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Why do my chickens keep dying???

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Texpatriate, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Texpatriate

    Texpatriate Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2013
    Lubbock, TX
    Well this is discouraging. We started keeping chickens several years ago when we lived in Tennessee, and as a total noob, I almost never lost a bird to something that I couldn't figure out. I even bought way more chicks than I needed thinking, surely I'm going to loose chicks since I have no idea what I'm doing. I didn't loose any and I ended up with way more chickens than I needed. I did all the dumb things I now know not to do. Maybe it was beginner's luck?

    Then, in the Fall of 2015, we moved to West Texas, and after a few months of getting settled, I built a new walk-in chicken coop and bought some juvenile birds to get a head start. One after another, they started dying. I tried giving them antibiotics, keeping things clean, treating them with Corid for Cocci, etc. but it was all to no avail. One after another, they would all die. Not all at once, but like one or two at a time every couple of weeks, just when I thought I had things under control. I bought new birds as chicks, raised them in the brooder, and would eventually integrate them into what little remained of my flock. Of the 20 or so chicks that I bought last August, I have a total of 2 birds remaining from that batch. My next-door neighbor also keeps chickens and almost never looses a bird, even though our birds are kept less than 100 yards apart (though they never have any opportunity to mingle). If it was something airborne, her birds should have been dying too, but they didn't.

    I kept fighting with everything I could throw at them, and then finally, as it cooled off for winter, things seemed to get better.

    Then about 6 weeks ago as it started to warm up again, I had a barnyard mix pullet that I hatched last October up and die on me for no apparent reason, and since then I've probably lost at least 5 more juvenile birds. About 3 weeks ago I got in a shipment of Cream Legbar chicks that I spent a pretty penny on, and they started dying on day two. Since their arrival I've lost about 7, and wouldn't you know it, all the ones I've lost have been pullets and I haven't lost a single cockerel. 3 out of 4 of the Serama chicks I hatched 10 days ago have died, and they are kept in a completely different brooder to prevent them from getting trampled by the bigger chicks. One minute they look completely fine, the next minute they're dead.

    I've treated my entire flock (both adults and chicks) with Oxytetracycline for respiratory infections for two weeks, and then a couple of weeks ago I started treating them with Tylosin when that didn't stop it. I've tried treating them with Corid in case it was Cocci. No dice. So yesterday I broke down and spent $65 for a gallon bottle of di-methox (Sulfadimethoxine) in case it was one of the strains of Cocci that Corid is ineffective on. I've wormed the juveniles and adults with both Wazine and Ivermectin Pour On, and I treated them with poultry dust.

    I'm changing out their water daily, and cleaning all of my waterers with bleach daily, making sure that they are well rinsed. I give my birds Probios in their feed, and Rooster Booster vitamins & electrolytes in their water. I've tried using different feeds, everything from Purina, to Nutrena, to DuMor, and now Bluebonnet Poultry Conditioner for adults and Bluebonnet Nature's Balance Start and Grow (medicated) for chicks. My feed is always fresh and never moldy. I'm cleaning brooders every couple of days, replacing shavings, and wiping everything down with bleach, rinse, dry, fresh shavings, repeat. The amount of time and money that I've spent over the past 6 weeks on cleaning and treating with meds is ridiculous.

    This is infuriating. It makes absolutely no sense. This really should not be nearly this difficult. And I'm about ready to take a very long break from keeping chickens if I can't get it under control. The next bird that dies is getting sent to the ag extension for an autopsy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  2. Texpatriate

    Texpatriate Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2013
    Lubbock, TX
    BTW, both of the chickens my daughter is holding in my profile pic? Both dead.
     
  3. chickcraze

    chickcraze Just Hatched

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    Mar 12, 2017
    California
    Gosh I can't even begin to imagine how frustrating that must be.It sounds to me like your doing everything right.Rhis is my first time raising chicks ours are 5 weeks old today and I'm blessed we have not lost one.We live in Southern California so our weather is pretty similar to yours as well.Thebonly thing that I did do different was clean the brooders box in the morning and night and the same thing with the water and feed for the chicks I also wiped there bottoms all 19 of them every 2 days regardless if they had poop or not on them I did this till they where 3 weeks old.
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    @Texpatriate I am soooo sorry for all your trouble. [​IMG]

    A necropsy is truly your best option! But not on your new chicks... those are likely dying from shipping stress.

    You are doing too much!

    Before treating with that expensive cocci treatment, I would do a fecal float, usually $15-25 dollars and can tell if you have worms or cocci and suggest the correct treatment.

    You have a lot of info there, so bare with me while I try to pick it apart. [​IMG]

    Also, with hatching chicks... they do die... so it might NOT be related.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I've live in SO Cal, and would never consider it like Texas weather... Maybe it depends on location.. [​IMG]

    Glad your babes are doing well! [​IMG]
     
  6. Labradors

    Labradors Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2017
    ON, Canada
    I wonder if it is some kind of poisoning. Paint? Creosote? Something in the feeders/waterers?

    Too much bleach? Bleach + pee can be toxic.

    Perhaps a necropsy would be invaluable.
     
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    First let me say that antibiotics only help bacterial infections and will do nothing for viruses... And rooster booster has antibiotics in it. The more antibiotics you through in there not knowing what you are fighting... the more ineffective they are... You must use the right one for the right thing otherwise you are just building resistance to the drug..

    So let's take it back to basics about what your current issue is and what you are doing instead of what happened in the past...

    What do you feed including supplements and treats? How big is your flock and what ages/genders?

    Your new location may have special considerations that your old one didn't including possible disease already on the land.

    Honestly I NEVER clean my feed and water dishes except the occasional scrub if slime develops on the water bowl.
     
  8. chickcraze

    chickcraze Just Hatched

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    Mar 12, 2017
    California
    I live in Lake Elsinore and we can get pretty hot here in the summer.Can you see if you can help me and tell me if this chick is a roo?
     
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    OH wait...

    Vitamins cannot OD but electrolytes can.. they have salt and potassium... when out of balance, very deadly! NO supplement should be given for mire than 10 days.

    Go to plain water, please... as a means of taking it back to the basics... at least for now.
     
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Absolutely love chick genders!

    Ya, it does get hot there... but the humidity being off the hook like it is in the gulf coast makes other parasites thrive where they don't in the desert. [​IMG]
     

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