopefully someone will see this post and have more advice.
     
  7. lexustami

    lexustami Chillin' With My Peeps

    299
    4
    141
    Jun 14, 2007
    St. Clairsville, OH
    Ruth,

    I was upset about the egg production at first but they started laying right at the end of fall and the beginning of winter. It turned cold fast so I figured that just as they started laying they stopped due to the cold.

    I didn't have this many birds die until around the middle of December.

    Our weather has only been warm for about a week now which is when we started getting eggs every day even though it is only 2-3.

    I feed a mix of laying mash and grower. I didn't feed laying mash over the winter when they stopped laying and only just added it back in last week. I buy my feed at 3 different feed stores and they are all different brands.

    If it is a feed/nutrient problem then what do I need to do different?

    Also, it isn't an egg bound problem since I've lost a majority of my roos to this problem.

    I've started to let them out to free range in the evenings and will continue to do that as long as I'm home. They have a large run that is nothing but dirt now.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Tami
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:20 laying hens and 50lbs in just 3 days? So almost 17 lbs a day? Nearly a lb a hen? That seems like alot of feed. Are you sure there are not rats and other pets getting in and eating up the food?

    As for the dying, not sure what's happening. A state vet sounds like the best thing you can do. Hope it's nothing too bad and the ones that are alive make it.
     
  9. lexustami

    lexustami Chillin' With My Peeps

    299
    4
    141
    Jun 14, 2007
    St. Clairsville, OH
    Silkie... I didn't count the roos in there or the younger pullets that haven't started laying yet.

    I would have to estimate that there are probably 40 birds out there. The inside birds also eat a part of that amount but they are only a couple silkies, a frizzle, Maggie and 2 younger chicks.

    Take care,

    Tami
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  10. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    It sounds a lot like botulism.

    Has your feed been broken into by rats or anything?
    Has any of it gotten wet or is moldy?
    Is there mold in the coop or in the the basement where you are keeping them?

    You could try adding 1 Tablespoon of Epsom salt to 1 cup of water and making them drink.

    I have saved a few chickens with this. I had to use an eye dropper to get the first day's water in them. After that I just had to dip their beaks in the water several times a day.
    Once they were laying on their side and not able to get up, I haven't saved any, but the ones who hadn't gotten that bad, recovered.
    Mine got into some rabbit feed that was on the ground, gotten wet and molded.

    Jean
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by