HELP! My chickens are droping dead!! : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Help! I have lost 3 laying hens this week. I find them dead, and I can't figure it out. Egg production is very good, they are all eating and drinking and running around, having good time chicken fun. Their apperance is good, they look healthy! Then a few hours later, I find them dead? Any answers? This is driving me crazy, I have read about diseases, and symptoms don't fit. HELP!

-- Kathy O. (, March 23, 2000


I've had the same problem a few times over the last few years. A hen will die one day, with no apparent ill effects beforehand. And another hen will pass on the next day. That's when I get nervous. I check my feed. And if that's ok, I'll try and add extra greens to their diet (fresh greens are fed at least every other day all year long) even if they're free ranged. Then I clean all the water troughs, putting chlorox in the soapy water. After rinsing all residue, I put fresh (unchlorinated) water in the troughs, along with a little dose of antibiotics. (No egg eating for a couple of days). And, to be on the safe side, I'll check on em during the night to check on mites. I don' think mites would kill em, but the extra stress can't help em.

My first serial die off, I got all nervous, and carried a carcass to our local poultry vet. She said it was bad corn! There's a fungus/bacteria that develops on corn if the temp. goes over 100 degrees during the formative kernel stages. Aflotoxin? Can't think of the name right now. Now I use the same corn that my aunt/uncle use...they have each silo/load tested before they use it.

Good luck, I know how depressing and helpless you feel when something like this happens.

-- phil briggs (, March 23, 2000.

Kathy ,Are you losing them at night or during the day ?If at night it may be weasels,they bite the neck and suck the blood.Most of the time you wouldn't know unless you looked closely. Is there any new broken glass or anything else around they could choke on ?If the answer is no to the above I would buy a new bag of food and see how everything is ,save the old one .Put a box of wood ashes in your coop for them to dust in .Keep us updated,good luck.

-- Patty Gamble (, March 24, 2000.

We had this problem during the Summer. We thought it was a plant that they were eating, because we kept them in pens that we raised our pastured poultry in. We lost about 5 one part of the Summer and then it stopped. When we moved them to the opposite side of the pasture some time later, it began again. We couldn't see anything on their bodies that would indicate injury. It has never happened in the Winter when they are inside a coop. I would really like to know how to prevent/treat it, because we lost a fair amount of chickens!

-- Abigail (, March 24, 2000.


It may well have been aflatoxicity that killed your birds. Poultry is very sensitive to aflatoxins and this was, in fact, one of the reasons we first became aware of aflatoxins in the first place. The stuff is bad news for anything that eats it especially young animals, including human children.

Kathy: If you're feeding scratch feed to your hens I'd immediately take them off of it and see if that affects the problem. Grain sold for poultry feed is supposed to be tested for fungal content but this may not have happened. Possibly they may have also eaten something else that might have poisoned them. To go from seemingly healthy to suddenly dead without any signs of violence sounds like an acute poisoning problem to me.


The Prudent Food Storage FAQ, v3.5

-- A.T. Hagan (, March 24, 2000.

Kathy are your hens free ranged during the day? A friend of ours kept poison for ants out around and in the barn he keeps his cows feed and hay in, fire ants are horrible here. Problem was his hens and ducks started dieing, one here, one there. Turned out that the Diazonon was baited with cornmeal to attract the ants, and also attracted the birds! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, March 24, 2000.

Hi everyone, I thank you all for your replys. It seems like aflatoxicity comes closest to being right. But instead of the scratch, which I bought 100 pounds 3-4 weeks ago, is it possiable that it could be the egg pellets? I just bought 100 pounds a week ago. In fact it was last Friday, and my first hen died on Sunday, and Tuesday and yesterday. I know that it is not a night time preditor, although I do have a problem with hawks. But this was not a hawk kill. Do you know how long it takes from the start of feeding contaminated feed untill death? For right now I have taken them off of the scratch, and cleaned and disinfected the feeder and waters. On the good side of life, no fatalitys Thanks! Kathy

-- Kathy O. (, March 24, 2000.

how big of birds are they?? are they on their side dead or on their back with their feet up in the air? I've been told, on their back and feet up show heart attack were they under extra stress for some reason? weather too hot maybe? maybe this is just a sign for the bigger meat birds - I know we had that problem with them and the vet told us to put electrolytes in their water

-- Pat (, March 24, 2000.

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