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Why are they dying?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by annmarie, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. annmarie

    annmarie Songster

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    Hi everyone. I haven't been here in quite a while. Had a baby in July and well, you know how that goes! Anyway, on the chicken front, things are quite awful. For three years I raised chickens and never had even the slightest illness. Then, starting last Spring, we had our first chicken death. Our best guess was internal laying. Then, this past Fall, another death. This one, like the other, just seemed to be "off" for a while, and then there were about 3 days where she was really bad and then, dead. Now I have another chicken, our favorite, that seems to be going in the same direction.

    So not much in the way of symptoms. What I've noticed is that first I'll see that they aren't quite themselves, standing with their tail down almost all the time seems to be the first big clue, slight lethargy, not as interested in running around when free-ranging. This goes on for months, but not all the time. Just occasionally. I guess I really notice it at times when they would typically be running around. Eventually their combs start looking a bit shriveled and they become more lethargic. Finally it gets to a point where they're not really eating at all, except for a few bites. Oddly, through it all, their feathers remain healthy, they don't lose color in their combs until the day or two before death. But they'll go months just seeming off and lethargic. They kind of seem like depressed teenagers or something. It's hard to pinpoint laying behavior because the first one that died was sick over the winter when laying pretty much ceases here anyway, the second died after the summer, and I'm pretty sure her laying dropped off, and now this latest one is sick again in winter, so no laying.

    I have feeling no one can help much due to the vagueness of this all, but does anyone know of some very slow moving disease, virus, or whatever, that would kill one chicken at a time, with so many months of droopiness before they finally die?
     

  2. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

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    have you checked the chickens AND the chickens roosts for lice and mites?

    have you ever wormed your chickens?

    does thier comb look pale? how does their poo look?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  3. annmarie

    annmarie Songster

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    Combs color looks fine, right up until a day or two before they die. Poo looks fine, occasionally I see some very black poo, but I suppose that's normal? I've checked in the past for mites and lice and found nothing, though I haven't checked this latest hen. Can you get mites and lice in the dead of winter in New England? I thought that was more of a warm season issue. No, I haven't ever wormed them. What should I try, Wazine?
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Thats a very good place to start. worms and lice/mites they can bring chickens down. Sometimes you see worms but sometimes you don't and you really have to just about have the mites crawling on you before you see them, I found that out the hard way, now my chickens are on a schedule for worming and outer parasite control.. The best way to check for mites is after dark go into the coop with a flash light and look at perchs and also you chickens, you'll see tiny little blk specks crawling around. look like tiny specks of pepper. you can get Epernix pour-on which will kill both internal and external parasites or just purchase Valbazin and get the internal worms.. hope this helps and health returns to your flock... congrats on the new little one too!
     
  5. annmarie

    annmarie Songster

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    Thank you so much for the mite check tips. I will do that tonight. I have a bottle of Wazine that I've never used before. [​IMG] Could I try using that for possible worms? If so, how do I use it properly? This would be an ideal time since they're not laying right now anyway.
    (And thank you for the congrats on my little guy!)
     
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

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    If your chickens are 3 years old or older chances are, depending on breed and family history, they are genetically predisposed to start to die off. In spite of those who have older chickens a laying hen of 4/5 years is probably pretty burned out physically so any little thing will take them down. In fact, any that live beyond this stage are darn hardy birds. There is probably not a lot you can do and, certainly, don't beat yourself up for it. IMHO a lot of the things people suggest like medication and pest control probably put the birds under more stress than anything else. Just give them good care and those that are tougher will stay with you a little longer. Otherwise, it may be a good time for new chicks.

    ETA: Here are some more thoughts on it. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=446098&p=1
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Wazine will kill the round worms, but you'll need to come back in 7 to 10 days and reworm for the others. then you can use the epernix pour-on or valbazen your choice. make sure it's 17 grams of wazine. 2oz. in 2 gallon of water. dump eggs for 2 weeks. be sure to give your flock some probiotics after worming to restore the good bacteria, yogurt, kefir or butter milk for at least 3 days.
     

  8. annmarie

    annmarie Songster

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    Thank you Miss Lydia, and thank you my former teacher "Woodmort"! I find your chicken advice far easier to follow than your algebra instructions in high school! No offense, I just don't have a mathematical mind. HA HA! I can't believe I've run into my old homeroom teacher and math teacher! I just went to your site and it looks like you're living your post-teacher life to the fullest. Congratulations! [​IMG]
     
  9. Darklingstorm

    Darklingstorm Songster

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    I don't know about chickens but I had a cockatiel and it would get lethargic too. Found out that it was the galvanized metal my dad used to make the coop. Could there be some kind of plant, bug or other that is slowly poisoning them?
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    how neat to find an old homeroom teacher on BYC, and I too enjoyed your blog woodmort.. Your book sounds very interesting also.good you brought that up about the galvanized metal because I have heard it's not safe to use for watering cans for animals either.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011

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