1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Why have I lost 9 birds in the last six months?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chicknerd, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. chicknerd

    chicknerd Songster

    Apr 28, 2010

    I have had chickens for about 10 months now. I have one who will be gone by morning. No signs prior to lethargy last night, vaccinated against Mareks, she could walk until today, so I am perplexed.

    My primary question is that I will have now lost 9 out of 25 birds since July. They have all been sick, some similarly, some differently (One had an impacted crop but never recovered). So it is not as if they have all died of the same thing (none from predators either). Far from it. The last two I lost in the past month, which I attribute to simply not being hearty for the bitter winter.

    Are these unusual odds? They are well fed, we have a clean coop, change the bedding often, lots of ventilation (it smells nice in there). They get fresh water, good food, nice treats, etc etc. I dont keep it too cold or too warm (we use a heat lamp to keep it above 20F). I have seen no signs of frostbite. I have never seen any issues between the birds, no pecking issues, etc.

    Do I just seem to have bad luck or should I expect such losses each year?

    Just curious, I realize no one can know for sure as you dont know the whole situation but I think these seem to be pretty high losses.

  2. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    The number does sound high. But without specific details on each one I can't even make a guess.

    Very sorry, hopefully someone will be able to offer more assistance.
  3. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    Wow. That is just strange. Uhh... internal laying? That's the only thing I can think of. That's just weird.
  4. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    have you ever wormed your chickens? have you checked for mice/mites?

    what symptoms do the sick chickens show? can you feel their breast (keel) bone? are their combs pale? pink? blue? bright red?
  5. chicknerd

    chicknerd Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    I check my birds weekly for lice, mites and they have been dewormed.

    I should mention that they are a mixed group of hatchery and local birds. I have lost similar amounts from each. All have been vaccinated against Mareks.

    This is how they have died

    1. July - at 14 weeks old pullet started to develop paralysis. She died after three weeks of nursing and being isolated. I was told it was not Mareks by vet, but no investigation. Local Bird, was not vaccinated against Mareks but I keep getting told it is not here in NH. Possible B Vitamin deficiency. She was the bottom of the pecking order.

    2. August - At 16 weeks cockerel was fine in the morning. At 10am when I checked for eggs he was in a nest box curled up dead. No previous signs. Local Bird

    3. October two ~ 16 week old pullets died of unknown causes. They were found dead in the coop run. Both hatchery birds

    4. November 20 week old pullet began to be lethargic, staying away from flock. Took her in the house and nursed her. She never recovered. Suspected B vitamin deficiency as she had not yet started laying. Local bird.

    5. December 24 week old pullet had compacted crop. She survived that, but never thrived after that. She lasted about 3 weeks afterwards but never regained her appetite. Hatchery bird.

    6. 28 week old pullet, started laying a few weeks prior. Noticed her wattles were turning light pink. Isolated her and fed her vitamins and extra food. She was dead two days later. Hatchery bird.

    7. 30 week old pullet - she started staying away from flock, would not come into coop at night. Yesterday she was on her side on the ground in the coop. She died overnight. Hatchery bird (same everything as #5).

    8. I just realize the 9th one was a 5 week old pullet that walked under my husband while he was on a ladder. This was back in July.

    My flock gets along well. There has never been issues with pecking, denying food, etc etc. They will eat from my hands. We bring them treats daily. Clean out the water daily. They get ACV in their water. They are feed organic feed, BOSS and cracked corn. We give them hanging cabbages every other day.

    Based on the replies I suspect it is simply bad luck.
  6. Davidisinaband

    Davidisinaband In the Brooder

    Jan 2, 2011
    Upstate, SC
    You say you check your birds for mites. Do you ever treat them just in case? I ask that because mites can be really hard to detect. I've seen people say "I just checked them, they have no mites" and then turn around and have one autopsied only to find out it was a severe infestation.

    Secondly, what do you use for bedding and nest boxes and how often do you change it out? Mold can appear to be all sorts of other ailments. What about their diet? There are certain things I've found out not to feed mine. They say birdfood is OK, but I've found the hanging bells was a very bad idea.

    You sound like you're going to great lengths to keep your flock healthy and happy. Don't get discouraged by the losses. My grandfather used to raise a lot of them and never did anything but water and scratch feed. He never had a minutes worth of trouble. I suspect the majority of the problem to be 30 additional years of selective breeding to produce more eggs and a larger body mass to have decreased their hardiness on a whole, especially in hatchery/production breeds.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by