Walnut Trees

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dancing chicken

Walnut Trees

Post by dancing chicken » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:05 pm

Pleas can anyone help me. We have our chicken house under a walnut tree in the garden and seem to have nothing but trouble with chickens that don't lay, get sick and die.

My Mum seems to think that it might be the walnut tree that is causing the problem. Does anyone know anything about this?

Many thanks for your help
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Tim
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Re: Walnut Trees

Post by Tim » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:06 am

Hi Dancing Chicken,

Oh dear, sounds like you're not having much luck there... :cry:

I've never heard of Walnut trees being a problem - but I guess there's very few people who have one in the chicken run so it could be a problem or maybe not.

First, I would check everything else over.

Can you tell us a little more - how the chickens have died (the symptoms), how many have died, how long you had them there before they died, how old they were when you had them, where you got them from and what sort of food they get fed?

Do they get grit, Oystershell, wormed? Do you check the house for Red Mite?

So many questions! Sorry - but it might be something simple that's causing a problem so with answers to these and a few checks, we can elliminate a few problems and maybe find the answer.

Tim
dancing chicken

Re: Walnut Trees

Post by dancing chicken » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:49 am

Hi Tim and thanks for your help.

We have had the chooks for a while - those that died were quite old when we got them (5+ years)- so it could be natural causes. They are fed layers pellets and get mixed corn as a treat, together with kitchen scraps. Oyster shell and grit is available all the time. They have been wormed once a month with Verm X and when we did have a problem with lice they were given a dose of Ivermectin that did the job perfectly. We do have a re-occuring problem with scaly leg mites which is treated by immersing chooks feet in surgical spirit and then covering the legs with vasaline. We have regularly dusted with red mite powder - but I have no evidence that we actually have red mites (although I beleieve that it is hard to detect?)

There are some other possible causes that we have considered. We put down children's non toxic play bark last winter to try to stop the mud in the run - some of the bark went mouldy and this seemed to coincide with the chooks getting ill and dying - they just got sick - some diahorea- lethargic and then just keeled over. We removed a lot of the bark and replaced with gravel and sand, but unforunately there is still quite a lot mixed into the ground now.

We also planted a large Eunomous(?) bush as shade for them and we wondered if this was poisonaoudse to them?

One of the chooks that is left has a very large swollen crop that is very mushy to touch and all the feathers have come off the crop area. Have tried to make her sick without success and also tried to push down into the stomach without success. She has been like this for about a long time now and otherwise seems very heathly apart from the occasional strange jerking of the neck. She is a very plump. The other remaining chook has always been very small for her breed, skinny, an egg eater (when we were getting eggs) and a bully - definatley top of the pecking order and otherwise seems very healthy. Both have red breasts under the feathers and were bought at the point of lay so were the youngest- but none of the other chooks that died had any of these problems.

We had thought of dispatching both and starting again - but they are pets and despite their problems we just can't. We are also worried that what ever the problem is it will just affect a new batch - so we really want to sort it out.
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Tim
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Re: Walnut Trees

Post by Tim » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:53 am

Hi,

Sounds like you're doing all the right things...

Yes 5+ year old hens sounds like natural causes.

Red Mite live in the house and come out from cracks at night. You can wipe the underside of the perch with a white tissue in the dark and should see red streaks of blood if there are any in your house.

The one hen does sound as if she may have an impacted crop - see link for some info on this. This happens more often on long grass.

I'm not completely sure about the bark chippings - there seems to be mixed opinions about them. The biggest problem I believe is that they retain moisture / are a mulch and can go mouldy causing fungal spores that can cause Aspergilliosis in Chickens. This causes (typically) the bird to gasp for breath but you don't mention breathing difficulties.

I don't know about the bush either. - Do they eat it?

If you feed scraps, advocado and green potatos are poisonous to chickens just so you know. Maybe somebody else knows more about what other foods are a no-no.

Tim
Last edited by Tim on Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
charlton

Re: Walnut Trees

Post by charlton » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:25 pm

Hi,
I have 2 small walnut trees planted in large pots(I grew them from seed, they need planting now!),they did have bark chippings in the pot to keep moisture in but... my 3 naughty pekin girls think they are there just to dust bath in, they have kicked out all of the bark and use them every day to bath in and have done for the last year, doesn't seem to have done them any harm.
Sorry don't know what the problem is but probably not the walnut trees.
snifter
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Re: Walnut Trees

Post by snifter » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:17 am

Do you ever move them off the ground they are on? I rotate mine around at least every 6 months to rest the ground and stop it getting nasty. I never keep a hen house under trees due to red mite. Always worth keeping it in the open.

Mind you, mine also free range round a large garden for much of the day at least 5 days a week so their run area (about 10x7 metres) is never really worn down too badly. I have good grass, soil and shrubs in there still.
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