Chickens fading and dying - Help!

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BabyBantam
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Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by BabyBantam »

Hi,

First time on here & adding this post in desperation. I'm a beginner to chooks and have only owned my POL pekin bantams since april - I bought four.
I lost 'Spangle' a couple of months after getting her to a heart attack (as confirmed by a vet), 'Bimble' was checked over at the same time as "slightly underweight, but healthy". Over then next few weeks, she got tinner and thinner and sadly, just got more & more sleepy and finally went to bed and died peacefully whilst I stroked her in the nest.
My main "head girl" Blondie has always been a bit of a bruiser and both bigger and more solid than the other 3. She's always been the most active, vocal and greedy. In August (just after the other 2 died), her and my baby girl 'Jet' went broody together and sat on nothing for a about 3 weeks, until I literally threw them off the nest and locked them out as they'd both stopped eating and were getting thinner - they then both went into partial moult. Although they're both eating mash and gobbling up corn in plenty, I'm now watching Blondie wasting away, getting sleepier and wobbly on her feet and seemingly going the same way as the one who just gave up on me. Both birds are under weight.
They live in an Ark, on grass with mash in the morning & a handful of corn in the evening. They have been let out into our 100ft garden daily for between an hour & all day/afternoon since I got them. We've got all sorts of plants and shrubs in the garden etc. The girls are allowed where they like and gobble up fallen apples, seedlings, leaves etc at will.
Does anyone recognise anything here that might help me understand what's going on and if this is poisoning from something, or something else? I'm at my whits end and desperate not to lose another baby :(
Aileen
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Re: Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by Aileen »

What colour are their combs? Have you checked them over for mites?
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BabyBantam
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Re: Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by BabyBantam »

Hi,
They are verm-x'd every month, gave them flubenvet 2 months ago (planned to do every 6 - just to be sure due to free range) and I was given 'Ivermectin' drops by the vet as there where some lice present when I took Spangle in (they where given drops and then I re-dropped them in early Sept), so I believe I have this covered? I've sprinkled the ark in both mite powder and Diatom and can find no evidence of red mite or lice in the ark, nor evidence of mites under their wings or vent.
Jet (the little one) has a bright red comb most of the time, but occasionally it goes pale when she's in the garden for a short period (I put it down to being cold?). Blondie has a squished up neck and her comb and wattles are pale pink. Her eyes however are clear, with no muck round her beak or nostrils. She is VERY aware when I come out and call to them, but isn't walking around much. There is 'loose' poo in the ark, but not overly runny and no streaks on feathers etc. I'm baffled :(
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BabyBantam
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Re: Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by BabyBantam »

PS - they've not laid any eggs since the summer. I put this down to the moulting...
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rita
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Re: Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by rita »

hi i also have the same problem, i have already lost one girl and now have another with the same symptoms.
mine kept losing their balance, kept huddled up in the corner and slept not eating or drinking.
i don't know what is causing this, they have been wormed and they are free range, no mite problem.
what is killing my birds.
VALBURNHAM
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Re: Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by VALBURNHAM »

When searching for help with a problem I was having I read a post on a different site for a very similar case to this, hen losing lots of weight then dying. In this case it turned out to be ecoli apparantly all hens carry this but illness or stress can bring it on. Treated with Baytril the remaining hens recovered. I dont know if this helps but it must be worth a try
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foxy
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Re: Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by foxy »

I am really sorry to hear that you have lost two birds already, very sad. I think it may be time to contact a poultry specialist vet.

By your symptoms there are few things it could be, and in addition they may not have the same thing which is where a specialist will be able to advise.

Losing weight, "going light" can mean a few things. Firstly you need to eliminate anything such as crop problems so check first thing in the morning that crops are empty, specially Blondie, you mention a "squished up neck?" Have a quick sniff of her breath, to check for nasty odours too. Have a look in her throat, does it look healthy and pink.no signs of yellow cheesy spots?

Next I know you have been checking for redmite..but take a strong torch and look very, very carefully for the those minute mite, wipe the perch carefully with a tissue and check for pin-prick smearing.

As mentioned there are some bacterial infections that can cause havoc...and a vet would be able to prescribe medication for them if they suspect this. You can also get product called "Beryls Friendly Bacteria" which is great for stressed birds, or those with a problem with their digestion as it helps create the ideal enviroment for good gut health and "bad" bacteria is competitively removed.

Sadly it could also be something a bit more serious and they have have all been infected when you got them,it is very hard to know without them being seen by a vet

Hope this helps!
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BabyBantam
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Re: Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by BabyBantam »

Thanks all for comments and making me feel less alone,
Think a vet trip sounds likely for Baytril. I'll check crops in the morning (thanks foxy), but not noiced anything so far - may be my inexperience though. Will also check the perch again.
Curse dark mornings and work!
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BabyBantam
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Re: Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by BabyBantam »

Well, Vet visit over and none the wiser. We've ruled out sour crop, mites, lice, anything obvious and although maraks was an outside chance, my birds where vacinated (good breeder - rang him & very helpful) so not the scary thought it might have been. Her crop was also completely empty when we checked, so she's been pecking at nothing all day & starving.
She's now on Baytril, been in a box for an hour being given pipets of water with chicken 'lucozade' on my finger to try & encourage her to drink and (until she fell asleep) was pecking away at a giant mountain of broken up pellets and mash in a bowl. She now seems to have a large marble sized lump in her throat, so hoping this is better than nothing to see her thru the night and will do all again tomorrow after work.
One question, anyone know how to force feed a chicken (nicely)? I've got a syringe, but the mash just clumps and I really need to get some decent amounts of food into her?
VALBURNHAM
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Re: Chickens fading and dying - Help!

Post by VALBURNHAM »

you may find she starts to eat on her own once the abs kick in. Personally I would offer her anything she will eat usually mealworms or sweetcorn does the trick for me just till she gets a bit better. I find if I put another hen with a hen that is not eating she will compete for food and will often join in eating. As long as she is drinking, if not I would syringe small amounts of water down her at a time. I hope she picks up after a couple of days of abs, keeping my fingers crossed.
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